Protect Your Convertible Top

How To Clean & Protect Your Convertible Top

The convertible automobile is a combination of beauty, performance and superior engineering. We all know why we are attracted to the sleek masterful design of a convertible – they are pleasing to the eye, fun to drive and are even a little sexy!

Unlike coupes or sedans, convertibles have special care requirements for the delicate convertible top material, whether it is made of fabric or vinyl, and they should not be cared for like the painted surfaces of your car.

The longevity, performance and looks of your convertible top depends on regular maintenance, which consists of proper cleaning and protection for your specific convertible top type. A simple hand wash or drive through the car wash is not enough and could result in premature deterioration which not only causes your convertible top to look bad but it could cause it to leak or lead to a costly replacement!

Cleaning and protecting your convertible top is very important when it comes to the maintenance of your car. This article will take you through simple steps that will keep your convertible top looking good and performing well for years to come.


The first step in the care of your convertible top is to determine if your convertible top is made of fabric, also known as cloth, canvas, or if the top is made of vinyl. The best way to determine this is to check with your automobile manufacturer. Keep in mind, if you are not the original owner, the top could have been replaced with a top made from a different material. This could also have been done by the dealership when it was new so it is best to test your top if you are not absolutely sure of the material. Determining the type of convertible top is very important as you will need to make sure you use the correct cleaner and protectant for your specific convertible top. Using the wrong product can harm your convertible top.


  • Take about 1/8 teaspoon of water and put it on your convertible top.
  • Try to rub the water in to the material.
  • If it starts to soak in, it is more than likely fabric, but if it sits on the top and just smears but does not soak in, it is more than likely vinyl.


Common household cleaning products can be very harmful to your soft convertible top. Chemicals you should not use on or near your convertible top include ammonia, bleach, detergent, alcohol and vinegar. Detergents, bleach and harsh acids will quickly deteriorate fabric or vinyl, whereas ammonia and alcohol will dry the fabric and cloud the vinyl. Using the wrong cleaners can be a costly mistake. Use only products specifically made for cleaning your type of convertible top.

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