How to Get a Long Life from a Convertible Top

June 12, 2014

If you own a car with a convertible top, it's very important to keep up with washing and cleaning it properly to keep it free from damage. Convertible cars which are regularly parked outside and exposed to sunlight can suffer cracking and other damage due to UV rays. There are several points to keep in mind to keep your convertible top looking good as new.

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Wash Thoroughly
Washing your convertible top regularly with soap and water is sufficient on most occasions. Make sure to park your vehicle in a shady spot and let the top cool before wetting. Use a hose with good water pressure and rinse off any residue before you begin. In most cases, you can simply use the same soap that you use for washing your car, as long as it doesn't contain harsh chemicals.

Use a Special Convertible Top Wash
For the best convertible top care, apply a special solution designed specifically for your type of convertible top. Do this at least a couple times per year or more frequently if your convertible top is directly exposed to sun and elements. Lightly spray or spread the top cleaner and scrub with a soft bristle brush or a sponge. Make sure to rinse thoroughly until the water runs clear.

Apply a Top Protectant
Periodically, using a special convertible top protectant will keep your roof strong and assist in preventing damage such as a tears or fading of the material. Select a product that is designed to keep color and texture in good condition, as well as repell dirt, grease and oils from the road.

Don't Use Glass Cleaners
If you have an older model car with a plastic window in the convertible top, take special care when cleaning the windows. Often, glass cleaners use harsher chemicals that may not be safe for plastic and could scratch and otherwise damage your window. Use a product specifically designed for your plastic windows to reduce scratching and protect the plastic from discoloration.

Repair Your Broken Convertible Top
If you are experiencing problems with your convertible top, there are a few things you can check to see if the problem can be easily fixed. Often, malfunctions can be taken care of quickly to help maintain the life of your top. If the top is simply not moving, whether open or closed, check the switch to make sure it's set to automatic, and make sure all fuses associated with your roof are in working order. If switches and fuses are properly set, check the hinges, roof brackets or top struts for bends, breaks or improper alignment. You may also want to check the plastic or elastic straps. Hinges, brackets or straps can usually be easily replaced or repaired quickly.

Additional Pointers
In addition to selecting proper cleaners that won't damage the material, you should also make sure to immediately clean off substances such as bird droppings, road salt and spills. Don't ever place anything heavy on top of a soft roof, and if you live in a climate where snow can accumulate, be sure to remove it as quickly as possible. Weight can put undue pressure on the frame and metal structure of the roof. After washing the roof or applying cleaner or topcoat protectant, leave the roof up and let it dry completely before putting the top down to enjoy the road. This will prevent any chance of building mold or mildew that could harm the material.

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