Why is my car sunroof leaking?

This blog post will briefly discuss, ‘Why is my car sunroof leaking?’, and cover topics like types of sunroof problems, troubleshooting sunroof problems, and the cost of repairing a sunroof.

Why is my car sunroof leaking?

A leaking sunroof is either caused due to the clogging of sunroof drainage channels or deteriorating rubber seals due to wear and tear. It might turn into a serious issue if water enters critical spots.

Types of sunroof problems

The following points describe the different types of sunroof problems:

Leaking sunroof

One of the most common problems in sunroofs is leakage. These are either caused due to clogging of sunroof drainage channels or deteriorating rubber seals due to wear and tear. Might turn into a serious issue if water enters critical spots.

Scratch/cracks in the sunroof

However heavy-duty the sunroofs are, no glass is unbreakable. When sunroofs are broken, they lose their tint which makes the vehicle vulnerable to the changing temperatures as the season changes.

If the scratch/crack is too prominent, it might hamper the aerodynamics of the vehicle thus affecting its performance as well.

Electrical issues

When a sunroof becomes inoperable, the main reason behind it is a dead sunroof motor, a faulty sunroof control switch, or a broken fuse. A quick fix would be to diagnose the fuse first, however in this case it is best to consult an expert.

Mechanical issues

Even if the sunroof has an operating motor, it is highly probable that the sunroof doesn’t close completely. This is mainly due to the accumulation of dirt, dust, and gunk on the gears operating the sunroof.

This can be fixed by taking out the sunroof glass panel and cleaning the gears or for a permanent fix an expert must be consulted.

Exploding sunroof/shattering

Although rare, it is a very dangerous situation to be in. The sole cause for this mishap to occur is down to poor engineering or defective glass construction.

Rattling noise while driving

This issue might get annoying if allowed to persist for long. The main reason behind this can be a lack of lubrication on the edge of the sunroof or a faulty alignment of the sunroof glass.


Car models with a sunroof increase the cost of the car by a few thousand themselves. It is advisable to think twice before considering such an investment as with a higher price comes higher tax and maintenance fees.

Troubleshooting sunroof problems

The following methods can be used to address the more prominent sunroof problems:

Troubleshooting a leaking sunroof

Troubleshooting a leaking sunroof can be done in the following ways:

Shop-vac procedure

We need to procure some thin plastic tubing about one foot long, which has flexibility and is small enough to fit in the sunroof drainage channels. 

We need to procure fittings to help the shop-vac get accustomed to the small tube. Next, we need a clamp to firmly grip the tube to the fitting. It should be kept in mind that the shop-vac should be used to clean the drainage channels and rid the sunroof tray of any dirt or gunk.

Fish-tape procedure

We need to procure a universal speedometer cable from any automotive parts store first. We can make use of the coiled cable and bend it into the sunroof drainage channels to eliminate all the dirt and gunk.

 However, it is important to note that the drainage channels need to be poked and twisted a few times to get all the dirt out.

If the rubber seals on the sunroof seem to be the problem, the seal needs a patch-up with a room temperature vulcanizing(RTV)

Troubleshooting damaged tracks and cables

Troubleshooting damaged tracks and cables can be done by lubricating the sunroof sliders and cables to help them slide without any hindrance.

In case lubrication and cleaning do not seem to solve the problem, it is advisable to consult an expert or an automotive repair shop.

Cost of repairing a sunroof

The total cost of repairing a sunroof depends on the quality and pricing of the original parts used, the amount of labor involved and the degree of repairs to be performed.

The price ranges for various parts to be repaired are as follows:

  • Replacement of motors: $205 to $485
  • Replacement of a damaged track/cable: $510 to $795
  • Replacement of sunroof glass: $305 to $410
  • Cleaning of drainage channels: $90 to $160

The cost of repairing a sunroof also depends on its type. The following are the price ranges for the various types of sunroofs:

  • Repairing a pop-up sunroof is the most affordable. The sunroof panels along with the windows and glass are all replaced. The cost of replacement ranges from $240 to $780.
  • Top mount sunroofs are more expensive to repair and the pricing can range from $715 to $1200.
  • Spoiler sunroofs are more or less the same when it comes to repairing, however, it depends on whether the panels need a replacement as well.

Research provides examples of sunroof problems in certain models like the Jeep Grand Cherokee.



This blog post briefly discussed, ‘Why is my car sunroof leaking?’.

We understood the different types of sunroof problems and also the various troubleshooting techniques involved to eliminate common sunroof problems. Furthermore, we gained an estimated price range for repairing most of these problems and also learned that the price range may vary according to the type of sunroof. Please feel free to comment on the content or ask any questions in the comments section below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Why is my car sunroof leaking?

What causes a sunroof to stop working?

The sole reason behind sunroof jamming is a lack or not enough maintenance. The tracks are either clogged with dirt or hard grease. At this point, if the sunroof is forced open or closed, the problem takes a turn for the worse and this might lead to cable breakage.

How much does it cost to fix a sunroof motor?

The price range for repairing a sunroof motor can be anything between 680$ to 740$. The price however depends on the quality of the component, the amount of labor used, and the quality of service of the repair center.

Does sunroof affect mileage?

Yes, sunroofs do affect the mileage of a vehicle as they bring with them the weight constraint. There is also the factor of reduced vehicle stability to be considered as a heavy component like that is being placed so high up.