How to fix a sunroof, totally DIY (Pt. 1)

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High-angle shot of a man being pulled out of his car through the sunroof.

Learning how to fix a sunroof involves no death-defying stunts. (Photo Credit: CC BY/bark/Flickr)

Let’s just say that you’re having a little bit of trouble with a leaky sunroof. It pops, it scrapes and it cries. You love water, but not all over your head, lap and the leather upholstery of your sweet baby on wheels. Work must be done immediately, as winter is on its way. Here’s some info on how to fix a sunroof, as well as some background on the difference between a sunroof and a moonroof – because some people find that confusing.

What kind of roof does your car have?

Not everyone knows the difference between a sunroof and a moonroof. Some people think the former is clear and the latter is tinted, or vice versa. Some believe that a sunroof is the kind of roof window that opens, while a moonroof is always closed.

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The truth is that none of this is completely correct, according to one expert, Marc Levinson of Donmar Sunroofs in Jacksonville, Fla. (where there’s plenty of sun to be had). Levinson told eHow that a moonroof is a type of sunroof. “Sunroof” is often used generically to refer to any panel in the roof of a vehicle that lets in light and/or air. Most sunroof panels can be adjusted, some raised slightly and others retracted completely, while others are completely fixed.

“Moonroof,” a term that came into use during the 1970s, referred at that time to a glass-panel, inbuilt electric retractor. Now it describes all glass-panel sunroofs, regardless of whether there is any electronic or manual functionality.

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To be clear, an inbuilt sunroof includes a sliding panel between the vehicle roof and headliner. This panel can typically be open or closed via electronic control, but some may operate via a manual crank. There are pop-ups, spoilers, folding, top-sliders, inbuilt, removable panel (Targa) and large roof sunroofs. Each of these may be OEM or aftermarket. Over 70 percent of the latter are installed for new car dealers after the vehicle is initially placed on sale.

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Fixing a sunroof water leak on a Toyota Matrix or Pontiac Vibe

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