Convertibles are a great way to enjoy the weather. When you are able to be exposed to the elements as you can in a convertible, driving becomes more than a chore, it’s a pleasure. However, when you have a convertible, you need to learn how to care for the convertible top. Having to care for a soft top convertible is not as difficult as one might think, and with regular care, you can prevent the top from cracking, leaking or wearing out too soon.
There are several products you will need to purchase when you have a convertible. These include:
1. Sponges or a soft brush
2. 303 Convertible Top Cleaner – $8 average
3. Bestop Cleaner, Bestop Vinyl Protectant (Vinyl window cleaner) – $15 average per product
4. Car Cover
5. Soft Towel
The first thing to remember when you are cleaning your convertible top is to ensure that you only use products that have been manufactured to care for soft top convertibles. These products will last you many years because it is suggested that you only clean your soft top once every six months. However, if you do not store your vehicle in a garage, you will want to clean the convertible top once every three months.
When it comes time to wash your convertible top, do not do so in direct sunlight. The best way to avoid sunlight is to go to a self-service car wash. Also, ensure that the convertible top is not too hot before you begin washing. To avoid this, it is suggested to wash your vehicle before noon or in the evening after the sun has passed its peak (such as 4pm). Once you wet the convertible top, you will want to spray a thin layer of cleaner on the top, and then you will want to take the sponge and begin to gently wipe away any dirt and debris.
After you have done this, wash the cleaner off without using any towels, only the spray from water. You will know that the cleaner has been sufficiently washed off when there is only clean water running off of the top.
Since soft top convertible usually install plastic windows, you will want to steer clear from glass cleaners. There are many cleaners made to clean plastic (vinyl) windows. It is important to use these type of cleaners because they will help remove any hairline scratches and will keep the plastic from becoming discolored.
Once you have completed washing the top of your convertible, do not let the top down until it is completely dry. This will prevent the build up of mildew and bacteria, which can damage a soft top. Once the top is dry you will want to use a soft top protectant, which will keep the top from cracking (a problem for most soft tops).
And remember, don’t let bird poop stay on your soft top. This will damage the convertible top due to its acidic properties.