Investigation Finds Exploding Sunroofs More Common Than First Thought

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PITTSBURGH (CBS) – Federal authorities are receiving an increasing number of reports of sunroofs shattering while people are driving.

It’s not clear what is causing the problem but a new Consumer Reports investigation finds the problem is more common than first thought.

According to the group, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has received at least 859 complaints of shattered sunroofs since 1995.

“We heard a really loud explosion sound,” said Laura Lesniewksi in 2016 when her sunroof shattered while driving down the highway with her three kids. “It sounded like there was a bomb inside my car that had gone. It was so loud.”

David Friedman, who works for a division of Consumers Reports, says most of the complaints have come in the past few years.

“This is a problem that exists among many automakers, among many models,” said Friedman. “They’re really expensive to fix and car companies are refusing in many cases to cover the cost for consumers.”

The chance of a sunroof exploding is still relatively low but experts say the problem has increased as sunroofs have grown in size.

Consumer Reports found many complaints involve panaromic sunroofs, which cover the entire roof. Plus, sunroofs are often made with tempered glass, not laminated glass.

“The glass in these sunroofs is not what’s being used in your in your windshield, where if a rock hits it it doesn’t shatter,” said Friedman.

Hyundai leads the list of vehicles with complaints. Several cars have been recalled, including one Hyundai, to fix shattering issues, but experts believe more needs to be done to make sure vehicles are safe.

“Thankfully there have only been minor injuries so far,” said Friedman.

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