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Exploding Sunroof Acura TL

Driving down the highway on a sunny, beautiful Texas day, I had the sunroof closed but the sun shade open. I heard this loud pop that sounded like a gun and looked up to see the sunroof has shattered on my 2010 Acura TL. I was terrified but thankfully didn’t lose control of the car, shut the shade, and drove it to the nearest dealership. It was $950 to replace the glass and the dealer said it would not be covered by warranty as a rock must have hit the sunroof. I only heard a pop though–wouldn’t a rock have made a separate hit followed by the pop explosion?

The whole experience has just left a bad impression of Acura and the dealer’s refusal consider the warranty. Our insurance deductible is too high to cover the glass. Looking on the internet (unscientific, I know) I saw a few stories similar to mine where the sunroof exploded as the driver was driving down the highway due to pressure in the cabin being incompatible with the sunny day and pressure outside. Is this possible?

I’m not a car aficionado–I had a 2002 Ford Escort that I loved and took me through college, marriage, and my first job. We bought the TL when I got pregnant as a safe family car; I hated to give up my Escort, but the inlaws were insistent. Luckily, when this happened my 14 month old was not in the car–thank goodness I had dropped her off minutes before at day care. I just wanted to see if the Car Talk community had heard of this happening before–should I make a complaint to the Acura warranty center? Am I fighting a losing battle–or as the dealer told me just had a “one in a million” bad luck that day?

Thank you for your input!

You should phone Acura/Honda at the corporate level. If you are civil, but convincing, you just may get some “good will” assistance from them. Contact information is in your Owner’s Manual.

As to insurance, you should never have a very high deductible on things like glass damage. (Usually referred to nowadays as “non-collision” coverage, this covers things like vandalism, glass breakage, and other situations that can result from things other than a collision.)

While I intentionally have chosen a very high deductible on collision (no accidents for over 40 years, so I will assume some of the risk in the event of a collision), I also have a $100 deductible on non-collision coverage. This way, I have little out-of-pocket expense for the types of things that happen more frequently to a car than an actual collision.

I know Ford Edge had the same issue when they first came out. My friends parents did the same thing while they were on vaca in canada… They got it fixed under warranty though…

While there’s the possibility of a rock causing this my opinion is that it’s a very slim possibility and the problem would more likely be related to a manufacturing defect in the glass (which is tempered), fit of the glass in the roof maybe being too tight in one or more spots, or a bump in the road, which causes body flex, contributing to it.

In a nutshell I’d look at this as more of a manufacturing defect as opposed to an outside influence such as a rock. Proving that would be near impossible though.

I agree with VDCdriver; contact Acura and see if they will provide a little Good Will warranty.

Contact your insurance company. Explain what happened and Acura explanation.

Your comp. insurance covers this.

On the CRV forum, many have complained of similar happening. Either shattering or bulging/cracking sunroofs. So there might be something going on.

I have a 2006 TL and I had identical occurrence. I was driving to work during a cold early winter day and I heard a pop and a rushing air sound. I slid back the sunroof shade and there was a gaping hole in the glass. I called the Acura dealer and they said they had no explanation. I concluded that it MUST have been a rock thrown up by another vehicle but I can’t conform that. Fortunately NY insurance covers all glass damage without deductible so I had a replacement installed a couple of days later. I wonder if this is a design defect. Is the glass under tension when it’s installed and air temperature differences between inside and outside causes stress?

I too suggest following VDC’s suggestions. I’d add to keep all of your copies of the shop orders.

This sounds like a defective panel, as already suggested. Also, I’d suggest checking for any recalls. There just might be one.

“Tempered” glass is glass that’s been treated to leave all of its molecular bonds under stress, such that if breakage occurs it propagates throughout the entire structure and creates little pieces, which are much safer than big shards. Any imperfection can cause sudden failure.