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NBC 5 Responds Investigates Reports of Shattering Sunroofs

A federal class action lawsuit was underway against Nissan

Hundreds of drivers across the country have reported cracking, shattering and exploding sunroofs from different makes and models of vehicles.

Alicia Quinn said she was only doing 20 mph on a residential road in Southlake when the sunroof on her 2015 Nissan Altima exploded.

"I actually thought that I was shot," she said. "It sounded like a gun."

Quinn said nothing hit the glass — it just shattered on its own.

She took the car into a Nissan dealership near her job. She said the service department kept the car for several days and later determined something must have hit the sunroof, meaning she would have to pay for repairs.

"No way, no way anything hit it," Quinn explained.

Keisha King, in Chicago, shared a similar story.

"I really thought I got shot at," she said. "Did my sunroof just, like, explode?"

She was driving her 2013 Nissan Altima on an expressway when she said, all of a sudden, she heard a boom. There was shattered glass and a large hole in her sunroof.

"I feel like it's a safety issue," said King.

Others across the country seem to agree.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received hundreds of complaints about shattered sunroofs across multiple brands.

Mark Meshulam, a glass expert, pointed to three likely culprits: Rock or debris hitting the glass, an installation flaw, or imperfections in the glass itself.

"Tempered glass can be like a ticking time bomb...There are little imperfections," explained Meshulam. "They're like little stones. If they happen to be inside tempered glass, there's potential that down the road that little stone will grow sufficiently to actually spontaneously break the glass."

As of writing, a federal class action lawsuit was underway against Nissan. The complaint focuses on Nissan and Infiniti models from 2008 to 2017, claiming the sunroofs are "defective" and prone to "spontaneously shattering."

Nissan North America tells NBC 5 Responds the following:

"The safety and security of our customers is always our number one priority. While we cannot speak specifically on behalf Nissan dealerships, which are independently owned and operated, regarding questions related to reports of moon roof breakage, Nissan does not have evidence of any issue related to design or manufacturing. Consequently, damaged moon roofs should be submitted to the owner's insurer as a comprehensive claim."

Quinn had to pay $800 to repair her sunroof.

"If my child was in the car and that thing was open, she would have been covered in glass because the car seat is under the glass," she said. "This is a major issue."

NHTSA tells NBC 5 Responds it has an open investigation into sunroofs and encourages the public to contact them if they have any information about this matter.

As for Alicia Quinn's sunroof, we reached out to her local dealership and it has processed a refund for $800 as a goodwill gesture.


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