Who doesn’t like the wind in your hair and the feeling of the sun on your face? A convertible brings fun on those warm summer days. The Mazda MX-5 Miata, Porsche Boxster, Chevy Corvette and Ford Mustang are just a few. So, how do you detail a soft top convertible? Here are ten easy steps to walk you through the process.
Before You Start Detailing Your Soft Top Convertible
Gather the Solutions
A few important products to use – car shampoo, convertible top cleaner, fabric guard and protectant. The car shampoo washes the entire exterior of your vehicle, while the specialized cleaner will restore your soft top convertible. The guard and protectant help to lengthen the life!
Don’t forget both a bristle brush for scrubbing and softer brush to use for the products! As with any process involving your vehicle, make sure you have microfiber towels. These tools when partnered with the best products will help you refresh your soft top convertible to its former glory!
Fabric or Vinyl?
It’s best to check your manufacturer’s manual to verify the type of convertible top on your vehicle. One test to determine the material – 1/8 teaspoon of water. Try to rub the water in. If it soaks in, the soft top convertible is fabric. However, if the water remains on top of the material, this means it’s vinyl.
Steps to Detail Your Soft Top Convertible
All That Fabric!
As with any time you wash your car, cleaning the top must be done in the shade. Contrary to the rest of the vehicle, wash the entire top at one time. Wet the complete surface area to remove loose dirt by using a special cleaner. You’ll find cleaner and protectants online through places like Chemical Guys. Use a bristle brush to apply the solution evenly. Finally, rinse thoroughly to remove all soap.
Shine the Vinyl!
The beginning steps for washing the top is identical to fabric material. However, a vinyl soft top convertible requires a protectant. To apply, shake protectant and spray 8-12 inches from convertible top. Use a microfiber towel to distribute the solution. Keep in mind, don’t use a spray protectant on windy days! Meguiar’s Supreme Shine Protectant offers a great product.
Check the Rear!
Remove any dust and debris from the rear window with a damp microfiber towel. Avoid direct sunlight for the best results. Spray Plastic Deep Cleaner onto the surface and let soak for a moment. Use a microfiber towel to wipe away any excess solution.
Be Mindful of Hardware
Protect your weatherstripping! The debris from the road destroys the material over time. Spraying silicone will help prevent this from occurring. However, spray the product into the cap first, and use a brush or cloth for application.
Keep the hinges squeaky clean and functioning with white lithium! Snatch some Q-Tips from the bathroom and use these to avoid a mess! Cover all the hinges and latches on the soft top convertible with the white lithium.
Say No to Spills
Despite the fact that some people disagree with this method, spray water over your convertible top to check for leaks. The procedure is simple and if you take the vehicle for a test drive you will know if there are any issues. If you maintain your soft top convertible properly, there shouldn’t be any leaks.
Check for Wicking
However, if issues arise from the water test on the convertible, there are ways to fix this. As long as the stitching stays strong, water will not seep through or “wick”. Wicking can be expensive, but will lead to mildew inside your vehicle if not treated. To prevent wicking, try products like 303 Fabric Guard to avoid the issue.
No Household Cleaners for a Soft Top Convertible!
Household cleaning products can be very harmful to a soft top convertible. Don’t use ammonia, bleach, detergent, alcohol, or vinegar. Detergents, bleach and harsh acids will quickly deteriorate fabric or vinyl, whereas ammonia and alcohol will dry the fabric and cloud the vinyl.
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