For most car enthusiasts, few experiences can beat the excitement and freedom of a convertible with a top down.
However, convertible tops come with the threat of environmental damage and the need for special maintenance.
One frequently asked question is whether to store a convertible with the top down or up?
So, Is It Better to Store a Convertible with The Top Up or Down?
It’s better and most recommendable to store a convertible with the top up. If you leave your top down for a long time, it will shrink and make it hard to latch back down when raised. An open top leaves the convertible’s interior vulnerable to moisture damage, pest infiltration, and deterioration caused by ultraviolet radiation.
Generally, if you will be storing your convertible for an extended period, ensure the top is up.
This will keep it entirely supported and smooth, helping it last longer.
The more the top stays up, the more excellent it will remain for a more extended period without the threats stated above.
The timeline used when the top is up helps lessen the development of lasting wrinkle marks and keep the top in its original shape.
It’s also recommendable not to put the top down when the temperature falls below 60 degrees F.
Read on for more maintenance tips to take care of your convertible.
Five Maintenance Tips for Your Convertible Top
Convertible tops require more care than an average car, and the quality and appearance of the top vary greatly.
Some of the essential maintenance tips for your convertible top include;
1. Check Whether the Top Is Vinyl or Fabric
Regardless of your convertible model, soft-top convertibles feature the exact basic mechanism.
They have a waterproof and flexible covering over a folding frame that clips well into position, protecting you from these elements.
The complexity and materials vary, but all the convertibles are waterproof, thanks to the waterproof inner core or rubberized surface.
Vinyl convertible tops come with a plastic-like or leather sheen and are more water-resistant, although more likely to develop leaks and cracks.
It’s essential to determine the type of material for your convertible top as the maintenance tricks and care tips vary.
One way to know your top material is to rub a tiny amount of water into the surface.
If the droplet smears, the top is vinyl, and if it soaks in, it’s fabric.
2. Use The Right Cleaning Material
Your car’s manual should contain information regarding how to car for your convertible top.
The first step for caring for your convertible top is consulting the owner’s manual for special instructions specific to your convertible and its top.
Some cleaning products, such as silicon, petroleum derivatives, ammonia, buffing compounds, waxes, bleach, or citrus, might be harmful to soft tops.
So, if you want to wash the top yourself, just use a gentle car shampoo.
Check the convertible top cleaners’ labels to see if they are specifically for vinyl or fabric tops.
Always consider using cleaning products for your top material as the first choice.
3. Clean Your Convertible Top with Care
Soft top materials don’t essentially need special detergents, unlike other vehicle exteriors.
Nevertheless, convertible tops can get damaged when washing unless you take care of the particular vulnerabilities from the seals and seams that prevent water from getting into the interior to the plastic windows usually included in the structure.
Avoid high-pressure car washes as they might overwhelm the seals around the windows and other parts.
Therefore, you should resist the temptation for convenience. Instead, consider taking the car to a car wash that offers professional handwashing.
If the convertible’s top comes with a rear glass window, clean it as you would on an ordinary car window, ensuring not to get the glass cleaner on the surrounding vinyl surfaces or fabric.
If an automated wash damages your convertible’s top, get it fixed immediately.
4. Replace Or Repair the Convertible Top as Required
Regardless of how careful you maintain your convertible, the soft top will start fading sooner or later or develop other problems that require replacement or repair.
Most of the soft tops will wear out before the vehicle does. In case of worn-out weather-stripping or torn top, you need to make these repairs as fast as possible to take care of the car’s interior.
An experienced auto body professional will inspect your convertible top and administer the needed repairs.
Combining interior sealants such as tape or glue and fine stitching will effectively take care of more minor tears.
If necessary, the auto body shop can replace the complete top.
5. Don’t Allow Tear and Wear Damage to Your Top.
Any car’s exterior surface has potential damage.
Rocks, branches, and rocks can tear the top of your convertible. Mildew or mold can also build up on the soft top material.
You should regularly check out the top for signs of damage that might need professional repairs.
Ultraviolet radiation can also damage a fabric or vinyl top with time, resulting in contraction, cracking, and color fading.
If you don’t have access to a garage, you should carefully consider your options before parking your convertible.
It’s advisable to seek shade on sunny days as much as possible.
After washing your car, ensure the top has a UV protectant coating to guard against color fading and ultraviolet damage.
Ultimately, it’s better to store a convertible with the top up.
Storing the top down overnight will shorten its life expectancy.
Hopefully, these tips will help you protect your convertible during storage so that you can enjoy it in excellent condition for many years.
Generally, the best way to extend your convertible top life and enjoy its benefits for years is to clean it regularly and apply protectant to the top regularly.