Hyundai Veloster under investigation due to exploding sunroofs
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.