As you take a look outside your living room window you notice something odd - the crocuses are beginning to bloom. Ah, that means spring is around the corner, and spring means road trips. This year, in addition to the usual around-the-house spring cleaning duties, you decide to add in another chore - spend some time getting the top on the convertible looking great.
Soft top convertibles are the most common style of convertible cars. Soft tops are usually cheaper than hard tops to repair give a more authentic “convertible” look and feel. The main downsides are insulation and security. But they do provide protection from the elements and are easy to fold back when you want to feel the wind in your hair.
Convertible soft tops come in two types: vinyl and fabric (usually canvas). Although different in appearance, they are similar when it comes to cleaning. Cleaning your convertible top is no different than cleaning the rest of the car.
Part 1 of 3: Clean the top of your convertible thoroughly
Step 1: Clean the soft top. Clean your vinyl or fabric top with water and gentle car shampoo such as TechCare Gentle Car Shampoo. Use a brush that has extra soft scratch free bristles. A popular brand is Mothers.
Step 2: Use a convertible top spray. If your top is especially greasy or has dirt that won’t come off with ordinary washing, get the top wet, and spray a convertible top cleaner such as 303 Tonneau Convertible Top Cleaner over the dirty area. Both of these products break down road grease and dirt.
Step 3: Brush the top. After you’ve sprayed the convertible top cleaner on the soiled area, use the brush to get rid of the dirt.
Step 4: Rinse the top. After you’ve cleaned your top completely, rinse it down to make sure all of the dirt has been removed.
Step 5: Apply a protectant. Once the top is dry, use a protectant keep the UV rays from the sun from fading the color and texture of the top. RaggTopp makes a spray that protects the look of your top.
Part 2 of 3: If you have a fabric top be sure to check for leaks
Step 1: Check for leaks. Taking care of a fabric convertible top is essentially the same as taking care of vinyl. However, fabric can crack over time and begin to leak.
- If your top starts to leak, spray it with convertible top fabric guard, which is a water repellant.
Part 3 of 3: Make sure the window is clean
Step 1: Clean the windows. It’s easy to forget that the back window also needs to cleaned. If your car is an older model, the window might have turned a bit yellow.
- To fix the decolorization of the window, use a plastic care product such as Diamondite Plasti-Care, which is used to clear plastic surfaces such as windows, and headlights. If you keep on top of taking care of your convertible’s soft top it will extend its lifespan considerably. Chances are if you own a convertible you care about keeping it in good working order so don’t forget the fabric or vinyl top that keeps you and the inside of your car protected from the elements.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Keep Your Convertible’s Soft Top Looking Great and was authored by Kevin Woo.