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.


Monday, May 6, 2019

Most Expensive Convertibles 2019

Few things in life compare to the feeling you get when you travel along the open road with the top down on a warm, sunny day. Sure, any convertible car will afford you that luxury, but there’s just something about a convertible with a little more pizzazz, a little more style, and a little more muscle. Whether you are ready to buy or only feeding your curious side, below you’ll find a list of the most expensive consumer-model convertibles available in 2019. We’re not talking “pimped out” convertibles. No, the convertibles listed below are straight from the manufacturer and ready for the open road.

2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Convertible



The Mercedes-Benz C-class if the first high-end convertible on our list. The 2019 model gets a boost in horsepower compared to earlier models and also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to make connecting to your smartphone as simple as possible. Buyers will also enjoy the new LED headlights and taillights. 

Depending on your exact needs and goals, you can choose from a range of horsepower and performance options when you place your order. Located in Germany, Mercedes-Benz has a reputation for producing some of the most luxurious cars on the market today. 

  • Dimensions: 185-187″ L x 71-74″ W x 55″ H
  • MPG: Up to 21 city / 29 highway
  • Horsepower: 255 to 503 hp
  • Cargo volume: 8.8 ft³
  • Curb weight: 3,869 to 4,275 lbs

You can add this car to your collection for a minimum of $51,000 MSRP.

2019 BMW 4 Series Convertible



For a perfect balance between sports car performance and luxury comfort, it's hard to beat the BMW 4 Series. BMW has optimized the 4 Series for performance across both their four- or six-cylinder option. The 2019 model comes with upgraded gauges for a clear display and upscale appearance. 

For a German car with performance in mind, the 4 Series offers a surprising level of comfort when you speed along the open road. Like other high-end convertibles, you have several performance options from which you can choose. You must find the right balance between fuel economy and raw power. 

  • Horsepower: 248 to 320 hp
  • Dimensions: 183″ L x 72″ W x 54-55″ H
  • MPG: Up to 24 city / 34 highway
  • Engine: 2.0 L 4-cylinder, 3.0 L 6-cylinder

This car sets you back $63,000 MSRP depending on the performance options you choose.

2019 Porsche 718 Boxster



No list of the top convertibles of 2019 is complete without mentioning the Porsche 718 Boxster. The latest model Boxster comes with enhanced features and offers plenty of power with a four-cylinder engine. 

The 718 Boxster convertible comes in several different engine configurations depending on the driving experience you want, including Base, S-model, and GTS in either manual or automatic transmission. This is one of the sportier, more powerful convertible available on the market. 

  • Horsepower: 300 to 365 hp
  • Curb weight: 2,944 to 3,032 lbs
  • MPG: Up to 22 city / 29 highway
  • Engine: 2.0 L 4-cylinder, 2.5 L 4-cylinder

Depending on your configuration and add-ons, the 2019 718 Boxster will cost you anywhere from $59,000 MSRP to $86,000 MSRP.

2019 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible



Headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette is the first American sports car on our list. Chevrolet upgraded the Corvette's performance for the 2019 model, giving you a max 755-horsepower engine. This model offers an impressive amount of cargo space for a car of its class so long trips won't be a problem.

Chevy has continually evolved the details on the Corvette without abandoning its classic sleek look. The 2019 model improvements were focused purely on power and handling capabilities. The 2019 Corvette is one of the most powerful cars on the market and offers drivers one of the most luxurious interiors - so you won’t know whether to drop the top and enjoy the fresh air, or roll up the windows and bask in its luxury.

  • MSRP: From $55,900
  • Horsepower: 455 to 755 hp
  • Engine: 6.2 L V8
  • MPG: Up to 16 city / 25 highway
  • Curb weight: 3,298 to 3,618 lbs

The convertible model starts at $68,000 MSRP.

2019 Audi R8 Spider



Audi’s most powerful commercially available sports convertible is the Audi R8 Spider. Known for its sleek, sexy body design, the 2019 model of the R8 boosts power and doubles down on detail-rich features that really make this car stand out from the pack. 

Modeled after Audi’s sport racing models the LMS, the R8 is available in V10 and V10 Plus outputs giving you a wide range of horsepower. They’ve also made improvements to handling with their electromagnetically enhanced power steering system and three separate driving modes: Dry, Wet, and Snow. 

  • Horsepower: 532HP - 602 HP
  • Wheels: 20 inch

Currently only available in Europe, speculators are saying that the US-approved version will adopt many of the changes. This car will set you back $138,700.

2019 McLaren 720S Spider



The McLaren Spider is a British sports car that leaves other vehicles in the dust. If you want raw power above all else (and are ready to pay for it) this is the car for you. McLaren built the Spider as a street-legal version of a race car, so it's one of the fastest manufacturer cars that you can buy on the consumer market.

The 2019 McLaren 720 S Spider is a convertible not to be trifled with. With a mammoth 700+ HP, 4L engine, this bad boy tops out at 212 mph, with a 0 - 60 gun time in 2.7 seconds. The claim to fame for this Spider model is that there is now a difference between the hardtop version and convertible model. 

  • Engine Type: twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
  • Power: 710 hp @ 7500 rpm
  • Torque: 568 lb-ft @ 5500 rpm
  • Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode
  • Fuel Economy: Combined/city/highway: 18/15/22 mpg

If you’re ready to join the pros, you can get your own 2019 Maclaren 720S Spider for a cool $320,000 MSRP.

Friday, April 12, 2019

2019 Convertibles Under 30K

A convertible is the epitome of summertime fun, as it lets you and your passengers enjoy the sun on your face and the wind in your hair.

Although convertibles may seem to be made only for the well off, there are actually several new 2019 models that have been priced below $30,000, making them affordable for nearly anyone looking for a new car on an average budget.

Check out these seven amazing new 2019 convertible models for under $30k, and find the right one for you.

2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata Convertible 




This powerful roadster comes with a great new design for 2019. It has a unique modernistic shape with great flow on the exterior and a teardrop-shaped interior with enough room for comfort. The new 2019 model has added more power to the design with an extra 26 horsepower. You can also now get 7,500 rpm thanks to lighter rods and pistons that help supercharge the drive.

  • Soft or hardtop retractable convertible 
  • Six-speed automatic or manual transmission 
  • Light design with 20 percent less weight compared to previous models 
  • Standard rearview camera, LED headlights and two USB ports 
  • 29 mpg combined fuel economy 

Starting Price: $26,500 


2019 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible 




This iconic car comes with a spectacular convertible option in its final year. This is one of the most affordable convertibles on the market, and now is the time to snap it up. Many parts of the retro Beetle styling stay the same, but the manufacturer has modernized many features to create a safer, more comfortable drive. Changes for the 2019 model year include four trim levels with plenty of amazing equipment in the high-end models.

  • Automatic transmission only 
  • Fender premium audio system with four speakers and trunk-located subwoofer 
  • Standard blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and crash response system 
  • Space for four passengers 
  • 29 mpg combined fuel economy 

Starting Price: $21,790 


2019 Mini Convertible 




The 2019 model comes with newly configured trim levels, all of which now come with updated infotainment systems and Apple CarPlay. Drivers love the great handling of this car as well as the elegant interior.

  • Six-speed manual transmission with front-wheel drive 
  • 134 horsepower on the 1.5-liter model 
  • Standard safety features include traction control, emergency braking assistance and stability control 
  • Rear parking sensors, keyless ignition and rearview cameras included 
  • 29 mpg combined fuel economy 

Starting Price: $27,750 


2019 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Cabrio Convertible 



If looking out for the environment is important to you, this may be your best option. This two-seat car is perfect for city commuting. You will love how easy it is to maneuver through traffic and how cheap it is to drive. The newest model no longer has a gasoline engine but is only electric powered.

  • Fabric top lowers with the push of a button 
  • Removable roof bars 
  • 80 horsepower electric motor 
  • Easy to park with a 22.8-foot turning circle 
  • 102 miles per charge 

Starting Price: $28,850 


2019 Fiat 500c Abarth Convertible 




This convertible is another small but surprisingly stylish option that is also great for city and suburban driving. The new model received more horsepower along with a turbocharge. Higher-end models also got better brakes and suspension along with rearview cameras, fog lights and spoilers.

  • Easy to park with less than 12 feet of space needed 
  • 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic options 
  • Canvas roll-top with permanent metal roof frame 
  • Standard features include a USB port, Bluetooth and rearview monitor 
  • 30 mpg combined fuel economy 

Starting Price: $23,285 


2019 Fiat 500c Convertible 




The Fiat 500c is one of the most affordable convertibles available today. It is another small two-door car that is perfect for commuting. Like its sister Abarth convertible, it also received a bump in power with the turbocharge feature as well as new standard features.

  • Great acceleration 
  • Canvas roll-top 
  • Easy handling and parking 
  • Small interior with limited seat and steering wheel adjustability 
  • 30 mpg combined fuel economy 

Starting Price: $19,035 


2019 Fiat 124 Spider Convertible 




With the same engine as the Abarth, this Fiat Spider has great acceleration, wonderful speed and superb handling. For 2019, the Spider now comes with a rearview camera and a 7-inch touchscreen on the dashboard. Plus, its interior and exterior body were updated slightly.

  • Manual convertible top 
  • Quiet interior with an acoustic windshield and increased insulation 
  • Standard accessories include rearview camera and a four-speaker audio system 
  • 160 horsepower, 1.4-liter turbocharged engine 
  • 30 mpg combined fuel economy 

Starting Price: $26,240 

If you are in the market for a new car and are looking for something that will get you through the year in style while keeping your wallet healthy and happy, look no further than these amazing convertibles. With some of the greatest new features, wonderful fuel economy and smart new stylings, these cars give you the best of all worlds.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Hardtop vs Soft-top Convertibles: Which is Better?


If you’re in the market for a new or classic convertible, you may have asked yourself whether a soft-top or a hardtop is better for you. While you might have heard that hardtops are better than soft-tops due to higher noise and weather insulation, modern soft-tops actually share the same benefits as hardtop convertibles.

Long gone are the days of yelling at each other to be heard and braving the cold with potential leaks in a soft-top. With modern advancements, today’s soft-tops are engineered to feature stronger insulation and longer lifetime.

This means that they are more weather resistant, quieter, wind resistant and stronger, which means lower replacement costs. Let’s review some of the major myths associated with soft-tops in a convertible.

Are Soft-top Convertibles Loud? 


Not quite.

It used to be that you had to yell at each other to be heard in a convertible due to the fact that the soft-top would let in a lot of wind and road noise. Modern soft-tops are now engineered to feature acoustic technology, which makes the cabin almost as isolated as that of a hardtop. This technology continues to improve according to Matt Williams, director of business development at Haartz, who affirmed that, “Haartz is working closely with OEMs to optimize the balance of noise-blocking material while making sure to not add extra weight to the vehicle." In fact, their sound-blocking technology has improved performance by over three decibels, making soft-tops quieter than ever before.

Do Soft-top Convertibles Get Hot or Cold Depending Weather?



Not anymore!

It also used to be the case that convertible owners could only drive their beloved cars in the spring and summer. In the winter, the car was completely uninsulated from cold drafts and might even leak water and snow.

However, today’s soft-tops are now engineered differently to consider these weather factors in mind. Modern technology has allowed OEM soft-tops to become just as insulated as hardtops and are completely waterproof and resistant to many other weather conditions.

According to Doug Haartz, International Sales Manager of the Haartz Corporation, “cloth tops today are designed to withstand the rigors of the environment and testing is done in all kinds of extreme conditions from arctic to subtropical to desert. Stringent requirements are built into the soft-top fabric so that no matter what car company or region of the world is considered, performance is assured.”

At AutoTops Direct we offer an extensive selection of weather resistant soft-tops, which fit just as well as the original part. All of our soft-tops are made with original Haartz waterproof materials, which provide premium protection against leaks. They also feature a color coordinated UV resistant polyester thread for better protection against normal wear and tear.

Are Soft-top Convertibles Safe? 


While many think that soft-top convertibles are unsafe because they offer less protection in a rollover event, soft-top convertibles are not associated with higher death rates.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), “death rates aren’t higher in convertibles,” as opposed to hardtop vehicles. While the institute deems that, “a roof is still safer,” some convertibles are equipped with an instant rollover protection feature, which automatically raises a roll bar when the vehicle detects a rollover. This protects the passengers in the event of a fatal rollover accident.

***NOT ALL convertibles have this feature, therefore it is important for you to check before you decide to buy one.***

Which Top is Easier to Repair?



There are two different types of cost associated with each top. A hardtop is more expensive to buy and also has more mechanical and electrical components, which means more expensive repairs. It is also prone to cracks, which can be difficult to repair, can spread, and may require replacement sooner.

On the other hand, a soft-top doesn’t last as long as a hardtop, can be slashed and is prone to weather-related wear and tear, especially sun and hail. However, it is cheaper to buy, repair and replace.

Plus, one of their modern advancements includes stronger fabric that is more resistant to the usual wear and tear of an older soft-top. Overall, soft-tops are cheaper to have due to lower initial, repair and replacement costs. In addition, because soft-tops are lighter, they increase the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.

Which Top Will Give me a Higher Trade-In Value?


If you’re wondering which car will result in a higher trade-in value once you’re ready to move on to a different vehicle, both hardtop and soft-top convertibles will actually yield the same trade-in value.

Car dealerships and online appraisal sites such as Kelly Blue Book typically don’t consider whether the vehicle has a hardtop or a soft-top and classify both under the same category of, “convertible” during the appraisal.

Thanks to modern technology, soft-tops share the same insulation benefits of hardtops so don’t let this myth stop you from buying a classic convertible with an iconic soft-top. Besides, soft-tops can take away from the classic look of a convertible, which let’s be honest, it's half the reason you want to buy a convertible.

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