Sunroofs vs. Moonroofs

I have always loved convertibles, and cars with sunroofs, moonroofs, t-tops, or even removable hardtops. I call these the “sky” feature. I think it is because I really enjoy the feeling of freedom, openness, and light. To me, when choosing a vehicle to buy or drive, I always go for the sky (via convertible top, sunroof, etc. ). The light and the air win out every time.

In this article, we will take a look at sunroofs and moonroofs. We will discuss the good and bad points of each. Yes, there are bad points, even though I would still choose a vehicle with these features over one without them. First, let’s talk about the confusion between a sunroof and a

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash


Sunroof vs. Moonroof

In the scheme of things, the difference between a sunroof and a moonroof is not a big deal. Although some people would differ with that opinion. A sunroof is a non-transparent, solid piece of metal, usually the same color as the car body. You cannot see through the sunroof. Usually, you can tilt up the sunroof, or it may slide back into the body of the car. Some sunroofs can also be taken off completely, like on the first generation RX-7s and stored in the back of the car. This is different from moonroofs.

A moonroof is transparent. It is really just a sunroof that is transparent. Therefore, you can see through the moonroof, even at night, when the “moon” is out. Usually, moonroofs can tilt up, slide into the car body, and some can be removed. So the difference is simple; moonroofs are clear sunroofs.

Sunroof – the Good

A sunroof is great for, well, letting in the sun. It is a convenient and quick way of getting some more sunlight into the car. It also rarely takes away from the structural integrity of the car. This is also a nice consideration that most people don’t think about. It really is a wonderful benefit to having the sun come into the car.  It brightens up the car and can even improve your mood.

Sunroof – the Bad

On the downside, a sunroof can be a hassle and have mechanical issues that cause headaches and frustrations. It is another thing that can go wrong with the vehicle. This is especially true if you purchase an aftermarket sunroof and have it installed, or (and I highly discourage this) try to install it yourself. I have heard over and over again people complaining about their aftermarket sunroof leaking. The job must be done correctly to truly make sure leaks do not occur. If you do decide to get an aftermarket sunroof installed, be absolutely certain you get a full guarantee and warranty against any leaks whatsoever. I cannot overstate this.

Moonroof – the Good

As for moonroofs, the nice thing about them is you can see the outside world, and yes, the moon, at night. I personally really like moonroofs as they add another window to the car. Also, most modern moonroofs have a simple sliding shade that covers the moonroof from the inside. This is nice if you really don’t want the sun beating on your head. And when you’re bald like me, that can actually be painful.

Moonroof – the Bad

The downside of moonroofs is that people (especially tall trucks) can see right into your vehicle. I have nothing to hide, but it feels weird sometimes at night.  It is like having your window shades in your house open at night with all your lights on. Everyone outside can see in.  Beyond that, I don’t have too many complaints about moonroofs. However, just like sunroofs, aftermarket moonroofs can leak.  So, take care when thinking about installing an aftermarket moonroof.


A sunroof or moonroof, in my opinion, is a great feature that adds value and an enjoyability factor to just about any vehicle.

Look for my upcoming articles on t-tops, convertibles, and removable hardtops.


Written by Gary Pradel