Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How To: Securing Your Convertible

Summer is in full swing, and we are still enjoying longer daylight hours and more opportunities for leisurely convertible cruises. Whether you’re attending events within your city, planning for daytrips or enjoying weeks away from home out on the open road, we know that you’d rather spend your time enjoying yourself than worrying about the security of your car. But it’s important to remember that break-ins can happen anywhere, and that convertibles have a higher chance for break-ins simply because they are more accessible.

Because of this, we have outlined some helpful tips for you to keep in mind while you’re out and about in your convertible this summer and year round:

  • First and foremost, to reduce your chances of car theft, always park your car in a well-lit, high-traffic area where your car can be seen by passersby. Don’t park in alleys or leave your car in parking lots after hours. The longer your car remains parked in an isolated area, the higher your chances are of a break-in.

  • Although your chances of a break-in increase dramatically when your car is abandoned for longer periods of time, it’s important to remember that a theft can occur anywhere, and it typically happens fast. To ensure the safety of your belongings, we strongly recommend that you don’t leave any items in your car at any time. Since typically insurance will not cover items that aren’t permanently a part of your car, remove all valuables from your car even if you don’t plan on being gone long.

  • If you must leave items in your car, don’t leave them in plain sight. If your car doesn’t appear to contain anything of value, chances are a thief won’t take the risk of breaking in only to find nothing. Things to take or hide should include any electronics, including your car stereo. If you have the option to remove your customized stereo, do so. Stereos are pricey to replace, and their forceful removal by a thief will likely cause other damage to your car. 

  • If you must keep valuables in your car, lock them in your glove box. While items stolen from your glove box are likely also not covered by insurance, a locked glove box may deter a thief from taking further action. Theft occurs most commonly when items are within reach and the thief can finish the job quickly before getting caught. A locked glove box is an added obstacle a thief may not want to tackle.

  • Don’t leave your keys on the tire of your car or in other places you’ve deemed “secret.” Car thieves know where to look for keys, and to a thief, leaving your keys in a special spot on or around your car is the equivalent of leaving them in plain sight.

If you personally have any words of advice for our readers, please share your comments or experiences with us.

Stay safe this summer, and happy driving!

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Resurgence of the Convertible

Throughout modern car history, men and women have dreamed about throwing caution to the wind and taking to the open road in a convertible. Convertible cars have been a symbol of American freedom dating back to the very first automobiles ever made. They have seen major improvements over the years, making them smarter and safer with each new design. With today’s convertible car technology, you could be riding in one and never even know it. So how have things changed over the history of convertibles, and why are we seeing a resurgence of interest in convertible cars?

Many factors have contributed to the renewed interest in convertible cars, and technology has provided some of the most impressive advancements. The advent of the retractable hardtop convertible has made it a more reasonable purchase for anyone concerned about theft or damage, automakers are designing safer, more lightweight hard and soft convertible car tops that take up less trunk space than previous designs, convertibles are more affordable than ever before and consumer confidence has been on the rise as more Americans begin to feel comfortable making these types of large purchases. All of these factors have contributed to the resurgence of the convertible; however, the advancements in technology have been the driving force behind the increased consumer interest and decreased manufacturing costs that have given car manufacturers new incentives to rethink their convertible offerings.

In the past, convertible cars were reserved for the wealthy, which was reflected in their design and pricing. Many older models were oversized and only made by luxury car companies. However, their image as a symbol of wealth has been evolving right along with the technology used to make them. Convertible sedans are becoming more popular as well as affordable, and car companies have taken notice. Today’s convertibles are sleek yet spacious, exciting yet practical and luxurious yet made with middle-class families in mind.

Today’s convertibles are just as good for grocery store trips and school pickups as they are for long drives on scenic American highways. Convertible cars are smarter, lighter and more affordable, and they provide added safety features including hardtops and roll bars. All of these advancements have contributed to the modern resurgence of this proud American tradition, and convertibles are beginning to fly off the shelves of dealerships across the country. With reasonable pricing on so many makes and models, there’s no reason you shouldn’t test drive one today!

Monday, July 6, 2015

How to Repair Water Damage in Your Convertible

Over the last few months, the United States has experienced a staggering amount of rainfall—from severe flooding in Texas to torrential rains across the Midwest. According to news reports, May was the wettest month on record for the contiguous U.S.

Great news for regions experiencing drought, not great news for vehicle owners in those rainy areas. Rain is especially not ideal for all you convertible owners. While many convertible owners know better than to drive out in the rain, sometimes it is unavoidable. It happens.

If your car has been out in the rain and you spot some water in your interior, we’ve compiled a few tips on how to repair water damage in your convertible.

1. Assess the water level. If your convertible has been flooded to the electronic system, the high level of submersion most likely means your vehicle is past the point of return. Be sure to contact a professional for a final opinion. However, if you only had a minimal amount of water leakage, salvaging the interior is possible!

2. Immediately pull the wet interior items out to avoid mold and the unpleasant ensuing smells. Remove the seats, the carpeting and the jute, which is the padding underneath the carpeting. The jute will more than likely need to be replaced. As you take items out, you must clean and disinfect. Utilize a hot pressure wash mixed with a disinfectant and hang out to dry. Drying will require some time because of the thickness of the upholstery. Try humidifiers, blow-dryers and good old sunshine.

3. While items dry, disinfect the inside of your car as well. Try spraying bioactive enzymes that actually eat bacteria. These enzymes are more heavy duty than those found in domestic products and don’t pose a health hazard other than to mold. If the damage isn’t so severe and the water hasn’t been sitting in your car for long, shampooing the interior works well too. The entire process may take up to a few days, so be prepared to put a good amount of elbow grease into cleaning your convertible.

4. Depending on the severity of the water damage, you may find that you have to replace your soft top. Even if there is no tear or leak, your convertible top has now become porous and will start to shrink. Once you’ve replaced it, be sure to treat your top with a waterproof sealant and avoid the rain as much as possible! At Auto Tops Direct, we carry a variety of convertible tops for different makes and models. Many of our items ship within 24 hours of purchase to get your convertible back in shape!