Any issues with the Prius sunroof/solar panel?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by Guill, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. Guill

    Guill Member

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    I'm going to purchase my second Prius in a few months ... most likely a certified III or IV. I'm considering purchasing one with a sunroof, but I'm concerned about the durability of the sunroof/solar panel ... especially considering that majority of the Prius roof is covered by the sunroof/solar panel and therefore the roof is primarily glass.

    So getting to my question ... are there any issues/problems associated with the Prius sunroof/solar panel combo? Due to the large amount of glass, are there a lot of broken/damaged sunroofs? I did search the forums (also on Google), but I didn't find any threads speaking specifically to damaged sunroofs. Hopefully my concerns aren't valid ... I do realize that as with any sunroof, there is an increased likelihood of more serious damage to the roof from rocks, etc, however as long as the very large Prius sunroof/solar panel glass isn't more prone to breakage than other sunroofs, then I may take the risk and get this option on my next Prius. Thanks!
     
  2. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    The area used in a non sunroof Prius for a sunglasses holder is unavailable in a sunroof Prius.
     
  3. Blackhawk5

    Blackhawk5 Junior Member

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    I haven't had my used Prius v with sunroof for very long... bought in December but I haven't had any problems with it...
     
  4. windstrings

    windstrings Certified Prius Breeder

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    I have 130k on my 2010... No. Leaks, no problems... With solar cells either.

    Alan............. A hump?..... What hump?
     
  5. snoctor

    snoctor Member

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    I've got a 2010 with sun roof / solar panels. 3 years 5 months, both work fine. No issues.
     
  6. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    2010 Prius (Aug '09 delivery) w/ solar roof and 74,000km. No issues other than some rattling when it's open and I'm going over bumpy roads (it's only held at one end on rails because it goes over the roof, rather than in between the roof and the headliner).

    Just note that the wind deflector is a piece of glass so if the road has gravel or sand, I suggest not opening the roof in case the vehicle in front kicks up a rock and cracks the wind deflector (it has happened to a member here).
     
  7. tcmay2013

    tcmay2013 Guest

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    We have had our 2011 with sunroof for two yrs now. Lived in cold Northeast PA and now Fl. We have had no problems at all and highly recommend it. The solar fan keeping the air circulating is a great feature and works perfectly.
     
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  8. css28

    css28 Senior Member

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    I think there was one member who posted about visible interior corrosion that disabled his solar panel. Haven't heard anything other than that.

    We love our sunroof and solar fan.
     
  9. alekska

    alekska Active Member

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    Mine works fine so far (2010 Prius IV). I'm thinking about the idea of rewiring solar panel to trick-charge the 12-V battery when solar fan is not used.

    - Alex
     
  10. Guill

    Guill Member

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    Thanks for all the feedback. Honestly I'm not as concerned about rattles or leaks, rather I'm concerned about the amount of glass contained in this sunroof/solar panel combination and how much it would cost to repair/replace should something happen. Thanks again for sharing your experiences.
     
  11. mediahound

    mediahound Active Member

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    The solar panel glass is tempered, just like your windshield. So, it will not shatter, but could crack.

    But, it's not at the same angle as the windshield so it's much less prone to getting cracked like a windshield is.

    If the solar panel glass cracks or break however, the entire panel needs to be replaced. You cannot just replace the glass on it to my knowledge. I have yet to hear of anything having to do this however.

    None of this should dissuade you from getting it. I love my sunroof and use it often, and the solar fan in the summer is really nice.
     
  12. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

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    The issue is weight, not durability. The solar panel option means you can't get the car from Toyota with the heavier wheels for example.

    As far as breaking, it's tempered glass, which means if it breaks it does so into small "granules", unable to slice you open, though they can puncture skin. I've seen only one posting here about one being broken. They are pretty tough and in normal operation won't see impacts that can break them. Unless you consider meteorites and earthquakes common. ;)
     
  13. mediahound

    mediahound Active Member

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    I don't now why they say weight is an issue. It only adds like 50 lbs.
     
  14. alekska

    alekska Active Member

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    It adds weight AT THE TOP OF YOUR ROOF which makes the car lean more in turns as the center of gravity is higher. 50 lb in the trunk would be much less difference

    - Alex
     
  15. teamsc10190

    teamsc10190 Stereo Prii (2011 and 2006)

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    While the sunroof is less likely to be broken from road hazards, it does happen. In my Volvo S80 a gravel truck dumped a load on the freeway just in front of me. The gravel bouncing down the freeway at 70mph took out both headlamps, both foglamps, my windshield, and the sunroof panel exploded in a shower of glass pellets. My insurance company paid over $6K for repairs.
     
  16. jaymac

    jaymac membore

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    My wife had the exact same thing happen years ago. She was following a belly dump rock hauler on a rural highway at speed when the driver inadvertently hit a switch that dropped the load. Broke everything breakable on the front of our 84 Camry. Dented the rest. The repair cost was similar. Lucky no one got hurt.
    I have heard that if you park outside in the summer the solar fan will cool the traction battery somewhat. That is a plus for battery longevity. We've had no complaints with our solar roof at all. I hit the button right after we bought the car and forgot it.
     
  17. minnyprius

    minnyprius Member

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    I'm worried about hail here in MN during the summer. Anyone been in a hail storm yet with one?
     
  18. windstrings

    windstrings Certified Prius Breeder

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    I've been in marble SIZE , no biggy

    Alan............. A hump?..... What hump?
     
  19. Ldacanay

    Ldacanay Junior Member

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    You're only going to break it if you roll it, so take it easy on turns. For hail damage, if it is going to break that, it's the least of your problems. You probably have storm damage riders for insurance in your area. It would be interesting to know if an underwriter would charge more?
     
  20. Redpoint5

    Redpoint5 Senior Member

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    It adds 66 lbs to the highest point of the car, moving the center of gravity up higher. As Alex points out, this negatively impacts handling. Some car companies, such as Subaru, engineer flat "boxer" engines to marginally lower the center of gravity, so this is no small consideration.

    Not only does the solar option increase weight in the worst location, it also has a slightly less efficient aerodynamic shape. If you compare the roof of the solar Prius and a regular one, you will notice it is flatter. I don't know to what extent this affects highway mpg, but it is likely very marginal since both have the same EPA ratings.

    The biggest problem with the solar option is the price. Toyota turned what could have been an interesting idea into an expensive gimmick by limiting the function of the solar power to only run ventilation fans. I must admit, I have not experienced first-hand how much better the system cools the cabin compared to cracking the windows, but it doesn't take much time for a regular car to start pumping out cool air once you get in.

    Although Toyota clearly states that the solar option is for ventilation only, I'm sure they know people will see it and mistakenly think it charges the car. I'm sure they don't mind the confusion, either.
     
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