A Guide to Sunroof Repair and Replacement

A sunroof is one of the most sought after features in a vehicle. Like any car part, it isn’t impervious to damage or malfunction. At some point, you’ll have to take it to the shop, and it pays to be aware of your options.

In this quick guide, you’ll learn the basics of sunroof repair and replacement so you’ll know what to expect.

Most Common Sunroof Problems and Why They Happen

The top 4 sunroof problems which require visits to the repair shop include:

  • Leaking
  • Broken glass (sunroof or moonroof)
  • Damaged cable or track
  • Motor failure

1. Leaking sunroof

A sunroof is designed to prevent water from getting into the car. The moment it starts leaking, there’s obviously a problem.

Why it happens: Leaves, dust, and other debris may be blocking the drainage system. Or it could be that the rubber seal of the sunroof panel is damaged.


2. Broken glass

A sunroof can be just as vulnerable as any car window.

Why it happens: While made of tough tempered glass, it can still break and shatter. Impact and exposure to extreme temperatures are two probable causes.


3. Damaged cable or track

A fully-functional sunroof should slide back and forth smoothly. If it stops midway or makes strange noises, it’s likely because the cable or track is already damaged.

Why it happens: The cable or track wears down over time.


4. Motor failure

When your sunroof doesn’t retract, the motor responsible for its automated function may already be failing.

Why it happens: Motor failure is rare, but it can happen with normal usage.


How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Sunroof?

Prices will depend on factors such as (1) parts used, (2) amount of labor involved (3) type of repairs needed, (4) and the repair center. But in general, the cost of repairing and replacing sunroof parts are as follows:

  • Drainage cleaning: $80 to $150
  • Sunroof glass replacement: $300 to $400
  • Moonroof glass replacement: $1,000 to $2,000
  • Damaged cable/track replacement: $500 to $800
  • Motor replacement: $200 to $500


The Types of Sunroof and The Cost of Replacement

There will be times when you need to replace the entire structure of your sunroof. Replacement costs are influenced by the (1) type of sunroof, (2) the make and model of your vehicle, (3) the size of the sunroof, (4) parts and materials, (5) labor, and (6) the sunroof outfitter.

1. Pop-up sunroof

A pop-up is the least expensive sunroof. It features a manual tilting panel that provides a vent when opened, and a full opening when removed. Its panels are usually removable and can be stored away.

Replacement cost: $250 to $750


2. Top-mount sunroof

Also known as a rail mount top slider, this sunroof has a sliding glass panel that

stores inside the roof-mounted tracks. It allows for a large opening without sacrificing headspace. Top-mount sunroofs are also typically equipped with a wind deflector to prevent wind noise.

Replacement cost: $700 to $1,200


3. Spoiler sunroof

Aptly called tilt and slide, a spoiler combines the best features of a pop-up with a sliding sunroof. Its panels can be tilted to vent, or slid open for a large opening. But unlike a top-mount sunroof, it takes up some headspace.

Replacement cost: $700 to $1,200


4. Moonroof

In spite of its name, it is actually a type of inbuilt sunroof. However, it features transparent but tinted non-removable glass panels with a sliding action. To protect against heat, there’s usually a retractable sunshade which can be manually operated or automated.

Replacement cost: $1,000 to $2,000


And that wraps up our quick guide to sunroof repair and replacement.