Consumer Reports Investigates Exploding Sunroofs

16KiaSorentoPanoRoof.jpg photo by Kristin Varela

CARS.COM — The size and popularity of sunroofs has risen in the last couple of years — and with it, says Consumer Reports, the number of complaints about them exploding. A new report from the consumer-advocacy organization says automakers and safety regulators aren’t paying enough attention to this growing problem.

Related: How a Vehicle Safety Complaint Becomes a Recall

According to Consumer Reports, car owners have filed at least 859 complaints with the government regarding shattering sunroofs since 1995, with 71 percent of those accidents occurring since 2011. Hyundai leads the pack with 119 complaints, followed by Ford and Nissan with 85 and 82, respectively. On the flipside, BMW and Cadillac owners are at the bottom of the list of automakers with the most complaints, with 27 and 28, respectively.

Among the complaints compiled, almost all incidents happen with no warning or direct cause associated with them. Consumer Reports says there are at least 36 injury reports, mainly minor cuts or scrapes, but no serious injuries or deaths.

“The odds of this happening to you are low, but when a vehicle’s sunroof does shatter, consumers are often left on their own to deal with it,” Consumer Reports said in the study.

Why the uptick in these incidents? Consumer Reports explains that current regulatory standards haven’t kept pace with the size or design innovations in panoramic sunroofs. Glass in cars must meet minimum safety standards, but those standards haven’t been updated since 1996, it contends.

What can consumers do? Continue to report issues to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for investigation, and if your vehicle has been recalled, get it fixed as soon as possible. Hyundai issued a recall for its Veloster’s sunroof for related safety issues, and Nissan recalled the 2004 Maxima for similar issues.

Click here for the full study from Consumer Reports.

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