Let me start by saying that I’ve never been a huge fan of convertibles, because I’ve never wanted to deal with convertible top repair.
But that’s not all really… Where I’m from, it’s hot and humid in the summer AND it’s hot and humid in the winter. Who wants to NOT used air conditioning in situations like that? Plus, chances of getting your rag top converted into an actual rag just to steal some coins from the center console are VERY high. The tropical sun will burn through the canvas, cloth or vinyl, like if there was a giant magnifying glass focused solely on your car. So needless to say, I like convertibles… But the hard top folding roof kind – not the rag tops.
However, there are plenty of people that love soft tops. They claim convertible cars look better with them. They say soft tops are more lightweight and more simple to operate. I’ll give them the weight and simplicity bit, but whether or not they really look better is all in the eye of the beer holder.
Soft top lovers inevitably have to deal with with a convertible top repair.
It might be a little stitching coming undone. It might be a tiny tear or a small crack in the vinyl window… Or maybe some low-life cut into it.
It might be a little stitching coming undone. It might be a tiny tear or a small crack in the vinyl window… Or maybe some low-life cut into it. Either way… The key is to balance the costs and find out if it’s better to repair or replace.
In most cases, repairs will cost less of course. But always keep in mind how long the repair is going to last. There is usually a decent convertible top repair shop in most areas. Try and contact some of the local clubs for cars that typically have convertible tops. Try Miata clubs, Boxster clubs… Umm BMW Z3 and Z4 clubs. You’re bound to find someone that can recommend a good shop for the soft top repair. Also check the forums for these cars. Most forums have regional sub forums that can easily put you in the right direction.
If you are in an area where convertibles are not that popular… like Alaska or the Southernmost tip of Chile, you might have to search a bit more.
If you are in an area where convertibles are not that popular… like Alaska or the Southernmost tip of Chile, you might have to search a bit more. In fact, you might have to get creative and find someone who stitches canvas for tents or for boats to do the work.
If the damage is so much that you need to replace the entire top… Again, check with your local clubs and check the forums. Many times, these entities organize group buys which help make the pricing a bit more affordable.
Preventive maintenance goes a long way. Soft convertible tops deteriorate over time no matter what, but taking precautions to extend the life of your rag top is a great way to save some money.
There are many products that claim to add UV protection to cloth tops. I’d be kind of wary of their claims, but you might want to do some research to see how much they actually protect. Car manufacturers generally don’t endorse these products, but to me it’s more of a catch-all just in case there are some crappy ones that might actually stain the top.
Keeping your car in a garage helps a lot. Unfortunately, that’s not an option for everyone.
Keeping your car in a garage helps a lot. Unfortunately, that’s not an option for everyone. If I had a rag top that sleeps outside, I’d invest in a partial car cover. These are car covers that only cover the cockpit area. Hmm, but coming to think of it, if I’m going to put a partial cover on, might as well do a full cover! The partial cover would be good for when the car will be parked at the office all day in the sun. You probably don’t want a full cover there, but covering the rag top EVERYDAY would definitely go a long way in extending the life of the top.