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Exploding Panoramic sunroof in A220 Mercedes

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Hi All

I am looking for advice on an horrendous experience that has just happened to me whilst driving the car that I had only just bought a few weeks ago.

I was driving and there were no other cars and nothing overhead when, bang, the loudest noise, like a gunshot going off, the pano roof had just exploded for no reason, luckily the screen was closed otherwise I would have been showered in glass.


So the car got took to the local Mercedes retailer, who told me that it was not covered under the warranty, the car is only just 12 months old and 4,000 miles, I then had to contact the head office, who has come back with the same answer, not under warranty, no defects, so must have happened through outside influences.


I have researched this and it happens quite often and to other manufacturer's too, I really do not see why I should have to claim under my car insurance when Mercedes know this is a problem, there was a lawsuit in California and the plaintiff won his argument.


So the question is what are my consumer rights? should I take on Mercedes and take them to court, or the easy option, claim on my insurance.


Is there a body that I should be reporting this incident to please?  

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Don't worry about the warranty. You will be covered under the Consumer Rights Act which requires that goods be of satisfactory quality and remain that way for a reasonable period of time.

However, there may be a dispute as to whether the problem was caused by a defect in the glass or some outside force such as some object hitting it.

You say that you have found other instances of the same thing happening. I suggest that you start gathering screenshots of those – and it would even be helpful if you could contact the people involved.

Also, if you find people talking about this on the Internet then post the links here so we can have a look.

If you can get sufficient evidence that this is something that is happening to people's vehicles – the same vehicle as yours not other manufacturers, then you have a good chance that you can persuade a judge that there was a defect.

What is the cost of replacing the glass roof?

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It's probably covered under 'Glass' in your car insurance policy. Probably £75 excess to pay and it probably won't affect your NCB.

It's just like a windscreen.


Trying to argue a defect will be nigh on impossible, just get it replaced, by National Windscreens if possible, not Autoglass.


No point in going out to look for a fight, especially in these difficult times.



42 years at the pointy end of the motor trade. :eek:

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Posted (edited)

Be wary of the easy option of claiming on your insurance.  It isn't necessarily "just like a windscreen" and it may not be covered under "glass" on your insurance - if it's a panoramic roof it's quite possible that it's excluded from the normal "no fault" glass replacement part of your policy - some insurers specifically exclude panoramic sun roofs from that part of their cover. [EDIT: what I mean by this is most policies will repair or replace your windscreen or windows without you paying the excess].  Check your policy.


If you can't get it done for free (like a windscreen) under your insurance, you'd have to weigh up the cost of replacing it yourself and compare that to the amount of excess you'd end up paying.  Replacing panoramics can be expensive so it might be worth it.


But my first avenue would be to take it up again with the Mercedes dealer you bought it new from, and argue it out with them.  My understanding is that panoramic roofs do fail.  They are meant to be part of the structural integrity of the car and have to withstand a lot of flexing.  If there's a fault it may manifest itself as a hairline crack which gets bigger over time.  Have you noticed anything like a crack in the glass?  I suspect Mercedes will argue that the fact the roof "shattered" spontaneously is more likely to indicate stone/chip damage than it is to indicate an inherent fault.  I suppose it's too late to ask an independent assessor to look at it.


I'd want the dealer to sort it out for me, but if they don't want to play along I'm not sure how, after 12 months, you'd establish the roof was faulty.  (Although it's one of the reasons I would be uncomfortable having a car with a glass roof.


The fact someone won a case in California means nothing.  You can win anything in California.

Edited by Manxman in exile

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Hi all


Thank you all for your replies.


I have checked my insurance and under the glass section it does not cover panoramic roofs.


It does come under the damage to car section though, so I think the sensible option at the end of the day, and if Mercedes dig their heels in and wont help me, then that is the Avenue I have to go down.


I know how difficult it would be to prove that it is a fault, by design or whatever else, I have already took screenshots of it happening to other people, some in the UK, but mainly in America.


I agree that you have to pick your arguments in these difficult times.


Thanks again for all your help.




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Mercedes are deliberately ignoring the materials science and physics behind this because it exposes them to a considerable expense.

they can just fail due to thermal shock, the glass is already strained but the exact catalyst will never be known because no-one takes photographs of their car glass under polarised light just to check for problems caused in the furnace they were heat treated in.


The same applies to conservatory doors and other large sheets of toughend glass and you tend to get a spate of them going in a small time frame because a whole batch is wonky.


Rolls Royce had a problem with their engines a few years ago, they just disintegrated after a few hundred miles. It was a small batch of tappets made by their German owners that werent heat treated properly but nearly cost them their reputation. Now they were thinking of suing Mobil for changing their oil formulation coincidentally at the same time as they blamed them but i did the analysis on the failed parts and the oil residue and the probelm became obvious once microscopic analysis was  instigated. Mobil could afford to chuck some decent money at this but you would need a lot of goodwill to even start as you will ahve to get pictures of a large number of the roofs and thenget the data on the manfactureing processes and no-one is going to let you do that.

Is it a manufacturing defect? almost certainly but your evidence is in a million pieces

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