Toyota RAV4 Shattering Sunroof Problem

Class Action Investigation

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Lemberg Law is investigating complaints that the 2021 Toyota RAV4 has defective sunroofs that explode and shatter spontaneously. Vehicle owners report that the sunroof explodes for no apparent reason, usually while driving, but sometimes when parked.

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Is There a Problem with the Sunroof Shattering in the Toyota RAV4?

There certainly is a problem with the 2021 Toyota RAV4 sunroof. Multiple owners of 2021 Toyota RAV4s, including the Hybrid and Prime, have complained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). They say their sunroofs (or moonroofs) explode spontaneously without any impact. When this happens, the glass shatters, which is a safety issue.

However, Toyota appears to be disregarding the issue. There are several reports by owners stating that dealers refuse to help. Instead, they tell them to contact their insurance companies.

There is only one owner who reports that the dealership replaced the moonroof and said it would be covered under warranty.

There are no technical service bulletins (TSBs) in the NHTSA files that mention any kind of problem with 2021 Toyota RAV4 sunroofs or moonroofs.

What Problems are Toyota RAV4 Owners Experiencing with Sunroofs?

Many 2021 Toyota RAV4 owners are having explosive experiences. Their sunroofs explode spontaneously, and then the glass shatters.

Here are a few of the complaints to the NHTSA:

  • I was driving and was only 5 miles from my home and I heard a loud pop like an explosion. My moonroof/sunroof had spontaneously exploded.
  • My sunroof somehow exploded on me while I was driving. There were no vehicles or other things that would have caused rocks to fly and hit the dead center of the sunroof.
  • While driving on the highway the sunroof spontaneously exploded outwards sending glass shards behind the vehicle and also down into the cabin. There was no impact with any objects and the vehicle was not passing under any structures.
  • I was driving down an open road when I suddenly heard a loud rattling noise and a huge explosion. Luckily, there weren’t any cars around us and we weren’t going very fast. As you can imagine this was very shocking and distracting and I was eventually able to pull over to the side of the road to investigate what had happened.
  • Moonroof exploded and shattered while driving down the road in normal conditions, no other issues. Vehicle is less than 3 months old with 7,000 miles. It sounded like a gunshot and only because I reacted without panic did it not cause me to have an accident because of the major distraction.
  • Driving to work at about 7:35 in the morning going about 45 mph my moonroof exploded. No other cars were around me and nothing hit my car or moon roof for this to happen.

Concerns of Toyota RAV4 Owners with Exploding Sunroofs

Most of the complaints are from RAV4 owners who have had their SUVs for a relatively short period of time. Many of them say they have seen similar reports online. A major concern is the possibility of an accident or injury. Another is a lack of support from Toyota.

For example, the owner of a RAV4 in California says: “I did attempt to contact Toyota but they refused to assist and told me to contact my insurance. The dealership, Crown Toyota, refused to assist and told me to contact my insurance and said that a rock must have hit.”

An owner from Illinois stated: “I found the moonroof of my 15-day old 2021 Toyota RAV4 spontaneously exploded while sitting parked in my driveway. As the shade that covers the moonroof was open, I incurred minor abrasions from not realizing that the ‘s**t on my console’ was not dust or fuzz, but tiny shards of broken glass that I had already swiped with my hand.”

An owner from Indiana states: “Currently, (I have) had to tarp and duct tape damage because (the) dealership will not fix it under warranty unless I can prove it was a defective glass/part. My dealer did text me and I have it that there are problems. But it’s so hard to prove it will be my expense out of pocket.”

What Should You Do if Your Toyota RAV4 Sunroof Shattered?

Typically, Toyota dealerships won’t replace 2021 RAV4 sunroofs. Instead, owners are commonly forced to claim from insurance policies. But, if this is a defect, shouldn’t Toyota be accepting responsibility?

Lemberg Law is investigating these issues as part of a class action investigation. So, if your sunroof has shattered or exploded, you may want to consider joining the investigation. If you’ve got a lemon, this is probably a good idea.

What you will need to do is complete our case evaluation form or call us at 844-928-4443. We will evaluate your case and see if you qualify. Our services are free because the law states that Toyota must pay all legal bills for lemon law cases.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Hari

    My Toyota Rav4 2021 sunroof glass shattered, today Dec 13th, 2023. I am following this thread and understand this has been the issue with others too !

  • Joseph S

    My nephew spent 50,000 Canadian dollars to buy a Rav4 XLE 2023, including 1,600 Canadian dollars in RoadAssitance insurance. He had only driven it for a month and a half. One day when he was slowing down to exit freeway Near Calgary AB Canada,, the sunroof suddenly shattered. There was no highway driver passing by at the time. the Vehicle is unlikely to have got flying rocks. As a result, the dealer refused to admit that it was a quality problem and did not even pay for the towing fee, nor did it provide the promised repairs to replace the vehicle.
    even if it was really caused by flying rock, normal quality vehicle glass won’t get shattered like this. it is definately quality problem and very dangerous

  • Bernardo N

    The sunroof on my 2021 RAV4 hybrid exploded as I was driving to work today, October 26, 2023. I’ve mentioned this to my coworker and suggested that I search online for similar occurence, and found this site.

    I’ve already reported the incident to my insurance provider and started to file a claim. Hopefully it will get fixed soon.

    The explosion startled me because I was driving on the freeway. I stopped onto the emergency lane to check around my vehicle and to my surprised, I didn’t see any amissed. I thought it was my tire. I continued driving because I didn’t want to be late for work. As I continue to drive, I heard noises above my head. When I arrived at work, I check my roof to discover my sunroof was shattered.

    Is there a recall for the sunroof exploding?

  • SP

    My sunroof shattered halfway into my 30 minute commute while driving 110km/hr down the highway on a chilly morning.

    As you can imagine, the loud “pop” and glass splinters shattering all over me was quite startling, and could have resulted in a worse outcome depending on one’s reaction. My primary concern is therefore related to safety. Thankfully the incident only resulted in minor cuts.

    I called the police as I was not sure what could have hit me as I was no where near anything that could have caused this to happen. I have a police report stating no external objects were involved. After researching online, I have found numerous threads discussing this happening to other Toyota drivers.

    I unfortunately was left to pay for a new sunroof, even though the vehicle was less than a year old. I reached out to Toyota to express my concerns and they never acknowledged any wrong doing on their part.

    I have been driving Toyota’s since 2008 and have always respected the quality and duration of the product, as well as the customer service. Having learned this manufacturing defect will not be covered under warranty is a huge disappointment, especially when so many other customers seem to be experiencing it as well. And particularly because it is still a new vehicle.

  • Toni S

    Just had our moonroof explode while driving on the highway. I’m pissed because I have my 4yr old in the car with us if the interior cover was open the glass could have seriously injured him! It sounded and felt like a bomb went off it exploded so forcefully.

  • Jerry

    On my way to work on May 12th, 2023, heard a very loud popped, and shattered the sunroof on my 2019 RAV4 Hybrid XSE. I don’t remember any debris hitting my car and no cars close to me at that time. It looks like it has been an issue that Toyota is denying most of these owner’s claim.

  • Carole W

    While driving my 2021 RAV4 XLE AWD home from work last night there was a very loud pop like a gunshot and my Sunroof glass exploded and shattered glass on the sun shade in the car. There was nothing in between the sunroof glass and interior sun shade. It is like pressure from inside exploded the glass.

  • Kay M

    Today, Jan 4th, 2023, while driving to work, the sunroof on my 2020 rav4 spontaneously exploded upward when there was no car around me on the San tan 202. No rock, no debris, just an explosion and the glass was pushed upwards like there was an explosion in the cab. There was not of course. Went to big two Toyota and they said they have never heard of this happening. Sorry but I find that hard to believe.

  • Brenda S

    My 2021 RAV4 hybrid panoramic sunroof exploded in car wash during drying cycle on Nov 21, 2022.. sounded like a bomb going off. The car ahead of me and behind me had no issues. The cameras in the car wash shows nothing hit the car.

  • Bill B

    2021 Rav4 Hybrid, had Sunroof spontaneously explode while driving on Sunday 27 Nov 2022. Sounded like a tire blew but without the shake of the car. Pulled over and saw the sunroof had exploded outward but I still had plenty of glass that was caught by the sliding cover.

  • Kaylie L

    I have a 2016 Toyota RAV4 and the sunroof exploded. I thought someone dropped a rock on my car, yet there was no evidence of anything hitting it and I wasn’t under an overpass or anything else. I was able to pay my deductible and get it fixed, but it scared me like you wouldn’t believe. It brought back flashbacks of my days with the Army in Iraq. I was lucky I didn’t crash my car while on the freeway.

    This happened a few years back, but after looking up recalls today on my car, I realized this problem has happened to a lot of Toyota’s and a few model years yet there was never a safety recall for it. I still worry about this constantly as I commute every day to work.

  • Donna m

    My moonriof exploded last Friday night. There was nothing that his it, even the dealer had admitted there is no impact point. I purchased the extra bumper to bumper warranty. The dealership said they won’t cover this. I definitely believe it is due to defective materials that caused it to explode.

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