Moon roof shatters in car wash in San Tan Valley

On Your Side secures refund for driver
After On Your Side reached out to Cobblestone Auto Spa, the company agreed to cover the cost of repairs and a rental car.
Updated: Aug. 8, 2022 at 6:00 AM MST
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SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - It was just a quick drive through the car wash. Denise DeMarco had taken her car to the same Cobblestone Auto Spa location several times, but this time was different. “When I got to the dryer section, I heard what sounded like a gunshot going off in my car, and then all of the air started pushing in through my sun shade,” DeMarco said.

She recorded video of the incident from the car wash’s surveillance system. “[The moon roof] just blows up into thousands and thousands of pieces,” she said. “Just seeing the glass going everywhere is really scary to think what could have happened if I had that sun shade open.” It’s unclear what caused DeMarco’s moon roof to shatter. There have been reports of moon roofs spontaneously shattering that federal safety regulators have investigated.

“They couldn’t find a specific design defect, and they really weren’t able to point their finger at a particularly bad manufacturer, so it appears it is something that’s just going to happen,” said Michael Brooks, the acting executive director of the Center for Auto Safety. According to Brooks, crashes and other major safety issues haven’t been linked to shattering moon roofs.

“Unlike your front windshield where it’s laminated glass, this is the safety glass that’s meant to shatter and not cut you,” Brooks said. “That’s one of the reasons we haven’t seen anything other than some very minor injuries from cleaning up the glass.” DeMarco says there were no cracks or chips in her moon roof before the incident at the car wash, and she says her moon roof had never been repaired or replaced.

“I was pretty much assured they were going to fix it and take care of it, so I left the car wash,” DeMarco said. “I was home for about 15 minutes and got a call from the manager, the same person I had spoken to, and he said, ‘You’re not going to like what I’m going to tell you, but we’re not responsible for what happened.’ I just think they need to do something.”

After On Your Side reached out to Cobblestone Auto Spa, the company agreed to cover the cost of repairs and a rental car. “Cobblestone Auto Spa always strives to provide first class quality and service,” the company’s Shawn Liberge told On Your Side. “In those rare occasions when our team or equipment is less than perfect, we appropriately correct to restore our customer’s vehicle and confidence. With this particular vehicle claim, the sun roof dislodged in a manner only consistent with pre-existing damage or defect; not due to our operations. In our efforts to assist with our customer’s concerns and claim, we have elected to support reimbursement as a goodwill gesture. While not our ultimate responsibility of damage, we hope this gesture shows more than good faith to retain our customer’s patronage.”

Before you go to a car wash, check to ensure there are no chips or cracks in your moon roof. For automatic car washes, Autoblog.com also recommends that consumers choose a brushless option to avoid the potential of small scratches on the vehicle’s finish. If you’re going to wash your vehicle by hand, Consumer Reports suggests using two separate buckets to make sure the clean soapy water doesn’t get dirty. Consumer Reports also says you should avoid moving the sponge in circles, in an effort to prevent small scratches in the vehicle’s paint.