If you happen to have a car with a convertible top, then it’s a good idea to clean and condition it from time to time. Sure, you can run the whole car through a car wash and get the top clean that way, but over time, the top can fade and even wear out, causing cracks and holes. There are proper ways to take better care of your car’s convertible and here are some tips.
There are different types of convertible tops
The first thing to know is that there are different kinds of convertible tops. Most modern tops are made from either vinyl or a polyacrylic canvas. The canvas tops have a fabric-like feel and breathe much better while the vinyl tops are easier to maintain. No matter which kind of material your car’s convertible top is made of, taking the proper steps to maintain it is necessary for its longevity. After all, they are very expensive to replace.
Do not use harmful chemicals
If you’re going to clean your convertible top, remember to stay away from using household cleaning chemicals. Common products include bleach, ammonia, washing detergents, alcohol, and vinegar. We know that it can be a pain to have to buy a separate batch of chemicals just to keep part of your car clean, but it will be worth it in the end.
Wash the convertible top
To properly clean a convertible top, spray it down with a hose or a pressure washer. If you use a pressure washer, just remember to hold it about a foot away so that the pressure isn’t too strong. Fortunately, the water should remove about 70 percent of the dirt and dust. Next, apply convertible top shampoo and when you’re done spraying it all over, lather it in using a horse hairbrush. A horsehair brush is suggested as it has soft bristles that won’t ruin the canvas or vinyl material of your top.
After you’re done rubbing in the shampoo, spray the top down again with water and make sure you get all of the convertible top shampoos out. When it’s all rinsed off, dry the top using microfiber towels and make sure to dry it by patting it down and absorbing the water as opposed to wiping it like you do when drying the actual car. By using microfiber and patting it, you avoid agitating the material and possibly causing damage and excessive lint. When you’re done soaking up the water, let the top dry overnight before conditioning it.
Conditioning the convertible top
When the top is completely dry, assuming that you let it dry overnight, it’s recommended that you go over it with a lint brush. The lint brush will pick up any excess dust and possible bristles left from the brush. Also, cover up with the rear and side windows of the car to prevent overspray as the conditioner can be tough to remove from other surfaces.
Now it’s time to apply the conditioner. Spray the convertible top conditioner in one direction and make sure to cover the whole area. Once it’s all covered, spray it again in an overlapping cross pattern to ensure that all areas of the convertible top are covered. You can do two to three coats to make sure. It’s usually recommended to let the conditioner cure overnight, or for at least a couple of hours before getting the top wet. However, when it’s all done, you’ll enjoy that water will now bead right off the convertible top thanks to your hard work and persistence.
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How often should you clean your convertible top?
Remember to take your time and repeat the process 3 to 4 times per year, especially if you live in an area that sees a lot of rain or snow. While cleaning the convertible top can be a pain, it will be well worth it and costs much less than having to replace the whole thing.