They seem cool, and your car salesman will likely try to sell you a package that includes one, but do you really need a sunroof on your car? Take a deeper look at the purpose of sunroofs and whether they live up to all the hype surrounding them.
What Is the Use of a Sunroof in a Car?
A sunroof is a window in the roof of a vehicle that allows additional light and fresh air to enter the cabin. They come in many sizes and styles, and nearly all new versions are motor-driven, though some older sunroofs are manually operated. Many people like them because they give the car more of a party atmosphere.
What Is the Difference between a Moonroof and a Sunroof?
While they are similar, there are a few differences between a moonroof and a sunroof.
The term “sunroof” came first, appearing on cars as early as the 1930s. This describes a panel in the roof that not only allows light to enter but can also be opened for ventilation. There are usually two panels involved. The first one is metal or made of the same material as the car’s interior. This panel retracts to reveal a window above, which can either be tilted open with hinges on the front or retracted completely to create an open window in the roof.
A moonroof is a subcategory of sunroof. This term, introduced in the 1970s, describes a tinted glass panel that essentially serves as an extra window in the roof of the car. Like a sunroof, it also features a sliding panel to shut out the light. The difference lies in how a moonroof operates. It either doesn’t open at all or is restricted to the tilt function, rather than retracting fully the way a sunroof can.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Sunroofs in Cars
When deciding whether to buy a car with a sunroof, you should first weigh the pros and cons.
Advantages of Sunroofs
- See more of what’s going on outside: Sunroofs make for good stargazing and sightseeing, especially if the sunroof is a large size.
- Better reception: In some vehicles, sliding back the metal sunroof panel improves Wi-Fi, cell phone, satellite radio, and GPS reception.
- Emergency escape hatch: If your car ends up in a lake or river, you may be able to open the sunroof and escape the vehicle this way.
- Ventilation with less wind and noise: You can go for a drive on a beautiful summer evening with the sunroof tilted open or fully retracted for increased ventilation without all the wind and chatter of opening the regular windows.
Disadvantages of Sunroofs
- Less cabin space: Tall drivers in small cars may be in trouble if they add a sunroof, which takes up another inch or two of headroom.
- Higher weight: Depending on the size, a sunroof can add an extra 30 to 40 pounds to the vehicle, which can affect fuel efficiency.
- Sunroofs can leak: The rubber seal can wear out and cause the sunroof to leak water into the interior.
- Potentially high repair costs: Some sunroofs are susceptible to breaking. This isn’t a big deal if the sunroof breaks while closed, but if it gets stuck open, you need to seek a repair quickly to restore vehicle security and keep the rain out.
If you decide to buy a car with a sunroof, enjoy the benefits of having this added feature! If your sunroof cracks or you decide you want it tinted darker, trust Glass Doctor® to perform the auto glass care you need. Please contact us today to learn more.
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