Steering You Right with Sharon Peters: Sunroof Danger

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Q: Exploding sunroofs? Is it a joke or has it actually happened?

A: It’s not a joke. It has happened hundreds of times, we now know – sometimes when a car is cruising down a road, sometimes while it’s sitting in a parking lot.

Consumer Reports (CR) put the spotlight on this issue at the end of 2017, with a comprehensive report that said that although carmakers and government regulators have been aware of these spontaneous blast-aparts, most of the rest of us had no idea such a thing was even possible.

Experts disagree about why this is happening, but they all believe the larger the sunroof, the greater the risk.

Nearly 900 car owners have reported exploding sunroofs to U.S. officials, and CR believes that’s but a fraction of the number of sunroofs that have actually self destructed. The carmakers against which the largest number of complaints have been filed with the feds, according to CR, are Hyundai, Ford, Nissan and Kia, but such complaints have been filed against 35.

Q: The 2015 Kia Sportage I just bought has an awful rattle at low speeds, which seems to be coming from the back seat area. I’ve tried wrapping the seatbelts where they’re attached to the car, and several other things. Nothing works. If someone’s sitting in the back seat, no noise. Any suggestions?

A: Weirdly, my friend Karen just had this experience with the 2015 Sportage she recently bought. She returned it to the CarMax where she bought it. The service guy knew exactly what she was complaining about, called it a design flaw and fixed it in minutes.

He pulled each rear seat forward to expose the small u-shaped metal brace extending out from the side of the interior, near the window. He wrapped the brace with black tape. No noise since.

Not every rattle emanates from the same cause, of course. But this one is common enough that when I did a little roaming around online, I actually found a YouTube video explaining how to address this problem on the same make and year Kia. The man who made the video used the same fix the CarMax man used.

So try this before assuming it’s something with the exhaust system or something else complicated.

What’s your question? Sharon Peters would like to hear about what’s on your mind when it comes to caring for, driving and repairing your vehicle. Email

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