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The Moonroof versus Sunroof Question, Answered!


I get the question from time to time, and not many seem to know the real answer: "What is the difference between a moonroof and a sunroof?" Many think that a sunroof is clear and a moonroof is tinted. Nope, not the right answer. Others think that a sunroof will open but a moonroof will not. Wrong again. The truth is that a moonroof is actually a type of sunroof! For more info, I'm deferring to an expert, Marc Levinson of Donmar Sunroofs, who also operates the free sunroof information site, www.Sunroofs.org. Here it is:

Just as a sedan is a distinctive type of automobile, a moonroof is a type of sunroof. Sunroof is the generic term used to describe any panel in a vehicle roof which can let in light and/or air. While most sunroof panels are operable, some may be fixed.

The term moonroof was used in the 70's to describe a glass panel inbuilt electric sunroof, and is now used generically to describe all glass panel inbuilt sunroofs. An inbuilt sunroof is one where the operable panel slides between the vehicle roof and headliner, and is often powered but may be manually operated.

There are distinct categories of sunroof products, including: Pop-Up, Spoiler, Folding, Topslider, Inbuilt, Removable Panel [T/Targa] and large roof systems. Sunroofs may be OEM or aftermarket installed. Over 70% of all aftermarket sunroofs sold today are installed for new car dealers, prior to the vehicle being offered for sale. Few vehicle owners know the difference, or that the sunroof may be an aftermarket add-on when the vehicle they purchased included it.

Hope that helps inform the uninformed and reform the misinformed!
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