In this post I write about the advantages and disadvantages of a Tesla with a sunroof. For used car buyers it is interesting to know for which types of vehicles a sunroof is available. You will also find tips on how to care for the sealing rubber and experiences of Tesla drivers who have owned a vehicle with a sunroof for several years.
For Model 3, Y, S and X
The most important thing first: a sunroof was previously only available on the Model S and is no longer offered on all new cars. Somewhat misleadingly it is also called “panoramic roof” and is therefore often confused with the fixed glass roof, which cannot be opened. Since the introduction of the Model S in 2012, there have been three different roof variants:
- Metal roof painted in body color
- Panoramic roof (this is the split glass roof with a sliding roof that can be opened)
- Fixed glass roof (this is the one-piece glass roof that runs the entire length of the roof and cannot be opened.
A Model S with the “Panoramic roof” option is therefore ALWAYS equipped with the sliding roof. All other Model S models have NO sliding roof.
Which years of the Tesla Model S had the sunroof option?
The sliding roof was optionally available from 2012 to November 2018. In mid-June 2015, Tesla introduced a new Panoramic roof design. The older design has the roof rack mounting straps on the outer edge of the side panels of the Panoramic roof. The new design has the mounting flaps more in the middle of the side parts of the Panoramic roof. In addition, the rear edge of the weather protection strip on the Panoramic roof has a more rounded and therefore more adapted appearance. Apart from these two visual clues, the roof looks the same to the untrained eye.
From November 2016 Tesla started offering the fixed glass roof without moving parts, which cannot be opened. The fixed glass roof cost about $500 less than the panoramic roof (whose cost at the time had risen from $1,500 to $2,000).
As of November 2018, panoramic roof and painted metal roof were no longer offered. Since then, a Model S is only available with the fixed glass roof, which cannot be opened. Reasons are probably more and more frequently occurring technical problems with the sliding roof of older vehicles and the simplification of the vehicle production.
Advantages and disadvantages with the Tesla sliding roof
- For those who like driving with the roof open, a panoramic roof is a great addition to the already great Tesla driving experience.
- For all Model S built before February 11, 2019, the panoramic roof is the only way to mount a roof rack.
- Especially older vehicles with the first version of the panoramic roof (built before June 2015), very often have technical problems with the mechanics of the roof. This can lead to expensive repairs.
- Rubbers age. Sooner or later, without proper care, every sunroof will leak. Tesla’s construction seems to be very vulnerable here.
Technical problems with the Tesla sunroof
- One reads about torn cable pulls and broken plastic shackles. When the roof no longer runs without resistance, large forces act on some components, which can very often lead to defects.
- Poor and aging seals can lead to water ingress.
- Poor and defective seals can lead to wind noise.
In 2016, there was a general recall. On all sliding roofs of the Pre-Facelift models the side parts with the bracket for the roof rack were replaced. The reason was also that the guide rail of the roof slit the seals.
The sunroof was still from the cooperation with Daimler and is currently still installed in the Mercedes E and S-classes – Mercedes also has massive problems with the quality of the sunroof.
Panoramic roof care tips
Basically, it can never hurt to clean the rubber seals of a vehicle regularly and to keep them elastic and soft with a care product. This is especially important for the sunroof, otherwise the rear seals, in which the holder for the roof moves back and forth, will eventually tear. Of course there are countless care products for rubber seals. But especially for the Tesla sunroof some drivers swear by the expensive products with Krytox. For example:
temp Range: -36C thru 204C
An insider tip for the care of rubber seals comes from the German TFF Forum reader “tray loader”. He uses graphite powder in small quantities to keep the rubber seals supple.
Made in United States
I have tried it on my Tesla and it works perfectly. After three years I haven’t had any problems with the seals and as you can see in the following video, the roof still works like new:
I would personally be careful when lubricating the mechanism with grease. There are too many greases that make the sunroof run worse rather than better. However, according to this post in the TFF forum, “LIQUI MOLY 1080” should work very well:
The water drains on the front left and right should be kept free and cleaned if necessary. These drains allow water to run off through an opening in the wheel arches. If they are clogged, mold will form and, in the worst case, water will enter the vehicle interior.
Note: The author of this article takes no responsibility and liability for any damage to your vehicle caused by this tips.
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My USB Flash Drive recommendations for Sentry Mode and Dashcam: