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How to Care for Your Rag Top

May 14, 2013 - A convertible can be a statement, a new way of life, or a symbol of a midlife crisis. Many people gravitate toward this fun loving type of car because of the freedom and the enjoyment.

But, like most things in life, it has a price. What other costs come with a convertible besides a larger sticker price? Yep, top care. Whether you have a fabric top or a vinyl top this is an additional consideration you have to tend to. If you don’t give your car the appropriate care and affection it deserves, the top might end up looking so bad that you never put it up. This could cause problems in the winter.

How do you know if your convertible top is fabric or vinyl? What do you do to take care of it? How do you do it? When?

Those are all great questions. Let’s see what we can do about helping you answer a few of them. First, we’ll figure out what kind, then go over what, how to, and when. Yep, it sounds like a lot, but once you understand, it’s really not too much.

Vinyl or Fabric

The easiest way to find out what kind of top you have is to ask your car dealer or your favorite automotive shop. They can tell just by looking at it. But, odds are you don’t want to ask such a simply question because you may come off looking a little foolish. You can tell what type of top you have by running just a little bit of water over it. If it absorbs, fabric. If it doesn’t absorb, vinyl.

When, What and How to clean you convertible top?

- Rinse monthly with a good stream of water (cleaning off the dirt)

- Wash at least once a season

- Wash in the shade

- Wash the whole top at once

- Use a good cleaner for your appropriate top type

- Protect from the elements all you can – salt, sun, etc.

- Apply a protectant following the manufacturer’s directions

- Not in the sun

- After drying from washing

What do I need to clean my convertible top?

Here are a few things you might want to have on hand when it comes time to cleaning your convertible top. These will help make it easier and more efficient.

Anyway, here’s a list of prime items to have on hand.

- Drying towels

- Cleaner for you appropriate type of top (fabric or vinyl)

- Protectant for you appropriate type of top (fabric or vinyl)

- Window cleaner

- Applicators

- Natural bristle brush

- And a teenage son or daughter you can bribe to do the cleaning for you by offering them to take the car out for the night.


That’s all for now on convertible top care. Happy cruising!

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