Why Do Hyundai's Panoramic Sunroofs Rattle and Explode?
Hyundai refuses to acknowledge that their sunroofs have been exploding under normal driving conditions, but they’re offering plenty of coverage to owners if (or when) it happens thanks to a 2019 lawsuit settlement.
A exploding sunroof class-action lawsuit, Glenn v. Hyundai Motor America et al., was filed against Hyundai in 2015. Owners were tired of the threat of getting caught in a tempered-glass shower. The lawsuit focused on three key points:
The sunroofs darkened with a ceramic tint tend to shatter without warning
Numerous complaints have been filed to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and CarComplaints.com
Despite its awareness of the dangerous defect, Hyundai has done nothing to fix the problem or warn drivers about the risk
"Despite its awareness of the danger, Hyundai to this day has not warned drivers about the risk of sunroof shattering, still sells the defective vehicles and denies that the defect exists even after owners experience the problem."
Settlement details give owners a lot of reasons to celebrate ∞
The plaintiffs did an excellent amending their complaints because in early 2019 Hyundai agreed to settle the lawsuit without admitting any defect. The settlement covers any of the following vehicles if they came factory-equipped with panoramic sunroofs:
If you’re still not happy with your car and sell it within 90 days of Hyundai’s class-action settlement notice, the automaker will give you some cash.
A customer who sells their vehicle and buys a non-Hyundai vehicle can claim up to $600, while a customer who trades their vehicle for a new Hyundai without a panoramic sunroof can receive a $1,000 rebate.
By the end of 2012, Hyundai agreed to recall certain Velosters citing concerns that the glass may have been damaged during installation at the factory. The recall was later expanded, brining the total number of affected vehicles to roughly 20,000.
Even the sunroofs that have managed to keep it together don't exactly inspire confidence in the people sitting below them. Numerous owners have complained about strange noises from above.
"Panoramic sunroofs introduce added complexity to a vehicle. Suddenly you’ve got two or more heavy glass panels; motors, channels and rollers for the sunshade; plus the main motor and sliding mechanism for the sunroof panel itself."
Hyundai has issued a technical service bulletin (TSB) in the past on how to treat panoramic sunroof noise:
"On some 2012-2013 Sonata (YF) and 2012 Sonata Hybrid (YF-HEV) vehicles with panoramic sunroof, a slight creaking or rattle noise in the roof may be heard. If the source of the noise is around the roof area on top of the B-pillar, follow the procedure outlined in this bulletin to eliminate the noise."
This TSB recommends the dealership use acoustic felt and Loctite to secure the sunroof cross-members to stop the creaking.
Fixing the squeaks from a sunroof is a bit of a crapshoot. First, you need to find a mechanic willing to do it and that's often difficult if they can't replicate the issue during a short test drive. Second, if you do find someone to help you out it can be tricky isolating the source of the noise. Here's a few tips from owners who have had success:
Lube it up: lubricate the dealers and the sunroof track itself
Tighten the bolts securing the sunroof crossbar
If all else fails, closing the shade can help mask the noise
Hyundai motion to dismiss a panoramic sunroof lawsuit has been denied. The 2015 lawsuit says the sunroof glass can explode without warning. The judge previously threw out some claims concerning unfair profit but allowed fraud claims to continue. Hyundai then asked the judge to whittle down the lawsuit even more by throwing out claims based on unjust enrichment, a request denied by the court.
ndai has been sued because their sunroofs can explode without being struck by an object. Plaintiff Billy Glenn filed the exploding sunroof lawsuit after the glass in his 2014 Santa Fe Sport exploded just months after purchasing the Hyundai. The sunroof was replaced, but Glenn claims the replacement sunroof also shattered and sent glass into the vehicle.
Well, that didn’t take long. Earlier this year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into shattering sunroofs in the 2012 Veloster. Now Hyundai has issued a recall for that exact problem.
This problem has been reported by owners of the following generations. While there's no guarantee it affects all the listed model years, most years within a generation share the same parts, manufacturing processes, and problems.