If you don’t like the rush of wind of convertibles but still want to feel the sun on your skin and the breeze running through your hair, a car with a sunroof is the next best thing. You don’t even have to change vehicles.
Sunroofs can be fitted on almost any new or old car. This upgrade comes at a cost, though.
The average cost of installing a sunroof on a car that doesn’t have one varies from $699 to $2,299 for aftermarket parts and labor. DIY installation costs between $315 and $430 on average, for a simple pop-up sunroof. Factory-installed sunroofs are typically the cheapest option, but only if ordered as an option when purchasing a new vehicle.
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How Much Does It Cost To Install A Sunroof?
Sunroofs come as premium add-ons for some make and models, or you could opt for an aftermarket installation.
A factory-installed sunroof is the best choice if you’re buying a new car.
Automakers build specific roof frames and use laminated glass to reduce the risk of exploding sunroofs. Prices vary from brand to brand, but you can expect to pay around $1,000 and $1,500 on average. A factory-installed sunroof for a Toyota RAV4 costs about $1,200, for instance.
An aftermarket sunroof for the same make and model costs between $1,510 – $2,200 on average.
The higher costs are explained by the structural changes that the mechanics have to make to the roof – they must cut the roof, install rails and latches, then fit the glass, metal, or fabric panel depending on the type of sunroof you want to install.
Another factor affecting the quote is the type of auto shop.
Dealership auto shops generally don’t install sunroofs on cars that weren’t fitted with one in the first place or models that don’t come with a sunroof as an add-on.
Some independent garages may order and install OEM sunroofs while others use compatible parts. This also has an impact on the price.
The table below compares the average prices for aftermarket sunroof installation on various vehicles*:
|Vehicle Make & Model||Aftermarket Sunroof Installation (Parts + Labor)|
|Dodge Charger||$1,295 - $1,995|
|Honda City||$700 - $1,200|
|Jeep Grand Cherokee||$1,300 - $1,510|
|Ford F-150||$1,280 - $2,120|
|Toyota Corolla||$1,350 - $1,600|
|Toyota RAV4||$1,510 - $2,200|
|RAM 1500||$1,200 - $1,375|
|Audi A8||$2,510 - $2,545|
|BMW 650i||$1,473 - $1,501|
|Honda Pilot||$1,221 - $1,370|
*Average prices in the table were calculated based on quotes received from independent auto shops. Costs do not include tax and are correct as of October 2022. Actual prices can vary based on your actual make and model, the type of sunroof, and your location. The table is intended to use as a reference only.
6 Sunroof Installation Price Factors
Whether you want to fit a sunroof on a car that doesn’t have one or replace a broken sunroof is one of the major factors that affect installation costs. The type of sunroof, vehicle type, and your location are other important factors.
If you have to replace a broken sunroof, additional repairs may also drive costs up.
The table below shows a breakdown of various sunroof installation costs*:
|Parts||$350 - $5,245|
|Labor||$270 - $3,600|
|Additional repairs||$0 - $1,200|
|Total costs||$620 - $10,045|
*Median costs in the table were calculated based on aftermarket and OEM part prices, average labor time quoted by independent auto shops, and additional repairs that might be required when replacing an existing sunroof. Costs are correct as of October 2022, but they can change based on your location. The table is intended to use as a reference only.
1. Installation Type (New Vs. Replacement)
Researching costs of sunroof installation is typically done before installing a new sunroof on a car that doesn’t have one.
However, you may also wonder how much the installation costs if your original sunroof shattered or is otherwise broken.
New Sunroof Installation
Installing a new sunroof on a car that doesn’t have one is the most expensive option.
Average costs vary from $699 to $2,299 depending on the sunroof type and brand, but you could spend a lot more if installing OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts.
For instance, installing a generic sunroof on a Honda costs between $700 and $1,370 on average, including parts and labor.
If opting for OEM parts, the sunroof frame alone can cost between $265 and $647, the price varying from used to new parts. A new genuine Honda glass panel can cost up to $534, while a motor assembly can set you back another $308.
This would bring costs up to $1,489 for parts alone. Modifying a car’s roof and installing the panel can take anywhere from a few hours to several days, so you might spend another $540 to $3,600 for labor.
Similarly, a genuine Ford sunroof frame for a F-150 truck costs around $5,245, excluding the glass panel and additional parts. Installing a genuine sunroof on the truck could cost you over $9,000.
Installing a genuine part could become ridiculously expensive, which is why most shops install aftermarket sunroofs only.
Things are different if you opt for a factory-installed sunroof on a new car. In this case, the automaker builds the car’s roof specifically for sunroof installation and fits the parts at a much lower cost.
An example is the Toyota RAV4. A sunroof adds around $1,200 to the total car cost when customizing the vehicle before purchase.
Bought separately, the complete sunroof (frame + glass + molding) costs around $1,935, and you also have to pay for labor.
Replacing a sunroof is much more straightforward than installing a new part on a car originally built without one.
The costs in this case are influenced by the damage extensiveness.
Weather seals, for instance, can be as cheap as $10 to $20. Replacing them doesn’t take more than half an hour, the entire job costing between $55 and $95.
Replacing the glass panel costs $250 to $750 on average, even though some sunroofs are much more expensive – prices can go up to $1,200 for the pane alone in some cases.
The table below compares the average sunroof replacement prices*:
|Part||Average Cost Range|
|Full sunroof kit||$1,180 - $3,591|
|Sunroof weather seals||$30 - $55|
|Sunroof frame||$589 - $1,015|
|Sunroof panel (glass)||$129 - $650|
|Control module||$135 - $498|
|Sunroof switch||$58 - $149|
|Sunroof motor||$256 - $617|
*Prices in the table are calculated based on aftermarket quotes for various car makes and models. They are correct as of October 2022 but intended to use as reference only. Actual prices can vary based on your vehicle type, type of sunroof, the type of parts (aftermarket, OEM, used), and where you buy the parts from.
As the table shows, the parts to repair your sunroof cost between $30 and $3,591 on average. To these prices, you must add labor costs.
Depending on the damage extensiveness repairing or replacing a sunroof can take anywhere between 30 minutes and 4 hours.
Average labor costs vary from $90 and $150 on average, based on location. Thus, you could pay between $45 and $600 for labor alone.
2. Type Of Shop
Whether you want to install a new sunroof or replace a broken one, the auto shop you choose also influences the price.
There are basically two choices: independent mechanic or dealership.
Independent mechanics typically charge lower rates and often agree to install aftermarket or used parts. Some may even work with salvage yards or know where to buy used parts to get better deals.
Dealerships are the best option if you have to repair or replace a sunroof on a car that is still under warranty. However, replacing a sunroof at a dealership can be much more expensive than doing it at an independent shop, if you have to pay for it.
For one, dealerships only replace broken parts with genuine ones. Needless to say, these parts are generally more expensive than used or aftermarket options.
Dealerships also invest in training, mechanics working in dealership shops being highly specialized in servicing vehicle models from that specific make. This ensures expertise, but expertise comes at higher costs.
To put things into perspective, independent mechanics charge between $90 and $150 per hour on average. Dealership mechanics have higher hourly rates ranging between $110 and $210, with an average of $160 per hour.
3. Sunroof Type
There are five main sunroof types, and the type you choose can impact costs.
The table below compares the average installation costs of various sunroof types*:
|Sunroof Type||Average Installation Cost|
*Average prices were calculated based on baseline parts and installation prices for Webasto sunroofs installed by an authorized brand dealer. Costs are correct as of October 2022 and intended to use as a reference only. Prices may vary for other brands.
Please note that the aftermarket rooftop provider choice was random. We do not promote or endorse the company or any of its products.
Pop-up sunroofs are the most basic version of this feature. Originally, they consisted of a metal or opaque glass panel fitted above the front seats of the car.
As its name suggests, this panel pops up to allow light and fresh air into the cabin.
In some models, the pop-up sunroof can be completely removed to increase the amount of air getting into the car. In others, only the rear side of the panel pops up, the front remaining latched to the frame.
Initially, pop-up sunroofs were manually operated, and the manual variant is currently the cheapest sunroof type you can install.
A pop-up sunroof variant is the pop-up moonroof.
The original difference between these two features was that moonroofs were made of transparent or translucent glass, allowing light to get into the cabin even with the moonroof closed.
As explained, sunroofs were opaque or made of metal, blocking the light when closed.
Today, the terms moonroof and sunroof are mostly used interchangeably, but you can still find metal or opaque glass panels on the market. Electric pop-up sunroofs are also an option nowadays.
Manual pop-up sunroofs are typically installed within the same day and cost $515 to install (parts + labor) on average.
A spoiler sunroof is a motorized sunroof style that tilts and slides towards the rear of the vehicle, enhancing headspace when open.
You can also pop up only the rear half of this panel to allow air in, mimicking the effect of a partly open pop-up sunroof.
Spoiler sunroofs are one of the most popular factory-installed options.
An aftermarket installation is more expensive compared to a pop-up version, but still affordable compared to other sunroof types.
You can expect to pay around $810 on average. Installation times range from 24 to 48 hours, including a 12-hour seal drying process.
Like pop-up sunroofs, most spoiler sunroofs nowadays are actually transparent glass moonroofs. Opaque glass or metal panels are also available as aftermarket options, but they are not as popular as transparent panels.
Inbuilt sunroofs are a sought-after factory add-on. Their greatest advantage is the improved aesthetic compared to the pop-up and spoiler types.
These sunroofs usually cover the front side of the car, above the front seats. However, they can sometimes be larger and stretch towards the rear.
The back side of the panel maintains the same characteristic of pop-up and spoiler sunroofs, enabling you to tilt it open for a rush of fresh air.
However, the panel slides between the rigid roof of the car and the interior upholstery when fully open.
This design reduces the sunroof’s impact on the car’s aerodynamics when fully closed or fully open, enabling the driver to keep the sunroof open at high speeds.
Inside sliding sunroofs have more parts and are more complicated to install than spoiler sunroofs. However, the labor time is similar – you can expect to have the part fitted in about two days.
Installing an inbuilt sunroof costs around $1,068 on average.
Very popular in Europe – they’re a common feature of Italy’s iconic Fiat 500, for instance – fabric rooftops have made their way to the American market.
The main advantage is the extensiveness of the rooftop. They replace most of the car’s rigid roof and fold back to let the air and light inside the cabin.
A frame enables the driver to fold the rooftop completely or only partly, depending on the amount of breeze you want to feel.
When folded completely, the vehicle feels more like a convertible than a car with a sunroof.
The main disadvantage of this sunroof type is its low popularity in the States. Replacement and maintenance can become tricky if the mechanic doesn’t have experience in servicing them.
Fabric is also more vulnerable to elements than glass or metal. It can degrade quickly and start to leak when it rains.
Despite these downsides, the material can last for years if maintained properly. Installing such a sunroof is more expensive, though, with an average cost of $1,620. Installation is usually completed in 48 to 72 hours.
Panoramic sunroofs are essentially glass moonroofs that cover the front and rear side of the cabin.
They enable all car occupants to have a clear view of the sky while also flooding the cabin with natural light – options vary from clear to tinted glass.
There are various types of panoramic sunroofs, costs differing from one type to the other.
The simplest and cheapest to install is a fixed panoramic sunroof. This is a large glass panel mounted on a frame and that covers the entire cabin area.
The roof doesn’t pop open, but it enhances the amount of light in the car and allows passengers to admire the sky.
A semi-fixed panoramic rooftop consists of a fixed panel over the rear side of the cabin and a spoiler-style panel at the front.
The entire rooftop works like a top slide sunroof, with only the front side opening.
Another variant consists of two spoiler-style panels installed at the front and rear of the cabin. Both panels open and slide over the roof, allowing for more headroom.
However, the middle portion of the roof (the area between the panels) is a rigid top – some manufacturers replace it with a fixed glass pane.
Panoramic car roofs are the most expensive to install, especially those with two sliders. However, the difference is minimal compared to rag tops. A panoramic sunroof costs $1,694 on average, and installation taking around three days.
Where you live doesn’t affect the cost of a sunroof, but it does have an impact on labor costs.
As mentioned, independent mechanics charge $120 per hour on average, with a range between $90 and $150.
However, the average rates can be higher, depending on where you live.
Some of the states with the highest auto repair rates include Mississippi ($151.67), Montana ($147.28), Louisiana ($149.34), Nevada ($138.58), and Arkansas ($148.10).
5. Labor Time
Together with your location, the labor time impacts the labor cost.
When searching how long it takes to install a sunroof on your browser’s search bar, most results tell you that it takes under two hours (typically between 60 and 90 minutes).
However, that timeframe is only correct if you’re replacing a broken glass pane with another one.
Replacing an entire sunroof typically requires a few more hours – about four on average, but sometimes more depending on how skilled the mechanic is.
Installing a new sunroof from scratch can be done in under eight hours, but only if it’s a simple, manual pop-up style.
Installing such a sunroof is relatively straightforward, as the mechanic only has to cut a hole in the roof, install the frame, and then push the panel into its place.
Things get complicated for all other sunroof types.
Spoiler, inbuilt, rag top, and panoramic – the kind that slide open – sunroofs are all motorized.
Installing the motor, switch, and controller often requires the mechanic to remove the interior upholstery on the car’s frame and wire the sunroof into the main board control panel.
Then, they must cut the roof and install the actual sunroof.
Depending on the sunroof type, this could take anywhere from one to three full days of work – which can bring labor costs alone to over $3,600.
6. Vehicle Type
Another factor that affects sunroof installation costs is the type of vehicle you want to customize.
Aftermarket options are compatible with most car and truck types. However, if you have a vehicle that is longer than average and you want to install a panoramic sunroof, a generic aftermarket option could not fit properly.
In this case, you would have to buy a genuine part (if available) or one manufactured for your specific make and model, driving costs up.
The vehicle type can also influence replacement costs. There aren’t crucial price differences between panels from different automakers. However, the cost of replacing electric components varies widely.
The table below compares the costs of replacing a sunroof motor in different car models*:
|Car Make & Model||Sunroof Motor Replacement Cost (Parts + Labor)|
|RAM 1500||$492 - $530|
|Honda Accord||$476 - $539|
|BMW 535i||$1,407 - $1,459|
|Mercedes-Benz GLK||$967 - $1,045|
|Audi A8||$460 - $480|
*Average prices in the table were calculated based on quotes from independent auto shops and are correct as of October 2022. This table is intended to use as a reference only – actual prices can vary based on your location and shop type.
7. Additional Repairs
When installing a sunroof, whether it is a new one or a replacement, the mechanic could identify parts that don’t function correctly.
For instance, when wiring the sunroof, they could detect other loose wires or problems with the upholstery.
When replacing a sunroof pane, they could find issues with the weather seal or the motorized parts that need addressing.
Additional repairs, when needed, can go up to $1,200 on average.
Is Installing A Sunroof Worth It?
Installing a sunroof comes with pros and cons.
Before making a decision, weigh them down and see if installing a sunroof is worth it for you.
- Aesthetic appeal boost: Sunroofs might not be the most functional feature of a car, but they are aesthetically pleasing. They improve the looks of your car both inside and outside, increasing the value of your car.
- Sightseeing: Being able to admire the sky while sitting in a car’s passenger seat or rear bench is quite remarkable.
- Improved airflow: On warm days, opening the sunroof instead of the window can improve airflow without the drawbacks of wind rushing into the cabin from your side.
- More light inside the cabin: While this is only a pro for glass sunroofs, a transparent or translucent pane over your head increases the amount of light in the cabin. Though it could be an advantage if you live in a forested area, keep in mind that a transparent panel over your head could increase sun exposure in the hot months.
- Improved cell reception: This is not the most obvious advantage of a sunroof. However, if you live in an area with patchy reception – or drive through such an area commonly – know that less metal and more glass over your head could improve cell reception in your car.
- Reduced interior space: With few exceptions – such as the rag top – a sunroof actually reduces the interior space of your car. This could be an issue for taller people who need more headroom to sit comfortably.
- Excess weight: A sunroof can add up to 200 pounds to the top of the car, adding extra pressure and strain to the vehicle’s frame. A factory-installed sunroof adds weight too, but in this case the automaker adjusts the weight distribution to prevent strain.
- Reduced aerodynamics: Car roofs are designed to allow for laminar aerodynamics, which is reduced when cutting a hole in it. Due to the ridge between the panel and the car roof, sunroofs also make the car noisier. Again, things differ for factory-installed sunroofs which are flush with the rest of the roof and have no negative impact on aerodynamics.
- Reduced fuel mileage: Excess weight and reduced aerodynamics impact a car’s performance, reducing the fuel mileage.
- Higher maintenance and repair costs: Sunroofs are commonly made of glass and can shatter. Leaks are also common once the weather seal is worn out.
- Higher insurance rates: Since a sunroof can increase the value of a car, it also increases insurance rates. However, the policy might still not cover it.
Does Car Insurance Cover Sunroof Leaks?
Insurance typically covers factory-installed sunroofs, but this feature will increase insurance premiums.
Aftermarket sunroofs are typically not covered by insurance, especially when installed on cars that weren’t designed to support a sunroof (models for which the automaker doesn’t offer a sunroof option).
However, its installation could still impact the insurance cost.
An exception could be a comprehensive insurance that typically covers all glass on a car, including windshields, side windows, and sunroof.
However, whether an aftermarket modification can be covered or not depends on the insurance provider.
Do all sunroofs eventually leak?
High-quality sunroofs that are installed and maintained correctly don’t normally leak.
Leaks are a sign of poor maintenance or poor installation, especially in an aftermarket sunroof.
Do sunroofs weaken a car?
Aftermarket sunroofs installed on a vehicle that was not built to support these add-ons could weaken the structure of the car.
It is generally recommended to consult a dealer or the automaker before bringing structural changes, even if you opt to install an aftermarket part.
Sunroofs are aesthetically pleasing but expensive additions to a car. An aftermarket sunroof costs between $699 to $2,299 to install on average. Genuine sunroofs installed at a dealership can cost over $10,000.
Factory-installed sunroofs can add over $1,000 to a car’s purchase price, but they are the best choice if you don’t want to worry about quality or the structural changes brought to the car.
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