Possible Reasons for an Exploded Sunroof in Your Lexusby Mechanics Direct November 19, 2019
For many decades, German vehicles have dominated the luxury imported vehicle market in the US. However, in the past decade, Japanese cars have also been making a big impact. At the forefront of this movement is Lexus, the luxury division of popular vehicle manufacturer, Toyota. With visually similar designs to German manufacturers such as Audi, they also offer forward-thinking, state-of-the-art Japanese innovations. It is not hard to see why more and more Americans are turning to Lexus over previously-loved German luxury vehicles.
Like its German competition, Lexus vehicles still face their own fair share of problems and faults. One of the most rare and surprising issues your Lexus could face is the sudden explosion of the sunroof. In this article, we will explain this problem and discuss what to do to keep your sunroof in good shape.
Can sunroofs really explode?
We wish we could say this was a joke, but yes, the glass of sunroofs can suddenly shatter without warning. Understandably, this is a terrifying experience for any driver. In fact, many drivers have called the police, thinking someone shot their sunroof. There are many videos on the internet documenting this problem, including the “after” shots of what sunroof explosions look like.
What is safety glass?
Sunroofs in modern cars are made of tempered glass, otherwise known as safety glass. However, while this glass is stronger and more resilient than standard glass, it has been revealed in recent years that tempered glass is prone to suddenly and inexplicably exploding. As of yet, it isn’t clear why. This has caused outrage among many affected Lexus drivers. There has been a call for improved safety testing on sunroofs along with research into what is causing this typically-strong glass to suddenly explode so violently.
How common is this Issue?
Exploding Lexus sunroofs are still quite uncommon. However, through the use of social media, affected individuals are sharing their pictures and stories. They have access to other Lexus owners with similar situations, meaning that the scale of the issue is starting to become more clear.
In regards to the prevalence within the Lexus community, Toyota (the parent manufacturer of Lexus) is reporting only 20 incidents. This ranks Lexus as 6th in the top 10 manufacturers most likely to experience this issue with their sunroofs.
What causes tempered glass sunroofs to suddenly shatter?
While there isn’t yet a concrete reason for why these explosions are happening, experts have postulated that tempered glass is able to accumulate a sort of memory of impacts and damage that it has experienced. By damage, we are referring to anything minor, such as small impacts that can happen during installation, such as nicked or chipped edges. Given time and the vibrations caused by driving, cracks can develop from these manufacturer defects. These grow into larger breaks, which radiate from the original site.
When the affected glass is bound in its frame in a Lexus sunroof, installation stress to the glass will occur. This stress to the glass is compounded as it naturally expands and contracts due to temperature changes as well as wind impact when driving. Other potential impacts from roadside debris can be enough to trigger the tempered-glass sunroof to release stored energy at its weakest point. This is what results in the sudden explosion of the sunroof.
Manufacturing quality can also be brought under scrutiny, as the pressure is on manufacturers to produce vehicles quickly to satisfy consumer demand. This can cause some car makers to take shortcuts, such as forced cooling times of glass panels, along with rushed installations. Contamination defects are also a common product of these speedy manufacturing times. All these issues can contribute to the threat of exploding glass in your sunroof.
What can a Lexus owner do to avoid an exploding sunroof?
As the problem seems random and hard to predict, the most proactive thing a Lexus owner can do is routine maintenance and specifically ask for sunroof inspections. Your trusted Lexus technician can check the glass for any type of damage and advise you if there is any wear and tear of the safety glass. Staying proactive in this manner will help avoid any problems with the tempered glass and will also go a long way to keeping your waterproof seals tight.
If you live in or around North Chelmsford, Chelmsford, Drycut, Tyngsborough, Westford, or Lowell, MA area and are looking for a dedicated team of mechanics for your Lexus, come into Mechanics Direct. We want to earn your business through our good works to become your trusted Lexus repair shop.