Helpful Tips in Cleaning and Protecting Your Convertible's Soft Top
While a convertible car is a source of joy and pride, owning such also entails responsibilities. Unlike family sedans or coupes, convertibles require special care especially for their delicate soft top. Since it is made of either vinyl or fabric, it should not be treated and cared for like the sheet metal panels and painted surfaces of your car.
Keep in mind that some household cleaning products can be harsh to your convertible's top. There are also chemicals, tools, and cleaning regimens that can only damage, rather than protect, the vinyl or fabric top of your precious ride. So before you purchase cleaning products or start cleaning your convertible's top, you'd better check out some pointers.
Some tips in soft top cleaning
- Check the top every now and then to be sure that it isn't jammed on the mechanism that's responsible for raising and lowering it. The said mechanism should also be inspected and polished to keep it looking good. The metal part should be coated with wax to prevent rust while the hinges must be oiled to keep them working well. Be careful not to stain other parts of the top when oiling the hinges. When the top is down, make sure its plastic rear window (if there's any) is not crumpled. Also check for weak spots or other signs of damage like tears or seams that are starting to loosen up. Cure any weak spot or problem before it becomes more serious.
- Wash the soft top once it gets dusty or dirty or at least once each month. Make sure the auto shampoo you're using is non-detergent based and does not have gloss-enhancing oils. Rinse the top thoroughly with cool water.
- Do not spot clean. Doing so will just leave rings and spots on the convertible top's surface, so make sure to wash the entire top at one time.
- Do not wash under direct sunlight. If you don't have a covered garage, then look for a place where there's enough shade to cover your ride while cleaning the convertible top.
- Dust or vacuum the well where the soft top folds. Make sure this area is free of any object or element that can puncture or damage the top.
- Use the right tool for washing-nylon brush for vinyl and a soft scrub brush for canvass top. That said, you should avoid using cloth, lamb's wool mitt, or a sponge that's chenille covered because these can leave lint on the soft top's surface.
- Dry the soft top by blotting up the water with a microfiber towel or synthetic chamois. A diaper or terry cloth towel will leave lint, so avoid using them on canvass top. Aside from microfiber towel and synthetic chamois, a vinyl top can also be dried up using cotton towels. Microfiber towels are good for vinyl windows. Again, blot up the water; do not wipe.
- Deal with stains using a stronger cleaner that's capable of penetrating into the stain and releasing the foreign matter. Avoid scrubbing the stained part over and over as it can just cause the stain to spread and, worse, damage the surface of your soft top. Instead, spray a generous amount of the cleaner on the stain and allow it to soak in for 3 to 5 minutes. After that, rinse the stained spot with a stiff stream of water, then wash the entire top.