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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Pardon if I missed a former post on this after searching. Yesterday returning from the coast, driving about 70-75 MPH on interstate, with sunroof thankfully closed (though sunshade open), and a/c running about 74, my 2008 RAV4 Ltd sunroof shattered, possibly exploded. I heard a VERY LOUD BANG, hubby heard a pop, and then we were shattered with sunroof glass shards (thankfully only thing was a bloody finger). I thankfully could quickly pull off (was in right lane). The sunroof was completely shattered. We were not near trucks (though one farther ahead) or cars (though now no recollection of what was behind me, they might have been avoiding flying glass :) ). Our only focus was to get home. For the record, AAA does not come out and patch your sunroof, they only tow you. We made it to the next exit, that had a convenience store/truck stop. Thank goodness for my husband: he sealed it with plastic and cardboard and duct tape (not touching paint) and we took state roads vs interstate home at 55 mph (a 5.5 hr trip normally 3.15 hrs). The RAV is safely in our garage. My insurance company (very good) is sending me to a sunglass repair place. I've inspected the car yet if any other damage is found, they will then send me to a body shop. All that matters is that we are ok, yet it was a shock.

I am not brave enough to google this; don't need to see other horror stories :-(.

Curious if others have encountered this. Thank you so much for feedback.
 

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Wow, that's scary!
Almost the same as when I lost one of my front tires! Luckily I was driving only 25 mph.
I have never hear of shattered sunroof before.
 

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Sail: glad it all turned out ok. Never heard of this but I would say it's very likely something hit the glass. Since it shattered, probably no evidence of it.
 

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I know the Hyundai Veloster had a recall for this and have heard of it being an occasional problem on other cars. Usually a problem with the big panoramic sunroofs. First I've heard of it on the RAV. Agree it was likely a strike by something. Possibly not even in that moment but as some time in the past and some rattling on the highway shattered it completely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sunroof shattering

Thanks so much for the replies. Will post outcome after the fix (hopefully by end of this week/early next, waiting OEM parts to arrive, then tow the RAV there). FYI hopefully this won't happen to anyone else; based on good advice from my long-term mechanic and also a body shop person, - they said be sure the sunroof folks remove the headliner, otherwise I will hear shards forever (we heard them hitting the compartment where the sunroof is when fully open, after we sealed the top for the slow, drive home). I called and they said the ins company has to authorize as that is additional work, did so and authorization done. Hopefully the sunroof folks would have told me that on site (esp after reminding them we were going about 70-75 MPH when this happened).

@ Nouse4aname: spoke with the area manager for the best body shop where I live - he too said something might have hit the sunroof months ago, that weakened it, and then anything (high speed, etc.) can make it possibly explode. After he said this, I recall something hitting my sunroof within the last few months, loud enough that I looked up. An acorn, tree limb, something.....that could have been the beginning of the end :-( .
 

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That was a scary experience, both for the sudden, unexpected nature of the shattering and for having to deal with the rain of glass shards! Sometimes glass can shatter for no identifiable reason, perhaps because of stress induced in the manufacturing process. I recall a friend's car where the rear window simply disintegrated with no apparent cause. But this sunroof experience makes me wonder why they aren't made of safety glass (laminated with shatter-resistant material), like windshields.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Shattered sun roof is fixed

The shattered sunroof is fixed. Hopefully this will NOT happen to anyone else, yet do have the headliner removed to assure all shards are out if so. Other than needing an adjustment for minor "wind" noise (plan to drive it a week or so before returning to assure all else is fine) the fix is done. The sunroof folks believe either spontaneous explosion, or more likely weakened spot from something hitting the sunroof glass in the past and it finally gave in & exploded (unsure what it would have been like at 35 mph vs 70 mph :-( . I can best describe the noise as thinking there was a huge, multi-vehicle wreck right near us on the interstate, and the sunroof was hit by flying debris, that's how loud it was, just awful and louder than when I was rear-ended (with the other car slamming into the tire on the cargo door :). I love my RAV; hope I'm done!

A friend with great sense of humor suggested "if you wanted to eject your husband from the RAV, next time have the sunroof open". Must find humor in all of life! Thanks for all the support - great forum!
 

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Good to hear that the sunroof has been replaced, and also hope that was the last experience you will have with that unwelcome "surprise."

So, did you boot your husband out without remembering to open the sunroof? :)
 

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The same thing happened to me a couple of years ago. I was on the highway going about 55 in very light traffic when I heard a loud "pop", the shade was closed and when I opened it the glass was completely shattered but still intact so I closed the shade and drove home. The insurance company referred me to a glass repair company who told me to cover the glass with duct tape from the outside which held all the pieces in place for a couple of days while they shipped a replacement to a local repair shop. It took the shop about an hour to replace the glass and the cost was completely covered by my insurance.
I suspect it would have been much more of a problem if the glass hadn't remained intact. That was a couple of years ago and no problems since.
 
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