Selecting the right sunroof : A guide

n my last article I talked about the glass used in windshields and windows of a car. Passengers safety dictates that laminated glass be used for windshields and tempered glass for the windows. You can find that article here:

The one addition which has been made to cars is a glass roof. The main benefit of having a sunroof in your car is its aesthetic appeal. It adds a unique touch to your car and helps you stand out from the crowd. Factory fitted sunroof cars do not compromise with the safety/rigidity of the car. Car manufacturers drop test their sunroof fitted car to judge their overall safety. If you are going to an aftermarket fitment then you have to rely on the glass manufacturer to adhere to appropriate safety and performance standards. 

Glass suppliers like FUSO produce glass to precisely meet the performance requirements and test procedures for roof glazing installed in motor vehicles. There are two primary options and car manufacturers have their pick between them.

  1. Tempered glass is made when glass is heated and then cooled quickly. This process allows the glass to have a different structural integrity. If a standard piece of glass breaks, its broken pieces are typically large and uneven, but when tempered glass breaks, it shatters into very small even pieces. This makes tempered glass safer for the person inside of the vehicle.
  1. Laminated glass differs from tempered glass because there is a layer of clear plastic located inside of two thin layers of glass. Thus, laminated glass can form cracks without completely shattering.

The number of cases where sunroof shattered spontaneously has spiked in the last few years. There is no consensus as to why it happened. The dealers or manufacturers attribute it to road debris while the owners maintain that there was no debris. However, this has moved a lot of automotive manufacturers to switch to laminated glass for its sunroofs.

I would reckon that laminated glass sunroof is definitely a safer option. Imagine this, you are cruising at 120 km/hr on a national highway and for some reason the sunroof shatters. The small piece of glass might not cause any damage but they will take your focus off the road. This could lead to an accident. I would strongly suggest that whether you go for a factory fitted or aftermarket sunroof, pick one with laminated glass.

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