Monday, February 12, 2018

5 Myths about Convertibles Dispelled

If you’re anything like us, you long for that open air feeling when you’re on the road. The wind blowing in your hair, the sun shining on your face, and the sensation of being exposed to your environment is magical. It’s like a special kind of freedom that’s usually reserved for reckless bikers, but convertibles make it safe… or do they? There’s been a lot fake news and misinformation about convertibles over the years, especially with newer models. With technological advances, all cars including convertible cars have gotten safer and easier to use than ever. As advocates for convertibles, we’re dispelling 4 myths you’ve heard about convertibles.

1)   They’re not practical and you can only drive them in the summer
Although they aren’t necessarily the most practical of cars, convertibles aren’t impractical and they’re a ton of fun that makes for a great driving experience. Sure, everyone who gets a convertible is thinking about hitting the road when the sun is out, but that doesn’t mean it’s not usable during fall and winter. Granted, you might not want to drive 25 mph with the top down when it’s chilly or rainy out, but that’s the beauty of a convertible: it’s convertible. When the weather is poor, you keep the top up. When the weather is beautiful, you put the top down.

If you’re worried about staying warm with a convertible during winter months, get a hard top. Hard tops offer you more insulation and overall protection from your exterior surroundings compared to soft tops. Though it’s important to note that soft tops have come a long way in terms of insulation, but the hard top will always mean less weather exposure and noise from the road.

2)   They don’t have storage space
There might not be as much trunk space for storage when you’re buying a small convertible, but then again, you probably aren’t too concerned about storage space if you’re looking at roadsters or sports convertibles. This myth really refers to when the top is down, especially if it’s a hard top. However, not every convertible on the market sacrifices trunk space to make a zippy, compact convertible. If having a lot of trunk space is important to you, you can still get a convertible without compromising on storage.

3)   They have poor performance, which makes them dangerous
Maybe a decade or so ago, convertibles were notorious for poor maneuverability and control because their flimsy bodies would flex in strong wind forces (which was also less fuel efficient!). In the past, engineers depended on the roof of the car to provide a lot of structural integrity, which hindered the driving performance of convertibles. Today, engineers construct convertibles with a rigid body, using support pillars and stiffer materials. That means little to no structural flex, more maneuverability, and better safety. Nowadays, the only time convertibles are more dangerous than regular cars is if they were flipped, which isn’t an easy task.

4)   They’re high maintenance and expensive
Another common myth about convertibles is that they’re high maintenance. That’s get this straight though: any quality car is worth taking good care of and, therefore, might be considered high maintenance. Even if you’re not driving a nice car, it still needs regular maintenance or it’ll eventually break down. As for convertibles, the maintenance varies depending on the type of convertible you get (i.e. roadster, classic 4 seater, or luxury), as well as the top it has.

Over the years, soft tops got a reputation for easily damaged from weather, use, and theft. They use to come with a flimsy plastic rearview window that would easily scratch with regular use too. Repairing these tops was extremely high maintenance and expensive. However, today, soft tops are more durable and long lasting than ever. They’re made from stronger materials that make them less expensive and more protective. Not only are they more durable, but most soft tops come with a glass rearview window now. Although soft tops aren’t completely theft protective and carwash proof as a hard top, they’re not nearly as high maintenance as rumor has it. Meanwhile, a hard top is more expensive to buy and replace, and are heavier than a soft top, but are as easily damaged or broken into.

5)   They aren’t suited for families
If the other myths about convertibles were true, this one would make sense. However, convertible can be a great car for your family. Granted, it may not be the best option if you can only have one car in your family, but that doesn’t mean convertibles don’t play well with families. If you have a family and want a convertible, get a 4 seater convertible instead of a roadster. Most of the 4 seater models have plenty of space for a car seat and a beach cooler for when you want to drive your family down to the shore for a beach day.

Don’t let these 5 myths scare you away from buying a convertible car. They’re based on outdated information and technology. Modernly, convertibles are far more affordable and safer than their early predecessors. And just like any quality car, convertibles require some maintenance, but it’s manageable and worth it. Plus, at AutoTopsDirect, we make it easy to take care of your convertible with our collection of affordable replacement parts.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Tips for Preparing a Convertible Car for Sale

No one ever wants to sell his or her convertible – unless it’s to buy another convertible! You can’t put a price on the joy and freedom felt when cruising with the top down and wind in your hair. However, in the event you do have to put a price on your precious convertible, we’ve put together a few tips to ensure you get the amount you deserve.

Floor Mats

As soon as you possibly can, buy thick rubber floor mats for the front and back seats of your convertible. These will keep the factory floor mats perfectly preserved and make the interior look like new when presented to a potential buyer. The aftermarket rubber floor mats will also preserve the surrounding carpeting against spills, dirt, and debris. This extremely affordable step is the easiest way to keep your interior clean through all seasons and environments.  

Tune-up

Most car buyers will know how to do a proper assessment of your convertible’s condition, or bring someone with them who can. At the very least, you should have your convertible’s fluids changed before attempting a sale. Changing spark plugs, oil and air filters, belts, and performing other routine maintenance can go a long way towards satisfying even the most perceptive buyers.  

Fix Anything that’s Broken

If you have a broken tail light or headlight, door handle, or any other part, find and install a replacement. Most any salvage yard will have the parts you need at an affordable price. The time, money, and effort put into replacing a cracked headlamp can justify an increased asking price and give you the confidence to stick to it.

Clean it Up

A clean convertible is a sold convertible. Give your car a good bath and vacuum before putting it up for sale, and add a coat of wax to give it that extra shine. The interior should be given the same level of care as the outside including cleaning the dashboard and all windows inside and out. Many sellers overlook the importance of cleaning under the hood of the car, as well. With the battery and other electronic components properly covered, use a degreaser or approved solvent and water to remove all oil and debris. This will make everything under the hood look like new and give buyers no reason to complain. This applies to the trunk of the car, as well. The trunk should be vacuumed and orderly for potential buyers to view. The car should also have air fresheners to provide a pleasant aroma that puts buyers at ease.

Vehicle History

If possible, have all maintenance records available for review. If you have a particular mechanic you have used over the years, they may be able to help you access and print out your convertible’s maintenance history. If you are not the original buyer, keep the original owner’s contact information stored some place convenient in the event a buyer may have a question you are unable to answer. You may need to invite the original buyer to your next barbecue as a thank you, but it could mean the difference between a sale and another week of running a tiny used car lot out of your home.


These are just some of our favorite tips for preparing your convertible for sale. Taking these steps will give you the edge you need to keep reluctant buyers from walking away and ensure you get the price you want and need – so you can buy a new convertible! What are your best tips for preparing a convertible for sale? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Tips for Enjoying Jeeps during Winter

Jeeps are perfect for any time of year. However, wintertime provides additional challenges that can be difficult to deal with, if you aren’t properly prepared. Winter brings snow, sleet, slush, and freezing temperatures mixed with your usual dirt, debris, and various road and trail anomalies. It’s important to incorporate seasonal accessories to ensure your travels are both safe and comfortable. So, we’ve put together a few ways to make the most of your Jeep during the cold winter months.

Heater

You’ll need to make sure your Jeep’s heater is properly functioning in order to stay warm and keep your windows defrosted. There are plenty of affordable portable heaters able to warm your Jeep and clear your windows in seconds. Staying warm is imperative to maintaining quick reaction times and keeping your extremities from cramping or losing sensation.

Floor Mats

Installing floor mats over your Jeep branded floor mats will keep them looking like new well beyond their normal shelf life. Thick rubber mats prevent snow, moisture, and your feet from damaging your interior and are extremely easy to clean. If you ever decide to sell your Jeep, showing off your perfectly maintained interior will be eye-catching and add real value to the sale.

Tires

Your off-road tires are designed for versatility and rugged environments. But, are your tires designed for snow? Driving on tires not designed for snow and sleet may cause your Jeep to slide or be unable to grip properly to the terrain. Snow tires have larger gaps in the tread design that is specifically engineered to improve traction on snow and ice. Winter is notorious for robbing tires of their proper air pressure, as well. You’ll need to check the air pressure in your Jeep’s tires frequently to ensure they stay within the recommended PSI. Tires that are improperly inflated will not hug the road evenly, causing the tires to deliver less than optimal performance.

Winch & Recovery Kit

One of the most important accessories for any time of year, especially winter, is a winch and recovery kit. With or without snow tires, you’re bound to end up stuck at least a few times, and the only thing worse than being stuck, is being stuck in the cold! Installing a winch and keeping a complete recovery kit handy will ensure you never have to stay in one place too long.

New Top & Doors

If your Jeep’s convertible top and removable doors have seen better days, winter is the perfect time to replace them. Cracks or tears in your Jeep’s convertible components are the top contributor to moisture, mold, and mildew infecting the interior, not to mention the cold air that seeps through when driving. A new convertible top and doors will not only keep you warmer and your interior clean, your Jeep will look great too!


These are just some of the quick and easy ways you can enhance your winter Jeep experience. It’s important to stay warm and alert at all times when driving in cold weather and being prepared will guarantee everyone’s safety and enjoyment. What are your favorite tips for enjoying your Jeep during the winter? Share your stories with us in the comments section below!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Enjoying a Convertible in Winter

Winter is usually when we focus on reminding our online family about taking steps to preserve and protect their convertibles from snow, debris, and all the things that will damage tops. But, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy your convertible simply because it’s cold outside. It’s important to drive your convertible during winter to keep the battery charged and fluids circulating. So, we’ve decide to review a few ways to ensure your winter drives are just as enjoyable as driving during all the other seasons.

Warm it Up

If you’re going to drive your convertible during winter, you had better make sure the heater works. Repairing a car’s heater is much easier and more affordable than dealing with air conditioning systems. Older cars will pull heat from the engine, but newer models will have a heating core that passes hot air through the ventilation system. If your convertible’s heater isn’t working, it could be the core, a broken thermostat, low antifreeze levels, blocked vents, or a few other issues that can be repaired relatively quickly and without breaking the bank.

Seal it

Winter will make any issues with moisture or air penetration exponentially worse. A smart, quick solution for this issue is using weather stripping made specifically for cars. Weather stripping, along with a gasket adhesive (if necessary), will provide a stopgap measure that prevents moisture from damaging the interior, wind from noise pollution, and cold air from zapping your warmth. Weather stripping is affordable, effective, and lasts long enough for you to replace any components before they cause further damage.

Bundle Up

Don’t make your convertible do all the work when driving during the winter months. Bundling up will ensure you enjoy your convertible to the fullest. Driving gloves and goggles may seem extreme, but they can help you enjoy the drive longer and with a hip look that’s functional and stylish. Of course, you’ll need to maintain a high level of mobility and visibility to ensure maximum comfort and safety.

Accessorize

From heated seats to wind diffusers, there are plenty of ways to accessorize your convertible to stay warm. But, not all accessories need to be for the car. Consider bringing extra blankets, electric and otherwise, along with hot chocolate, and other snacks to make your trips more enjoyable. While drivers should never use blankets, hot chocolate is a delicious way to stay warm, comfortable, and alert.  

Give Yourself Options & Stay Safe

An early morning or late night drive may seem ideal, but if it gets too cold, your vision and motor skills may become compromised. When driving your convertible during winter, consider driving with the top down and the windows up, vice versa, or limiting your drives to short windows of time. Even with the top and windows up, convertibles are extremely enjoyable, but you’ll need to use good judgment when driving in unusual conditions.


Staying warm in the winter with a convertible has never been easier. These measures will ensure your winter is just as enjoyable as your summer. Share your tips for making the most of your convertible during winter in the comments below. We’d love to hear your thoughts!