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!

Monday, September 24, 2018

What to Look for When Buying Your First Convertible

Convertible cars have become an increasingly reasonable purchase thanks to years of innovations and improvements. Convertible top mechanisms are more compact and durable allowing increased storage space, internal noise has all but been eliminated thanks to higher quality convertible top materials, and the prices are becoming more economical every year. However, when buying your first convertible, you’ll need to look at much more than the convertible top itself. So, we’ve put together some important things to consider so you’ll be informed when you make this important decision.

Checking for Water Damage

You should always check for water damage when buying any car, but it’s especially important when buying a previously-owned convertible. You’ll want to have your sense of smell intact when investigating a convertible and a flashlight can expose all sorts of issues. If there is the slightest hint of a mold or mildew smell, water stains under the floor mats or interior, or any tears in the lining between the doors, hood, and top, run away immediately. If the car is too fragrant, that may be an indication that they are hiding an odor likely caused by water damage. Sit in the car with the doors closed for several minutes slowly shining the flashlight along every seam and crevasse of the interior – trunk included.

Room to Grow

Many car manufacturers are making convertibles better suited for young people, as well as growing families. This means that you don’t have to compromise on space when it comes to buying a new convertible.  As your life changes, choosing a convertible with more space means you won’t have to give it up if there’s an addition to the family, and the kids can have a safe, spacious car to drive when the time comes. More room also means more friends and more comfort on long trips. So, while you may be considering a small, sporty convertible, don’t forget about your future self and the needs you may want to accommodate beyond having the wind in your hair.

Test Everything

When buying your first convertible, you’ll want to take your time and test drive every aspect of your potential new ride. This means raising and lowering the convertible top multiple times watching closely for any kinks or struggling of the mechanism. Aggressively rev the engine and when stopping push hard on the brakes repeatedly to test how they perform and whether or not they lose air pressure prematurely. Check the date of the last oil change and inspect all fluids and filters. Check under the hood before and after test driving to see if any oil or fluid leaks are present and look under the car for any drips that aren’t condensation from the AC.

Maintenance Records

Whenever you buy any car, always ask for any maintenance records the seller may have including oil changes, recalls, scheduled maintenance, and any other paperwork on the vehicle. They may have very little or none at all, but it’s a good idea to ask. Once you have narrowed down your choices, you’ll want to run a vehicle history report through one of the several online sites including Carfax and AutoCheck. They cannot always find everything, but they do provide a wealth of information and can save you from buying a wrecked or damaged convertible.

If you are unfamiliar or not confident in your ability to identify issues when buying a convertible, always take a friend or family member who is familiar with auto mechanics to help you make the right decision. Your efforts cannot identify every problem, but you can increase your chances of buying a quality vehicle at a great price.

What are your favorite tips for friends buying their first car? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Friday, September 7, 2018

The Essential Jeep Mods

Half the fun of owning a Jeep is all the wicked awesome mods! Jeep owners love to personalize their Jeeps with every imaginable upgrade to give them the edge on and off the trails. Jeep has incorporated this aspect of their fan base into the development of their vehicles in order to give customers greater control over what they perceive to be the perfect Jeep. Whether cosmetic or functional, modding your Jeep is a fun and exciting way to make the most of your Jeep’s capabilities. So, here are some of our favorite Jeep mods we feel will make your Jeep the talk of the trail!

Soft Top & Door Skins

If you were smart enough to buy a convertible Jeep, congratulations! Jeeps were made for the open air and experiencing everything the outdoors has to offer. Convertible tops and doors give you the ability to enjoy your Jeep through all seasons and weather conditions. The can be removed or installed in seconds and easily store away when not in use. New convertible tops and doors are also made with noise-dampening materials for a quieter, more comfortable ride.

Storage Vault

If you own a Jeep convertible, security is likely a concern. Storage vaults are a great way to transport and store your valuables without any concern of theft or damage from the elements. You can find plenty of storage vaults specifically designed for your Jeep model that provide a perfect fit. These storage vaults are extremely durable and great for hardtop Jeeps, as well as SUVs and other recreational vehicles.

Trail Tires & Lift Kit

If you’re going off-road, you’ll need to make sure your Jeep is ready. Every off-road Jeep should be equipped with trail-ready tires and a lift kit for adding clearance between the ground and frame. A suspension lift will increase the clearance between the axles and frame while a body lift increases the clearance between the frame and body. Installing a lift kit is not a simple task and requires several modifications to your existing internal systems including extending the brake lines and longer shocks. Make sure to consult a professional before embarking on this intense endeavor.

Winch & Tow Line

When it comes to installing a winch and tow line, it’s better to have one and not need it than to need one and not have it! If you find yourself getting stuck, a winch can save you from having to embarrassingly ask others for help, and gives you the opportunity to look like a hero when you use it to pull a friend from the mud. It’s a win-win Jeep mod. They look awesome and are exceptionally functional on the trails. From freeing your vehicle to removing large debris from the trails, a winch is a versatile and extremely useful upgrade.

Flood Lights

This is one of those mods that’s both cosmetic and functional. Whether you install a light bar or individual LEDs, the additional lighting provides plenty of nighttime visibility and looks awesome! Many of these systems tie directly into your fuse box so they can be operated using your existing light switches.

Jeeps are the most popular off-road vehicles for a reason. They are fully customizable, durable, and built for fun! They are the most perfect off-road vehicle to date with few competitors within site.

Send us pics and share stories of your best mods and favorite upgrades. We’d love to hear from you!

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