Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How to Condition Your Convertible Top for Different Types of Weather

Convertibles are most often seen cruising around in the summer with the tops down, powered by happy drivers who are content to be out in the sun, enjoying their vehicles. However, if you want to keep your convertible in good condition year-round, you need to take special care to ensure that the top can stand up to all kinds of weather.

Know the Type 

Convertible tops are made from one of two materials:
  • Vinyl: a thick plastic composed mostly of PVC with additives to make it flexible 
  • Fabric: looks and feels like canvas but is made of tightly woven synthetic fibers 
Each of these materials has its own characteristics and is subject to damage from sunlight, heat, rain, dirt, grease and anything else the car might encounter when out on the road. The best way to protect your convertible top from potential damage is to establish a regular schedule of cleaning and conditioning.

Keep it Clean 

Your convertible top should be completely clean before you condition it. Your owner's manual may have suggestions for types of cleaners to use, but if not, look for a gentle cleaner specially formulated for the material that your top is made out of.

Regular cleaning is an important part of maintaining your convertible and protecting it from all weather conditions. A convertible top that gets too dirty will likely grow mold or mildew and begin to deteriorate, especially in climates that are prone to warm, damp weather.

If you're cleaning up an old or used car with a fabric top, you may need to vacuum the fabric to remove excess dirt before applying cleaner. Don't be afraid to clean the top more than once if necessary. Use a soft brush to remove excess dirt without causing damage.

Choose the Right Protectant 

Once your convertible top is clean and completely dry, it's time to apply a conditioning product such as the protectants available from RaggTopp. Vinyl protectants are essential for keeping the material from fading or cracking. Exposure to extremes of weather, including the UV rays from direct sunlight, will cause damage over time. However, a good conditioning treatment restores and enhances the UV protection originally given to the top when the car was made. These protectants also keep the vinyl of the back window safe from elemental damage.
fabric cleaner

Fabric protectants ensure that your fabric convertible top retains its ability to repel water. The chemicals applied during manufacturing lose effectiveness over time, so it's important to restore them with a conditioning product made specifically for fabric tops. Both types of protectant should also work to repel dirt, grease, grime and other environmental debris that can damage convertible tops.

A regular cleaning and conditioning regimen will not only protect your convertible top from the elements but also help to preserve its appearance over time. Maintaining your car this way means you can drive it all year without worrying about weather damage. The better care you take of your convertible, the longer the top will last.

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