Tesla Glass Roof Guide

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Yet another way Tesla breaks from tradition is by using a large glass canopy roof. By doing so, your Tesla has more headroom, is more affordable, and comes with a stronger roof.

But there are some surprises with the glass roof, such as when it looks rusty or when it lets in too much heat. In this guide, we’ll share all you need to know about your Tesla glass roof.

Table of Contents

    What Are the Features of the Tesla Glass Roof?

    The Tesla glass roof uses a pane of glass as the roof. This replaces the traditional roof seen on other vehicles. They use sheet metal, interior headliner, and sunroof layers.

    The expansive glass roof offers a high level of UV protection. It also allows excellent visibility to the sky, day or night. Although it doesn’t open like a sunroof, the Tesla glass roof helps the interior feel open and airy. Plus, it helps provide a quiet cabin.

    Why Does Tesla Use Glass for the Roof Design?

    The Tesla glass roof design serves valid purposes beyond its sleek appearance. These include more headroom, manufacturing considerations, and extra strength.

    More Headroom

    The Tesla battery pack forces the interior seats to sit higher than they otherwise could be. To maintain a normal car height, Tesla decided to use the panoramic glass canopy.

    This single-layer piece of glass is much thinner than traditional multi-layer roofs. 

    Other vehicle roofs are thicker. They use exterior body panels, structural cross-members, and interior headliners all stacked together. If they have a sunroof, they squish even more parts into the roof structure, this can reduce interior headroom even more.

    These extra layers force the designers to reduce headroom or increase vehicle height. Instead of dealing with this tradeoff, Tesla uses the one-layer glass roof to get the best of both worlds.

    Manufacturing Considerations

    More added benefits of this single-layer glass roof design are the manufacturing savings. The roof uses far fewer materials and installs in one large piece. 

    Other cars create the exterior body that joins with the structure and headliner. Tesla can place the glass roof in place with one step. Then Tesla glues the glass canopy to the body, a process known as direct glazing.

    This means Tesla can produce the vehicles quicker and at a lower cost, it can pass on the savings to customers and fill orders quicker.

    This small change might not seem like much when you consider only one vehicle. But it can generate lots of efficiencies when applied to thousands of vehicles.

    Extra Strength

    Tesla claims that it adds rigid strength to every model. In the event of a side impact crash, the glass roof outperforms traditional roof structures.

    The reduction in roof weight also helps maintain a low center of gravity. This improves Tesla’s handling, resulting in less body roll through curvy roads. When combined with the low and heavy battery pack, it’s easy to see why Teslas are so fun to drive.

    Why Do Tesla’s Glass Roofs Sometimes Look a Rusty Orange Color?

    In certain situations with a little water on the roof, you might notice that it gives off a rusty orange color. It’s a sign of the amazing UV protection layer built into every Tesla glass canopy.

    This protective material causes the most harmful wavelengths to reflect off your glass roof, it helps protect your car’s interior and your skin from UV-related damage. But it can cause the roof to have a rusty orange look.

    This usually only happens when it’s covered with morning dew when it’s raining, or right after a car wash. The water accentuates the visible spectrum reflected off the UV protection. In this case, it appears orange to our eyes. It’s nothing to worry about as it’s part of the glass design.

    Why Tesla’s Glass Roofs Make Your Head So Hot

    There are some downsides to having a glass roof. Even with UV protection, the glass used in Tesla roofs still allows in some sunlight. This light also has infrared (IR) capabilities. 

    Infrared is the heat you feel from the sun. It can increase the temperature of your car and can make your head feel hot. So even though the glass roof blocks the harmful UV rays, it does not stop all warming IR sunlight.

    Teslas come with climate control systems that can keep your car cool when you’re not driving. To avoid overheating, crank on your air conditioner. 

    How Durable Is Tesla’s Glass Roof?

    Tesla takes safety seriously and the 5-star NHTSA crash test ratings back that up. Even though a glass roof might sound like the Achilles heel of the Tesla safety features, it’s the opposite.

    Tesla reports that the glass used can withstand 4 times the weight of the car. The innovative automaker says it has more structural rigidity than traditional roof structures. It also reduces the damage caused by side-impact crashes.

    And a report from 2013 from USA Today says that the Model S glass was so strong, it broke the NHTSA’s crush-test machine. There are reports of a massive tree falling on a Tesla Model 3. The glass stayed intact and the driver walked away unharmed.

    How To Mitigate Overheating Caused by Glass Roofs

    If the sun or heat coming in from your Tesla glass roof is too much, there are solutions. These can be great for hot climates, long drives, or if you’re generally more sensitive to sunlight or heat.

    Install Sunshade

    The easiest and cheapest way to get rid of overheating from your Tesla roof is to install a sunshade. These fit your specific Tesla model and install with a clip system.

    Window Tint

    If you don’t want to use a sunshade but still want extra sun protection and a cooler Tesla, window tint can help out. 

    Our Verdict

    By using an expansive glass canopy, Tesla roofs bring in more headroom, rigidity, and sunlight. The UV protection layer protects your car’s interior and your skin. But for more sun-blocking capabilities, turn to a Tesla sunshade that installs in seconds.

    Looking for a way to protect your Tesla glass roof from severe weather? Check out our article on How To Make a Hail-Proof Car Cover or buy one of the Best Tesla Car Covers.

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