The Science Behind the Tesla Model 3 Roof (All Benefits Explained)

By Muhammad Hassan •  Updated: 02/13/22 •  14 min read

The Tesla Model 3’s glass roof is hiding many secrets in itself.

Stretching from the center of the roof to the beginning of the trunk, it effectively mesmerizes anyone who looks at it.

Call it the genius of Tesla’s engineers or Elon Musk’s futuristic vision, it is a feat yet to be achieved by many of Tesla’s competitors.

An elegant expanse of glass that is the Model 3’s roof! Credit to

Though it lacks the sunroof option, there are still some stimulating details that make this standard glass roof unique. 

Read on as I dive in and bring you exciting details about the Tesla Model 3 glass roof after days of extensive research on this subject. 

Without further ado, let’s hop into it.

Secret Behind the Tesla Glass

Engineers at Tesla use the coatings/absorber technology to manufacture this peculiar glass for the electric vehicle. 

Tune in to this video to know exactly what specialists at Tesla say about this glass:

This video gives you a sneak peek inside Tesla’s Design Studio to see how it’s made. Credit to Tesla

Model 3 Roof: Features & Benefits

UV Radiation Protection

Tesla glass contains a UV reflective layer that reflects all harmful radiation and uncomfortable heat from entering the cabin, providing you with glorious sunshine and genial ambiance.

UV exposure comparison between a standard glass (left) and the mighty Tesla glass (right). Credit to Tesla 

Antonio, a glass specialist at Tesla, claims that a 2% tint film is combined with other different types of films that reflect solar radiation.

Kudos to the implementation of several thin film layers, about 99% of UV radiations are absorbed by the Tesla roof itself, making the experience in the cabin extremely healthy despite the expansive glass roof at the top!

Strongest Roof Among Competitors

The Model 3 has a pretty strong roof. It earned the 2019 IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ Award, making it the safest EV on the road. 

An in-depth roof strength analysis of the Tesla Model 3 roof. Credit to IIHS

With a score of 5.85 in strength-to-weight ratio, the Model 3 becomes the highest scorer among all the EVs on the road.

Technical experts at Tesla have professed that glass roofs installed in the Model 3 can withstand four times the weight of the car. 

Why is it so? Business Insider did a great video explaining the exact reasons why the Model 3 received this incredible rating from IIHS:

Incredible analysis. Highly recommended video for curious minds! 

Model 3 Roof’s Strength (Case Studies)

Imagine something as heavy as a street sign pole crashing your car roof but you still walk away UNHARMED!

Having a hard time assuming this? See what a popular Tesla vlogger from Atlanta, It’s Kim Java, tweeted about an actual incident that happened to a Tesla owner:

Another Model 3 owner shared a similar experience when an old tree fell directly on his car’s roof on the driver’s side, but he walked away unharmed, thanks to the strong Tesla glass roof.

Here’s what he shared (Credit to Sam Fursey):

“Large section of an old tree fell directly on my car, right above the driver’s seat. I was driving my best friend and his fiancé to their wedding. The footage is from the dashcam of the car behind us, driven by one of the bridesmaids. We all walked away… thank you higher powers, and Tesla engineers.”

“Cabin still unscathed and passengers unharmed, Tesla proved it again.” A photo showing the condition of the glass roof after the unfortunate incident. 

He also shared the whole story in a video on his YouTube channel:

That’s scary!

Spacious Enough

A Tesla Model 3 glass roof has a 40.3″ headroom in front and 37.7″ in the rear, even allowing a 7-feet tall man to adjust comfortably in the car.

Not only does a man of that size have headroom in both the driver and the passenger seats, but also he’ll have a very good clearance view through the windshield. 

A tall man’s review of the Model 3 headroom. Credit to Now You Know YouTube channel

The Tesla Model 3 roof also gives you some extra inches of headroom than the Tesla Model S.

Bjorn Nyland did a great YouTube video comparing both models’ available headroom: 

An in-depth headroom comparison between the Model 3 and the Model S

Clear View, Immersive Experience…

The expansive glass roof of the Model 3 makes your drive even better by conferring your eyes an amazing, soothing experience.

Imagine yourself driving on a starry night with the person you love, or maybe camping! Wouldn’t it be AMAZING

Want to know how it feels under a Tesla Model 3 roof? Visit the link below to have a 360° virtual experience of a Model 3 in 4K:

Tesla Model 3 – 360° Virtual Tour

360° virtual view of the Tesla Model 3 interior. Credit to Poppr

Some Cons to the Model 3 Roof You Wouldn’t Expect

Interior Gets Heated on a Hot Summer Day

The interior of the Model 3 is said to get heated due to entrapping of infrared sun rays passing through the cabin on hot summer days. 

Driving on a starry night with a panoramic view might be a mesmerizing experience, but stuck in traffic on a hot summer day with 102° Fahrenheit temperature?

An absolute BUMMER! 

But you can fix this quite easily by tinting your glass roof or by using sunshades… 

Here is an owner sharing a related experience:

I test drove one recently on a bright sunny day that was about 78 degrees and although I didn’t feel much heat from it initially, as soon as I moved my hand up to check the temp of the glass, I noticed it was very hot. I’m wondering what that will be like in late July or August when the temps can go above 95 degrees on some days.


Tesla Model 3 Glass Roof Gets Cracked

The Model 3 has been under the radar (even faced a lawsuit from an owner) due to the sudden appearance of cracks on the roof body, which eventually leads to a chain of cracks throughout the glass roof within a short time. 

Here is a similar story from a Model 3 owner Eric Lenting:

Yesterday our daughter got in the back seat of our Model 3 and freaked out that the roof glass was broken. From the outside you can’t see or feel a thing, it is broken from the inside and we don’t know when it occurred. I’ve read about stress cracks in Model 3 but envisioned it looking like a single line, not round.

But it’s not the end of the story! He encountered the same tragedy after a few months. This is what he had to say this time:

Been driving for nearly 40 years and have had 1 cracked window in all that time until our Model 3. In only 25k miles we now have our second cracked glass roof panel. First the rear one and now the front one. The rear panel was cracked from the inside, no idea how and we had to pay. I haven’t scheduled replacement for the front one that we noticed yesterday, but it looks like it started on the outside this time and there appears to be a small chip in the glass where it started, indicating impact of some sort as the cause so imagine I will be paying again. Seems to me the roof glass is not that strong given TWO breaks in 25k miles, same roads I’ve driven most of my life.


Tesla doesn’t seem to cover cracks caused by any impact as part of the warranty, so users suggest calling insurance or having it fixed by a third party.

Would your insurance go up if your Model 3 glass roof needs a full replacement? 

Here’s what a Model 3 owner says about this issue:

Regardless of the vehicle, a glass claim is highly unlikely to cause your auto insurance premium to increase for a number of reasons:

Chipped auto glass is generally considered a comprehensive claim, which doesn’t have much, if any, impact on your premium. This is assuming you aren’t filing multiple claims within the year.

Rock chips are fairly common and near impossible to avoid.

The glass on the roof of your vehicle is in different sections so it’s highly unlikely that all of them need to be replaced at once.

Rest assured that, if you have comprehensive coverage on your auto policy, your glass would be repaired or replaced if it incurs almost any damage. Enjoy your vehicle! 

 Ava Lynch

Want to have more in-depth info regarding the replacement cost and the entire service process of the Model 3 glass roof? Shiva Sapkota explains everything in the following YouTube video:

Super helpful if you’re facing any similar issues!

The Cabin Is a Bit Noisy!

Though Tesla glass technicians claim to use an acoustic dampening layer for road noise, wind noise, and other noises to make customers experience a pin-drop silence in the cabin, some Tesla owners have claimed to be irritated by annoying wind noise while driving on highways even at a very slow pace.

A Tesla owner asked the Tesla community if the newly designed double glass panels really improve the cabin noise or if it remains the same in upgraded models. 

Here’s how the Tesla community responded:

Mine’s brand new and there’s a lot of wind noise/wheezing sounds while I’m driving more than 20 mph. Not sure if it’s just my build quality though. Taking it to the service center in a week and a half.

Phyzi Driver

I have a 2 month old 2021 and compared with prior sport sedans (alfa Romeo Giulia, and multiple BMW 3’s) it’s definitely noisier on the highway mostly from wind noise. Locally it’s quieter given the lack of engine noise. I don’t know what’s normal though so I didn’t make a service appointment. I seem to read mixed opinions on how quiet/noisy the 2021 3 is. Maybe I should have service check it out though as it is annoying for long drives.


Yes, I had a 2018 M3 and now a 2021. Notable improvement with less road noise, especially at higher speeds. My 2018 was so noisy I bought and installed all those rubber seals, but still not as quiet as the 2021.


Noisy cabin complaints are more common in older models of the Model 3. 

As far as newer models of the Tesla M3 are concerned, they are a lot quieter. Noise reduction is really up to the mark in new models after the installation of an acoustic dampening layer and glass panel sandwich.

In case you have an old Tesla M3 and are annoyed by this noisy cabin, several noise reduction kits are available that not only improve sound insulation and noise reduction but also enhance the tightness of the doors.

Here are some practical solutions from YouTubers:

Credit to Tesla Fans
Credit to DÆrik

There’s a Leak

There’s been a real concern recently among Tesla owners about leakage from glass roofs. 

So in case you find water collecting inside your car and wonder if other Tesla owners experience the same, the answer is yes—you are not alone.

There can be several reasons for glass roof leakage in your Model 3, but among the most repetitive causes of interior leakage are gaps and damaged rubber seals.

Rubbers are exposed to the deleterious weather conditions that cause them to wear out. 

In case of new Tesla cars, if there are gaps between the glass roof panels, water can seep through quite easily.

After a detailed research on this issue, I have come up with a couple of practical remedies:

  1. If gaps are minimal, you can fix them at home by yourself. But in case gaps between the panels are huge, I suggest you schedule an appointment with Tesla customer service. 
  1. For fixing damaged rubber seals, all you need is a supreme-quality rubber/glass sealant like the 3M Auto Glass Urethane Windshield Adhesive

Is Tesla Planning to Bring a Solar Roof to Tesla Model 3?

Back in 2017, Tesla CEO Elon Musk professed that he tried to persuade his Tesla engineers to probe on integrating solar cells on the Model 3

But research results negated Musk’s vision of cars producing their own energy.

After two years, on the launch of Tesla’s Cyber Truck, Musk revealed that Tesla’s new electric pickup truck will be equipped with a solar roof that could add up to 15 miles of range per day.

There’s been a hell of a lot of development on this subject recently. 

An emerging start-up, Lightyear, modified the Tesla Model 3 roof by using their signature solar technology. A video was also released on their official YouTube channel in which a Tesla Model 3 with a solar roof can be seen:

Highly futuristic!

Per Tesla engineers, since the surface of the roof is not big enough, odds of producing sufficient energy for the vehicle are quite minimal.

This strengthens Tesla’s viewpoint that it’s probably better to power your home with solar than powering your electric cars with solar roofs.

Frequent Buyer Concerns 

Can you open up the Model 3’s roof?

As of this writing, Tesla is not offering any convertible option at all for its Model 3 sedan. 

But if you are still willing, an aftermarket company called Newport Convertible Engineering can handle this job for you.

They charge $29,500 for manual top and $39,500 for an electronic top.

Why doesn’t the Model 3 have a metal roof option?

Compared with metal roofs, a better distribution during an impact can be seen via a glass roof and window to the opposite side of the car. 

Watch this video to have a clearer perception:

Gives us insight on how glass roofs add to Tesla’s safety! Source: Donut Media

Glass roofs also provide better headroom that allows tall people to adjust in a Model 3 easily than in conventional cars with metal roofs. 

Does the Model 3 have a sunroof?

The Tesla Model 3 does not have a sunroof option. Instead, it has an expansive glass roof that extends from front to back, giving an immersive experience to the passenger on every seat.

Why does the Model 3’s roof change into a rusty color? 

When the roof is wet and light penetrates through the water droplets, the ultraviolet reflective layer in the glass roof bounces off the sunrays that return at a different angle through them. 

The end product is a stunning rusty orange color!

Bjorn Nyland explains this phenomenon in one of his YouTube videos:

Interesting information!

Can you install a roof rack on the Model 3?

You can surely install a roof rack on a Tesla Model 3 glass roof. Tesla even offers an exquisite roof rack especially designed for the Model 3. 

Per Tesla, the aluminum crossbars on the roof rack feature T-slots to mount compatible attachments such as ski racks, bike racks, and cargo boxes. This roof rack is compatible with all Model 3 cars, regardless of configuration. 

Certain bike racks are also gaining the attention of the Tesla community.

And why not? Carrying your bike with you to enjoy the fresh air outside town is certainly an exciting thing to do other than riding a Tesla!

Do you also want to install a bike rack on your roof? Give this article by TeslaTuneUp a read to select the best bike rack for the Tesla Model 3.

Final Thoughts: Tesla Model 3 Roof

It couldn’t get more comprehensive than this. I have laid down everything there is to know about the Tesla Model 3 roof. 

While some owners did face some issues with their car’s glass roof, the overall sentiment of the community is highly positive—especially when it comes to the aesthetics that the Model 3’s roof provides.

If you think I missed something or you’d like to give a suggestion or ask a question, feel free to comment down below whatever comes to mind.


Muhammad Hassan

Engineer by trade and writer by passion, Hassan is an automotive enthusiast who thinks EVs are the future. At TTU, he discusses the coolest features and products Model 3 owners look for -- so they can better experience their cars. In his free time, he enjoys tea, reading, and listening to podcasts.

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