Summer Maintenance For Soft-Top Cars
Convertible cars are perfect for a summer drive, allowing you full visibility while you’re enjoying the scenery on your way to the beach, or just a simple moment of luxury while you’re commuting to work. Stylish, classic, and echoing the days of old vintage movies, driving a convertible gives you a moment of glamour in your day-to-day life, and allows you to enjoy the summer sun in all its glory!
However, soft-top convertible cars are more vulnerable to sun damage in hot weather than other vehicles, and regular maintenance is required to prevent premature deterioration and keep your car in shape.
In this article, we will go through the essential maintenance needed to keep your soft-top car in good condition, including some tips to keep it looking sparkling all summer long.
Vinyl Convertible Tops
Vinyl soft-tops are more hardwearing than fabric, due to the waterproofing that helps to protect your car against weather damage. If it is exposed to too much sun, however, it may crack or fade, causing it to be brittle and unsightly.
To care for a vinyl soft-top, you should:
- Use a soft touch! Apply a gentle car shampoo and use a feather brush to carefully clean dirt and debris from the vinyl. Never use dish detergent or gloss enhancements on your soft-top, as this can damage the vinyl surface.
- If your convertible is heavily covered in dirt, use a cleanser which is free from detergent and soap. There are specialist convertible cleaning products available that can help to treat mildew and mould, which can build up if your car is kept in a dark and damp environment, such as a garage.
- To clean your soft-top, give your car a thorough pre-rinse using a hose to wash off any dirt clinging to the surface. Then, you can begin applying your cleaning products. Use a microfibre towel to gently press the product into the soft-top. Avoid using rubbing motions when drying your soft-top – instead, lightly pat dry to avoid pulling. If you’re doing a full car clean, clean your soft-top first before turning your attention to the car body.
- Use masking tape over your paintwork and glass to protect it. Then, you can apply a protectant for soft-tops to prevent UV damage.
Fabric Convertible Tops
Fabric soft-tops are more vulnerable to sun and weather damage than vinyl, and while they have undergone treatments to help prevent this, care must still be taken to ensure regular maintenance.
To care for a fabric soft-top, you should:
- Select a cleaning product that is specifically formulated to be suitable for fabric soft-top convertibles. Apply using a firm bristle brush to thoroughly work the product into the fabric. You should ensure that the product is properly worked in to ensure dirt and debris are fully removed, preventing damage to the roof’s hydrophobic coating. Finally, rinse and allow to dry in a shaded spot.
- Fabric tops are treated to prevent damage from the weather, but the effects of the treatment will diminish over time. You can tell whether your soft-top needs a protectant top-up by observing whether water forms beads or sinks into the fabric. If water on the top of your soft-top forms beads, your car is adequately protected and you’re good to go! If it sinks into the fabric, however, you may need to apply a layer of protectant. Make sure you have used masking tape over your paintwork to protect it against damage from the chemicals.
Other Top Tips For Convertible Maintenance
- Never clean your soft-top in direct sunlight – water can intensify UV rays, which can increase the risk of damage to your convertible.
- Avoid products containing bleach, citrus or petroleum – these products can affect your top’s water resistance, and may even damage the seals and seams, which could risk voiding your vehicle’s warranty.
- For especially dirty areas, you can leave the product to stand for between 15-20 minutes to achieve a deeper clean.
- Rinse the cleaner off immediately to prevent
- Don’t leave your convertible unused with the top down for long periods of time, or
- Repair any tears or rips immediately to prevent further
- Keep your cables, joints and hinges properly lubricated at all times to prevent wear and tear which can damage these elements.
- Always keep your convertible top reservoir topped up with hydraulic
- Never use a high-pressure car wash for a convertible; this can cause damage to the convertible top. Handwash your convertible regularly to prevent dirt build-up.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your convertible stays in perfect shape for many summers to come!