Convertibles are perfect for those days you want to experience the world with a more panoramic view – the first days of spring, the warm days of summer, the changing of leaf colors during the fall. Your convertible top is made out of durable material, but that doesn’t mean it can go without TLC like the rest of your car. Here’s how to care for your convertible top to make sure it works and looks great for the life of your vehicle.
How to Care For Your Convertible Top
The first question you should ask when it comes to how to care for your convertible top is what material your top is made of. Convertible tops come in three main types: hardtops, vinyl, and fabric.
Some cars have hardtop convertible tops that can either fold down into the trunk or be removed and stored in your garage. For the most part, these types don’t need much special care. Hardtops that fold into your trunk can be treated just like the rest of your metal-bodied vehicle.
Removable hardtops require slightly more attention. The most important part about this type is to store them in a way that prevents scratches. Heavy-duty wall hangers, a padded shelf, or even a thick blanket on the garage floor are all potential options. You’ll also want to check the latches that secure the top to your vehicle for any signs of rust and apply WD-40 if needed.
Vinyl convertible tops are sturdy and great at keeping out water, but these types of tops are susceptible to fading, drying, and cracking when not cared for properly.
- First, you will first want to rinse off any excess dirt or debris from your convertible top using a hose.
- If needed, apply any standard car wash shampoo or specialized vinyl top cleaner with a sponge or microfiber towel to get rid of any dirt that doesn’t come off with the hose.
- Rinse (and repeat, if necessary), then pat the vinyl dry with towels.
- Follow up with a vinyl protectant spray, following the manufacturer’s direction on the package. This spray will condition the vinyl, protect it from UV rays, and keep it from drying out or cracking.
Fabric convertible tops are generally made of heavy-duty canvas and are treated to resist staining and moisture. These treatments don’t last forever, though, meaning that you’ll need to reapply them as a part of your standard car care routine.
- First, rinse off any excess dirt or debris using a hose.
- If needed, use a shampoo designed specifically for fabric tops to remove stains and dirt. Use a sponge or stiff-bristled brush to work the soap into the fabric.
- Rinse (and repeat, if necessary).
- After rinsing the car, check to see whether water beads up on the surface. If water is beading up, this means that your fabric treatment is still working and you do not need to apply a new layer. If water doesn’t bead up, it’s time to apply more protectant – after the fabric has dried!
- Let the top dry naturally in a shaded spot.
- When your fabric convertible top has dried, apply a fabric protector if needed, following the manufacturer’s directions on the bottle. Mask off windows and paint using a low-tack tape before you apply the fabric protector.
- Let the protectant dry in a shaded spot.
Some vinyl or fabric tops have plastic, not glass, rear windows. Don’t use glass cleaners on these, as the formulation can damage the plastic and cause it to become hazy. Your local auto supply store will have products designed specifically for plastic windows to help keep them clean and clear.
More Tips to Care For Your Convertible Top
Convertible tops may take a little extra work, but any convertible owner will tell you that those days of open skies and fresh air are more than worth the effort. Here are some more tips to help ensure your convertible top stays in top condition.
- When you’re getting ready to put your convertible top down, check around you to make sure there’s enough overhead clearance to prevent damage
- Don’t take a convertible vehicle through an automatic car wash
- Don’t put the convertible top down while it is still wet
- Don’t leave the convertible top down overnight – or put the vehicle into storage with the top down
- Avoid cleaning your convertible top with alcohol, vinegar-based products, bleach, or citrus-based products, as these can actually cause bleaching or damage
There’s nothing like the open road in a convertible – and T3 Atlanta wants to help you keep motoring for years. Whether you need a routine checkup or more in-depth maintenance on your vehicle, give us a call. We’ll be happy to inspect and repair your vehicle to get you back onto the road quickly.