Tuesday, March 19, 2019

How to Buy a Convertible Top Online



When it’s time to replace your convertible top, you don’t need to go to the local trim shop and work with whatever they happen to have - you can get a brand new, perfect fit convertible top online at an affordable price point and a 100% guarantee.

Buying a new convertible top online is actually pretty easy! Here’s all you need to know:


Based on the criteria above, you can easily shop, buy, and get your new convertible top online.

The Benefits of Buying a Convertible Top Online


Shopping for a new or replacement convertible online has plenty of benefits over stopping in the trim shop.

More Convertible Top Options


Chances are that your local trim shop only has a finite inventory of convertible auto tops. Depending on the shop, you’ll have limited choice in the type of material you can use for your convertible top, and the make/model they’re able to work with. Limited options will either make you end up paying more for a convertible top replacement job, or force you to hunt around for a shop that offers what you’re looking for.

By shopping online, you can choose the type of top you want based on the make/model of your vehicle or the fabric that you want to use.

Purchase Guarantee


If you’re shopping convertible tops online, from a store like AutoTopsDirect.com, you have a purchase guarantee. While some trim shops might offer a refund, their policy might not cover the manufacturer fabric along with the installation process. Shopping online allows you to ensure that you’re getting a guaranteed product.

Lower Prices


If you’re shopping online, you’re cutting out the go-between that trim shops need to do in order to acquire convertible top material from suppliers. Those suppliers markup their prices from the manufacturer and pass it on to the trim shops, and then the trim shops pass it on to the customer. By shopping online direct from a manufacturer, you can cut out the middleman and get a convertible auto top at an affordable price.

Ensuring a Good Fit for Your Convertible Top


Once you’ve selected your convertible auto top, you then need to make sure that installation is going to go smoothly. The auto top installation process is different depending on the make/model of your vehicle and the type of top material that you use, so you need to make sure that you’ve got an installer who knows what they’re doing.

AutoTopsDirect.com has the benefit of having a nationwide network of auto top installers who are able to work with our products. This network allows us to offer our “Perfect Fit Guarantee.” No matter your make/model, if you take your new convertible top, headliner, boot cover, or seat cover kit to a professional trim shop and they cannot properly fit it to your vehicle, we will gladly replace your product or offer a refund. This allows you to shop at AutoTopsDirect.com with the confidence knowing you are getting a product made correctly for your vehicle.

If you’re considering buying a replacement auto top online, be sure to make sure that your retailer can offer a full money back guarantee and connect you with a professional installer, otherwise you’ll be hunting around for a trim professional that can install your make/model top.

While you don’t have to shop for your convertible top online with AutoTopsDirect.com, we hope that our Perfect Fit Guarantee, massive convertible top inventory, a huge network of professional installers, and industry expertise will help you choose to shop for your next auto top here.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Most Common Fabrics in Convertible Tops

If you’re replacing a convertible top or restoring a classic car for the first time, you’re in for a surprise. There are a lot of options in convertible-top fabrics, each with its own specific benefits, style, and more. Hopefully, this guide will steer you in the right direction.

Everflex Vinyl 


Everflex is high-quality convertible-top material. It is manufactured in England and was primarily used on classic luxury cars like Rolls-Royces, Bentleys and Jaguars from the 1960s to the 1980s. At the height of its popularity, it was featured on the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow.

Everflex is similar to colonial-grain vinyl, but it’s more durable and more expensive.

Characteristics

  • Supple 
  • Handsome 
  • Extremely durable 
  • Stitched with matching colors using high-quality, bonded polyester thread 
  • Heat-sealed seams for added strength 
  • Expensive 

Pinpoint Vinyl 


Pinpoint, also known as single-texture vinyl, is the most popular and least expensive convertible-top fabric. The two-ply composite was original to many American cars made during the ’50s through the ’80s. It was also common on some European cars like the Volkswagen Beetle.

Pinpoint vinyl is constructed with an outer layer of PVC and an inner layer of dyed, 100-percent-cotton sateen. It gets its name from the tiny pips covering its surface. You may mistake it for Eurotop at first glance. It performs surprisingly well even though it costs less than most other toppings.

Characteristics

  • Durable 
  • Known for weatherability 
  • Affordable 
  • Available in a wide range of colors 

German Classic Canvas 

This superior-quality imported fabric is sometimes referred to as Original German, Sonnenland or A5. It is common on BMWs, Aston Martins, Volkswagen Beetles, Mercedes Benzes, Volvo C70s, Saab 9-3s, and Porsche Cabriolets and Boxters.

Its three-ply construction includes a twill-weave, polyester-acrylic blend outer layer; an interior layer of butyl rubber; and a dobby-weave cotton lining in a herringbone pattern. The material is specially treated with flame to remove the downy surface and make it resistant to abrasion.

Characteristics

  • Sturdy and long-lasting 
  • Fade-resistant 
  • Cut from one bolt of cloth for consistent color and pattern 
  • Stitched with matching bonded polyester thread 
  • Rich appearance because of the high thread count 
  • Most expensive of the canvas tops 

Sailcloth Vinyl 


The two-ply composite of PVC and cotton-polyester fabric has a reputation for being strong and durable. It’s featured on Chrysler Sebrings and LeBarons, some Ford Mustangs and other American cars.

Both pinpoint vinyl and sailcloth vinyl are made to look like canvas. However, the sailcloth’s bumpy texture is spread out rather than closely woven like the dimples on the pinpoint. As a result, it more closely resembles woven cloth.

Characteristics 

  • Strong 
  • Fade-resistant 
  • Known for weatherability 
  • Acoustically enhanced 
  • Suitable for replacement of original pinpoint vinyl 

Sonnendeck 


This American-made canvas is an affordable, high-quality substitute for German Classic. It also features the dobby-weave backing. The exterior fabric is a twill weave, and the inner layer is an elastomeric polymer.

Sonnendeck is also sold as Twillfast, but some Twillfast products have a five-ply construction. The basic brand is original to BMW 6 Series cars, Ford Mustangs, Chevy Camaros, Fiat 500s, Peugeot 108s and many others. Sonnendeck has recently become more popular among European convertible-top manufacturers.

Characteristics

  • Comparable to German Classic in appearance and quality 
  • Affordable 
  • Acoustically enhanced 
  • Fade-resistant 

Stayfast 

Stayfast canvas is a lot like Sonnendeck, but the backing is smooth rather than textured. It’s classy-looking and durable thanks to its rubber core.

Stayfast was original to Chevy Camaros, Pontiac Firebirds, Dodge Vipers and other sporty American cars. Foreign cars featuring Stayfast include Nissan 370Zs, Toyota Celicas, Mazda Miatas, Alfa Romeo Spiders and Peugeot 306s.

Characteristics

  • Highly rated for durability 
  • Wrinkle-resistant 
  • Sleek appearance 
  • Popular for upgrading vinyl convertible tops 

Twill Vinyl (HV Denim) 

This heavy-duty material is also known as HV denim, twill-weave vinyl or twill-grain vinyl. It can stand up to lots of abuse. It’s constructed with an outer layer of PVC and an inner layer of blended polyester and cotton.

The distinctive grain on the surface imitates the pricey toppings on luxury cars like Audis, Bentleys, BMWs, Maseratis and Rolls-Royces. It’s used as a direct replacement for original cloth tops or as an upgrade for vinyl on all types of cars.

Characteristics 

  • Attractive 
  • Strong 
  • Non-adding 
  • Heat-sealed deck seams 

Acoustic Vinyl 

The heavy, two-ply component makes for a quiet ride in Jeeps and other SUVs with removable soft tops. In some tests, it reduced noise by as much as 20 percent.

Acoustic vinyl is made of PVC and 100-percent-polyester laminated backing to resist mildew, abrasions and tearing. Polyester is now the material of choice in luxury European convertibles.

Characteristics 

  • Strong and heavy 
  • Significantly reduces noise 
  • Resembles expensive twill tops on luxury cars 


For more information on different types of convertible tops and tops for different convertible models, get in touch with AutoTopsDirect today!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

When is the Best Time to Buy a Convertible?

With Spring well on its way, you might be thinking that this is the year you’ll be cruising down the highway in a drop top, hair flowing in the wind. Owning a convertible is enjoyable for those looking to enjoy a quintessentially American experience - simultaneously driving down the road and out in the world. For driving and travel enthusiasts, a convertible marks a luxurious high point in automobile ownership, and while they can be really, really fun to own, the buying process isn’t nearly as enjoyable.



If you’re considering buying a convertible, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting a great car at a great price. Many first-time convertible owners start the convertible buying process in the heat of summer and driving season, causing them to pay inflated prices with more competing buyers and fewer benefits.

Follow these three tips below to get the best value on your next convertible purchase.

Convertible Prices Fluctuate With the Seasons


If you’ve ever bought a home or a plane ticket, you might be aware that prices fluctuate with demand in seasonality. The same goes for convertibles. Because convertibles demand nice weather to be enjoyed, the demand tends to skyrocket during the late spring, summer and early autumn months.

Because dealers control prices of both used and new convertible models, they know they can charge more during times of high demand - usually between late April and late September. During those months, buyers usually become more interested in 4x4 and sporty models, so, naturally, the demand for weather-susceptible convertible cars tends to dwindle.

Take advantage of low demand by purchasing your drop-top during the off-season.

Convertible Cost of Ownership


Besides making sure you have enough money in the bank to afford a down payment and having good credit to get a low interest rate from the lender, there is the personal financial consideration of “Cost of Ownership” when planning out your convertible purchase. When purchasing a convertible, you can figure out your total cost of ownership (TCO) by calculating the following components:

  • Depreciation: Depreciation is around 46% of TCO over 5 years
  • Fuel costs: For lower gas mileage vehicles like sporty convertibles, fuel costs can be about 26% of your TCO.
  • Interest: If you buy your car new or used and utilize a lender, you’ll need to calculate the interest rate into your TCO. Interest rate varies according to vehicle price and your credit. Typically, interest accounts for 12% of TCO.
  • Insurance: Overall insurance costs depend on your age, location, driving record, vehicle make and model. If you’re an average driver, you can usually calculate insurance at 11%.
  • Maintenance and repairs: The average maintenance and repair costs for most cars is around 4 or 5%, but convertibles come with additional considerations due to more permeable auto tops and more exposure to the elements. If you have covered, protected parking or a hard top, you can calculate on the lower end of that interest rate, but if you’re planning on exposing your soft top to the elements for extended periods of time, you may want to add a replacement auto top into your calculations.
  • Sales tax: Sales tax costs owners about as much as maintenance and repair, assuming the national average of 4.9%.

Where To Buy Your Convertible


In 2019, you have more options on where you buy your convertible than ever before.

Certified Dealerships

There are a lot of reasons to buy your first or next convertible from a certified dealership.
  • Warranties - Dealerships offer the security of warranties on both new and used convertible models. This means the burden of repairs and maintenance will be covered (up to a certain extent) and can save you some serious money if something goes wrong with your car.
  • Relationship With Lenders - Dealerships typically have great relationships with auto lenders and are able to get you a reasonable rate.
  • Help With the Process - Dealerships get a bad rap, but let’s not forget that your car salesman is there to help walk you through the car-buying process, which can be tedious and involve lots of paperwork, titles, etc. 
While finding a “great” deal might be difficult through the dealership, there are reasons why they charge higher prices than independent sellers.

Buy a Convertible Online

With the abundance of online car retailers, convertible buyers can shop, inquire and even set up a test drive, all before they decide to buy, entirely online. Not only is it easier to shop for your convertible from the comfort of your own home, but you also have access to more inventory because your search is nationwide as opposed to what the dealer has in stock.

The online car buying industry mostly focuses on used cars - especially in the for sale by owner sites like eBayMotors and CarGurus. You can still find reputable sellers at sites like AutoTrader, CarVana and more.

Just be sure you’re using a reputable source or working with a reputable seller before exchanging any money or titles.

Independent Sellers

The independent marketplace is still the best place to find a classic car or niche sports car. There are a ton of options out there for folks who are looking to get their hands on a classic convertible.

Independent sellers usually offer the benefit of a cheaper price than a brick-and-mortar or online dealership might, but they lack any of the benefits of certified dealers, such as financing.

Now Is the Time To Buy!


If convertible ownership is something you’ve thought about, now is the time to buy. Take advantage of low demand and seasonality to get reduced prices on new and used convertibles.

And when you’re ready to get a new top, visit AutoTopsDirect.com for the best deals on replacement convertible tops for a wide range of vehicles.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Investing in Your Convertible’s Future

Unless you're one of the super-rich elite with money to burn, vehicle purchases should be seen and treated as careful investments. Maintaining a vehicle’s resale value is the number-one reason convertible owners treat their cars with such tender loving care. When it comes time to sell, they’re able to stick to their price with confidence. So, we’re going to go through a few ways you can invest in your convertible car to best maintain its value.



Floor Mats

Believe it or not, having clean carpeting and original floor mats greatly enhance the look of the interior. Few other interior spots take as much abuse as the flooring and floor mats. Your local auto store will have affordable thick rubber mats you can place directly over your original floor mats to provide much more coverage and protection. These are much easier to clean than carpeted floor mats and will last for years. Weathertech makes mats for floors, trunks, and all interior spots with exact fits for virtually every make and model. When replacing floor mats, always make sure driver’s side floor mats do not interfere with the operation of any pedals including the parking brake.

Seat Covers

Front and back seat covers will ensure your vehicle has a sharp, custom look and is protected from stains and damage from everyday use. Damage to seat cushions including cuts and burns cause expensive repairs and will surely make a buyer think twice before committing to a purchase. Seat covers stop most liquids before they can soak into the cushions and prevent wear and tear from frequent use. Once you are ready to sell your car, you can take them off to reveal what appear to be brand new seat cushions.

Tune-ups & Regular Maintenance

So, the dad in me really comes out in this one! Washing and waxing a car is a great way to protect the exterior (and interior) from the damaging sun, as well as inclement weather and driving conditions. A convertible’s fluids are the lifeblood that keep it going. Replacing your car’s oil and fluids will keep all involved parts properly lubricated, which means they will last much longer. Tune-ups will also help keep your engine, brake system, and more operating at peak efficiency. Keeping an accurate record of all regular maintenance will help buyers understand the level of care you’ve put into the vehicle you are selling which will hopefully result in a high selling price.

Drive Safely

Make sure you don’t have a ‘drive it like you stole it’ mentality if you ever want to resell your convertible. If a vehicle has been abused, even a mildly informed buyer will be able to tell pretty much immediately. Try to think about the day you plan on selling your car before you rev the engine or hit those speed bumps without slowing down. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your vehicle to its fullest, just use some common sense when doing so.

Taking these steps will definitely help maintain your convertible’s resale value and get you the price you want and deserve. Always make sure your convertible is spotless inside and out (even under the hood) when showing it to potential buyers and all fluids and inspections are up to date. Your attention to detail will put buyers at ease and help make the process smooth, successful, and fun!

What are your favorite tips for maintaining a car’s resale value and selling it at the best possible price? Share your stories in the comments below!

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