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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BMW E90/E92/E93 3-series General Forums > General E90 Sedan / E91 Wagon / E92 Coupe / E93 Cabrio > yet ANOTHER "exploding" sunroof



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      04-13-2011, 01:47 AM   #1
ilikedbmw
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yet ANOTHER "exploding" sunroof

Well I’m here to share what happened to me in the last few weeks.

I finally decided to buy my first BMW and was really excited about driving one. The drive was good and performance is excellent. So a few weeks ago I took the car out of town for a weekend trip and on my way back just a few seconds after exiting onto the highway, I heard a loud bang, something like a gunshot, and the next thing we know was a bunch of shattered glass showered all over the interior of the car. In absolute shock and having no idea what just happened, I pulled the car to the side, looked up and saw a big hole in my sunroof. Went outside of the car and took a look at the hole and it looked like something “exploded” from the inside coz the glass was bending outwards. Here are some pix

I told all my friends and they have never heard about it before….. So I did some research and found out that I’m not the only one that had this happened to before. In fact, this kind of incident is quite common.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=67304
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=41775
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=276447
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho....php?p=3192772

Assuming this is covered under warranty, and luckily I was not hurt by the shards, I didn’t think I have to worry about it at all…. Oh I was wrong. Got a call from the Calgary BMW next morning and immediately the staff asked whether I was going to claim this through insurance or pay this out of pocket. I was shocked how fast Calgary BMW had concluded it wasn’t a defect. I asked the staff why isn’t this covered under the BMW Warranty Program and the staff said since it was hit by a rock, an outside object, and definitely not due to manufacturing defect, so it is not covered under warranty. I then told her:

- The probability of a rock lofted up into the air by another vehicle that would hit the sunroof, which is facing the sky, and coming down hard enough to cause the entire sunroof to shatter is extremely low
- I was driving below the speed limit at 90km/h on the highway and there were no vehicles in front of me when the incident occurred
- The weather was approximately at 0 degrees Celsius and it was sunny, with no significant fluctuations in temperature
- I was not driving below an overpass when it happened, so no sudden pressure change
- There were no previous damage to the sunroof before it shattered; the sunroof just suddenly shattered into many small tiny little piece of glass for no apparent reason.

The staff then said they will do more inspection on the damage and call me back. So it appeared no inspection was done to my car before she gave me the call……. hm…… After a few minutes, she called back, telling me the shop foreman checked it out and said a rock hit it. I was then like, let me talk to the service manager, hoping he’ll be more helpful….. nope, same response.

Getting more and more frustrated and feeling helpless, I called BMW Canada to see if they can help me out. To make the long story short, I talked to a number of representatives and I felt like talking to an answering machine, they kept on saying that because I’m in Alberta, they use more gravel and rocks for the snowy driving conditions and the chance of my sunroof getting hit by a rock is higher. So I did more research and found this link to a news clip. The exact same thing happened to a lady down in San Jose, just a week before my sunroof shattered:

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?sec...ide&id=8026317

So I sent the video to them and the agent still kept on saying the damage was caused by gravel and rocks and it will not be fixed under warranty….. even after watching the video. Com’on, did they really watch it??? They didn’t even give me any different reasoning to go against the proof from the UC Berkley professor.

I now question, as per my personal experience, whether it is still safe to drive my BMW,

- The fact that sunroof can shatter into many small little pieces and it is not manufactured like the windshield which it will stay intact upon impact
- Will I want to put anybody in the back row (ex. Babies or just…… anybody)? I don’t want any of my passengers to get hurt by glasses from a shattered sunroof. The glasses could have cut and caused scars or could have got into the eyes.
- Imagine if I panicked and steered to the lane beside me or down the ditch, it could have caused some serious accidents and serious hurt not only myself, but possibly the people in the car next to me as well

Got a hold of the manager over at BMW Canada and I said, so ok, let’s say the sunroof shattered because it was magically hit by a big piece of rock, why then they fixed the other BMW with the exact same issue but not mine. They have set example of precedent cases by fixing under goodwill already, why do I have to go through so much hassle???

Gosh…. I don’t even know if I ever want to get a BMW again and get myself into so much trouble in the future. Should I start wearing a helmet and face mask for safety protection from now on?

DEFINITELY lost my faith in BMW’s vehicle and customer service..... sorry for the rant, just gotta let it out and I have already left out a lot of details....
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Last edited by ilikedbmw; 04-13-2011 at 02:05 AM.
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      04-13-2011, 02:01 AM   #2
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Well as a motorcyclist, I have had a few small rocks the size of a pea break my face visor, so its possible it was a rock. Imagine how loud that is, not to mention keep the bike under control.
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      04-13-2011, 02:02 AM   #3
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Crazy man...yet another case.
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      04-13-2011, 02:04 AM   #4
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contact BMWCA? i would freak out if that ever happened to me.
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      04-13-2011, 02:04 AM   #5
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well at least nobody was hurt, it could have been much worse
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      04-13-2011, 02:35 AM   #6
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that video is gold proof!
i find that all these threads include people with their shades closed and they are traveling at speed. i'm guessing that the sunroof is slightly open for some reason, and the shade is closed causing pressure to build up and the sunroof to explode (not implode into the car, but outwards).
They never happen with the shade open, or while the car is parked.
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      04-13-2011, 02:37 AM   #7
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There seems to be quite a few cases of this happening... I really hope BMW Corporate will own up and replace this, this is definitely a defect to happen that many times.

Something I noticed in the other threads as well... is that every time this had happened... both the glass AND cloth/fabric parts were closed, was it so in your case as well?
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      04-13-2011, 02:49 AM   #8
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davidkneiber: yah I originally thought the video would be solid evidence but they absolutely ignored it and even funnier, one of the rep I talked to actually said something like "well, we do not have all the math and all the calculation from this proof"

dryicerx: It was fully open and that's why all the shards went into the vehicle. But yes, this definitely happened many times already
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      04-13-2011, 03:50 AM   #9
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Talk to a lawyer, sue everyone involved, sue their pants off. Include punitive damages.
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      04-13-2011, 04:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Squid View Post
Talk to a lawyer, sue everyone involved, sue their pants off. Include punitive damages.
Yeah. This. No kidding. I'm not normally one to cry sue sue sue, but seriously: A sunroof exploding for no apparent reason is a major safety issue and, I know I know, could cause emotional distress if you're constantly worried about it happening again AND the loud bang you heard when it happened. Definitely pursue this man don't give up!
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      04-13-2011, 04:29 AM   #11
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I don't think the posted video was seen by a lot of people that read this thread or that work at BMW.

To sumarize the physics lesson in the video, yes a rock can shatter glass that is facing forwards simply by the car plowing into it while the rock is is traveling through the air backwards and the car is going forwards. However the sunroof faces upwards which means that the car cannot plow into the rock with the sunroof, the car isn't traveling upwards like a rocket, it's going forwards, which means the rock must FALL onto the sunroof, so not only is the majority of the force from the forward speed of the car impacting with a rock removed, but the rock must battle against gravity. The simple fact is that when you take away the forward motion of the automotive glass and factor in gravity slowing the rock down that it is physically impossible for a rock to fall with enough force to damage automotive glass when kicked up into the air by a car tire, this is physics. Honestly I've read dozens upon dozens of threads where BMW's warranty department is quick to jump to conclusions that laugh in the face of basic automotive engineering and highschool physics. Warranty departments really need to stop jumping to conclusions and inventing science, it's really terrible stuff.
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Last edited by Legion5; 04-13-2011 at 04:39 AM.
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      04-13-2011, 10:16 AM   #12
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omg.. another one? Really sorry OP.. this is some scary stuff.
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      04-13-2011, 10:26 AM   #13
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idrift4wd: contacted BMWCA numerous times already and I pretty much lost my hope in trying to get any help from them. The whole process is quite discouraging since I've presented so much evidence, proof, and previous documented cases to them already and the answers that I've got from them are just "rocks and gravel".......

Timothy J: Yes I won't give up on this case, it's not a matter of money, it's all covered under insurance anyways, it's a matter of principle
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      04-13-2011, 10:38 AM   #14
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Wow, another one....

...and another case of BMW being a bunch of assholes about a situation like this.... Go figure.
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      04-13-2011, 10:57 AM   #15
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tl;dr;lc
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      04-13-2011, 11:26 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legion5 View Post
I don't think the posted video was seen by a lot of people that read this thread or that work at BMW.

To sumarize the physics lesson in the video, yes a rock can shatter glass that is facing forwards simply by the car plowing into it while the rock is is traveling through the air backwards and the car is going forwards. However the sunroof faces upwards which means that the car cannot plow into the rock with the sunroof, the car isn't traveling upwards like a rocket, it's going forwards, which means the rock must FALL onto the sunroof, so not only is the majority of the force from the forward speed of the car impacting with a rock removed, but the rock must battle against gravity. The simple fact is that when you take away the forward motion of the automotive glass and factor in gravity slowing the rock down that it is physically impossible for a rock to fall with enough force to damage automotive glass when kicked up into the air by a car tire, this is physics. Honestly I've read dozens upon dozens of threads where BMW's warranty department is quick to jump to conclusions that laugh in the face of basic automotive engineering and highschool physics. Warranty departments really need to stop jumping to conclusions and inventing science, it's really terrible stuff.
What??? If the rock is kicked up by a truck infront of you, the physics of the rock would resemble projectile motion. The lateral force being supplied by the rear wheel of the truck, and as the rock flies through the air, it's verticle displacement is affected by gravity. The occasional pebble hit on our windshield could've easily been on our roof if our cars were a few inches closer to the truck. Judging from the picture from OP, it looked like the glasses shattered from a initial contact point made close to the center of the moonroof due to the scattering patterns of the glass and the increase in shard size as it migrats away from the point of impact.
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      04-13-2011, 01:10 PM   #17
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This has happened enough that there needs to be a class-action lawsuit. This is obviously a design flaw and BMW needs to take responsibility.
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      04-13-2011, 01:20 PM   #18
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If this is a design flaw (which it likely is) it shoudl be easy to show that it is occuring at a much higher rate than normal only in this vehicle. There are so many sunroofs out there on different cars that if flying rocks were a common cause of sun roof shattering, then they should shatter at the same rate on all cars not more common on e90 BMWs.

Just to add proof to your fight with BMW call around some glass shops and see if they would be willing to give you some count of sunroofs replaced by vehicle make. See if there is a statistically significant higher number of e90s than other makes.
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      04-13-2011, 01:27 PM   #19
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You have the sedan, right? Seems like this is only a problem with the E90s for some reason
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      04-13-2011, 01:36 PM   #20
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Here is a forum where it shows a lot of manufacturers are experiencing this problem.

http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.f1291fc/0

<sarcasm>I see Toyota, Lexus, Scion, Dodge, Infiniti, Mazda, Jeep, Saab, BMW, and other brands. I think it is high time that we realize the danger these manufacturing defects are bringing to our lives (as clearly, rocks do not hit things above a certain imaginary line on automobiles) and immediately petition the the NHTSA and all state DOTs to immediately revoke the registrations on these death machines.</sarcasm>

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      04-13-2011, 01:48 PM   #21
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a sunroof should NOT explode so easily. If you can, talk to a lawyer. I dont think BMW can prove that it was rocks and gravel flung from a wheel from another truck. i mean, it better be a good sized rock rocketed sky high (which is very unlikely) by the wheel (when that happens, the rocks shoot OUT at an angle, not higher up in the air) with just right timing to land squarely onto your sunroof in FWY speed!

No, I also see (and hope) that your sunroof has some kind of defect or a problem that needs to be covered by warranty.

I wish you the best in this case. keep fighting!
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      04-13-2011, 01:52 PM   #22
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hey iliked....
they saw the video.... your best bet is to work with the dealership until you feel they are not trying to work with you rather than against you.
in your case, that was immediately after you bought your car from them.
I would explain that i am not happy, you have other people in the car when it happened to attest to the fact that there were no other vehicles able to "kick up a rock" and you will be contacting local newspaper and better business bureau as well as the Alberta Transportation citing a massive safety issue.
Remind them that this isn't a large proportion problem although it has happened to other owners and helping you today is in their best interest.
They need to show you that a rock hit the glass to deny warranty, not speculate what could have happened which they are doing.
Ahh sir, my fuel pump isn't working. Well we aren't covering it because a rock may have been kicked up in your engine compartment and hit the pump causing it to fail.
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