How to Remove a Sunroof


If your old sunroof needs replacing, or if you're just tired of the sunroof and wish to install a metal replacement cap, you'll need to remove the sunroof before you can begin your work. With careful attention to the details, anyone can remove a sunroof easily without damaging the roof, headliner or upholstery of their car.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdrivers
  • Gloves
  • Allen wrench
  • Silicone sealant remover
  • Towel or rag
  • Chisel or dowel
  • Hammer or mallet
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Razor blade (optional)
  • Disconnect any electronic motors for the sunroof. You may want to completely disconnect the battery of the car to make sure no one gets hurt and none of your electrical system is damaged in this process.

  • Unscrew any clamps or hinges that are retaining or locking the glass.

  • Roll the glass backwards and lift out from the top of the car if you are trying to remove a spoiler style sunroof. Simply lift out the glass if you are taking out a pop up sunroof. For a panoramic sunroof, carefully slide the glass forward and disengage it from the tracks.

  • Pull off any edge trim from the inside of the frame.

  • Pop the inner ring of the frame that holds the headliner in place.

  • Unscrew the cam bolts or screws from the frame. In a panoramic or folding sunroof, there will likely be about six screws on either side, while in smaller pop up or spoiler type sunroofs there will be about three cam bolts whose heads can be found just inside the frame surface and may need an Allen wrench to remove.

  • Unscrew and remove the wind deflector if one is installed on the top of your sunroof.

  • Apply a silicone sealant remover to the frame edges to loosen the frame from the car. Allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes.

  • Use a towel-wrapped chisel or dowel and a hammer or mallet to gently pry the frame from the car. If the frame does not come off easily, or at all, allow the sealant remover more time to work.

  • Pop the outer frame out of the hole and off the car.

  • Clean up any silicone residue left behind with rubbing alcohol and a course rag. If you do not need to preserve your paint job around the sealant, you can use a razor blade to scrape the remainder off. This may take quite a bit of elbow grease, since silicone is not designed to come off easily.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be very gentle when removing the headliner from the frame of the sunroof. It's possible that some of the fabric may have gotten caught in the sealant, or that the sealant dripped down to glue the headliner to the frame. This material is notoriously fragile, and one wrong tug will cause it to rip or tear and possible even run seam all the way down your car's interior roof.
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