With this new craze for sunroofs in car, people have started installing in the cars bought without them. If you are confused whether you or shouldn't install a sunroof in you car, here's how you should decide.
“Private car ownership still holds an aspirational value associated with itself in the Indian car market” - Maruti Suzuki India’s executive director, marketing and sales, Shashank Srivastava. With these words, it is easy to conclude that Indian buyers fancy buying cars with a lot of features to stand out from the crowd. As with demand, technology comes cheaper. So has some standout features from luxury cars penetrated down to the lesser mass-market vehicles. The sunroof is on top of that chain. Sunroofs have now started to make their way into the b-segment hatchbacks (Here: Hyundai Grand i10 Nios), since Indian do pine for them in their cars. However, there are potent cars in the market, which lacks the option of any. With these craze towards this retractable glass panel in the roof, people have also started to opt for the retro-fitting route to get an aftermarket sunroof. While the OEM units are reliable, the aftermarket stuff creates a space for confusion regarding, Should I install a sunroof in my car?
Sunroof are actually meant to bring some extra light and air into the cabin.
To figure it out, let’s start with what is a sunroof? The answer is, it is a fixed or retractable glass pane fitted in the roof of a car and can be used to spot a police helicopter that is involved in the pursuit to catch you down. Okay, that does not happen in India, but yeah, you can use it to have a look, up in the sky, or just let some fresh breeze freshen up the cabin or use it as an exit point in case of an emergency, that’s all about it. Standing in the car with your torso out from the open sunroof is not the purpose it was designed for. It was designed, only to make the cabin feel airy and let some sunlight settle inside it. But you don’t always need that extra sunlight in your car, as when in excess it affects AC’s performance. So sunroof has its own set of Pros and Cons, and let’s discuss them first,
Pros of having a sunroof in your car:
The increased greenhouse area ensures some extra light and warmth of sun inside the cabin, with a sense of openness.
When open, the airflow inside the cabin is increased.
The flow of air is not as noisy as with the open windows.
The sunroofs can work as an emergency escape.
This is how we are just done with all the pros of having a sunroof in a vehicle. Let’s discuss the cons now,
There’s an increased load on the air-conditioning system of a sunroof equipped vehicle.
Sunroofs impart an extra 35-120Kgs to the car, which affects its center of gravity and center of mass, eventually disturbing the dynamics of the vehicle.
They steal the headroom from the cabin space.
Driving with a sunroof open disturbs the aerodynamics of the car by converting the laminar flow of air over the roof to turbulent. This also enables buffeting.
Technically, cars with sunroof are a bit less efficient than those without any.
Sneaking out from a sunroof isn't what it is there for, it can be fatal too.
The sunroof is a conflicting feature to have in your car since it hardly serves any purpose apart from making the car a flamboyant asset and a piece of attraction. However, there are a lot of bells and whistles the buyers opt for while making the purchase, but hardly use any of them after a few days, and the sunroof is one of that. The pros and cons can let you decide whether a sunroof should be had in a car or not. But, the question that we need to answer here is, “Should I install a sunroof (Aftermarket here) in my car?”.
Retrofitting an aftermarket sunroof requires cutting through a car's roof, which reduces the car's structural integrity.
Installing a sunroof in a car without one is a job that needs some experienced hands to it. Since it involves cutting a hole through the roof of the car, and a variety of other machining processes to get the sunroof working in your car. These processes are required to be executed with an accuracy of just 100%, as any unprecedented gaff can have you pay for the mistake with a nasty ownership experience. Retro-fitting a sunroof has its own set of issues and disadvantages linked to it. The benefits are just limited to that of having a sunroof and that you can have a sunroof in a car that didn’t come with an OEM unit. Although there’s a different set of issues associated with this mod job. Such as;
Installing an aftermarket sunroof in a car is an expensive chore.
The quality of the job performed is always a bone of contention.
There are reliability issues associated with the aftermarket installation of a sunroof, such as water seepage and leaking which further results in rusting.
Safety quotient is on stake, as installing a sunroof in a car involves cutting a hole through its roof which affects the structural rigidity of the unibody/monocoque frame (Which I would never do).
With reduced structural integrity and reduced factor of safety, the resale prices for a car with aftermarket sunroof installed are exorbitantly low.
The aftermarket sunroof does not sit flush with the car’s body, as a workshop job does not involve the similar R&D parameters as the OEM ones.
Lastly, it is about the task to source the parts when the sunroof goes kaput. As it was a supplier exclusive job and in comparison, parts for the OEM equipped units are readily available with the authorized service centers, while sourcing for an aftermarket one is a vicious cycle.
Aftermarket sunroof do not sit flush with the car's body and it invites reliability and rusting issues.
So there comes the title question, “Should I be installing a sunroof in my car?” And the answer is, if you are okay with the drawbacks that are analogous to the complete process, then you should definitely get one installed right away. However, I would rather opt for a car that comes with a factory-fitted sunroof in contrary to retrofit one. The primary reason behind that thought is the structural integrity. Chopping of a hole in the roof of a car weakens the complete architecture. The roofs are generally ribbed to avoid buckling or crippling in the case of a rollover. With the chopped section, the rollovers will end up being callous for the occupants. Another reason is the aquaphobic modern-age electronics that car comes loaded with. Because, if at all water seeps inside the cabin, shallow pockets or light wallets won’t do any wonders.
Sunroofs do no serve their purpose in India, since our climate doesn't need one. So they are better left uninstalled.
All right, with so much to love and hate about the sunroofs and learning the gains and losses, it is the owner's take, to further calculate, decide and answer the question, “should I get a sunroof installed in my car?”