The Lowdown on Sunroofs and Moonroofs for Students in Auto Body Repair Courses

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For some drivers, a regular old car roof just won’t cut it. No, what they want is a good old sunroof. Or is it a moonroof?

The two terms have been intermixed for a while, so most people today probably could not tell you what the difference is—or indeed that there is a difference at all. Students of auto body repair, though, may be interested to dig a bit into what sets them apart.

For the curious, here’s a look at what sets moonroofs apart from sunroofs, and what both mean for an auto body.

Students in Auto Body Repair Courses: Sunroofs Are Body-Coloured Panels; Moonroofs Are Glass

As far as immediate differences between sunroofs and moonroofs go, there’s mainly just one: a sunroof is made of solid panelling, and can be popped up or removed. A moonroof is a sliding glass panel.

Modern cars almost never include a sunroof, instead opting for the allure of glass that a moonroof provides. This allows for natural light in the car during the day, and, subjectively, just feels a bit more slick. However, this approach is not without problems.

For one thing, the glass will allow more heat into the vehicle, making it more difficult to cool a car when the sun is beating down. For another, the motor required to move the moonroof around can burn out, leaving the part stuck in a bad position—like being stuck open when it starts to rain.

On the whole, these problems are relatively minor, and many drivers seem to appreciate the look. In fact, more and more cars are including moonroofs in their design. Professionals heading into auto body technician careers can expect to see them pretty often.

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Moonroofs are quite popular, so expect to see a good number of them in your career

Moonroofs May Present a Greater Safety Hazard Than Sunroofs

It’s worth mentioning that problems with moonroofs don’t arise that often. It’s also, however, worth mentioning that they may arise more often than with sunroofs—and that when they do, there can be some serious safety issues.

Extreme temperatures, pebbles kicked up by trucks and cars, and collisions have been known to shatter some moonroofs, leading to shattered glass falling into the vehicle and, potentially, injuring the occupants. There have even been reports of people being thrown through their moonroofs during a collision, though it is worth noting that this shouldn’t be possible when seat belts are being worn. With a solid sunroof, these are non-issues.

The repair of a shattered or otherwise broken moonroof doesn’t fall neatly into a particular niche of auto work—it can involve electronic work, auto glass work, and auto body work. For this reason, it may or may not happen that you contribute to that kind of job as an auto body technician. In the exceptionally rare event that there is a damaged (likely dented, bent, or scratched) sunroof, though, that kind of work would fall squarely into your domain of expertise. Cherish any opportunities you have to do that kind of repair—it’s unlikely to happen very often!

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