Sunroof Motor Buyer’s Guide
- The sunroof motor is the mechanism that makes opening and closing your sunroof possible.
- It delivers the right torque and power to the cables that permit movement.
- The sunroof motor works hand in hand with the sunroof motor switch.
- A failing sunroof won’t budge no matter how many times you try to activate it. It will remain stuck in whatever position it is in and may also produce odd noises as its motor tries to move it.
- One of the common symptoms of a bad sunroof motor is a defective or unresponsive sunroof, which may be caused by internal leaks, cracked glass, damaged tracks or cables, or a failing motor.
- A sunroof motor replacement costs anywhere from $80 to $500. The price varies depending on your vehicle’s year, make, and model.
The sunroof is one of the most innovative features of modern vehicles. By allowing light and air to enter the cabin, it lets you enjoy more natural light, bring down the temperature during hot days, and enhance your driving experience.
One indispensable component to controlling your sunroof is the sunroof motor. Without it, you would have to open and close your sunroof manually. In this guide, you’ll learn all about this part, what it does, and how much it costs to replace it.
What Is a Sunroof Motor?
The sunroof motor is the mechanism that makes opening and closing your sunroof possible. It delivers the right torque and power to the cables that permit movement. The sunroof motor works hand in hand with the sunroof motor switch.
The sunroof motor’s location varies. In most cases, it is attached to the sunroof system. The motor is mounted on the sunroof bracket, which is connected to the cables and tracks responsible for movement. Meanwhile, the sunroof motor switch is typically found on the center console, overhead console, or the vehicle dashboard.
How Does a Sunroof Motor Work?
A sunroof motor works like any other small motor. It receives power and ground in either of its wires, depending on which way the switch is pressed. Once activated, the sunroof motor spins, causing the rods connected to the sunroof to push or retract.
The sunroof motor may vary in electrical configuration. The configuration depends on the type of circuit used and the external control the sunroof motor has through sensors and switches. In modern cars, the sunroof motor is controlled by a switch- or button-activated control module.
Manual vs. Electric Sunroof System
There are two major kinds of sunroof operating systems: manual and electric.
In a manual sunroof system, a lever is used to control the movement of the sunroof. There is no electricity or motor involved in this operating system. It does not need a sunroof motor to function.
Meanwhile, in an electric sunroof system, a switch or a button is used to control the sunroof. This system needs a sunroof motor to function.
Symptoms of a Faulty Sunroof Motor
One of the most obvious symptoms of a bad sunroof motor is a defective sunroof. A failing sunroof won’t budge no matter how many times you try to activate it. It will remain stuck in whatever position it is in and may even produce odd noises as the motor tries to move it.
If your sunroof exhibits these symptoms, take your vehicle to an auto repair shop for diagnosis. A mechanic would be able to identify whether the issue is caused by a faulty motor or something else.
Causes of a Faulty Sunroof
Because a faulty or unresponsible sunroof is the most telltale sign of a bad motor, it pays to know what can cause problems in that part. A sunroof may stop working because of these issues:
A clogged drain system leads to internal leaks that could damage wirings and other components in your car. Leaks happen when debris gets stuck in the drainage system of your sunroof, blocking the flow of water from the drain tubes and causing it to overflow.
Cracked or broken glass
If you notice a crack on your sunroof’s glass, have it replaced immediately. Don’t wait for the damage to spread before taking your car to a mechanic.
Damaged tracks or cables
This issue is another by-product of water getting into the system. Damaged wiring or tracks can hamper your sunroof’s function, causing it to get stuck in just one position.
Finally, a faulty motor may also be the reason for an unresponsive sunroof. A sunroof motor may stop working properly due to overheating and corrosion in its mechanism.
Overheating may be caused by inadequate lubrication or grease as well as a clogged drain system. Corrosion, meanwhile, happens when water enters and stays in the sunroof system.
At the first sign of trouble, have your vehicle checked. Although a broken sunroof won’t directly affect your car’s drivability, it can be bothersome during rainy days. If the mechanic determines that the motor is at fault, start searching for a sunroof motor replacement immediately.
How Much Is a Sunroof Motor?
A sunroof motor replacement costs anywhere from $80 to $500. The price varies depending on your vehicle’s year, make, and model. The brand you choose can also affect the cost of a sunroof motor. For instance, a sunroof motor from an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) may be priced higher than a sunroof motor from the aftermarket company.
Finding the Right Fit
When buying a sunroof motor, make sure it fits the specification of your vehicle. Enter your car’s year, make, and model into our search engine to narrow down the results to compatible motors. You can also filter your search according to your preferred brand and price range. Find the perfect replacement in our wide selection of high-quality sunroof motors.
Car Maintenance: How to Replace a Broken Sunroof Motor
It's nice to feel the sun on your skin or breathing fresh air as you drive. Natural light also uplifts your mood, especially during long journeys. But when the sunroof malfunctions, you can bet that the motor's busted. Changing the motor will save you money and it's an easy DIY project to accomplish.
Here are the tools, reminders, and steps that you need to help you change your 1995 Ford Scorpio's sunroof motor.
Tools that You'll Need:
- Socket wrench set
- Phillips and Flat-head screwdrivers
- Replacement sunroof motor
Reminders and Tips:
- Make sure that the sunroof is fully closed before removing the motor.
- Disconnect your vehicle's negative battery cable to avoid electric shock.
Step 1: Use a pad when wedging a flat-head screw driver to remove the interior lamp assembly. This will protect the headliner from any damage.
Step 2: Pull the interior lamp assembly from the headliner and inspect the wires connected to it. Disconnect all the wiring from the assembly and take note of the connections.
Step 3: Use a Phillips-head screwdriver to remove the two retaining screws on the overhead console. Once the screws are removed, pull the console backward to disengage its spring retainers.
Step 4: Locate the sliding roof's operating switch and motor multi-plug, disconnect the multi-plugs.
Step 5: Use a wrench to unfasten the three mounting bolts securing the sunroof motor. Carefully pull out the sunroof motor from your car's headliner.
Step 6: Clean the mounting holes with a rag before installing the new sunroof motor. Make sure it's free from oil, grease and dust.
Step 7: Place the motor on the mounting holes and check if the holes are properly aligned. Install the new motor using a wrench to secure the three mounting bolts included in the kit.
Step 8: Reconnect the motor and the sliding roof's operating switch multi-plug. Insert the overhead console and attach it to its spring retainers. Secure it with the two retaining screws.
Step 9: Reconnect all the interior lamp assembly's wires and install the assembly back into your car's headliner.
Step 10:Reconnect your car battery's negative cable to check if the repair was successful.
Replacing the sunroof motor will take about 30 minutes for an expert DIYer and around an hour for a beginner. Roll up your sleeves and have fun!