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Sunroofs/Moonroofs are increasing in popularity with todays car buyers. Todays “roofs” have become a very complex system all to their own. Gone are the days when you lift a lever in the rear and pop up the glass. Todays sunroofs/moonroofs feature state of the art engineering and complex mechanisms and water management systems. There are several aspects to caring for and maintaining your vehicle’s roof system. As easy as you might like it to be, sunroof/moonroof care is a bit more than just washing off the dirt when the car gets washed.
It is very important to use the right products when cleaning your sunroof and its components. Some materials can be very harmful to the rubber gasket that helps keep water out of your car, while other products may be toxic when the car heats in the summer. As a rule, never use ammonia-based products to clean the sunroof glass or other components. For one, ammonia will cause streaking on glass which is annoying. However, as most sunroofs/moonroofs have a sun shade that create a small space between the glass and the shade, ammonia can become super heated in summer time. When this occurs, it vaporizes back in the air becoming quite toxic to your health. Will you die? Probably not but it’s always better to be safe than sorry and it’s always nice to not have a splitting headache on your afternoon commute. In addition to ammonia, never use mineral oil, petroleum jelly or vinyl dressing on the sunroof seal; these products can severely damage and interfere with the sunroof seal. Vinegar is great to clean with but it tends to streak when you use it to clean glass but that’s just preference really. Our recommendation and many Automobile Manufacturers also recommend the use of Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA), on a rag and just wipe around the seal. Warm tap water is also a safe alternative.
How to Clean
Now that you know what products to use and not to use, we should cover how to use them. Cleaning the sunroof/moonroof glass is straightforward. For the most part, just use your favorite ammonia free glass cleaner and wipe it off like any other window. For the rubber gasket and seal, just wipe it off with any of the products outlined above then dry using a lint free cloth. If at any point you notice any grease or oil in your sunroof, leave it. Most likely it is there as a lubricant for the glass to slide and to keep the rubber components from drying out. You can even purchase more lubricant to help maintain the rubber’s effectiveness. You may have to open the sunroof or vent it and clean the rear of the seal and slide the glass back to get to the front of the seal. To clean the sides of the seal in an inward sliding glass panel, we recommend using a credit card and folding the rag over the card and sliding the card down into the seal. When lubricating the seal and the roof is open, now is a good time to thoroughly inspect the seal for any rips, tears and cracking.
Water Drain Tubes
Some roof systems have drain tubes that are designed into the water management system of the roof. You will have to partially open the glass panel and get a step stool to look in the front corners of the sunroof/moonroof pan assembly to see if your model has these drain tubes. Although you may not see these in your car, they are very important in saving your vehicle from water damage. These tubes are generally located at the front and rear corners of the pan assembly of the sunroof/moonroof, travel down the interior of your vehicle and typically drain onto the ground. Unfortunately, these tubes can become clogged with debris overtime. When this occurs, water cannot drain properly and can leak into the interior of your car. A leak can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your vehicle’s electrical system and even damage the roof’s operating components. Mold and mildew can also form in your vehicle if the leak is not taken care of, deadly black mold can kill you! It can be fairly easy to unclog these tubes but you should watch an instructional video just to be sure. However, the basics are that you can use compressed air, no more then 30 psi or you can blow the drain tube off. You can also use weed eater line, (not a metal line as some “professionals” recommend, as that can puncture the soft rubber drain tubes) to unclog the tubes. If the leak is caused by something else though or the clog is too severe, we recommend visiting a professional to either replace or fix the problem.
Debris and Jams
The main thing to remember when maintaining your sunroof is to keep debris, such as pine needles, leaves, rocks and dirt, out of the sunroof area. These often cause a lot of trouble with your roof system in terms of leaking and breaking. When the roof is open and you are on a step stool look down in the roof pan assembly. The simplest solution is to take a shop vac and clear out any debris. Hand pick out anything that may be wedged in. Overall, just make sure the track of the roof is clear. A simple thing as a leaf can clog a drain tube and cause a leak. A rock can jam a track assembly and break it, causing a couple of thousand dollars to repair. If anything is too jammed in the sunroof, then you should see your local LEAKPRO® professional to fix it immediately.
Wipe down the track assembly and the moving components with a dry rag to remove any old grease and dirt. You can use an old toothbrush or some cotton swabs as well. We recommend using a silicone paste or a spray lubricant and lubricating the tracks and the sliding components of your roof system.
Those are just the basics to care and maintain your sunroof, if you don’t think you can fix it yourself, call your LEAKPRO® professional.
We recommend servicing your roof system annually, so you can enjoy trouble free open-air driving for many years.
***Follow all safety precautions when performing roof inspection/maintenance. Wear safety glasses when using any compressed air and never stick your head through an open sunroof/moonroof to clean or inspect.
I had a great experience working with Mike and his team at LEAKPRO. They provided great quality work and excellent customer service, for a reasonable price. Mike and his team are very well-versed in this specialized area of car maintenance and they stand behind their work. Highly recommended!Calvin J, SurreyBC
After having my 2016 Buick Lucerne repaired unsuccessfully 6 times by my GM dealer I heard of LEAKPRO. I called LEAKPRO, John came out and had my car fixed in 1 hour. The front sunroof drain tubes from the factory were actually trapped at the dashboard. John installed two new drains and I have never had another leak!D. Barlow OttawaOntario
My LEAKPRO representative Jesse did a great job fixing an intermittent water leak that would wet the back seat of my new truck. Jesse quickly pinpointed the problem and fixed it. No leaks now! Great service!K. Peters VancouverBC
I had an ongoing issue with a leak in my 2017 F150 from under the left side dash. My Ford dealer could not pinpoint it after 4 times. The dealer finally called in LEAKPRO and the leak was resolved within a couple of hours. We have had a lot of rain, and no more leaks! LEAKPRO knows what they are doing!D. Wiley HamiltonOntario
I had a musty smell in my used car I had recently purchased. MY dealer called in LEAKPRO, and it was determined that the smell was due to a water leak. LEAKPRO fixed the leak, replaced all l the under pad and disinfected the flooring. My car smells great and no more leaks!A. Stayrer TorontoOntario
I had a big water leak in my brand new truck on the right side. I was so upset, my carpet was soaked! My Service Advisor said not to worry we use LEAKPRO. I received my vehicle back at the end of the day as promised, I felt the carpet it was dry! I lifted the carpet to check underneath and it was dry, all new under pad and fresh smelling. My service advisor informed me it was a skip in the sealer from the factory. I am so happy I had to write!B. Slater WindsorOntario
I had a wind noise on my brand new Charger that my dealer after two attempts could not figure out, it was driving me crazy. I went to another dealer and they said no worries we bring in an outside specialty company. I arrived at the dealership for my appointment as I wanted to drive my car with the technician so he could hear what I was experiencing. Steve from LEAKPRO said he knew what the issue was and had it fixed within an hour!!! THANK YOU LEAKPRO!J. Stanwich KitchenerOntario