There are many small pleasures in life, like taking a drive on a sunny day. If your car has a sunroof or moonroof, it makes the whole experience even better. But what’s the difference between them, and what are the other kinds of roofs? First, let’s talk about the different kinds of car roofs.
Types of car roofs
One of the best things about cars is how many different and interesting options you have, like what kind of roof you can get. Here’s a quick look at some of the most common styles:
Solid or hardtop: This is the fixed, solid metal roof that you see on most cars. It is often called a “hardtop,” and it is usually the default roof option.
Convertible: Sometimes called a “cabriolet,” a convertible lets the driver choose to drive without a roof. The roofs of these cars either come off completely or can be put away. Convertibles can also be broken down into two main groups:
Hardtop: Soft-top convertibles have roofs made of a flexible, waterproof material like vinyl or canvas wrapped around a frame that can be folded.
Hardtop: Unlike a standard roof, a hardtop convertible has a solid-panel roof that is made up of more than one piece. On older models, these parts were usually taken off and put away by hand. Panels on newer cars automatically fold back and put themselves away.
This type of roof is somewhere between a solid roof and a convertible roof, as the name suggests. One popular type is the T-top, which has removable side panels and a fixed roof bar in the middle. You may have also seen some sports cars with a different kind of roof that has an open middle while the back windshield stays in place.
Sunroofs and moonroofs are both roof panels that open to let in more light and air. Even though the names sound like night and day, there isn’t much difference between the two. But there are some differences between the two.
What is a car sunroof?
A sunroof is a clear roof panel that you can open to let in more air and light inside the car. Usually, it is made of metal to match the rest of the car’s outside.
What is a car moonroof?
A moonroof is a type of sunroof that has a clear (often tinted) glass panel instead of a metal one. Inside, there is usually a sliding shade panel that you can open or close to let in as much or as little light as you want. The glass panel can also open to letting in more fresh air, though the way it opens and how much it opens varies from model to model.
What’s the difference between a moonroof and a sunroof?
As we said above, the biggest difference between these two types of car roofs is that a sunroof is opaque and a moonroof is clear. There are also some differences in how they are made.
Sunroofs are more “all or nothing”: When it is open, it lets in more air and light. When it’s closed, you won’t get any more air or light than you would from your regular windows. There’s no middle ground. A moonroof gives you that extra step in the middle. If you want to enjoy a sunny day without letting the wind mess up your hair, for example, you can open the inner shade and keep the outer glass panel closed.
A sunroof is more like a door, while a moonroof is more like a window. Both let in more light and air, but only one lets you look out without letting the outside in.
Maintenance and upkeep
It may be best to enjoy the finer things in life in a responsible way, and the same is true for roof types. Sun and moon roofs need a little more care than a hardtop because they have more places where the weather can get in.
The sliding and opening parts of these roofs may need to be cleaned and oiled from time to time to keep working well, and any electronic parts will probably need to be serviced. You can look at the manufacturer’s instructions to find out what kind of maintenance they suggest.
Adding regular cleaning and polishing of the car’s windows to your list of things to do to keep your car in good shape could also be a good idea. What good is that extra window if you can’t see out of it? Sunroofs and moonroofs can also leak, especially if they are old or don’t close properly. If that happens, a specialist in repairs might be able to help.
Even though they are technically different, many drivers use the terms “sunroof” and “moonroof” interchangeably. But the easiest way to remember the difference between a sunroof and a moonroof is that sunroofs are opaque and moonroofs are clear.