Five Tips For Keeping Your Convertible In Great Condition

5 06 2013

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Image via Flickr creative commons from thomasdotorg

As good as convertibles look, they require more care and maintenance than your average, run of the mill car. There is nothing quite like faded fabric and mould to destroy the image of you cruising on some beachside road on a hot summer day.

Like any car, convertibles need regular maintenance. But beyond checking your tyres and having the windscreen replaced by Auto Windscreens, there are a few simple and regular things you need to do to protect your roof – whether it be vinyl or fabric.

Cleaner

First you need to make sure you are buying the correct type of cleaner for your convertible. This will depend on whether you have a vinyl or a fabric roof – there are other types but these are the two most common. The label on the bottle should specify which one you should be buying.

Although it is often best to get the right type of product, vinyl can sometimes be cleaned with regular car shampoo. Fabric, on the other hand, needs special treatment. To check which type of roof you have, drop about one eighth of a teaspoon of water on the material and try to rub it in. If it starts to soak, it is most probably fabric. If it smears but does not soak than you more than likely have a vinyl top.

Method

Once you have the correct type of cleaner, the methods are relatively similar. First, make sure the car is not in direct sunlight and give yourself enough time to do the whole roof in one go. Cleaning in bits will leave rings or spots. Then rinse the car thoroughly, getting rid of any loose dirt, before spraying with your convertible cleaner. After this, scrub lightly all over with a soft-bristled brush.

If you are working with an area that is heavily soiled, leave the cleaner to do its work for 15 minutes before scrubbing. Then rinse thoroughly, making sure none of the foam remains.

When you’ve finished – and if it is not raining day – park the car outside of the garage to help the top dry. Do not put the top down while wet, either.

Protect

As soon as you get your new car home, you should apply a protectant to its roof and reapply this at least once a month. The material is exposed to the same wear and tear as paint but is obviously not as strong. Around 99 per cent of new convertible tops have stitching that is not treated when it leaves the factory. It therefore needs to be protected immediately.

In the same way as cleaner, there are specific types of product that suit different types of roof. It is important you make sure the car is dry before applying protectant or sealant.

Keep inside

Wherever possible, park your convertible inside, especially during winter. If you live in an area prone to snowing it is unlikely you will want to be driving around in a convertible in the bitter cold anyway. At the same time, snow and ice won’t do the fabric any good at all.

If you do not have a garage, cover the car when not in use. A sturdy cover is always best and keeping the top clean and protected is more important in the cold than at any other time. Also, try not to put the top down in cold weather, the back window can become stiff and snap.

No obstruction

It may seem like the most simple of things, but make sure there is nothing blocking your roof when putting it up and down. Especially when you have an automatic, an obstruction can damage the mechanism and leave you with a hefty bill.

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