Do Sunroofs Make Cars Hotter? (Explained for Beginners)

Sunroofs are becoming quite popular in many different cars today because, let’s face it, your car looks cool and luxurious with one.

However, before you go and get a vehicle with that amazing sunroof, you would have to first think about the effects of having one. For instance, you need to think about how it would affect the overall comfort that you and your passengers would feel while in the car.

Do sunroofs make cars hotter?

A sunroof can make a car hotter, especially if you live in a place with a sunny and warm climate or whenever it’s the middle of a hot summer. However, in all other cases, a sunroof can simply add a bit of warmth to the interior without necessarily making the cabin feel hotter than it should.

Car sunroof open drive

One of the reasons why there are people who want to have sunroofs is to add a bit of warmth to the car, especially if they live in colder regions.

However, this can be a double-edged blade in some instances particularly when you live in a hot region or if you are driving in the middle of a heatwave. As such, you have to really decide if a sunroof is the best for you and your car.


Do sunroofs make cars hotter?

Those who are shopping for new cars and are looking through an array of different car models will notice that there are some variants that come with sunroofs. These are essentially windows on the roof of your car. In some cases, such as when you have a panoramic sunroof, the entire roof itself is almost completely see-through.

With that said, you can never deny the fact that sunroofs do look cool. And they also serve some good purposes, all while being luxuries that aren’t really necessary for vehicles.

However, as cool as a sunroof may be and as good as it is when it comes to increasing the car’s overall value, do they actually make the car hotter?

Yes, sunroofs CAN make cars hotter because of how it allows more light and excess heat to enter the vehicle through the see-through roof. Think of it as something similar to how a car with a lighter tint job is usually hotter than a car with a darker tint on its windows. So, essentially, this is due to how light can easily enter the car through a sunroof, especially if you have a panoramic sunroof. Remember that more light is equal to more heat.

However, what you should know is that sunroofs don’t necessarily make the car very hot. While it might be true that sunroofs are good for adding a bit of warmth to your car, you have to understand that it still is dependent on different factors.

For one, if you live in a warmer and sunnier region with a climate that is warm almost all year-long such as places like Arizona, Texas, or Florida, you should expect that a sunroof will make your car feel hotter almost all year long (with the possible exception of winter). However, if you live in the colder northern regions, sunroofs don’t necessarily make the car hotter, except when it is the middle of a hot summer day.

Speaking of a hot summer day, the season can also determine whether or not sunroofs make a car hotter. So, if it’s in the middle of a summer day, you should expect your car to feel hotter when the sunroof allows the harsh sunlight to enter the car. However, this isn’t always the case in colder regions found in the northern states. And if you live in a warmer state, expect your car to be very hot due to the sunroof.

Another factor to take into consideration is the size of the sunroof. Naturally, bigger sunroofs, such as panoramic sunroofs that allow your entire roof to look like a window, are going to allow more light and heat to enter the vehicle. Meanwhile, smaller sunroofs probably act like an extra window in terms of how much heat they allow. So, if you live in a warmer place, might as well avoid going with a panoramic sunroof.

The biggest problem when it comes to the heat that a sunroof can allow to enter the vehicle, especially if you live in a particularly warm place, is that it can force the car’s cooling system to work harder, and this may end up becoming detrimental to the vehicle. Of course, let’s not forget that it still is better to drive in a cool and comfortable car rather than in a vehicle that feels like an oven.

Then again, there are some sunroofs that come with covers or blinds that you can use to keep the sunroof covered whenever you don’t need it. In some cases, you would have to buy the covers yourself. What you will need to know, however, is that covering the sunroof doesn’t necessarily make the car cooler because you also need to consider the fact that the heat passing through the sunroof will get stuck in the place between the sunroof and the cover. As such, there will still be some heat that can get into the cabin.

Does opening a sunroof keep the car cool?

While we did say that the sunroof can make a car feel hotter, especially when the day or the climate is warm, what happens when you open the sunroof?

Does opening the sunroof allow the car to feel cool?

So, even if countries or states that are tropical or very warm tend to make a car with a sunroof feel hotter, what you should also know is that people with sunroofs in their car actually open the sunroof to counteract the warmth that the sunlight carries inside the car.

Opening the sunroof will allow the airflow in your car to improve, as the breeze will enter the car and make it feel cooler. This is very useful whenever you feel like your AC isn’t doing its job or whenever the day is extremely warm as it allows fresh air to enter the vehicle. There are also some people who like to give their AC a rest by keeping the sunroof and the windows open to improve the airflow.

With that said, even though sunroofs can make a car hotter whenever it’s a particularly warm day, they can also help make the car cooler whenever you open them. But this doesn’t always work, especially if the day is so hot that even the wind feels like steam.

Does a sunroof make a car colder in the winter?

We did say that the sunroof can make a car hotter whenever it’s the middle of a hot summer day or whenever you live in an area that is really just hot. So, does that mean that the opposite is true whenever it’s winter or whenever you are driving in a snowy area?

Does a sunroof make a car colder in the winter?

A sunroof doesn’t necessarily make a car colder because you need to understand that the cold air cannot penetrate the glass window on your roof, unlike how the heat from the sunlight can always make anything hot. As such, you don’t have to worry about your car getting colder whenever it’s the winter.

However, take note that you have to make sure that the sunroof is closed because opening it will obviously allow cold air to enter the car. You would have to blast the heater to make sure that the interior doesn’t get too cold when you decide to open the sunroof.

There is also the possibility that the snow that is on the sunroof can cause moisture to seep into the interior through the process of condensation. This may lead to a bit of a leak and may even make your car feel a bit cooler. However, the extra moisture shouldn’t be something you should be worried about as long as your heater is working well.

Does snow damage the sunroof?

We did talk about snow possibly piling up on your sunroof and allowing moisture to enter the cabin through condensation. However, is snow on the sunroof something that can damage it?

In most cases, snow on the sunroof shouldn’t damage your car because most sunroofs are built to handle the moisture and the temperature coming from snow. However, it isn’t uncommon for car windows to crack under extremely cold conditions, and this may happen to the sunroof as well.

As such, to minimize the chances of your sunroof getting damaged by snow, it is best to make sure that you keep your car covered whenever it’s winter. It is also a good idea to allow the heat coming from the car to naturally melt the snow as you are driving instead of scraping the snow from the sunroof. A lot of sunroofs tend to get damaged not by snow but by owners irresponsibly scraping the snow off of their sunroofs.


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