How to open a sunroof from the outside

This blog post will answer the question, ‘How to open a sunroof from the outside?’ and, cover topics like reasons behind sunroof not opening/closing, ways to open/close the sunroof manually, and diagnosis of the sunroof, not opening/closing.

How to open a sunroof from the outside

A sunroof can be opened/closed using the following methods:

  • By disassembling the sunroof control panel and turning an Allen wrench or a hex key on screws supporting the electric motor
  • By taking the sunroof control switch out and using a double-ended wire to touch different slots in the switch to either open or close the sunroof.

A sunroof is a luxury feature that is installed in comparatively high-end vehicles and is an important feature to have in areas experiencing cold climates. 

This is mainly because sunroofs allow fresh air into the cabin and also illuminate the entire car interior by letting in all the warm natural light. However, a single fault in one of the sunroof components can put this potentially wonderful experience in danger.

Therefore, it is important to be aware of a backup plan in case the sunroof is inoperable and does not open/close with electrical power.

Fortunately, some fixes can be applied as an emergency fix. However, these fixes depend on the car brand and model.

Reasons behind sunroof not opening/closing

These are the following reasons contributing to a sunroof not opening/closing with electrical assistance.

  • Clogged sunroof tracks
  • Broken sunroof cables
  • Inoperable electric motor
  • Faulty sunroof control switch

Ways to open/close a sunroof manually

These are the following fixes that can be applied to manually open/close a sunroof. However, it is to be kept in mind that these fixes are dependent on the car brand and model.

Fix involving the electric motor

  • Ensure the car is parked safely and the power is turned off just enough for the lights to be able to turn on. 
  • Locate the sunroof control panel, it is usually located in the middle of the two sunshades.
  • We need to disassemble the control panel, so look for the screws that are holding it up
  • Using a ratchet or an Allen wrench turn the screws and pull them out
  • Next, you should be able to see the sunroof electric motor and the screws supporting it
  • Use the Allen wrench to turn these screws either clockwise or anticlockwise depending on whether you need to open or close the sunroof
  • Ensure the Allen wrench head is of the same dimensions as that of the electric motor screw

Fix involving the sunroof control switch

  • Ensure that the car is parked and the power is turned on just enough for the lights to turn on
  • Locate the sunroof control panel, it is usually located in the middle of the two sunshades.
  • We need to disassemble the control panel, so look for the screws that are holding it up
  • We need to locate the sunroof control switch wire which should look like a cluster of different cables attached to it. 
  • Pull out the switch wire and reattach the control panel halfway to prevent the other electrical components from dragging out
  • Grab a double-ended wire, it can be a piece of wire from an old mobile charger or any other device.
  • Bring one end of the wire in contact with an empty slot on the lower half of the control switch and the other end on another slot on the upper end of the switch.
  • You will observe that the sunroof is opening. To close it, touch the wires in adjacent slots to observe the reverse operation

All the above procedures are to be followed only as a temporary fix. Underlying problems like a faulty electric motor or a control switch need to be fixed by consulting a professional immediately.

Diagnosis of sunroof, not opening/closing

There are underlying problems behind a sunroof not opening/closing with electrical assistance, due to which it becomes necessary to resort to manual fixes. These are some diagnoses of common issues related to a sunroof.

Clogged sunroof tracks 

The reason behind this is inadequate or insufficient cleaning of sunroof tracks and cables. This usually occurs due to water along with dirt, dust, and gunk getting accumulated.

It is advisable to regularly clean the tracks and cables along with the sunroof edges for a smoother operation.

Faulty sunroof fuse

Firstly we need to ensure the vehicle is in a parked position and on a flat surface. Next, the fuse needs to be checked, if it is not working then it has to be replaced immediately as it is necessary for keeping the electric motor safe. It is one of the reasons why we come across an inoperable electric motor.

Faulty sunroof control switch

To check for the control switch, we need to dismantle the switch from the dashboard and disconnect the switch harness. Next, it is important to check for the metal contacts inside the switch.

The reason behind it is that these metal contacts get damaged or rusted with time as a result of all the dust and corrosion. We must therefore check both the metal contacts and the switch harness for signs of corrosion.

If there is no sign of corrosion on either of the two, then the control switch has an electronic fault and must be replaced with immediate effect.

Research shows the usage of an M4 Allen wrench to manually open the sunroof.

Conclusion

This blog post addressed the question,’ How to open a sunroof from the outside’

We came across the various reasons behind a sunroof not opening/closing with electrical assistance. Some useful quick fixes were discovered to manually open/close the sunroof. Furthermore, we understood the various ways to diagnose the reasons behind a sunroof not opening/closing with electrical assistance. Please feel free to comment on the content or ask any questions in the comments section below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How to open a sunroof from the outside?

Does a moonroof open all the way?

A moonroof is a certain type of sunroof that is made up of a tinted glass panel and lets in the fresh air and natural light. Moonroofs can only tilt open a small amount to allow fresh air into the cabin, but it does not usually open as a sunroof does.

Can I stick my head out the sunroof?

Although legal in our society, it is very dangerous to stick our head out the sunroof as it can risk the chances of a head injury or even death.

Is sunroof safe in car?

The presence of a sunroof does not affect the overall strength of the car. Sunroofs comprise a strong steel frame wrapped by thin metal panels around them. The steel frame helps keep passengers safe.

References

https://www.swedespeed.com/threads/write-up-manually-open-sunroof-without-power-to-the-car.588479/
https://www.volvocars.com/hk/support/manuals/s90/2016w46/instruments-and-controls/controls-for-windows-glass-and-mirrors/operating-the-sunroof

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