Date registered: May 2003
Vehicle: 2012 Focus SE
Location: Ormond Beach, FL
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HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR SOFT TOP
This article was written by my wife Zhenya, who's owned nothing but convertibles since age 16.
Ike has asked me to say a few things about convertible tops. This brief discussion is based merely on my experience with convertibles (consisting of a lifetime of adoration and exultation). By the way, my experience has taught me a few things.
First of all, a convertible is, just that, convertible. The top of such a vehicle is the modus operandi that converts an ordinary automobile into a vehicle that provides the thrill of wind to add to your sensory delights. Thus, one must take care of oneâ€™s top.
Folding a convertible top is something that requires attention. Whether your top is manual or automated, watch exactly how the creases SHOULD fold. Guide the top. Pull the creases straight so the top will lie in its well in the flattest manner possible. Walk around your car and look at the top as you fold it or as the car automatically compresses it. Get to know its best possible fold and guide your top into that pattern.
Plastic or vinyl tops are especially susceptible to breaking at the window side of creases. Make sure that when the top folds, you only have one crease on the window sides per fold. If you see wear marks that appear to be the forerunner of cracks, lubricate the plastic with something that will not degrade the vinyl or plastic. Make sure there is no ammonia in any lubricating or cleaning product you use on such tops. After talking to many â€œexperts,â€? water seems to be the best and least damaging cleaning agent for vinyl or plastic tops. Mild detergent has also been suggested, but you would be best to avoid it.
If you have a small, probably older sports car that requires you to unzip your rear window before collapsing the top, do that. You could ruin both the window and the top if you donâ€™t. Mind how you drop the vinyl windowâ€”do it carefully; they scratch easily.
Vinyl windows are not everlasting. They scratch easily. Use only water to clean themâ€”and the softest of cloths. Almost all detergents and cleaning agents cause them to yellow (especially those with ammonia) or dry out. When they start to dry out, they crack. When they crack, they leak. When they leak, your beautiful buggy rusts and loses value. Always pay attention to the vinyl window and how it foldsâ€”check it regularly to make sure it is not â€œwearingâ€? into cracks.
Canvas tops do not usually require cleaningâ€”rain usually takes care of that. A soft brush can usually do more cleaning than any liquid on a canvas top and works very well for dust (as does a vacuum small round brush). Do not use a brush on your vinyl window.
One thing many people do not realize about canvas tops is that they can create bedding for tree seeds. If you do not keep seeds off of your convertible top, close it up when it is damp, donâ€™t be surprised when the seeds germinate and put holes in your beautiful convertible top. I have seen the results of this, and the tops had to be replaced. Sometimes water at the bottom of the well fails to drain properly, so water evaporates slowly, creating a damp top. This can result in the same kind of nursery. Canvas is a natural material and creates a wonderful place for germinating seeds. So dust off those cottonseed, elm seeds and maple spinners.
Try not to get your canvas top soaking wet (does the earth turn â€˜round?). Well, if you get it really wet, try to not touch it with your hands because the oil in your fingers will make your canvas top leak. Liners also get stained when they, too, get soaked. Alas, though, it will happenâ€”just try to be careful. Always make sure your hands are clean when touching a canvas top. If you have a very valuable convertible, wear gloves when you touch the top.
For those of you fortunate enough to have a glass window, try to avoid glass cleaner use. The spray can run down the window and get on the top, weakening it and pushing it towards rips or cracks.
If you develop a tear in a vinyl top or window or a tear in your canvas top, take your vehicle to a professional. Tops can be patched, and windows can be replaced. Though, you probably know, it is always better to never create a problem.
All in all, outside of my love, Ike, there isnâ€™t much more fun than a convertibleâ€”so take care of it. You will have more fun, higher value for your vehicle, and less money to pay those wonderful convertible top artists who fix our debacles.
Felicita e un bicchiere di vino con un panino.