Monday, July 29, 2019

Convertible Road Trip Essentials

One of the best feelings in the world is being on the open road, headed to a new and exciting destination. The only thing that could make an exciting road trip even better is taking your convertible along for the ride! We know that traveling in a convertible can be different than traveling in a typical car, so it might be intimidating for the first-timer. Here are our top five essentials that you need when making a road trip in your convertible.

Soft Top Repair Supplies

Accidents happen. Whether you hit a stray tree branch or you hit bad weather, soft tops can be prone to damage. This can be especially worrisome if you are trying to complete a multi-hour drive. It’s always smart to keep a quick soft top repair solution in your car, regardless of the occasion. However, it’s especially important to have something on hand for a long road trip. We recommend something compact and easy-to-use such as Gear-Aid Tenacious Tape or Tear-Aid. These instant solutions will have your soft top patched up and ready to be back on the road in no time. For a more detailed explanation of these products, check out our blog about the different kinds of convertible repair supplies.

Roadside Emergency Kit

The primary concern of your trip should always be safety. Ensure the safety of yourself and your passengers by being prepared in case of any emergencies. Make sure you have essentials like jumper cables, a first aid kit and flashlight at the very least. For those wanting to be extra ready, check out this nifty kit available on Amazon. It includes everything you might need for a number of emergencies, including the essentials previously mentioned and even containing helpful extras such as an emergency sign, gloves and bungee cord. The kit contains 33 pieces, so you’ll be sure to have something on hand in the event of any mishaps.

Car Fluids

Especially if you have an older vehicle, it’s important to keep fluids on hand in case you are in a remote location in which roadside assistance cannot reach you. It’s a smart move to have car fluid on hand to make a quick DIY repair to get you to a safe location in which help can get to you. Make sure to bring a gallon of water in case your car overheats, antifreeze and oil. Other fluid options include transmission fluid, wiper washer fluid and brake fluid, just in case. Make judgments of what fluids to bring with you based on the needs of your specific vehicle. It’s also a good idea to get your car inspected before your trip to ensure your car is in good shape for traveling.

Paper Map or Route Screenshots

In the digital age, paper maps have somewhat gone out of style. Why bother with a large, cumbersome piece of paper when you can simply look up directions on your phone with GPS? Although this tactic may work when we’re within range of a good cell signal, it’s entirely possible that you will lose bars as you drive through rural areas. It’s smart to keep a map on hand in case you get hopelessly lost, or at the very least, screenshot your route on your phone so you know where you are going. If you’re a fan of Google Maps, you can keep the app open and it won’t end the route if you go outside of cell signal. The app can even pinpoint where you are, although it can’t reroute.

Tire Chains

This essential really only applies if you are traveling during the winter or to a destination where there is likely to be snow. However, if you’ve ever encountered an unexpected snowstorm, you know how important tire chains can be to the success of your trip. It’d be a shame to have to turn around due to bad weather when it can be easily solved with these compact tools. Additionally, state police often require the possession of tire chains to ensure the safety of those on the road.

For any roadtrip, you need to make sure you’re prepared. If your convertible top is ready for a tune up, make sure to shop at and work with one of our preferred suppliers!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Our Favorite Moments From the Goodwood Festival of Speed

For over two decades, the Goodwood Festival of Speed has enchanted automotive fans. Including a variety of thrilling events like the Forest Rally Stage, Supercar Run, Moving Motor Show and Famous Annual Hill Climb, this festival is packed with exhilaration for car enthusiasts. In addition to the excitement of the motor events, the show often presents an opportunity for car manufacturers to reveal brand-new products. Given these impressive credentials, we believe this event is one of the best in the industry. Check out our five favorite moments from the festival below.

1. Aston Martin wows with the center display.

Each year, the festival consistently delivers a stunning center display to welcome guests. This year was certainly no exception. Aston Martin, the luxury British car manufacturer, created this gorgeous piece in honor of the 70 years since the company’s first race at Goodwood. It is also a nod to the 60 years since its first and only victory at the Le Mans race. The display features the Aston Martin DBR1, a classic racing car first constructed in 1956. This car is the same model as the one that won at Le Mans. Displaying the DBR1 is a fantastic homage to automotive innovation, made even more impressive by the height of the centerpiece.

2. The festival honors a legend.

This year, the Goodwood Festival chose to celebrate the record-breaking career of Michael Schumacher. Schumacher, a retired German racing driver, is often lauded as one of the world’s best Formula One drivers. He is the only driver in history to win an astonishing seven Formula One World Championships, five of which were consecutive. This record still stands today as the most championships won by any driver. The year 2019 marks Schumacher’s 50th birthday in addition to the 25th anniversary of his first Formula One World Championship. In a touching display featuring famous cars, family and friends, the festival came together to honor the legacy of this racing legend.

3. Land Rover opens the show.

As a fantastic start to the festival, Land Rover unveiled its highly anticipated new Defender. This was the vehicle’s first debut to the public, and it did not let us down. The Defender is Land Rover’s most enduring model, and it is beloved by fans of the brand. Its newly updated design is inspired by the Land Rover’s original 1948 model, updated to fit modern-day style and necessities. This redesigned model certainly impressed, and we are excited to see it on the market soon.

4. Volkswagen I.D. R sets a new hill climb record.

Every year, manufacturers test their latest and greatest vehicles during a race for time up the Goodwood hill. This year, the all-electric Volkswagen I.D. R set a new festival record. The record was previously held by McLaren when in 1999 its MP4/13 F1 car earned an impressive time of 41.60 seconds. Averaging 101.4 mph along the course, Volkswagen’s I.D. R defeated McLaren’s long-held title with a stunning time of 41.18 seconds. Even more surprisingly, later during the festival, the I.D. R went on to break its own record when its second run was completed in a time of 39.90. We are certainly impressed by this record-breaking car!

5. Lexus announces a new convertible.

Given that we are convertible enthusiasts, it’s no surprise that this announcement was our absolute favorite thing from the festival. Lexus unveiled a stunning convertible version of its luxurious, beloved LC. Although the LC has been on the market for some time, Lexus is revamping this fan favorite by adding a convertible option. We might be biased, but a convertible top makes any car better, especially one with the impressive design of the Lexus LC. The prototype was given a test run up the famous Goodwood hill, driven by professional racing driver Nick Cassidy. Lexus later announced that the car is expected to hit the market sometime in the near future.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Convertible Top Repair Supplies: Which Option is Best?

Soft tops have been around as long as people have been buying convertibles. With their unmistakable vintage look, soft tops remain a beloved classic for convertible fans everywhere. Unfortunately, soft convertible tops have the chance of becoming damaged due to weather and other accidents. Thankfully, convertible owners have a wide variety of options for repairing their tops themselves. We’re giving you the lowdown on six products to give you an idea of which repair product would work best for you.

Gear-Aid Tenacious Tape

Gear-Aid Tenacious Tape works best to repair tears or rips in a pinch. Backed with ultra-aggressive adhesive, this tape sticks to technical fabrics, including nylon and vinyl. The strong, weatherproof tape is available in the form of either a 3 x 20” strip or 1.5 x 60” roll and is available in a variety of colors (including clear) to best match your soft top. Additionally, Tenacious Tape becomes waterproof and machine washable after 24 hours of application. With an average of 4 stars from customer reviews on Amazon, we’d say this versatile, multipurpose tape is a necessity for all convertible lovers to repair accidents fast. Shop Gear-Aid Tenacious Tape at their online store or on Amazon.

Price: $5.25


Tear-Aid takes the form of a repair patch, so it is easy to instantly mend your soft top and be back on the road in no time. The product comes in two different types and can adhere to a variety of fabric materials. The see-through patch blends in with all soft top colors and offers instant adhesion. Its flexible material conforms to all surfaces, even irregular ones, and is UV-resistant to prevent yellowing. Unlike other instant repair patches, the Tear-Aid patch won’t turn gummy in high heat, so you won’t end up with another mess on your hands. Customer reviews state that the patch is fairly long-lasting, but bear in mind instant solutions typically do not hold up over long periods of time. Check out this store locator to find Tear-Aid in stores near you.

Price: $7.99

Liquid Stitch

Liquid Stitch is a fast-drying fabric glue that repairs rips and tears in most fabric materials, including clothing, accessories and furniture. This product can also be used to apply patches for a quick no-sew repair. Available in a 1.69 oz tube, Liquid Stitch dries quickly and provides a temporary solution that lasts longer than tape. Once dry, the glue is machine washable and water-resistant. Customer reviews state that this product works best for a short amount of time, so we recommend Liquid Stitch as a quick fix. This product is available in stores at Walmart or online at Amazon.

Price: $10.86


Stormsure’s line of products focuses on repairs you can easily do yourself. Their flagship product, the flexible repair adhesive, is a waterproof universal glue that works on virtually all materials, including leather, PVC, polyurethane and more. It is extremely flexible and tough when cured, so it is perfect for outdoor wear. Stormshare also sells a soft top roof repair kit complete with all the necessary material for convertible top repair, including the adhesive, TUFF Tape strips and TUFF Tape repair patches. Customer reviews praise the product for its durability but reinforce that the glue is just a temporary fix. You can buy the kit directly from their website. To purchase just the glue, shop their website or other online retailers such as Amazon and Walmart.

Kit price: $9.23
Adhesive price: $9.23

3M Leather & Vinyl Repair Kit

For a more permanent solution, the 3M Leather & Vinyl Repair Kit repairs damage in automotive leather and vinyl. The kit comes with a color matching guide and textured grain papers to ensure optimal repair results. This kit seems to be a fantastic inexpensive option for addressing minor damage and preventing it from getting worse. Included in the kit is replacement backing fabric, seven colored intermixable repair compounds (red, blue, green, yellow, white, brown, black), mixing cups, vinyl swatch for testing, vinyl adhesive, applicator tool, and a heat transfer tool. However, many customer reviews say this kit can be quite complicated to get right, so be advised before purchasing. The 3M Leather & Vinyl Repair Kit is available in stores at Walmart or online at Amazon.

Price: $9.97

United Cabriofun Repair Kit

The United Cabriofun Repair Kit offers powerful bonding for a long-lasting weatherproof fix. Its adhesive plastic welding reinforced fabric repair material combines with the base material of your soft top, creating a permanent DIY fix. The kit includes vulcanizing glue, one large repair patch (4 x 6 inches) and instructions. The patches come in six different colors: white, black, anthracite, blue, beige and red. Amazon users gave this kit a 3.5 out of 5 stars, making it a solid choice for an affordable soft top repair. Purchase the United Cabriofun Repair Kit on Amazon.

Price: $16.50

Friday, May 17, 2019

Can Tears Or Cuts On Convertible Top Be Repaired Or Patched?

As a soft top convertible owner, odds are you pay special attention to the wear and tear of your beloved convertible. From the tension cables to the headliners and the material of the fabric itself, your soft top is a delicate yet crucial part of your car. It protects you from heavy rains, strong winds, hail, extreme temperatures and just about any element. However, in doing so your car withstands a lot and this can often lead to unwanted tears or cuts in the soft top fabric. If you find yourself in this predicament, luckily there are some measures you can take in order to repair your soft top to last you a little longer before you really need to replace it.

How Do I Repair My Convertible Soft Top?

The first thing you want to do to effectively repair your soft top is simply to sew the tear using a strong thread or fine wire and using a cross-stitch pattern. This will ensure that you completely close the aperture and maintain a protective soft top. Remember to take your time and have patience as you carefully and meticulously close the laceration.

Then, you can also use strong tape and or glue to seal the tear in your soft top. You want to make sure to use a heavy-duty cloth tape instead of the cheap stuff. The best method is to use tape to close the laceration from the inside of the car and use glue to seal it from the outside of the car. Remember to apply both the tape and glue generously to completely seal your soft top.

Lastly, you should use marine canvas to completely patch up your soft top. Just simply cut a piece of canvas about 1 to 2 inches larger than the tear and emulate the shape of the tear as much as you can. Following this process is the most effective way to ensure that your convertible is as good as new.

Can Any Tear Or Cut Be Repaired?

Although this process is a great way to repair your convertible top, it is not a permanent fix. A soft top is only meant to last you about 5 to 15 years depending on the wear and tear it faces (rain, hail, sun, etc.). After a certain amount of time, the entire soft top will need to be replaced, not just for aesthetics, but for your protection. In fact, if the cut is longer than 12 inches, we would actually recommend that you replace your soft top altogether. In some cases, especially if the laceration in the soft top is the result of vandalism, the top cannot be replaced, no matter its size.

If you are unfortunate enough to face a tear or cut that you cannot repair using this process, we offer affordable replacements for a large variety of makes and models at AutoTops Direct. Also, if you simply need to replace a small piece and not the soft top itself, we also offer a variety of accessories that include headliners, seals and trim repair kits.

Which Material Is Best for My Replacement?

It’s also important to keep in mind which materials are best suited for the particular weather conditions that your car is prone to. We offer Everflex, Pinpoint, Sailcloth, Twill and Acoustic Vinyl as well as Stayfast, Sonnendeck and German Classic canvas. 

For weatherability, we recommend using Sailcloth or Everflex vinyl, which is also known for extreme durability. However, if your main concern is wear and tear from the sun, we recommend using German Classic canvas, Sailcloth vinyl or Sonnendeck canvas as they are known to be fade-resistant. 

But if you are looking for a more affordable fix and aren’t too concerned about the elements, then Pinpoint vinyl is your best bet. And if you are looking for a high-end replacement that offers you both durability and a clean look while reducing noise, we recommend using Acoustic vinyl, Twill vinyl or Stayfast canvas. All of our replacement soft tops offer you both durability and a clean look. 

Choosing the right replacement for your car depends on the daily wear and tear that your vehicle is prone to. At AutoTops Direct we are proud to offer you a 5 year warranty on all of our soft top replacements and a 30 day price match guarantee so that you don’t have to break the bank purchasing a proper replacement.

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