Spiff Up Your Convertible Top
by Pat Goss
Convertibles are a lot of fun but they have some extra maintenance requirements. If your convertible happens to have a cloth or vinyl top on it, follow the instructions in the owners manual as far as keeping it clean. And if it’s cloth and it loses its water-proofing, go to a marine supply where they deal with canvas and they can re-waterproof it for you.
Now here’s trick one of the day, retractable convertible tops. They’re metal and they give you the advantages of a coupe, plus the open air of a convertible. But you have to be aware of weather-stripping, and there is a ton of it on these, especially right up here at the top of the windshield. It collects gritty road debris and it has to be kept absolutely clean because that road debris is abrasive and it literally will eat the weather-strip alive.
Also there are alignment pins on the front of the top; there are latches on there and so on. They need maintenance, and if you look at the top in general you’ll see that there are hundreds of different friction points, pivots, where everything hinges as it moves. All of this stuff needs maintenance.
Look at all this weather-stripping; every edge has weather-stripping on it. Here you’ll need silicone spray and you’re going to spray that silicone not onto the weather-stripping but rather into a container such as this aerosol cap. Now once you have it in there you can apply the silicone to the weather-stripping with a foam brushes or simply take a cloth, dip it into the silicone and wipe it onto the weather-stripping. Best way to do it and it saves a big mess.
But what about all of these hinges and everything? Well here you need some type of lubricant, and you could use white lithium but that tends to be a little messy, so I’d find a clear lubricant and again you’re going to spray it into a container and you’re going to use Q-Tips to apply it to all of the hinges and all of these moving parts, latches, and everything on this retractable hardtop. And I’ll tell you one thing, over the years that you’ll own it, this little operation could save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
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