Common Power Sunroof Problems
The power sunroof is one of those automotive accessories that many car owners desire, but when they get one, often find they don’t use it much. Whether it’s used on a regular basis or not issues can develop that will require service. In this discussion about common power sunroof problems we will tackle three of the front running malfunctions. This will include problems with the electrical circuit that opens and closes the moon roof. Also review solutions for wind noise and water leaks that can cause annoying whistling sounds and interior mold to develop.
Power Sunroof Operation
The power sunroof is capable of two distinct separate functions. The glass can be tilted up at the rear and used as an interior vent as the vehicle travels down the roadway. The sunroof is also capable of sliding open or retracting into a pocket to give the passengers a convertible like experience. When this optional accessory is of the power variety, it will include some familiar components like a control switch, relay and an electrical motor to handle the physical work. These auto parts are often similar to the power window systems found on the same automobile.
Sunroof Electrical Problems
The first step in diagnosing electrical problems with the sunroof is to fully understand the symptoms. If the power function doesn’t work at all then diagnosis should begin with the circuit breakers and fuses that protect the system. If these are found in good condition the next step is to check for power and ground at both the switch and relays.
When you have a situation where the motor only works in one direction as in, it opens but does not close, you can bypass checking the fuses and circuit breakers and head directly for the switch to start testing. After confirming a good power and ground at the switch, it can be operated and the wires back probed to verify power coming out of the switch for the open and close signals. If everything tests okay with the switch it may be necessary to gain access to the connector at the power sunroof motor to verify voltage and ground are reaching its destination.
If the sunroof begins to move and then stops, the problem might not be electrical at all. The motor that services the sunroof has built-in overheat protection. If the roof track and slides become filled with debris or the glass is binding for some reason the circuit breaker might open to protect the motor. Cleaning and lubricating the track is sometimes necessary to correct this issue.
Although a sunroof is capable of adding resale value to an automobile and the experience of driving it, there are two problems that can occur that will make you wish there was no hole in the roof. When a sunroof develops a water leak or wind noise the asset quickly turns into a liability. Water leak issues need to be solved quickly, because even a small amount of unwanted water inside the vehicle can turn into big problems. Things like mold and the odor associated with it are not only hard to eliminate but can decrease the resale value of the automobile.
Wind noise and water leaks are often caused by the same malfunction. Gaps between the glass and the rubber seal can allow water in and allow interior cabin air to be pulled out from the vehicle, causing a whistling sound most often experienced at highway speeds. In some cases rubber seals can be rejuvenated by cleaning them with specialized silicone products that soak in and help restore the elasticity.
There are two other ways to improve the contact sealing where the glass meets the weather strip. The first way is to adjust the glass so it closes with more pressure applied to the weather-stripping. These types of adjustments are not available on all models. When no adjustments are provided and rejuvenating the seals has failed, it might be necessary to replace the sunroof weather-stripping with a new part. Replacement seals are available for factory sunroofs through a dealerships service and parts departments.
When you are looking up book values of an automobile the addition of a power sunroof accessory increases the total value. When this part falls into disrepair it can have the exact opposite effect on not only the value but also the resale ability. Cars with a leaky sunroof or ones that don’t operate properly can be difficult to sell because no one wants to drive around in a stinky automobile with the sunroof stuck half open.