Sunroofs in cars: Useless/useful and how to maintain them

A sunroof is purported to be a much-needed accessory by buyers these days. If you own a car with one, here are the tips and tricks to maintain it.

By:December 11, 2020 12:00 PM

In India, a sunroof is a much-wanted accessory. So much so that dealers reported that customers were willing to spend the extra Rs 40,000 or so on a sunroof-equipped model than one without it. In the early days, customers will usually be left wanting for choices as only a few Chevies, Hyundais as well as later Hondas used to offer it. These carmakers used to charge a bomb for the same as well. Only the German cars even then used to offer a sunroof or moonroof and get away with charging a premium enrolled in the name of quality. These days, sunroofs are far too common starting from cars such as the Tata Tiago (as an accessory) to cars like the Honda Jazz, Hyundai i20 offering it as a factory fitment based on variants. In compact SUVs, Tata Motors offers it on the Nexon and it is the most affordable offering out there.

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Here is a quick look on if a sunroof is actually a useful accessory or are there any other cons associated with it. How to maintain a sunroof, if you have one, is also explained right here.

The usefulness of a sunroof

The sunroof was predominantly carved out in cars for the European as well as American markets. Here the occupants wouldn’t get much sun as it is. So the sunroof allowed some light in the cabin as well as enabled the occupants to get some much-needed Vitamin D. In India though, we don’t have these issues as the sun is available in its full glory here.

In a colder climate area like Mahabaleshwar (hill stations) or Matheran, one can always switch off the airconditioning system and open the sunroof. This will not only get in some fresh air but save a bit of fuel that will otherwise be used in running the AC.

If there is any stale air in the cabin or too much heat due to the car being parked directly under the sun, a sunroof helps dissipate it quickly.

The coolness (no pun intended) of having a sunroof is unparalleled. Children love it and old parents appreciate it. Everyone will want to travel with you.

A boon for photographers (we mean it to be used when the car is stationary) as they can put out their long lens cameras and shoot from the confines of the car. Try doing this at state highways near Orissa where you will possibly get to see rhinos basking in the sun in fields or elephants on the side of the road.

Stargazing is another aspect that can be best enjoyed in a car with a sunroof. Imagine the peace and tranquility of holding your partner’s hands and just looking at the starlit sky from the sunroof!

The no-so useful aspects of a sunroof

You will soon forget that a sunroof exists in the car. Meaning which, the sunroof will be relegated to oblivion. If your commute is primarily in the city, the sunroof holds no value as the high-set bus commuters will have no regard before spitting. At the same time, all the dirt and grime from the regular commute too will dirty the cabin. Especially if you have a car with beige or white interior.

If you forget to close the sunroof (few of the modern-day cars come with a reminder chime), then this is an open invitation for thieves and anti-social elements. Something which you will not appreciate if you are of the forgetful types.

The sunroof glass also needs cleaning. As it is, the top portion is the most missed part by daily car cleaners. The less opportunity that you get to open the roof, you will notice that the glass pane is dirty. We haven’t started about the maintenance part yet. Scroll right down for what awaits you if there is a sunroof-equipped car in your garage.

Maintenance of a sunroof

Do not park the car under a tree. The sunroof will be the most affected as flowers or small branches could get lodged in the retracting mechanism. This eventually will lead to the sunroof malfunctioning as well as additional cleaning chores.

Ensure that the gutters (the rubber lines) are clean. If these are choked, the sunroof will stall and eventually the motor will give way. Ideally put a mug or bottle of water around the sunroof channels and see if drains properly. If not, then you may have to get the service centre to clean it. The water should drain from somewhere near the front door hinge or from the rear of the car.

Whenever you take the car for servicing at an authorised service centre, do remember to ask them to check the sunroof operation. The winding motor as well as gutters need to be checked by the technician to ensure smooth functioning. They may even grease the required parts.



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