According to a paper from the Department of Energy Engineering (Shaoyang University), sunroofs have been around since 1937 when the Nash automobile company added the accessory to their vehicles. Since those early days, sunroof technology has advanced dramatically.
Unfortunately, sunroofs still fail. When these devices stop working, you can blame one or more of the following:
The Track Assembly Is Broken
The sunroof runs on a track. The sunroof doesn’t respond when one side of the track assembly breaks. You can test this theory by using the switch functions. The assembly will move slightly but won’t open or close all the way.
If the assembly doesn’t move at all, something else has gone wrong. Even when the track breaks on both sides, you should see some movement.
The Sunroof Can Only Open Partially
What makes you think the sunroof has stopped working? Did you reach that conclusion because the sunroof could only open partially? Do you think the sunroof has failed to open completely?
Models like the 2012 VW Beetle have sunroofs that don’t open completely. They stop halfway. This is an aesthetic decision. It enhances the car’s appearance. Check the manual to confirm that your sunroof can only open partially.
You Have A Loose Connection
Cars have complex electrical systems that rely on extensive wiring. Unfortunately, those wires can either come loose or sustain damage because of mishandling, vibrations, overheating, etc. You need a skilled technician to scrutinize the vehicle’s electrical system to identify the defective wires.
Loose connections and damaged wires will disrupt the electrical components they serve. They can also cause arcing, which does even more damage.
You Don’t Know How To Use The Sunroof
Have you followed the instructions? Did you even read the instructions? This Reddit Post mentions a vehicle that requires the driver to keep their finger on the switch as the sunroof closes or opens. The sunroof will stop moving whenever they take their finger off the switch.
How does your sunroof work? Are you using the correct procedure?
Watch this video to know how to use the VW sunroof.
The Switch Assembly Has A Defect
If the sunroof doesn’t respond to the commands from the switch in the ceiling, inspect the switch assembly for damage, defects, glitches, and debris.
The Sunroof Motor Is Defective
The motor is susceptible to damage. Test it for continuity. You should also inspect the device. Dirt and gunk in the gears can interfere with the motor’s functions. Whether it requires repairs or replacement depends on the severity of the motor’s problems.
You Reset The Sunroof
Common sense will tell you to replace a dead battery. But replacing the battery can reset the electronic components. This can disrupt the sunroof’s operations. You should check the fuse before you panic. The sunroof won’t work once the fuse blows. Find the fuse box and check all the fuses.
Does Resetting Fix the Issue? How To Reset It?
You can reset a VW sunroof’s auto function using the following steps:
- Open the sunroof completely.
- Hold the switch in the open position for five or more seconds.
- Close the sunroof.
- Hold the switch in the closed position.
- The sunroof will slide open. Keep holding the switch. The sunroof will stop in the open position.
Changing the battery will reset the electrics, forcing you to perform a manual reset to fix a sunroof that won’t work. However, there’s no guarantee that this procedure will fix the problem.
In fact, you can’t guarantee that this procedure will work for your vehicle. Use the reset procedure stated in the manual.
If Resetting Doesn’t Fix The Issue, How Do You Fix It?
1). Start by performing the task this MyTiguan forum has suggested. Get a scan tool, connect it to the car, and identify the error responsible for the malfunctioning sunroof. Get a compatible scan tool for your vehicle.
2). Remove the glass to access the lift arms and inspect the guides. If they are stuck in one position, use a screwdriver to move them.
3). If the sunroof won’t close completely, find the sunroof’s cable and determine whether it has blocked the guides and lift arm. Realigning the line to prevent it from interfering with the guides and lift arm will solve this problem.
4). Test the sunroof switch with a multimeter. The absence of resistance is a good thing. High resistance should concern you because it points to a short. Look for loose or damaged wires and replace them. You can also replace a defective switch.
5). Some people will check the track for damage. It never occurs to them to look for dirt and debris. If the sunroof is stuck, cleaning the track will resolve the issue. You should clean the track regularly because dirt and debris tend to accumulate. That dirt will harm the cables if it goes unchecked.
6). The fuse protects the sunroof from surges. Unfortunately, the sunroof won’t work if the fuse blows. Check the fuse box and replace every fuse that blows.
7). Check the switch assembly in the ceiling and clean it.
8). Test the motor. Replace the component if it fails the test.
VW Sunroof Repair Costs And Options
It depends on what you need to fix. Sunroofs are susceptible to various defects. They can leak, corrode, and even shatter. You will spend:
- $400 to replace cracked or broken glass.
- $800 to replace a broken track.
- $150 to clean the drainage area.
- $500 to install a new motor.
The exact cost will depend on the size of the sunroof, the quality and quantity of the materials you need, and the car’s make and model. Axle Advisor expects a replacement sunroof to cost you $1,200. Naturally, that figure is much higher for high-end models.
Keep the labor fees in mind. Complex tasks that involve components in difficult locations take longer to accomplish. Therefore, your mechanic will ask for more money because they charge by the hour.
VW Sunroof Maintenance Tips To Prevent Future Issues
1). Clean the VW sunroof regularly. Otherwise, dirt and debris will cause costly damage when they accumulate. Take every opportunity to wipe down the visible areas. Use a vacuum where necessary. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t use dangerous cleaners that have ammonia and vinegar.
2). The sunroof slides open and closed. This tells you that it has moving parts. Lubricate those moving parts. Otherwise, the sunroof will either stick or become very slow.
3) check the moving parts for debris. Remove any obstructions you find.
4). Sunroofs are sealed to prevent moisture from invading their sensitive components. They also have drains. Inspect these drains routinely. Don’t allow them to clog. Remove debris and trapped water. Many drivers use compressed air to remove blockages.
5). Test for leaks by closing the sunroof and pouring water on it. Enter the cabin and search for dripping water. You don’t want to find these leaks during a heavy downpour. The sooner you identify and fix them, the better.
6). Sunroofs have rubber gaskets along the perimeter. Exposure to the elements will break or crack the gaskets. Replace them whenever you notice the damage. These gaskets are inexpensive.
7). Make sure the panel is level with the car’s roof. Otherwise, water will leak persistently.
You should perform a thorough inspection of the sunroof each year to confirm that all the parts are healthy and functional. Usually, a mechanic performs this inspection because they know what to look for. They can also take the sunroof apart.
Is It Safe To Drive With A Malfunctioning VW Sunroof?
According to glass.com, some states have regulations prohibiting consumers from driving a vehicle with cracked or broken glass. Therefore, you may land a hefty penalty if your sunroof is cracked or broken.
Where your safety is concerned, the sunroof is only dangerous if the weather is bad. For instance, you are more likely to have an accident if the sunroof is stuck in the open position during a heavy thunderstorm.