Care of Convertible Tops
With proper care, your convertible top can remain looking great, and its lifespan can be extended. There’s not much you can do to reverse damage once it’s already been done. The best course of action is to take care of it from the beginning. The following are suggested care techniques for keeping your convertible top in tip-top condition.
Cloth Top Care
Fabric top maintenance is essentially the same as vinyl top maintenance, except you want to select products formulated for fabric. Convertible top cleaners are usually suitable for either vinyl or fabric. Use a moderately stiff brush to loosen dirt from the fibers.
It’s a marvel of modern science that fabric tops repel water as well as they do, but all good things must come to an end. Fabric tops are chemically treated during manufacturing to repel water and contamination, but these chemicals diminish as time passes. Exactly how long the factory repellant will last is dependent on usage and the environment, so it’s best to keep an eye on your top. Your regular washings should reveal a gradual reduction of water repellence. You’ll want to watch carefully for signs of water puddles or wet spots where water has clearly penetrated the fabric. If you see these signs, it’s time to treat your top.
Choose a convertible fabric guard that will restore the repellence to factory specifications and keep your fabric top looking good. Be sure to apply protectant to a clean, dry top. Never saturate; light, even coats are always best. Reapply monthly to maintain an optimum level of water repellency.
Vinyl Top Care
Regular cleaning of your vinyl top is as easy as washing your car. Use a gentle car shampoo, and a moderately stiff brush to free the dirt from the textured vinyl of your convertible top. Wash the top just as you would the rest of the vehicle. Avoid shampoos that improve gloss. They are good for the paint, but unnecessary for the top.
If your vinyl top is particularly dirty, you can use a cleaner to break up the grease and films that can plague your vinyl top. Some convertible top cleaners also inhibit the growth of mildew. Spray the top with water and then spray with a cleaner. Use a brush to gently scrub the vinyl. Rinse thoroughly.
After you’ve cleaned the vinyl, use a vinyl protectant to preserve the color and texture of your convertible top. Skipping this step leads to the faded, cracked tops you see on the road from time to time. The best protectants will repel dirt, grease, and oil.
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