How to Care for a Convertible Soft Top
Convertibles are indeed an excellent way to travel and to enjoy the weather. If you own and enjoy driving a soft-top convertible like Jaguar XK or a Chrysler Sebring or any other, it is necessary to know how to maintain the soft tops. Most modern soft-tops are available in either vinyl or cloth material only.
When you are cleaning your convertible top, make sure to use genuine products that have been specially manufactured to care for soft top convertibles. It is suggested that you clean your soft top once every six months. However, if you do not park your vehicle in a closed garage, you may have to clean the convertible top once every three months.
There are a few products you may need to buy for the upkeep of the soft top including sponges or a soft brush, convertible top cleaner, vinyl window cleaner, soft towel, and painters tape. Make it as point not to wash your convertible top in direct sunlight and also ensure the convertible top is not too hot before you begin washing.
Tape off the area surrounding the rag-top, to make sure the Soft Top cleaner does not reach any painted area. Apply the cleaner to the rag-top and allow some time for it to settle. This protects the car from light showers (though not heavy downpours) and keeps dirty water from getting into the fabric.
Once you wet the convertible top, you should spray a thin layerof cleaner on the top, and then take the sponge and begin to gently wipe away any dirt and debris. Then, wash the cleaner off without using any towels but only with water spray. You will know that the cleaner has been sufficiently washed off when there is only clean water running off of the top.
If your roof is wet, do not restore it into its bay until it dries. If you put the wet fabric into its dark bay, bacteria will grow and the material will form fungus and begin to decay. It is advisable to keep your car off the road during winter. The salt on the roads kicks up and can damage the roof. If the material becomes dirty, use a carpet dust extractor to remove the dirt. Neveruse penetrating vinyl preservatives, dry-cleaning solvents, hot water, harsh cleansers, bleaches or abrasives while cleaning soft tops. Any product used to clean should be gentle and any product chosen to protect your top should be specifically designed for your style of top.
Soft top convertible usually come with plastic/vinyl windows and as such avoid all glass cleaners. There are many cleaners available in the market to clean vinyl windows. It is important to use these cleaners because they will also help remove any hairline scratches and will keep the plastic/vinyl from losing color.
Once you complete washing the soft top of your convertible, never let the top down until it is completely dry. Otherwise, there will be build up of mildew and bacteria, which can damage a soft top.
To make the soft tops last longer, follow the instructions in the owner manual that comes with the vehicle. Do not down the top during nights or whenever else you will not be driving. This will help retain the original shape of the top, resist shrinkage and avoid crease marks.