Are you having problems with your convertible top? A convertible top repair can be a little more difficult than you might think. There are many different components that need to line up to ensure that everything works properly. It can be difficult to get the top mechanism to work properly after it has been broken and the roller bars could pop up causing many different problems.
If you have been told that you need a convertible top repair, the first thing you will probably ask is how much will this cost? Additionally, you might be wondering how long will it take to repair the convertible top. These are all valid questions when you are trying to financially plan for a convertible top repair. If you need a convertible top repair, you should plan on spending at least $500-$1,000.
What Components Make Up A Convertible Top?
A convertible top is part of the upholstery and the total structural component. This means that it needs to create a tight seal when you have it closed so your car is secured. It also needs to be able to flex easily so it can fold down when you want the top down. So, you might be wondering how is this possible? The convertible top fabric is stretched over the metal frame using different types of bolts, springs, and stables. This fabric provides thermal and sound insulation when the convertible top is up.
The frame of a convertible top gives the car some structural support. Additionally, there are fixed roll bars that attach behind the seats. This is another safety feature since there is no actual roof to provide extra support. This also means that the doors are stronger to reduce the car from flexing. These added bars give better support, but they make it more complex to fix when there is a problem with the car.
How Does A Convertible Top Work?
It is important to fully understand what a convertible top is. A convertible top is any car roof that folds back. The majority of times this top fits directly over a frame made out of steel or aluminum. The specifics of how your car functions are dependent on the make and model of your car. When you are looking to get a convertible top repair, you should understand that there are two different types of convertible tops. The two types are electrical and manual.
A manual convertible top will require you to detach the latches before you can manually pull the top down. The electric convertible tops have an electrical mechanism that allows the top to go down. You just have to push a button and the top will go down.
What Should I Consider When Paying For A Convertible Top Repair?
Since convertible tops give drivers the option to lower the roof of their car, it can come with other complications. The tops are definitely more prone to damages since they are constantly moving up and down. It is very common for convertible tops to be repaired at least once during the lifetime of the vehicle.
The process of a convertible top repair can be exhausting and expensive. Unfortunately, these repairs are very necessary though so you can protect yourself and your car. You want the option to be able to put up your convertible top during bad weather. Listed below are a few things to consider when you are getting a convertible top repair.
OEM vs. Aftermarket
When you are looking to repair and replace the convertible top, you will have different choices on what to purchase. You will have the option to buy a convertible top that is from the original equipment manufacturer or there are aftermarket tops available as well. It is important to note the difference between the two. OEM convertible tops are constructed with supervision from the car manufacturers. Aftermarket convertible tops are made by a third-party manufacturer.
There are some other things to note about the differences between these two convertible tops. The tops made from original equipment manufacturers tend to be more expensive and have limited design options. They are constructed under very strict guidelines and quality standards since the automakers are in charge of them. This means you have a lower chance of running into problems with the installation. If you purchase an OEM convertible top, you will receive the best quality for what you pay for.
The aftermarket tops tend to be a cheaper option for individuals. These convertible tops don’t have as strict of guidelines when they are being constructed. The aftermarket tops also have more design and color options, but they may not fit as well as the OEM convertible tops. No matter what you decide to purchase, it is important to know the difference and be aware of what you are receiving.
Most of the convertible tops are made from vinyl. There are also waterproof vinyl tops as well as synthetic leather tops. Each one of these has its own benefits and disadvantages so it is very dependent on what type of look you want. If you take your car to a repair shop, you will be able to ask them about all of the different options and determine the best one for your convertible.
Two-part vs. Unitary
When you need a convertible top repair, you need to know whether it is a two-part or a unitary type of top. The two-part convertible tops are divided into two sections. You have the main top and the rear window. This allows more flexibility with the convertible top and it makes it easier to lower the fabric. You will notice that the unitary tops have a partial seam between the main top and the rear window. This makes the entire top more sturdy. It is important to be aware of the differences so you know what needs to be done for your convertible top repair to be successful.
It is always important to be aware of the thickness of your current top before getting a convertible top repair. The thickness of a convertible top will affect how the entire top functions. The different convertible top models could have a different thickness to them. For example, if you have a convertible top that is too thick for the frame, it may not go down the way it is supposed to and it could end up crumpled. On the other hand, if you have a top that is thinner than it is supposed to be, it could wear out much faster.
Automatic Convertible Top Repair
Automatic tops can often be easier to damage in an auto accident. The slightest bend in a convertible top’s frame can stop it from operating properly. This means you might not be able to get your top up if it is currently down and vice versa. It can be difficult to locate the exact problem along the frame of the convertible top. Some newer systems are able to read the changes in power demand. These signals come from the motor. The computer system built into the car will notify you that there is an obstacle in the way.
There are hydraulic systems throughout that help the automatic top function properly. You might be wondering how this works? The hydraulic systems will utilize a pump that helps push fluid. This fluid will go to different motors throughout the system. If the pump is on, there will be fluid that flows through the system. This will spin the motors. If your fluid goes down the wrong path, it can cause the convertible top to malfunction. The fluid is a crucial part of making sure the motors work. They help aid to allow the convertible top to move up and down.
Now that you understand how crucial it is there this fluid reaches where it needs to be, you can see how any little crimp in the frame could mess up the entire system. As you can imagine, an accident can easily twist or bend the frame of the convertible top. This can mess up the hydraulic lines and damaged motors. This can also contribute to a malfunctioning convertible top and cause you to have a convertible top repair.
Once the hydraulic system is interrupted, it can be incredibly difficult to diagnose where the exact problem is. Repairing the system can also be a big project. In fact, this is rated high on the list of the most difficult jobs on a vehicle. It is important to talk to a mechanic when dealing with any convertible top repair. They will be able to help you understand all of the problems and give you the best options for your situation.
How Much Does It Cost For A Convertible Top repair?
As you can imagine, there are many different factors that will affect the overall cost of a convertible top repair. Typically you will spend anywhere from $500 to $1,000 on a convertible top repair. Some of the other factors that will affect the cost are the extent of the damage, the make and model of the car, the year of the car, and the location that you live in.
If you have a lot of damage done to your convertible top, you should expect to have a higher repair bill. Additionally, if you have an older model, sometimes it can be more costly. You might be wondering why? Sometimes a mechanic can have a more difficult time finding older parts. If this happens, it could be more expensive for them to actually get the rare and older part. This can also be very time consuming for a mechanic. If they have to take a lot of time to search for an older part, it will take longer for your convertible top repair.
Lastly, the location of the convertible top repair can have a large impact on the cost. For example, typically if you are in a smaller town you will have to pay less. Larger cities often charge more because they know that they can. Different cities have different lifestyles and income levels. It is important to be aware of the potential higher labor charges in larger cities.
Is your convertible top failing? Have you been told that you need a convertible top repair? If so, it is important that you get it repaired as quickly as possible so you can use it the way it is intended to be used. If your top is down and you can’t get it up, you could be putting yourself and others in harm’s way.
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