Safety regulators spend 7 years investigating sunroofs and find no defects and no crashes.

Posted in Investigations

Kia Sorento Exploding Sunroof Investigation Closed
Safety regulators spend 7 years investigating sunroofs and find no defects and no crashes.

—  A Kia Sorento exploding sunroof investigation has been closed more than seven years after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) first opened it.

According to federal safety regulators, seven years of investigating hasn't indicated sufficient evidence of safety-related defects in the Kia Sorento panoramic sunroofs.

The 2011-2013 Kia Sorento exploding sunroof investigation was opened in October 2013 and upgraded the next year after 123 reports of exploding sunroofs, 101 warranty and goodwill claims and 14 reports of minor injuries due to scratches and cuts.

The Kia Sorento panoramic sunroof glass is tempered and crumbles into small chunks instead of jagged edges when the glass breaks.

The Sorento sunroof complaints indicated the failures typically occurred while the vehicles were in motion, freaking out occupants with shotgun-like explosions. Shards of glass fell into the vehicles unless the sunshades were closed and contained the broken sunroof glass.

Kia Sorento Shattered Sunroofs Caused No Crashes

NHTSA says reported injuries were minor and often occurred when owners were cleaning up the mess. However, no crashes have been reported and a declining trend of shattered sunroofs has occurred since 2014.

Safety regulators collected failure data for 2011-2013 Kia Sorentos along with data from other Kia models such as the Optima and Sportage. Additionally, NHTSA looked at exploding sunroof data from Hyundai, Ford, Nissan, Volkswagen and other automakers in 2016.

The government says this produced a "significant volume of data" that convinced NHTSA to close the Sorento exploding sunroof investigation.

In all, NHTSA investigated data from 10 million vehicles and 97 different models covering 11 model years. Out of 11 model years and 10 million vehicles, there were about 4,000 shattered sunroofs reported and none alleged a crash of any kind.

Kia says it has constantly monitored sunroof failures since 2013 and found the "sunroof complies with the applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for glazing, and that it has not identified a manufacturing defect or assembly process error despite significant investigative efforts."

Safety regulators determined 2011-2013 Kia Sorentos were at the high end of the exploding sunroof spectrum, but they weren't the highest.

NHTSA didn't find any defect trends based on region, date of production, the age of the vehicle or based on seasons of the year.

With no crash reports and only minor injuries often caused by cleaning up the glass, the Kia Sorento exploding sunroof investigation is closed.


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