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The Toyota RAV4 is a solid all-around compact SUV — with its good driving dynamics, attractive design, many standard features, and efficient hybrid models. However, a recent class action lawsuit puts a dent in its reputation. For 2021 Toyota RAV4 models, owners claim there’s a strange defect that caused a problem with the panoramic sunroof. It suddenly exploded, sounding like a gunshot as it rained glass in the cabin. 

Exploding panoramic sunroof lawsuit for the 2021 Toyota RAV4

Cabin in 2021 Toyota RAV4, highlighting class action lawsuit for panoramic sunroof that explodes and rains glass
2021 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

Earlier this year, plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against Toyota for a RAV4 roof rail leak issue, and now, the problems continue for the popular compact SUV. The latest class action lawsuit was filed by three owners of the 2021 Toyota RAV4. Two of them reported the panoramic sunroof spontaneously exploding — without any object hitting the glass, per CarComplaints and ClassAction.

Also, the plaintiffs of the lawsuit claim that Toyota refused to cover the cost of the replacement sunroofs, with a price of over $1,000. Furthermore, they allege that the replacements are as defective as the original ones. 

Why did the RAV4 sunroofs explode?

Front view of silver 2021 Toyota RAV4, highlighting lawsuit for panoramic sunroof that explodes and shatters glass
2021 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

It’s a bit of a mystery why the panoramic sunroofs in the 2021 Toyota RAV4 exploded. In the class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs didn’t list the cause. However, they gave three possible reasons. 

All three reasons are speculated deficiencies:

  • Materials in the sunroof
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Structure of the 2021 RAV4

Plaintiffs detailed the problem in the RAV4 suit

All of the plaintiffs in the 2021 Toyota RAV4 exploding panoramic sunroof lawsuit are from California. Aracely Gamez bought a 2021 RAV4 in September 2020, claiming that Toyota never informed her of the possibility that the sunroof glass could shatter.

A month after purchasing the compact SUV, the sunroof suddenly exploded while she was driving on the highway. She then took her vehicle to the dealership and informed it of the problem.

However, the dealership stated that the warranty didn’t cover the cost of the sunroof replacement. Shen then had a glass service install a new one, submitted an insurance claim, and paid a $500 deductible. The problem didn’t end there, though. The sunroof exploded again in October 2022. She then went through the same process again — with a replacement and insurance claim, once again paying the $500 deductible. 

Another plaintiff, Jeffry Takili, experienced a similar problem in the compact SUV. The sunroof glass shattered in his 2021 Toyota RAV4 in November 2022 — 11 months after the vehicle purchase. It also happened on the highway — with a $1,237.59 quote for the replacement. Takili then had the sunroof replaced by a third-party installer. His insurance company covered the $759.85 for the new one, along with the labor costs. 

The lawsuit has a third plaintiff, Donna Miranda. However, in the suit, there are no claims of the exploding sunroof for her RAV4. 

Additional information for the 2021 RAV4 lawsuit

The plaintiffs further allege that Toyota did not issue a recall for the 2021 RAV4 to replace the shattered glass — or provide a technical bulletin to address the problem. Additionally, it didn’t offer replacement sunroofs without the defect. 

Plus, Toyota failed to reimburse the replacement cost. Furthermore, the plaintiffs allege that their RAV4 models lost value as a result of the problem. 

The name of the class action lawsuit for the 2021 Toyota RAV4 exploding sunroof issue is Gamez, et al., v. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., et al. The plaintiffs filed it in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (Sherman Division).

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