Sunroof Maintenance & Service

During the summer, a sunroof is a great way to enjoy the fresh air and make your car feel slightly more spacious. To help you get the most out of it, let’s go over some common sunroof maintenance issues and how to solve them.

How to Fix a Sunroof That Won’t Close

Debris or electrical problems are the most common reasons for your sunroof not closing.


Debris can get stuck in the sunroof rails, preventing your sunroof from moving . Give them a quick clean and see if this resolves the issue.

Electrical Problems

If debris isn’t the problem, the sunroof motor could be dead. One option is to manually close the sunroof by pushing the switch and gently pulling the roof shut with the palm-side of your hand. If this works, you can leave the sunroof closed so it doesn’t get stuck again. Alternatively, a professional can replace the motor, but this usually costs around $400.

The sunroof fuse can also break, stopping the sunroof from closing. Look in the fuse box for blown fuses. You can replace them yourself or have it done by a professional at your local NAPA AUTOPRO.

If you recently replaced your car’s battery or a sunroof fuse, you’ll need to reset your sunroof for it to work properly. Follow these steps:

  1. With the vehicle on, push the sunroof switch forward until it’s fully closed. Release the switch.
  2. Push the switch forward again until the sunroof glass moves slightly. Release the switch.
  3. Within three seconds, push and hold the switch forward until the sunroof slides open and closed. Keep pushing the switch until the sunroof is finished closing. If you let go too early, restart the process.

These directions may vary depending on your vehicle. Refer to your owner’s manual for guidance.

You can replace the fuse yourself or have it done by a professional at your local NAPA AUTOPRO

How to Lubricate Sunroof Rails

Cleaning and lubricating the sunroof will help prevent debris and rust from building up in the first place.

Apply automotive cleaner to a microfibre towel to clean the sides and tracks. Use glass cleaner on the sunroof glass.

A lightweight, heat-resistant grease (e.g., white lithium) can be used as a lubricant for sunroof rails and other moving parts. Follow the application instructions on the lubricant.

Using a grease that’s too heavy may make things too tight, causing the sunroof to get stuck. Do not use WD40 on your sunroof–it’s not an effective lubricant.

What to Do When a Sunroof Shatters?

The most common causes of a shattered sunroof are from an impact or a water leak. For a leak, open your sunroof and look for the drain holes in the front corners. If they look clogged, you may be able to use a shop vacuum to clear them.

Although uncommon, sunroofs can also shatter spontaneously. If this happens while you’re driving, pull over. First, call for emergency services if anyone is injured. If everyone is safe, wear gloves and clean up any broken glass. Lay blankets or other thick fabric over the seats before sitting down again. You may need to vacuum the smaller shards when you return home.

As a temporary measure, duct tape or plastic film can cover the sunroof opening.

Whatever the reason, you’ll need to have your sunroof repaired by a professional if it shatters.

Other Maintenance Tips

Like most parts of your car, the best way to avoid issues with your sunroof is to maintain it regularly. Whenever you detail your car, include the sunroof.

If you notice any popping or scraping sounds, immediately assess the sunroof. Catching these issues early can help you avoid a hefty repair fee.

For any questions about maintaining or repairing your sunroof, visit your local NAPA AUTOPRO service centre to speak with an expert.

Photo courtesy of shutterstock