Sunroof... a reason NOT to buy?

peterdaniel

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2008
Location
Campbell, CA
TDI
2003 Jetta GL 5 spd TDi, 2003 Jetta GLS Indigo blue 5spd wagon. 2003 Jetta GLS Candy white wagon 5 speed
I know that in a forum, there usually is the emphasis on negative experiences and I get that..

I need more.

I have a deposit on a new JSW.. yes, new. It's everything I wanted except I don't care for the sunroof. I never use them anyway yet they find their way onto every car I have had for the most part.

Now I know they have sold 10's of thousands of these sunroof models

Are they ALL bad? Will they ALL leak? Break? Break I'm not so concerned with because I rarely use it but leaking is a no no in my book...

any good experiences? and if you had a bad one, was there any mitigating circumstances?

Thanks
 

gmcjetpilot

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2008
Location
Memphis TN
TDI
2010 JSW TDI DSG Matalic Grey
I know that in a forum, there usually is the emphasis on negative experiences and I get that..
I need more.
I have a deposit on a new JSW.. yes, new. It's everything I wanted except I don't care for the sunroof. I never use them anyway yet they find their way onto every car I have had for the most part.
Now I know they have sold 10's of thousands of these sunroof models
Are they ALL bad? Will they ALL leak? Break? Break I'm not so concerned with because I rarely use it but leaking is a no no in my book...
any good experiences? and if you had a bad one, was there any mitigating circumstances?
Thanks
Sunroofs are great for all the reasons sun roofs are great. Get it.

Can they leak? Hummm you cut a big hole in the metal roof, put in glass that moves with motor and has seals made of rubber and drain tubes and .. and .. and. Don't let that stop you. It is more complex and there is more of a chance it will leak than a VW sans sunroof... obviously. However the VW sunroofs are not problematic. Read the manual, operate it and maintain it properly. Keep it clean (don't park under trees and let crap get on the glass. seals and down into the drain tubes). Don't load the roof rack (if you have one) and let weight sit on it. Do use some rubber protector and wipe them down every 6-12 months. Also I believe the mechanism needs some grease in key locations.

Not sure what sunroof you are getting. The Panoramic was more likely (likely not necessarily chronic or problematic) to leak because it was so large and had more seals. The small sunroofs, one pane are very reliable regardless of automaker brand. I had sunroofs on both my Acura Legends, 1988 and 1992. Drove them both over 200K, going strong when I sold them (would have kept them if I had a large garage). Those sunroofs never leaked or failed to work. VW roofs are not fail-o-matics. However some have reported their VW leaked. Many report no prob-blame-O.

The only other CON is cost and weight. I found I did not use the sun-roof as much as I thought. In summer I have AC going and would pull the interior cover to keep the light and heat out. In winter... well it is not something I miss with the VW JSW I have now. However beautiful weather, driving at moderate speeds, in scenic area, they are awesome. Enjoy, drive more, worry less... if it breaks nothing $$$$ can't fix... :rolleyes:
 
Last edited:

ZippyNH

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2015
Location
Southern NH
TDI
2015 JETTA TDI SE
One real though...
Isn't thinking about it a moot point?
Most trims come with a sunroof....think a "s" trim skips it....
So unless you want a pretty basic car, you will get one.
Yes ..they can be nice to help get hot air out after being parked....
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
You're in California, so leaking is probably less of an issue than sun. Does the JSW have an opaque shade for the sunroof? I know the new GSW doesn't. If it doesn't, you may find it heats the car up more than a non-sunroof car. A friend of mine in San Diego was concerned about this and the dealer suggested he get a dark tint for the glass to keep the sun out.

I hate sunroofs, avoid them whenever I can. My '15 GSW doesn't have one, and yes, it's an S. Isn't missing any features I care about. And my Jetta Wagon and '99.5 Golf are both sunroof free.
 

Ol'Rattler

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 3, 2007
Location
PNA
TDI
2006 BRM Jetta
Avoid the Pano sunroof like the plaque. They are prone to leaks and malfunctions and they can cost thousands to fix when they fail.

A guy posted here that he had high hopes that the dealer could get his malfunctioning Pano closed so that he could take the fuse out and never open it again. I guess the thought of spending $3000 or so to have it fixed wasn't in his budget.

The small sunroof in my sedan has been problem free.
 

JSWTDI09

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jan 31, 2009
Location
Las Vegas, Nevada
TDI
2009 JSW TDI (gone but not forgotten)
Avoid the Pano sunroof like the plaque. They are prone to leaks and malfunctions and they can cost thousands to fix when they fail.

...snip...

The small sunroof in my sedan has been problem free.
To be fair, my pano sunroof has also been trouble free for 8.5 years. There is no doubt that the pano sunroof can fail and it can be expensive to fix if/when it does mess up. Anything that adds complexity to a system creates more possible ways for failures to occur. The pano roof adds complexity but it also adds other things that many consider valuable. Most factory sunroofs are pretty reliable but you should keep them greased and keep the drain lines clear.

If they do not fail, they are great. If they do fail they are a PITA. The choice is yours.

Have Fun!

Don
 

jekl843

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Location
CT
TDI
2011 Golf TDI (sold), 2002 Jetta TDI 5spd, 2017 GTI SE 6spd
MY company owns a 2010 Jetta Sportwagen TDI with the large sunroof. For the first 100K, it was a salesperson car and they used it frequently. The past 80K it has been a work vehicle for the crew and goes through its fair share of abuse. Very little to no maintenance in the sun roof and it still functions as it should with no leaks. Granted, there were no roof racks or heavy loads on the roof.

The pano roof in my 2011 Golf TDI got some use in its 130K before turnin, very reliable but irrelevant to this thread.

I have a sunroof on my new 2017 GTI, but haven't found myself using it much. I still like having the option for those nice road trips!
 

KITEWAGON

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2009
Location
Seacoast, NH
TDI
2014 Touareg Exec, 2014 JSW
The giant sunroof on our Touareg has been fine. We skipped it on the JSW because of $ and fear that it would break. Now that we have kids I think that I'd opt for it just to give my rear seat passengers a better view. It is fun that kids in rear facing car seats can still look up at the sky.

I think of the pano roof as more of a roof skylight than a sunroof. It is quite a process when the roof lifts up and slides back. It makes me nervous and I never use it.

The Touareg roof has a really nice sun shade. The JSW has a shade as well, but I think its a bit cheesier and doesn't look as good when closed.

The sunroof on my 2003 wagon hasn't leaked. Never had an issue with older volvos before that.
 

MichaelB

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2009
Location
SE Wisconsin
TDI
2014 Passat SE DSG
Avoid the Pano sunroof like the plaque. They are prone to leaks and malfunctions and they can cost thousands to fix when they fail.
Please report your personal experiences with a Pano sunroof other wise you are just passing along hearsay
 

lilpig88

Active member
Joined
Nov 5, 2011
Location
Montana
TDI
1985 1.6td, 2004 PD, 2011 JSW 6mt
I'll chime in to say that while the pano roof seems to give some expensive fixes, mine works well, doesn't leak and the little ones do enjoy the view of clouds. I'm approaching 200k miles and even after an accident (side swiped - now salvage titled) the pano roof is still okay.
 

Ol'Rattler

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 3, 2007
Location
PNA
TDI
2006 BRM Jetta
I guess I'l never get that chance to experience a Pano roof first hand. That would require actually owning one of those engineering fails.

All I have is the experiences reported by other members. Oh, I never had first hand experience with the Holocaust or Hiroshima either but I'm pretty sure they did happen...........
 

MichaelB

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2009
Location
SE Wisconsin
TDI
2014 Passat SE DSG
All I have is the experiences reported by other members. Oh, I never had first hand experience with the Holocaust or Hiroshima either but I'm pretty sure they did happen...........
I'm sure there are many engineering failures of VW autos posted here. Did that make you not want to own the car that you currently do? Even though you did not experience them personally? I'm pretty sure those things did happen too.
 
Last edited:

KrisA

Active member
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Location
Regina, SK
TDI
2010 Golf SportWagen
7.5 years later I'm still loving my pano and it hasn't had a single issue. Though to be fair, the whole car has also been faultless. :D

My wife's 2015 Golf hatch doesn't have a sunroof and I miss it every time I'm in her car.
 

AlcoC420

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Location
Southeast U.S.
TDI
.
Although the Golf sunroof is smaller than the GSW's and may not have anything in common, part way through December 2016, VW either changed Golf sunroof manufacturers or re-engineered the design to eliminate squeaks and leaks. It may be too early to tell, but the change seems to have corrected the problems.

We replaced our '10 JSW TDI with a Golf Wolfsburg built in April 2017 and <knocking on wood for continued luck> our sunroof has been excellent in all regards.
 

Ol'Rattler

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 3, 2007
Location
PNA
TDI
2006 BRM Jetta
I'm sure there are many engineering failures of VW autos posted here. Did that make you not want to own the car that you currently do? Even though you did not experience them personally? I'm pretty sure those things did happen too.
The craptastic DMF and the weak cam are 2 that come to mind, but at least those 2 items don't cost thousand of dollars to fix.

I'm pretty sure if I did get a JSW with a Pano it would never fail just to spite me.:rolleyes:

And I didn't mean not owning the car, just not owning the car if it has a pano. Such a worthless option (IMHO) that has bitten a few members really hard in the wallet when they do fail.
 

TRAMPLINEMAN

Active member
Joined
Feb 12, 2012
Location
Midwest
TDI
JSW
Our '12 JSW had the pano and we loved it. Had the car for almost 5ish years and 140K miles. We used the pano a lot and never had one problem. Our '17 Jetta has a sunroof also. I've had the car for two months and have put 20K miles on it using the sunroof almost every day, no problems yet.
 

peterdaniel

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2008
Location
Campbell, CA
TDI
2003 Jetta GL 5 spd TDi, 2003 Jetta GLS Indigo blue 5spd wagon. 2003 Jetta GLS Candy white wagon 5 speed
Ok this is all great so what is the problem with the panonroof?

What is causing all these problems?
 

MichaelB

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2009
Location
SE Wisconsin
TDI
2014 Passat SE DSG
Ok this is all great so what is the problem with the panonroof?

What is causing all these problems?
Well, you asked about problems. If you asked about other problems with a JSW not just the roof you would probably get the same response some had problems and some did not The less extra goodies you have on your car the less chance there is something to go wrong. If you want your roof to be problem free don't buy a car with a Pano roof, what is not there can't be a problem.
 
Last edited:

LaTuFu

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 28, 2014
Location
Virginia
TDI
2010 JSW, 2005 Passat Wagon BHW
I rarely, if ever, use mine and it has been the only source of frustration I've had with my 2010 JSW TDI. Bought the car used with 60k miles on it. One owner garage kept, dealer maintained until the warranty ran out, then they traded it in on another one.

All I've had to do to the car over the last 65k miles is change the oil and put a set of tires on it.

Except the sunroof. It started leaking down into the floorboards about 2 years ago. Took it in to the dealer for routine service and had them take a look. "Clogged drains" was the response. Fortunately I had just received the VW goodwill gift cards from the TDI scandal, so there was no out of pocket loss.

About 6 months ago, noticed a mildew smell coming from the cargo area. Opened up the spare tire compartment and found 3 inches of water in the bottom. C pillars were soaked. $700 and a day in the dealership later, they replaced the drain tubes.

If I had my preference, I would not have a sunroof. I rarely ever open mine.

I would have gotten one without a sunroof if I had the choice, but I wanted the 6MT and rolled the dice on the sunroof.
 

jesssssser

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2016
Location
Buffalo
TDI
2010 Jetta Sportwagen ~118K
My '10 JSW pano-sunroof has been trouble free. It gets used a few times a month. I like it because it gives the little ones in the back a bit more of a view.

Having them watch the sky makes me feel better than having them occupied by a DVD player.
 

respond2us

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2004
Location
Tulsa, Oklahoma
TDI
Jetta, 99.5, Custom - Funky Green. 99 NB TDI, 06 Jetta TDI
Literally use my pano sunroof every day it's not raining. Even when it's 100 degrees in Tulsa, the sunroof is open and both drivers side windows are down. Just feels right to me. When I was shopping for my car, the pano was a MUST have because I just love a sunroof. Wouldn't have bought a car without one. But everyone's personal opinions will differ. I've had no problems, and even the problems I've heard of (that cost THOUSANDS :rolleyes:) can be DIY fixed at home for way less. Hell, everything costs thousands if the stealership is doing it. :)
My wife uses hers constantly also on her JSW. Both of them trouble free so far.
 

Ol'Rattler

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 3, 2007
Location
PNA
TDI
2006 BRM Jetta
Sure you can save a crap ton of money by not going to the dealer. A dealer is always the most expensive option. Even at a car upholstery place, Pano repairs can get expensive.

If your problem is serious there isn't much that the average DIY guy would attempt to handle. Lube the tracks, replace the motor and unclog the drains is about all you can do without removing the pillar covers and head liner. Which is kind of a night mere job to do. DIY? For most people, probably not.
 

respond2us

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2004
Location
Tulsa, Oklahoma
TDI
Jetta, 99.5, Custom - Funky Green. 99 NB TDI, 06 Jetta TDI
Well, it's up to each person, obviously, to decide what their definition of "DIY" is. But I would imagine that the really serious issues are of the minority. Most of them are leaks or whatever. Silly junk that can be fixed at home.
 

crashtested

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2010
Location
Nelson, BC
TDI
2014 GSW Trendline 6MT, 2004 Jetta GLS 5MT (sold), 2010 GSW Highline 6MT (buy back)
7yrs, 196k km's and the only issue was it wouldn't close while in motion one HOT summers day a few yrs back.

It goes back to the VW/dealer tomorrow...
 

peterdaniel

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2008
Location
Campbell, CA
TDI
2003 Jetta GL 5 spd TDi, 2003 Jetta GLS Indigo blue 5spd wagon. 2003 Jetta GLS Candy white wagon 5 speed
I always find these discussions fascinating and I thank everyone for their responses. I have had many MANY cars with sunroofs and the ONLY one I ever had an issue with was a Mercedes e320 CDI with you guessed it, a pano. It leaked. I dont care if they dont open because I never use mine and I agree, its a useless option. I would be very happy with large single sliding one.. Never understood why VW didnt go that route.
 

Wilkins

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2005
Location
British Columbia
TDI
05 Jetta Wagon 5sp, 10 Sportwagen 6MT
Both my Mk IV and MK VI have sunroofs. Without hesitation I would buy another MKIV w sunroof, if I could buy a new MKIV I would order a sunroof. Troublefree and sometimes useful, nice to have, no downside.
The MKVI sunroof has also been troublefree but has no real advantage over the smaller MKIV. Accumulation of leaves,needles on the screen is a minor gripe, as are overly complicated controls. The only issue I have had is lately it creaks annoyingly on rougher roads, but maybe it is telling me it is time for lubrication.
 

ezshift5

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2003
Location
West Coast
TDI
2013 JSW TDI (Enroute BB).......2017 Jetta 1.4 turbo 5M ....................
The sunroof is really an individual choice (duh!) - with several layers of wisdom potential.

Leaks, impaired operation, component weight, appearance - all viable factors - with differing folks..............

Within this thread there are great - if disparate - views.

Of the 27 or so responses, whoever used the "something else to break" approach (or equivalent) gets my vote.


ez (JSW TDI 6M - sans sunroof)

Another Teutonic car (coupe) w/pano...................
 

andykurz

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 9, 2013
Location
Lansdowne, PA (Phila)
TDI
shopping
It is so easy to fix the drains yourself if you have even one iota of mechanical skill. You just drop the headliner a bit and add a ziptie and some sealant. If you take all of your problems to the dealer, then yes, it would be expensive. Absolutely not a reason to avoid the car.

All else equal, if you don't want a sunroof, fine, don't get one. It is a simpler car without one. But it is a nice option.
 
Top