care cleaning sunroof t tops power sunroofs Care & Cleaning of your Sunroof

Care and Cleaning of your Sunroof

Start with the gasket, which is the seal between the glass and the main body of the sunroof. The days of tired, worn, rubber gaskets are a thing of the past. Sunroofs today use long lasting high tech materials like silicone and EDPM rubber which resist UV and other damaging effects that Mother Nature dishes out! Clean the gasket at least twice a year with a clean, damp, lint free cloth. Occasionally, use a mild detergent solution, depending on conditions in your area (I.e. dust, leaves, salt etc.), followed by a rinse using a new cloth and fresh clean water. 
NEVER apply mineral oil, petroleum jelly or vinyl dressing to your gasket. Occasional application of light silicone lubricating spray may be fine if recommended by the manufacturer.
 303 Protectors can be applied and will help keep your weather strips soft and supple.

The glass panel should be cleaned with a non-ammonia glass cleaner and lint free cloth. Occasionally, hard water spots can build up on the glass which are easily removed with household white vinegar and a soft cloth. Tempered glass can easily shatter if scratched or chipped. Always inspect your glass when cleaning. 

The sunroof main frame, (the frame around the glass, on the vehicle roof) may have one of several types of finish. A smooth surface is usually electro-static powdercoat paint, and needs little more than normal car-wash cleaning and an occasional application of car wax to maintain its luster. A textured frame surface is likely a composite polyamide frame which should be cleaned regularly with mild detergent. Do not wax a textured frame! A white chalky buildup on a textured frame is likely car wax which can be removed with a soft brush and mild detergent. For these instances - we carry Mothers Back to Black which is great for any black or gray molding you may have anywhere on your vehicle. 

Merrillville Auto Glass & Trim  Your local sunroof professional can clean your sunroof, inspect the adjust the hardware and gasket and send you on your way in no time at all. In our area -diesel fuel can build up on weather strips and glass breaking the seal and causing a water drip-by cleaning your seal and glass can remedy this condition. 

​POP UP SUNROOFS  Not very popular now

Pop-up sunroofs vent in the rear, and have a removable glass panel. They require little maintenance, except for regular cleaning. ​


​Panoramic Sunroofs are the normal now in most vehicles

What is a Panoramic Sunroof

A panoramic glass roof is a multi-panel construction typically made from auto glass. It can be opened by sliding, tilting, or both ways.

This type of roof usually takes up more than half of the roof area and extends above front and rear seats. It’s also known as a big moonroof or a double moonroof.  Usually only the front glass moves back and fourth and/or tilts.  The rear glass is stationary 

A panoramic roof has one or more sunshade rollers, similar to the moonroof, that may be automated.

It can provide natural lighting, better ventilation for a car’s cabin, and an unobstructed view of the sky for passengers. And they are usually made of tempered glass.
View of panoramic sunroof from above. Shot from drone.
Electric roof control button on car's celling

Considering the function of panoramic sunroofs, we need to mention that they can be operated in multiple ways:

A motorized panoramic sunroof will have a switch that activates the electric motors, which moves the sunroof panel. A manually operated panoramic sunroof will have a lever or knob used to move the sunroof panel.

  INTERNAL SLIDING SUNROOFS (moonroof or inbuilt) 

This type of sunroof is usually found in luxury vehicles, although is also common among imports. The sunroof panel lowers and glides between the outside roof and headliner of the vehicle with the push of a button! Most have glass panels with a sliding panel shade, and many also include a tilt up vent mode. Follow the same glass frame and cable drive care instructions for a tilt-&-slide sunroof, then open the sunroof and maintain the inside. 

Internal sunroofs lack the thick, smooth mainframe gasket found in pop-ups and tilt-&-slide sunroofs. Instead you'll usually find a soft thin fuzzy seal surrounding the glass and/or mainframe. This seal is designed to eliminate wind noise, not stop water. Inspect this seal and have it replaced by your local sunroof professional if it shows excessive wear. 

A trough around the inside perimeter of the sunroof catches the water and channels it away to the ground through concealed drain tubes! This is called a water management system. Most leaks occur because debris builds up in the trough, clogging the drain holes (found in the corners), thus preventing drainage through the tubes. Sound confusing? It's really not! With the sunroof completely retracted, look inside to see the trough. Clean any dirt and remove debris with a damp cloth. Next, examine the drain holes to verify they are clear of any obstruction which may prevent water from draining through. 

In some cases the drain tubes may be clogged and require a clean-out. Though the process is rather simple, usually a blast of compressed air and a long “pipe cleaner,” we highly recommend visiting your local sunroof professional! proper cleaning or too much force may cause the drain tubes to detach, which would allow water to run directly into your vehicle. While you're there, your local sunroof professional can to re-lubricate and adjust the cables and track according to manufacturers specifications!

  We recommend having your power roof professionally maintained yearly.


Folding sunroofs, often called rag-top sliders, are characterized by their fabric or vinyl top cover which slides open like an accordion to reveal an enormous aperture. This top cover usually comes in contact with the vehicle roof to form a watertight seal, rather than using a gasket like other sunroof types. 

Like all sunroofs, cleanliness is the most important factor in maintaining the sunroof. Keep the vehicle roof clean and waxed. Do not use harsh chemicals to clean or dress the top cover material - most manufacturers recommend mild detergent and occasional application of good quality all weather vinyl dressing, which we always carry in stock. 

The track and slides are more exposed than other sunroofs, and should be kept clean and greased regularly. Open the top to reveal the track. Clean track with cotton swabs or a soft cloth, then lubricate according to the manufacturer’s specifications. 

Some models are cable driven and may require more care, as well as an occasional adjustment. Merrillville Auto Glass & Trim  Your local sunroof professional may be better suited to the task. 


Topslider sunroofs slide open in rails over the roof of the vehicle. Most include an integral wind deflector. They may be manual or electrically operated. Follow the same simple maintenance steps as a pop-up for cleaning of the main gasket, glass and mainframe. Clean the acrylic wind deflector with mild detergent solution and soft, lint free cloth. The main gasket may also require regular application of light silicone spray lubricant (check manufacturer's specifications). 

The track and drive mechanism should be kept clean and clear of debris, dirt, etc... Inspect the tracks and remove any debris or dirt by hand, followed by gently wiping with a clean cloth until the surface is clean. For manual units, keep the track channel clean - do not lubricate. Electric or manual cable drive systems may require annual application of white lithium grease in the maintain smooth operation of the drive system. We recommend a yearly trip to inspect the motor, clean, re-lubricate and adjust the cables and track according to manufacturers specifications! 

 REMOVABLE PANEL (Targa & T-Tops) 

Removable panel sunroofs offer only two positions, on or off, and have no complicated drive mechanisms. The panel(s) may be transparent (glass or plastic) or opaque (metal or fiberglass). Clean the outside as you would the rest of your vehicle, then remove the panel(s) to clean the edges. The latches and locks may need occasional lubrication or adjustment, which is best left to a sunroof professional. 

Most important on removable panel sunroofs is care and maintenance of the gasket around the perimeter of the opening. Clean the gasket at least twice a year with a clean, damp, lint free cloth. Occasionally, use a mild detergent solution, depending on conditions in your area (i.e. dust, leaves, salt etc.), followed by a rinse using a new cloth and fresh clean water. NEVER apply mineral oil, petroleum jelly or vinyl dressing to your gasket. Occasional application of light silicone lubricating spray may be fine if recommended by the manufacturer. 

Check all weather strips to make sure they are in contact with one another.  Weather strips are expensive and when replaced all weather strips must be replaced at one time. So make sure you take special care of yours. 

When removed, the panel(s) should be carefully protected a padded sunroof storage bag or wrapped in a blanket. 


Today’s sunroofs are designed with modern technology and materials to provide years of trouble-free enjoyment. All too often, sunroofs become a problem due to neglect! The single most important factor in keeping your sunroof operating like new is keeping it clean inside and out. A little maintenance will go a long way. 

Visit Merrillville Glass & Auto Trim, we are your  local sunroof professional for an annual tune-up to clean and adjust your sunroof. Whether it’s factory installed or aftermarket, regular care and preventive maintenance will keep you enjoying that refreshing open-air feeling that only a sunroof can provide! 

8606 Mississippi St
8606 Mississippi Street   
  Merrillville IN 46410  
   (219) 769-1905
9:00 am to 5pm
 Monday - Friday
mgt glass
As you can see from this generic diagram - your sunroof has a u like frame sometimes a complete oval rectangle with drains in the corners... the front drains are usually the ones that get clogged with dirt leaves - and need to be cleaned out- they are not very thick tubing so little twigs and stuff can block them easily. Some sunroofs have shade  but this picture kinda give you an idea of how the water drips in the rear and goes to the sides of the frame then out the drain hoses... the lip of the sunroof frame in not really high - you can feel how high by touching it from the inside of your vehicle -- sometime it we get a really good rain the drain tubes can not drain fast enough and you might see water  or even from a car wash

Another times in winter if we get a thaw and/or rain and then it freezes in the tubes and you will sometimes get water in your vehicle --- this one takes care of itself once it warms up enough for the water frozen in the tubes to thaw out 

You can test how well your drain tubes are by taking a glass of water and carefully pouring the water in the front corners of your sunroof - once poured water should run down the tubes  and you will see water come out by your tires or by the front of your door.