Convertible cars are ideal for summer rides with their convertible roof, allowing the driver and passengers to bask in the glorious weather. However, no matter how fun it is to ride convertibles during summer, sun damage can happen, especially if you live in an area where the temperatures can go extremely hot. Even though modern convertible vinyl and cloth tops are more durable, you still need to care for them to keep them looking their best. Car maintenance tips for summer convertible include keeping it properly lubricated, filling up the convertible top reservoir with hydraulic fluid, using sun protection products, steering clear from high-pressure car washes, avoiding cloth tops operation when wet, cleaning it regularly, covering the convertible when not in use, and checking gaskets and seals.
Driving a convertible is fun, especially when the weather is nice and you feel the cool breeze as you drive with the top down. All these and more can be experienced thanks to the convertible top that can be folded. That is why it is important to care for it to make sure that the fun will last for many years. Keeping the convertible top in excellent shape with a little care and some extra effort can go a long way. To help you with this, we have made this ultimate guide of car maintenance tips for summer convertible. Read on! We’ll tell you everything you need to know!
Car Maintenance Tips for Summer Convertible: How Do You Maintain a Soft Top Convertible?
There’s just something about driving convertibles during summer and feeling the wind through your hair. The experience is often described as freeing, fascinating, and luxurious. However, owning a car with a convertible top might seem to be pretty fun, but caring for it is a bit more demanding. It will require more care than the regular cars. If you want to maintain its quality and appearance, you need to care for it properly. If not, your convertible top might suffer premature deterioration which can be a very unpleasant sight. It can also result in leaks and other damages that can be very expensive to repair.
The methods in caring for your convertible top can vary depending on what material your soft top is made of. Before you start doing any car maintenance tips for summer convertibles, you need to determine first if your convertible top is made of vinyl or fabric.
Vinyl convertible tops are known to be waterproof. This type of convertible top is capable of protecting your car from the elements. However, over time, it can dry out, fade, and crack due to being exposed to much sun and extreme weather. Caring for a vinyl convertible top includes:
- Using a gentle car shampoo when washing it. You can use a feather bristle brush when you clean it to help remove dirt and other debris from within the vinyl’s textured areas.
- Do not use dish detergent when cleaning it as well as shampoo with gloss enhancements. Products with gloss enhancements can be used on the exterior surface of the car but they can be damaging when used on convertible tops.
- For cleaning convertible tops with heavy dirt and grime, you can use a cleanser that does not contain detergents or soap. You can purchase some cleaning products made for convertible tops which have protective abilities which can protect them from mildew and mold.
- When cleaning your convertible top, you need to spray the top thoroughly first using your hose to get rid of any surface dirt and debris. Then get a microfiber towel or a soft cloth to work the shampoo into the convertible top. After that, you will have to rinse it with cold, fresh water and tap it dry with more soft cloth or microfiber towels. Make sure that you don't use rubbing motions when drying it. Patting is ideal so you won’t leave any lint on the convertible top.
- If you are washing your entire car and not just its convertible top, you can start washing the top first and then the rest of your car.
- For the final touch, you need to apply a protectant that is specially formulated for vinyl tops. Doing so will ensure that your vinyl convertible top will be protected from the sun’s harsh UV rays.
On the other hand, fabric convertible tops are made differently compared to vinyl ones. These fabric tops are typically made of a few layers that are laminated together. Its other layer is processed so it will be able to withstand moisture, staining, and the sun’s harsh UV rays. Although it has undergone a process or a treatment, it is still susceptible to damage due to many issues. Caring for a fabric convertible top includes:
- When cleaning a fabric convertible top, you need to use cleaning products that are specifically made for fabric tops. You will also have to use a brush that has firm but soft bristles like horsehair to remove dirt and other debris from the fabric fibers. Once done with the washing and cleaning, you can then rinse the top thoroughly with cold, fresh water and just allow it to dry in the shade.
- Fabric convertible tops are treated to a great extent through the manufacturing process for it to be able to resist water and other impurities. However, this treatment gradually fades away over time due to much sun exposure and other elements. The treatment does not last forever. You will have to check if your fabric convertible top will need a protectant. You will have to do this after you have washed, cleaned, and rinsed your convertible top.
- To check, pay close attention to your fabric convertible top and check if the remaining water on your top beads up. If you notice that the water beads up consistently and evenly, your top still has an appropriate level of protection. Therefore, you don’t need to apply a protectant or treatment yet. However, if it does not bead well and you notice some water puddling or wet spots, then it is an indication that it is time to apply a protectant. The protectants that are made specifically for fabric convertible tops are being sold in three forms – brush-on, aerosol, and pump spray. According to the experts, the easiest ones to work with are the brush-on and aerosol types. When you apply protectants, make sure that you follow the label directions.
Additional car maintenance tips for summer convertible whether its material is made of vinyl or fabric include:
- When washing or cleaning your convertible top, always do it in the shade and not in direct sunlight.
- Do not use any cleanser that has bleach, citrus, or petroleum products. Using these products on your convertible top can cause its ability to repel water to be reduced or lost. This can also void your car’s warranty since using these products can result in seals and seams damages.
- When you wash your convertible top, take time to wash the entire top. Do not do spot cleaning since it can leave spots or rings on your convertible top.
- When cleaning difficult or extremely dirty areas, you can spray the affected area and allow it to stand for about 15 to 20 minutes. Then you can gently scrub it using a brush with soft bristles.
- To prevent your convertible top from fading, you need to rinse the cleaners right away.
- Whenever you are applying a protectant on your convertible top, you need to make sure that the tip has completely dried.
- Do not leave your convertible top down overnight.
- Avoid putting your convertible top down when the temperature drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Never let your convertible sit unused for a long period with its top-down.
- When you notice small tears, rips, and leaks on your convertible top, have it repaired immediately to prevent it from becoming major damage that needs expensive repairs.
- Avoid using glass cleaners or paper towels when cleaning your convertible’s plastic windows.
- Whenever you put your convertible top-down, you need to make sure that all areas are clean and free from any debris and other objects to prevent irreversible damage to your car’s plastic and glass windows.
- In the event that your convertible top malfunctions while going down or up, do not try to open or close it by force. It is best to have a professional deal with the problem.
Car Maintenance Tips for Summer Convertible: How Can I Extend the Life of My Convertible Top?
There’s just something about summer that makes you want to go driving with convertibles top down. Maybe it’s because you want to feel the sun or the cool breeze on your face, or maybe you just want to feel nature and enjoy its beauty. However, as much as you want to enjoy summer, it can sometimes be damaging to our cars, more so to the soft-top convertibles. That is why we made this list of car maintenance tips for summer convertible. Doing these car maintenance tips for summer convertible can help extend the life of your convertible top.
- Make sure that it’s always clean
We already discussed the proper ways on how to maintain and clean convertibles. It is one of the car maintenance tips for summer convertible and it should be done regularly. Keeping your convertible top clean and free of contaminants ensures that it will last as long as your car does. It also makes your convertible top look good.
- Provide or apply sun protection
Applying sun protection on your convertible top can work wonders. It can help prevent fade, cracks, and other damages due to the sun’s harsh UV rays and chemical pollutants in the air. Make sure that you do your research on the best sun protection products to make sure that your convertible tops stay protected all the time. If you have a fabric convertible top, use a fabric treatment product to restore it and keep the water-repellent chemicals bonded to the roof. Doing these things make sure that your convertible top will keep looking its best.
- Maintain proper lubrication and hydraulics
The moving parts of a car need to be properly lubricated for them to function efficiently and to prevent premature wear. The same can be said to the convertible tops. Power convertible tops are built with various hinge points and they use hydraulics to function. You need to make sure that its cables, joints, and hinges are properly lubricated to avoid excessive friction which can damage the components.
You also need to fill your car’s convertible top reservoir with hydraulic fluid that is specially designed for it. Make sure that you check its fluid level regularly and top it off if necessary. If the fluid reservoir of your convertible top is low, you need to check for any leaks or other issues that might have caused it.
- Avoid high-pressure car wash
It’s good to always keep your car clean and there are many ways to do it, but a high-pressure car wash is not one of them. You will have to stick with the proper way to clean a convertible top, like the ones listed above. The car maintenance tips for summer convertibles are the best way to do it.
When you clean your convertible with a high-pressure car wash, you will likely cause damage to the convertible top itself. It can also damage its mechanical components like the switches and lift cylinders. Hand washing your convertible top is still the best way to clean it and it should be done regularly to keep grime, dirt, and other debris from being ingrained in your fabric convertible top.
- Do not fold a wet convertible top down
You should not fold a wet convertible top down. If you fold it when it is still wet, moisture that is left on your convertible top while it is stored can lead to your fabric or vinyl roof becoming damaged and its mechanisms that operate the top can become corroded. If you should fold your top-down, you need to make sure that it has completely dried prior to folding it. This way, you will be able to extend its life.
These car maintenance tips for summer convertible will be very helpful in keeping your convertible top in its best condition as well as maintain its best look. Make sure that you do it properly and regularly.