According to recent statistics, over half of new vehicles sold in the United States are equipped with a factory "sunroof", "moonroof", "panorama roof", or similarly-named panel which allows part of a vehicle's roof to slide open. It wouldn't be a stretch to say almost 9 million cars and trucks leave factories so equipped each year. And the reason for their popularity is simple - sunroofs are great! They make it possible to enjoy fresh air, warm sun, and cool breezes right by our heads while driving our four-door sedans, SUVs, and minivans. We get a taste of the convertible life without giving up 98% of the practicality we need every day. At the dealership, most buyers see a sunroof option on the checklist and immediately envision blissfully taking in all the joys of Mother Nature while driving their future car. Mentally, the forecast is sunshine with no rain - a powerful enough thought to make the extra cost of a sunroof seem well worthwhile.
Then reality hits and buyers learn (or remember) the slightly unpleasant side of an open sunroof. There's noise, sun glare, disheveled hair, and general disruption inside the vehicle to deal with. And that's while the sun is shining! This downside of sunroof use can get old fast - even to the point where a lot of drivers stop using their sunroofs completely. In this article, we'll discuss how sunroof deflectors (a.k.a. sunroof visors) provide a solution by minimizing these inherent disadvantages, and we'll look at products that we offer.
Sunroof deflectors mount on your roof just ahead of the forward sunroof edge. Their curved shape allows them to serve as aerodynamic pieces that redirect air up and over the sunroof opening that would normally cause turbulence. In most cases, they extend over the forward sunroof edge by several inches, blocking sun glare that would otherwise get right in your eye. After easy installation, we feel you'll be pleasantly surprised with the sleek look they give to the roof of your vehicle.
All of the sunroof deflectors we sell are made of strong acrylic material. The benefit of using such plastic compounds is the deflectors will stand up to heat, cold, UV rays, etc. and still look good in the long run. In other words, the acrylic material can take whatever punishment is dished out to it. So sunroof deflectors are strong, easy to put on, and look good. But if you, as the driver, are wondering "what's in it for me?" there are three undeniable advantages that sunroof deflectors offer.
Advantage # 1: Sunroof Deflectors Reduce Wind Noise
Compared to a full convertible, some drivers find vehicles with open sunroofs are actually noisier to live with because of turbulence. An open sunroof can effectively act like a big drainage opening, channeling a heavy volume of wind right inside the passenger compartment. A deflector redirects much of this air up and over the sunroof opening. Advantage to you? Driver and passengers can still enjoy sunlight or moonlight along with a healthy dose of fresh air, without wind tunnel turbulence and noise.
Advantage # 2: Sunroof Deflectors Block Sun Glare
We stated earlier that our visors are made of a strong acrylic plastic material. These visors are also tinted a dark grey or smoke tint similar to a quality pair of sunglasses. And like those sunglasses, a tinted visor blocks the sun's harshest rays from entering at angles that catch you right in the eye. Light and the wonders of nature, however, are still permitted to enter from directly above and behind. And if you feel like fresh air without any sun at all, you'll find that driving with the sunroof partially open allows the visor to cover most of the opening above your head. Again, the compromise works in your favor: light and fresh air enter, while annoying and potentially dangerous sun glare is denied entry.
Advantage # 3: Sunroof Deflectors Allow The Sunroof To Be Open In Inclement Weather
Odds are you've experienced "inclement" weather that we're referring to. It's overcast but warm, and the threat of rain is real - even if water drops are not constantly bombarding you. It's nice enough to be outside, yet you need to be prepared for the potential of intermittent rainfall that comes out of nowhere. With a deflector in place, the sunroof can be opened just enough to gain some light, while the visor covers most (if not all) of the opening. Similar to scenario number 2, you're exposed to the elements and protected from them at the same time.
Another kind of "inclement weather" scenario is cold weather. Normally, you would never have a window of any kind open if it's cold outside. However, during colder temperatures, a sunroof visor allows you to partially open the sunroof for ventilation and light while minimizing the entry of cold air. You've got the heater cranking anyway, but think about this: it's nice to enjoy some sunshine and fresh air on those 40-degree days, isn't it?
When it comes to products, we'll start with a best value - the tinted Black Horse Dark Smoke Sunroof Deflector that's available in three universal sizes. We've also got the tinted AVS Windflector Smoke Classic Sunroof Wind Deflector and the tinted Wade Smoke Sunroof Wind Deflector that offer a choice of five universal sizes. Should you prefer a slightly different look, the Stampede Wind Tamer Sunroof Deflector is available in chrome-plated versions as well as smoke tint. All of these designs feature a traditional look with corners that are squared-off in shape. However, the GTS Windgard II Flames Sunroof Wind Deflector eschews tradition with curvier shapes and contours that look right at home on cars built for speed.
Selecting The Right Size Deflector
Most of the sunroof deflectors we sell are "universal fit" items, and are not specific to any particular vehicle, because they're designed to fit around the sunroof opening and provide good clearance - given the correct size choice. It's important to note that in order to achieve proper fit, the universal-fit deflector you install must be wider than the width of your sunroof opening from one side to the other. So the best thing to do is measure the width of your vehicle's opening from the outside after retracting or removing your sunroof panel. Do not measure from inside the vehicle, as interior ceiling trim may yield incorrect dimensions.
Once you've measured, select a deflector width that's larger than your opening in order to ensure proper coverage. Unless otherwise specified, universal fit sunroof deflectors are manufactured to fit factory-installed sunroofs and are not recommended for aftermarket sunroofs.
Unless specified otherwise, the deflectors we've discussed use 3M™ automotive-grade double-sided foam tape as a method of attachment to the roof. The tape is strong and effective enough that many automobile manufacturers choose to use it for attachment of chrome trim parts on their assembly lines.
A Sunroof Deflector That's Easily Removable
If you're thorough about your vehicle's cleanliness and hate missing any areas when you're washing and waxing it, the WeatherTech Sunroof Wind Deflector can be easily removed because screw-on clips are used to secure it in place instead of adhesive tape. Unlike the previous deflectors we've mentioned, this one is vehicle-specific, so it's already been customized to fit a variety of makes and models. While no drilling is required during installation, we recommend following WeatherTech's guidelines during the process carefully - taking caution not to over-tighten the screws and put excess pressure on the deflector that can cause cracking or warping.
Sunroof Panels That Pop Up Or Remove Entirely
If you've got a sunroof with a glass piece that that is lifted up and out of its opening, or pops up and slides backward above the roof level, then you'll find the overhang of our other sunroof deflectors may get in the way when your piece is being lifted straight up. To give you the clearance you need for these types of setups, we've got the AVS Windflector Smoke Pop-Out Sunroof Wind Deflector. Note that while it will effectively redirect air over the sunroof area, its shorter overhang means it can't provide as much glare reduction or protection from the elements.
A Custom Look
If you've got a 2001-10 Chrysler P.T. Cruiser or a 2003-09 Hummer H2, we've even got the E&G Classics specialty Sun Visor which overhangs the windshield instead of the sunroof area. While it's geared toward creating style and comfortable shade, it does provide a small degree of aerodynamic re-direction over the sunroof area thanks to a carefully designed shape. The visor piece comes in black plastic which is designed for painting, and drilling is required for installation.
After considering all of the advantages that sunroof deflectors offer, you must admit that their functionality makes them well worth the cost. As a bonus, they add a sporting look to the outside of the vehicle. After all, if you spent extra money to order the sunroof in the first place, a small fraction more will truly allow you to enjoy sunroofs the way they were meant to be enjoyed!