Piston Slap: My Mistress' Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun Edition
Hello Sajeev, I’d like to ping your automotive wisdom with the following question. Soon I’ll be looking for a new car to replace my leased Corolla. I love power moonroofs (which my Corolla also has). My next car will be a long-term keeper, and even though I’d love to equip it with a roof orifice, I’m not sure about the longer-term reliability of power moonroofs. Are they known to start leaking, to require expensive repairs? Or is it better to buy a car without a moonroof and then have a manual sunroof installed; and would it void the car’s warranty?
I’d like to keep my next car until it falls apart — 10 years or longer. Thanks muchly for your time.
Take it from the guy who has two 10+ year old cars with glass tops: do it. After thirteen years, one car’s factory moonroof needed nothing but a new rubber gasket to eliminate wind noise, a $50 part from a company called the Sunroof Doctor. If you’re paranoid or OCD, ehow.com has some helpful hints on sunroof maintenance.
The other option is a Webasto unit installed at the dealer, and it only needs a new felt pad to silence an occasional rattle from the pop-up wind deflector. No motor failures. No leaks. No brainer.
I prefer factory installed moonroofs because they have a better-integrated look inside the car, especially the switch and bezel. Most importantly, their unique roof stamping lets the glass sit flush with the roof: aftermarket parts normally sit a millimeter on top as they are a cut the roof and drop-in affair.
Bonus! A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:
If you find a great deal on a roof-less car, go aftermarket and haggle on the price. Dealers usually have an off-site outfitter who sells their services at a discount: either you fight for dealer’s cost, or go to the horse’s mouth instead. From what I’ve seen, there’s a 10% markup on this service, so negotiate a better deal.
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