How to Fix a Sunroof That Won’t Close All the Way? Easy Fixes!

Mostly, cleaning the tracks and changing the damaged motor and blown fuse can fix the sunroof that won’t close at all.  Make sure the motor is being powered with proper wiring. Lubricating the tracks regularly will ensure the smooth operation of sunroofs.

Step-by-step instructions are essential since the process is quite delicate. Let’s get started.

How to Fix a Sunroof that Won’t Close All the Way: Reasons & Solutions

Let’s have a quick glimpse at the probable causes and their potential solutions.

Reasons Solutions 
Dirt on TracksClean dirt and lubricate
Lift Arm MalfunctionInspect guides and cables
Motor IssuesChange faulty motor
Wire ProblemReplace the wires
End of lifespanClean or get new ones

Now it’s time to go through the troubleshooting segments sequentially in detail. 

Reason 1: Dirt on Tracks

Over time, your car’s sunroof will gather debris. They can include dust, dirt, pollen, and even leaves and small twigs. The top reason behind this can be a leaky sunroof. This is the most common reason for jamming the runway and obstructing the sunroof to close all the way. Also, the lubrication of the tracks hardens or wears out eventually. 

Required Tools:

  1. Flashlight
  2. Vacuum cleaner
  3. Toothbrush

Solution

  1. Open the vent and use a flashlight to check for any kind of debris around the area.
  2. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove dirt and junk from the tracks. Wipe down the moving parts with a clean cloth and automotive cleaning solution. 
  3. Get a soft bristle toothbrush for hard-to-reach areas. Take care of any crease or fold of the rubber portion.
  4. For lubrication, use a small amount of heavy silicone grease along the trails. The heat-resistant silicone lubricant is effective against wear on the tracks.

Reason 2: Lift Arm Malfunction

Your car’s sunroof can have an operational problem around the area of the lift arms. The guides adjacent to the arms can get stuck. Also, the sunroof cable can slide into the guides or arms.

Required Tools:

  1. Screwdriver

Solution

  1. By removing the sunroof glass, you can access the lift arms. Sunroof guides are followed by lift arms. Examine the guides to determine if they are stuck open. 
  2. Push the guides forward with a screwdriver so that the arms can completely get closed. After the lift arms are moving correctly, reposition the glass back on the track.
  3. Now, look for any slipping of the sunroof cable into the lift arm or the guides. You can access the cable by removing the J plate on the sunroof if the cable is choking the guides or lift arm.
  4. The cable must be realigned so that it does not interfere with the guides or lift arms. Inspect the lift arms to ensure that they are working accurately after replacing the J plate. 

Summary

Inspect the guides and sunroof cable to ensure lift arms don’t face obstacles while closing smoothly. 

Reason 3: Motor Issues

Another reason for a sunroof not to close all the way is related to an electrical problem. Damaged motors are often responsible for the inoperability of the sunroof. So, let’s concentrate on the next segment to solve this issue. 

Required Tools:

  1. Plastic prying tool
  2. Screwdriver
  3. 9v battery saver (optional).

Solution

  1. Stop the ignition and park your vehicle on flat, hard ground.
  2. Check the condition of the fuse to the sunroof motor switch. If you have an owner’s manual, read it to locate the proper fuse, or you can check the fuse panel cover, which has a diagram for the fuses. Then bring out the fuse with thin pliers. Look for a burned wire inside the fuse. If it is burned out, replace it with one of the spare fuses of the same rating.
  3. Considering the fuse is working, install a 9v battery saver into the cigarette lighter. If you keep the current setting of your car’s ECU. You can skip this part if you don’t have one at hand. Then remove the ground cable from the battery’s negative terminal to disable power to the motor. It is necessary as any kind of power flowing to the motor can get you electrocuted.
  4. Remove interior light from below the sunroof motor by gently prying with a plastic tool. Then open the access panel by inserting fingers through the light opening and pressing down. Remove the sunroof motor mounting screws by using a screwdriver.  
  5. Inspect for any junk or corrosion. Also, try turning the shaft on the motor manually. If it fails to turn, then the motor is jammed inside.
  6. Fixing a broken motor is a very sophisticated process. So, it’s wise to replace it with a new one. (1)

Summary:

Make sure the motor is working otherwise, replace it. 

Reason 4: Wire Problem

The sunroof won’t function properly if there is damage in the wiring. A short in the circuit can happen anytime.

Required Tools:

  1. Multimeter
  2. Prying tool
  3. Screwdriver

Solution

  • To test for continuity of power, you need to set the multimeter settings. Plug the black probe into the COM socket of the meter and the red one into the mAVQ socket. Turn the dial down to the Diode Test symbol.
  • To get access, carefully remove the light panel with a prying tool and remove the screws using a screwdriver. Then remove the electrical wire connection of the switch. Use the multimeter on the sunroof switch and wire to test if power is flowing to the switch through the wires. The connections are alright if the meter gives a reading of almost zero or no resistance.
  • High resistance reading indicates that the wires are shorted and damaged. So, they need to be replaced. Get help from an electrician if you get stuck changing them.

Summary:

Replace the damaged wires if fail to solve even after following all the steps above.

Reason 5: End of Lifespan

You will gradually notice a decrease in the sunroof’s responsiveness as it ages. Nonetheless, such breakdowns can occur at any age.

The sunroof button may not respond if you repeatedly press it randomly. Pushing on the sunroof too hard or too frequently can damage its control.

Solution

You cannot do much if your sunroof is aged much. But you can keep it clean by clearing the debris. Your cables will remain safe from being damaged. 

But it won’t serve your purpose if the age of your sunroof is beyond its lifespan (10-15 years). Depending on the type, you need to spend around $1200 to $2500 to get a new one. On the other hand, sealing the sunroof permanently can last up to 10-12 years.

Summary:

You need to replace your sunroof if it is at the end of its lifespan. 

How to Manually Close a Sunroof?

The majority of sunroofs are operated by a button. If it fails, you can manually close a sunroof to stop rain, dust, or snow from getting inside. All you need is an Allen wrench, and you’re good to go.

  1. The sunroof motor is usually located beneath the headliner of the front reading lights. Pry opened the lights assembly and set it aside. Below the headliner, you will find the sunroof motor.
  2. Put the Allen wrench in the motor slot and start rotating the bolt in the anti-clockwise direction. Keep moving it until the sunroof is completely closed.
  3. Reconnect the light assembly back to the slot of the interior compartment. (2)

How to Reset the Sunroof?

When you replace the sunroof fuse or disconnect your car’s battery, you need to reset the sunroof operation. It also resolves the malfunction of one-touch open and close operation.

  1. Keep the vehicle engine running while performing this operation. Also, keep the transmission in P (Park).
  2. Make sure the glass is completely closed. If it’s open, push the switch forward until it fully closes, and then release it.
  3. Push the button forward again and hold until the glass tilts and moves slightly, then release. 
  4. Within 3 seconds, press the switch forward one more time, and hold. The sunroof will tilt close, then slide open and close, at which point you can let go of the switch. (3)

Sunroof Repair And Fixing FAQs While Won’t Close All The Way

Do Sunroofs Have Fuses?

Sunroofs also have fuses like any other mechanical and electrical component in cars. This fuse works to protect the total system from voltage spikes. Since any fuse can blow, this particular fuse can blow as well. That directs the sunroof to get stuck.  

Are Sunroofs Expensive to Fix?

Sunroofs are really expensive to fix. Whatever problems happen to the sunroof requires a lot of money to repair. It costs around $250 to $750 to replace a manual pop-up sunroof. Labor and parts are included in this cost. The exact fee will vary based on the materials used, the roof size, and the local rates.

Do Sunroofs Require Maintenance?

Like other components, sunroofs also require maintenance on a daily basis. Keep the sunroofs clean regularly. Also, detail the sunroof once a year. Overall, make sure your sunroof is moving freely.    

Conclusion

Finally, we’ve come to the end of this discussion. Hopefully, you’ve got the solution of how to fix a sunroof that won’t close all the way

However, If the aforementioned solutions don’t help you, I advise you to take help from professionals. Safe driving!

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Gary Wright

Hi, I'm Gary Wright, an automotive industry specialist. I'm an installation, repair, and maintenance specialist of automotive sunroofs, moonroofs, and panoramic sunroofs/moonroofs.