Cracked convertible top

What’s the Best Convertible Glass Care Technique for Your Soft Top?

Nothing beats riding in a convertible when the weather is sunny. Regardless of whether you have a vinyl or fabric convertible top, you need a good cleaner and protectant to prolong the beauty and function of your car. That said, it’s just as important to make sure you don’t overlook proper convertible glass care.

Most modern convertibles feature sturdy glass panels that can be cleaned easily with regular glass cleaner. When polishing these glass panels, it’s important to prevent overspray onto the top’s fabric, as some of these cleaners can be too harsh. When asked about convertible glass care, detailers recommend a soft brush and convertible top cleanser for the fabric top and a specialized window cleaner and soft cloth for the window panel.Pontiac Catalina Convertible

However, if your convertible has a vinyl or plastic window, do not use glass cleaners, as harsh cleansers that contain ammonia or other solvents may actually cause more damage. The clear vinyl panels on convertible tops often age faster than the rest of the top and are notorious for yellowing, cracking and scratching. If improperly cared for, vinyl windows can become hazy, which is both unattractive and dangerous in that it impairs your ability to see traffic behind the car.

Proper Window Care

When it comes to the best convertible glass care, you should start by giving your window a thorough rinse down with water to wash away any loose dirt particulate, regardless of whether your window panel is glass or vinyl. Then use a soft terrycloth to wipe away all debris and make sure it is as clean and dry as possible.

For typical glass windows, apply a non-ammonia-based cleaning agent. Be careful to avoid overspraying, as it can damage the surrounding roof fabric.

Plastic windows should be treated a bit differently. You should use a plastic deep-cleaner, let it sit for a few minutes and wipe it off with a fresh terrycloth or microfiber towel. Be sure to wipe using linear strokes from side to side — don’t go in circles, as the resulting swirls will be very visible. Next, use a microfiber towel to apply a UV windscreen protectant. The back window should be clear and not hazy. If there is still some cloudiness, the deep cleaner can be reapplied again before applying the plastic protectant. Do not allow the vinyl panel to air dry; instead, buff it dry with another clean soft terry, flannel or microfiber cloth.

Make sure the top and window panel are completely dry before stowing. Residual moisture can cause mildew and cloud vinyl window panels.

Keeping Creases at Bay

If you’re concerned about creating a crease in the plastic window from repeated folding, you can minimize this problem with the help of a soft cotton blanket or towel that is slightly larger than the rear window. Simply place the blanket or towel inside the window whenever you fold the top down to help prevent the plastic window from creasing and keep the two halves from rubbing while stowed.

If, however, you already have a crease in your window, park your car with the top up in an open area in direct sunlight. The warm sun should help soften the vinyl panel enough to relieve the creasing.

Whether you own an vintage car or a modern monster, proper convertible window care will keep your convertible top looking car show-worthy.

Check out all the chemical products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on convertible glass care, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Image courtesy of Flickr

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Brandy A. Schaffels

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