If your sunroof is leaky and you want to repair it, here’s help. Whether you have a Pontiac Sunfire or a 1960 Ford Thunderbird, it’s always a hassle to deal with a leaky sunroof like it’s not there at all. However, before you go to the nearest mechanic, there are ways to go about fixing these roofs. You can go ahead and have some DIY sunroof repair before paying someone to repair it. The damages to your car’s sunroof can range from an inability to close or close all the way, some sort of malfunction when you attempt to close it, or even scrapping and popping sounds that sound bizarre.
If you want to get your sunroof fixed before winter comes but like Jon Snow, you know nothing about it, then keep on reading. There’s a way to go about this all by yourself. Even though you might believe that sunroofs should be as dependable as power windows, that’s usually not the case and you’ll have to undergo the act of sunroof repair to keep them working. It makes it more difficult to work when you turn the sliding panel on its side, actually. Sunroof malfunctions happen because of how complicated the mechanics to using them are. It doesn’t just slide back and forth; you should also tilt the panel up and down in order to accommodate venting and sliding motions at the same time.
As Any Engineer Knows
As any engineer knows, the more moving parts a mechanism has, the more likely it will malfunction. Aside from switches and electric motors you’d see in a sliding window, sunroofs also require extra parts that typically break after much use. Scraping and popping noises are actually par for the course in sunroof malfunction, such that you might need to spend quite a bit on sunroof repair in order to ensure it’s fixed. The smarter choice is to have sunroof maintenance so that everything is well-oiled and ensured to be working before they altogether fail in a spectacular fashion. If you hear sounds on the sunroof, it’s usually as bad as hearing sounds from your engine.
Sounds indicate that drive gears are slipping, surfaces are binding, or something mechanical is malfunctioning altogether. The terrible thing about sunroof malfunctions is that they tend to break at the most inopportune of times, like when it’s raining and you need that sunroof down. It’s almost such a huge issue of inconvenience that it might be better to not have a sunroof than to spend thousands of dollars on sunroof repair. Whether it’s gushing water or dripping, a sunroof lean can create damage or a mess in your car’s interior. Even though you might think that the rubber seal needs repair because it’s damaged, usually there’s a DIY solution to your dilemma.
Approaches to Sunroof Repair
The two approaches to dealing with a faulty sunroof include DIY fixes and biting the bullet to have it fixed by a professional. You’ll need to fix what you can or fix the whole thing, essentially. A slight tune-up versus a sunroof overhaul: If the sunroof has slight issues, DIY can still work. If it’s not the seal that needs sunroof repair, then it’s probably tiny holes and clogs in the sunroof seal edges. The headliner and roof sheet metal should have all their greasy parts checked out as well. Before you go about pulling your car apart (or have a mechanic do so for you), find a place you can do work.
Your car is essentially vulnerable while the sunroof is up, so check weather forecasts for weather events that are unfavorable to your car and keep it indoors while it has that hole in its roof. Having that open in the middle of a downpour will only aggravate an already difficult situation. The first thing you should go about doing is removing the glass panel. If you could, get your sunroof to a venting position by tilting it, which should in turn give you access the screws that are holding the panel together. Take them and the glass off in order to gain access to the moving parts of the mechanism for the sake of inspection
The DIY Solution and Recommendation
The specific problematic things you should look for are stripped gears and cracks as well as a buildup of debris and dust. Anything that looks like a problem on your sunroof working, you should spot while the glass panel is taken off. Turn on the car as well and cycle your roof control to see if everything is on the up and up. Put it open, close, and vent. See if anything looks or sounds unusual so that you can identify what’s the problem in a jiffy. Certain cases where there are sounds coming from your sunroof typically means you might need to replace gear on your motor at the sunroof’s front.
However, before anything can be done, you need to take the glass panel apart first. As a rule of thumb, the first thing you should do with something with moving parts that’s malfunctioning is clean it all up. Usually that fixes your problem and that’s your foremost DIY solution for repairing your sunroof. Afterwards, so that it runs smoothly from then on, slather it with marine grease or lithium to ensure problem-free operation. If you find nothing in particular that needs fixing or can be fixed in a DIY manner, don’t bother putting the sunroof back (since it’s going to be taken apart anyway) and call a professional for assistance.
Installing a New Sunroof and Conclusion
If you feel like a DIY solution is viable, then go for it with due caution but go with professional help if you’re a novice when it comes to car repair to err on the side of caution. Sometimes beginners make things worse for the repairman or themselves by ruining a perfectly good sunroof due to their amateurish ignorance. The worst-case scenario for you when it comes to repairing a sunroof is to install a new one because the old one is broken beyond repair. Sunroof installation is a big job. You should get a mechanic to do it because it entails taking off the interior rim around the door pillars and dome lights or overhead handles.
You’ll also need to pull your headliner down, disconnect the wiring harness of your sunroof, then unbolt the whole mechanism so that a new sunroof can be installed by reverse order, from bolting to putting on the interior rim. It’s contained in a cassette, which is one big rectangular piece that needs to be swapped with a new cassette carrying a new sunroof that actually works. Before putting back the interior, you should do a function test to see if everything is working properly. You might even need to jiggle the newly installed cassette to get it aligned perfectly with whatever convertible you might have.
Originally posted 2015-06-25 00:41:09.