Useful Car Tips

Sun Roof or Moon Roof: Which One Do You Have?

August 02, 2018
In a world of multiple languages, there are a variety of terms for the same object. Some of them mean the exact same thing, while others vary slightly in connotation or specification. The difference between a sun roof and a moon roof is just one example. Do you know the difference? If you can’t confidently distinguish between a sun roof and a moon roof, that’s okay! We’ll take a closer look at the various minute differences that separate the two, and by the end, you’ll be able to identify each type and learn some history on the matter as well.

Sun Roof

The best way to think about a sun roof is to picture a rectangular hole in your car’s roof that sits just inches behind the top part of your windshield and is often filled by a body-colored panel. Most often you’ve probably seen movies where newly-wed couples poke their heads out of a limousine’s sun roof, cheering and waving in celebration. That’s the anatomy of a sun roof in a nut shell. What you may not know is that what’s technically considered a sun roof has long given way to the moon roof. A sun roof is opaque and describes the rectangular metal panel that moves out of the way so that occupants can gain access to the outside of the car. Not a lot of newer model cars are equipped with such roofs. The idea behind this concept was to allow air to flow out of the vehicle, much like a convertible, but still be able to then close that panel whenever necessary. Owners could have a convertible-like feature when they wanted, but didn’t have to commit to a buying a convertible car entirely.

Moon Roof

The term “moon roof” was actually introduced in the 1970sand distinguishes itself from the sun roof in that it features a glass panel instead of solid metal. Most newer car models come equipped with a moon roof. In fact, certain higher-priced SUVs have what’s called “panoramic” moon roofs, which nearly stretch the length of the vehicle and allow full view out the top. However, only the panel above the driver and front passenger tilts and/or opens. In fact, some moon roofs do not open completely, and only tilt open. With this type of moon roof, you won’t be able to pop out of the top of the car, but the tilting option does allow (hot) air to escape from the cabin and cooler air to rush in, especially if you are moving at a high rate of speed. Even though a moon roof is comprised of glass and lets sunlight in, most moon roofs are tintedto prevent sunburn and damage to the vehicle’s interior components. Some moon roofs might even have a cover that slides directly beneath the moon roof to either block the light from coming in—and others seeing into the interior of your car—or to allow it to shine freely. There you have it! Sun roofs have given way to moon roofs, so chances are if you use the term “moon roof” on a newer vehicle, you’re probably technically correct. Either way, we won’t judge you!
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