The Hyundai Veloster
Patrick Rall's picture

Hyundai Veloster under investigation due to exploding sunroofs

It is not unusual for an automaker to address an issue with the glass sunroof panels breaking but the new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation into the Hyundai Veloster sunroof is one of the more unusual this writer has heard as there seem to be no certain variables that cause the sunroof to break.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decided to launch a preliminary investigation into the sunroof of the Hyundai Veloster after receiving 15 complaints that alleged that glass panel shattered – often in explosive form. While I have covered a handful of exploded sunroof recalls and investigations in my day, the majority of them have a specific variable that causes the fracture such as extremely cold weather and driving on especially rough roads when the sunroof is open. Unfortunately for Hyundai Veloster owners, these 15 reports don’t seem to have any connecting variable as 8 of the cars were parked when the sunroof shattered.

The reports of the 15 exploded Hyundai Veloster sunroof panels included 7 cars that were being driven but none of the reports indicate any sort of external conditions that should have caused such a problem. One of the reports of the sunroof breaking while the car was parked stated that while she was washing her car – the sunroof basically just exploded. The result was glass scattered as far as 6 feet from the car. Another complaint stated that she was just driving down the road when she heard a loud bang that sounded to her like a gunshot, followed by a shower of glass raining down on her. All of the complaints did have the common fact that the explosion was accompanies by an incredibly loud bang but that is to be expected when any piece of treated automotive glass explodes like this. Perhaps most unusual about this whole situation is the fact that all of these incidents took place on newer models…all of which had less than 3,000 miles on the odometer when the glass roof shattered.

Fortunately, the only injuries stemming from the exploded Hyundai Veloster have been minor scratches from the massive amounts of tiny glass chunks raining down from the broken sunroof. However, when you take that increased risk of injury to those in the Veloster from the falling glass shards and add in the heightened likelihood of the driver being distracted and running into another vehicle or a pedestrian – there is a clear safety risk at hand.

It should be pointed out that this is only the first step of the NHTSA investigation process and should the feds find that there is indeed some problem with the Hyundai Veloster that causes an increased likelihood of the sunroof breaking, the next step is an engineering analysis. Both the preliminary investigation and the engineering analysis phases of the process can often end with no further action but should the NHTSA find a problem that needs to be remedied – the Korean automaker may be forced to recall their sport, funky 4-door hatchback.

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Comments

Three doors, not four.
As I type, I understand that my 2013 Vitamin C turbo Veloster is on a truck destined for my dealer. Three passenger doors + one liftback door = four doors--although ya gotta admit, that third door is a doozy. FYI--I hear the word "doozy" was coined to refer to the premier automaker of the time, Deusenberg.
I took my Veloster in for the recall about 8 months and had whatever needed to be done. About 2 weeks ago I was driving down the road with the sunroof closed, it was in fact raining, and we heard a loud crash and then had glass all over us. Hyundai gave me a rental car for 5 days and fixed the sunroof free of charge but what a pain.
rewind about a year ago....driving my 2012 Veloster on the highway going about 110.... roof explodes! thought someone hit me or dropped something from a bridge...... they fixed it........ this morning, again driving on the highway at 110km............ roof exploded AGAIN............. even worse this time............ so fed up with this car! I don't feel safe driving it anymore :/
My 2013 Veloster's sunroof recently exploded while driving down the freeway. I had to replace it myself as dealership said there was no warranty and claimed that they have never heard of this ever happening! Apparently there was a recall on 2012 Veloster sunroofs. I will be fighting for money to get it fixed as they were still using the 2012 sunroof for the early 2013 models.