Monday, November 19, 2018

What’s up with that new Jeep Truck?

Well, we now know that the rumors were true! Jeep recently ‘announced’ that our dreams were all coming to fruition, and just in time for Christmas! We say announced because they really only teased us with the release of the new Jeep truck. But, considering the revolt that would ensue if this turned out not to be true, we’re betting on a new Jeep truck. This is something that Jeep fans have been waiting and asking for and apparently Jeep was listening.

So, we’ll know what the new Jeep truck will look like this month – in just about a week or so. The new trucks should officially drop in 2020, but at least we know they’re real and they’re spectacular!

Some believe it will be called the Jeep Gladiator, some (like us) think it will be called the new Jeep Scrambler, but Jeep only knows what they’ve landed on. Insiders have been indicating a few options, but the Scrambler is the most likely choice. We’re also betting on a convertible. The teaser images we’ve found have had the extended wheel base and squared frame with an extended bed similar to the Scrambler, but we don’t know much else. Only a four-door version has been seen and Jeep’s official teaser video doesn’t give away much.

While our earlier predictions were a more loyal Jeep customer buying this new masterpiece, the buzz is starting to feel different lately. This new Jeep truck may be the gateway to an entire new Jeep enthusiast. We know that’s a bold statement considering that the Jeep brand has already broken down so many barriers. But, we’re expecting big things come on the 28th and we couldn’t be more excited. Jeep’s about to launch a new truck, and when they do, all will be right in the world again.

Who’s looking forward to the new Jeep Scrambler? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Prepping your Convertible Car for Fall

Winter is coming... so it’s time to say goodbye to driving with the top down and the toasty feeling of the sun beaming down on you while the wind blows through your hair as you cruise in your convertible. We all know that for some of us convertible enthusiasts, a little cold weather never stopped any of us devotees from cruising down the road with the top down. Regardless of how cold it is, prepping your convertible for winter weather will ensure that your convertible remains in tip-top shape year round. Depending on your location, some winters are harsher than others so we’re going to drop a few important tips and tricks to keep in mind this winter season. So, whether you opt in for garage storage or road ready, these tips will keep your convertible safe and sound as the cooler months rapidly approach.

Spot Check Soft Top Convertibles

Make sure there are no holes, cracks, tears or rips in your soft top convertible. This will prevent the elements, like rain and snow from getting into the car and damaging its interior fabrics. If there’s damage to your roof, repair it. More importantly, make sure it’s fully functioning and can completely open and close. If you choose to drive or store your convertible outside for the winter, keep in mind the type of material of which your convertible soft top is made. Modern soft top convertibles are built with treated and weather-proof materials to protect from water and snow, but older convertible soft-tops made out of vinyl and less durable and weatherproof, which can shrink in the cold. If this is your case and you choose to ride with the top down and try to put it back up afterwards, this can cause the fabric to rip and tear. So, be mindful when operating your convertible top to prevent damaging the roof.

Cleaning and Protective Treatments

Prep your car BEFORE it gets cold. Giving your car’s soft top a good cleaning with a gentle car shampoo and cleaner will ensure that it remains free of dirt, grease, bird droppings, tree sap and film that can stain your vinyl or top’s fabric. Cleaning stains and dirt before the cold weather will prevent them from causing permanent damage from being compacted by heavy amounts of snow. Once your top is completely dry, evenly apply a top protectant and repellent. These treatments will create a “shield” over your fabric or vinyl tops to keep your soft-top safe from liquids, dirt, stains, and UV solar rays that can cause premature aging, keeping your top safe and ready for the winter months.

Remove Snow the Right Way

Soft top convertibles require a more delicate method to remove ice and snow. Aggressively hacking away at ice or snow can cause significant damage. Take a soft bristle brush or hand-wrap a mitt in a towel to brush off ice and snow. Allowing your car to warm up or keeping it parked in the garage can loosen ice and snow to make the removal process easier. Patience is a virtue. If you store your car outside during the winter months, plan accordingly and give yourself enough time to prep your car in the mornings before you leave.

These are just a few things you can do to get your convertible ready for winter. Winter maintenance will vary for convertibles based on their soft top composition. Essentially you want to make sure you store your soft top convertible away to protect it from harsh elements, keep it clean and add extra protection with treatments. Giving your convertible a little extra love during the winter season will keep it functional year round and in good condition for when the warmer months return!

What are your favorite tips for cleaning or prepping a convertible soft top for the fall and winter months? Share your tips and stories in the comments section below!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Tips for Selling a Convertible Car

It’s said that the two greatest days in a boat owner’s life are the day they buy their boat and the day they sell it. However, the same cannot be said about convertible car owners. Selling a beloved convertible can be a difficult task for even the toughest among us. But, when it’s time, it’s time and we’re here to help make sure you get the most out of selling your car. With these helpful tips, as well as a few of your own, selling your convertible might not sting as much as you thought it might.

Clean it Up

You should always give your convertible a thorough cleaning before showing any potential buyers. This means vacuuming the interior and cleaning all floor mats, scrubbing away all stains, shining all surfaces, and polishing all windows. Under the hood is a place many convertible car sellers forget to focus on. Using a degreaser is a great way to remove stubborn debris from the engine and the underside of the hood and other surfaces can be cleaned with soapy water and a sponge, then dried with paper towels. The tires should be shined and sprayed with your favorite tire shine. Of course, make sure the convertible top glistens inside and out!

Tune it Up

It’s always a good idea to flip all the fluids in your car before putting it up for sale. Smart buyers will check the oil and, if the engine is cold, pop open the radiator to check if there is fresh coolant. If it is remotely near time to change the transmission fluid, go ahead and do it to accommodate potential buyers’ rough test driving. A new battery, fresh spark plugs, and other simple fixes will help push potential buyers closer to a sale. All head and tail lights should be operational and the vehicle should be able to pass state emissions tests.

Dress it Up

To virtually ensure the selling of your convertible, dress it up a bit! A new convertible top can go a long way towards reassuring a potential buyer that they are getting a great deal and we have almost every kind and color imaginable. Car stereo systems have become extremely affordable and a new stereo able to connect with smart phones can be a major selling point for older convertibles. There are great products for removing smaller scratches from any color paint that will add solid value to the sale price.

After all that work, you may not want to sell your beloved convertible. But, whether you’re making room for the new baby or simply upgrading to a new convertible, now you’re ready! Many buyers will have likely already seen their fair share of lemons before reaching your driveway. Meeting a seller who clearly cares can provide the reassurance they need to make a final decision.

What are your favorite tips for selling a car? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Friday, October 5, 2018

Accessories Every Convertible Car Should Have

Here at AutoTops Direct, we’re always looking for new, cool ways for you to enjoy your convertibles. Whether it’s small repairs or scenic drives, you know we’ve got you covered! We’ve done some digging around again and have come up with the must-have car accessories we feel will make every drive as leisurely and memorable as possible.

Radar Detector

While we don’t advocate speeding, we all have had times where that right shoe seemed a little heavier than we remember when we put it on in the morning. A radar detector will not prevent an officer from determining your speed, but it may give you enough time to make sure you are as close to the speed limit as possible when being scanned. Radar detectors easily mount to your dashboard or windshield and plug in to your convertible’s standard DC power outlet.

Dash Camera

We can’t tell you how many friends, family, and customers have told us about how their dash camera has saved them from liability in accidents. Multiple witness “accounts” will never hold a candle to your dash camera’s footage. Many dash cameras record directly or sync with apps you can download to your phone and easily access the footage in seconds. We are not aware of any insurance policies currently offering discounts for installing dash cameras, but the footage could end up saving you thousands in the event of an accident or lawsuit.

Dual USB Charger

Dual USB chargers plug into your convertible’s standard DC power outlet and allows you to charge multiple phones simultaneously. This is a must-have for long trips and remote places where your phone has to work extra hard to send and receive data. If you really want to treat your passengers, pick up a couple extra-long charging cables so those in the back seat can charge their phones while using them.  

Security Lock Box

For anyone with a soft-top convertible, a security lock box is essential. Of course, all valuables should be out of site when your vehicle is unattended. But, this added layer of security ensures you won’t lose important gear including mobile phones, jewelry, and money. Many security lock boxes attach to seat mounts or other secure points in your convertible and are portable so you can take them with you if need be.

Hands-free Phone Mount

Every vehicle should have a hands-free phone mount. Many cities now require drivers to use hands-free systems under threat of penalty. We just think it’s a really good idea. When driving, it’s important to focus on the task at hand. After all, you don’t want to record dash camera footage of yourself getting into a wreck, do you? We didn’t think so. You should only look at your phone when stopped and should never text while driving – even with a hands-free device. To put it into perspective, if you’re traveling at 60 MPH and look down for just 3 seconds, you’ve traveled 264 feet without looking at the road. That’s 88 yards – almost the full length of a football field!  

These are just a few of our favorite must-have accessories for convertible drivers. What are your go-to accessories for making your convertible drives as pleasurable as possible? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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