Article by Justin Pritchard

Consumer Advice: Convertible Care for Best Resale Value used car reviews auto consumer info
Convertible Care for Fun and Profit. Click image to enlarge

Do you like being awesome? Of course you do. That’s why you’re probably considering a new convertible for summertime motoring pleasure. After all, few things are more awesome or pleasing to drive than a convertible.

I’ve never seen a sad person driving a convertible – have you?

Of course you haven’t.

That’s because happy people drive convertibles. Happy, awesome people who are care-free and love the wind in their hair and who laugh in the face of potentially being nuked from orbit by seagull poop.

Of course, bearing some useful tips and advice in mind can make the experience of buying, owning and selling your convertible even more awesome.

Shopping for a used ragger this year? We’ll give you some tips to help you make sure the seller has taken good care of his roof.

Opting for a new drop-top? We’ll look at some ways to make sure that optional roof stays in tip-top shape for years to come. Why? Because selling your convertible down the line with a mint-condition roof for top dollar is awesome.

Norm Mort is an author, journalist and appraiser of collector cars and lover of convertible sports cars. His collection includes a 2005 Chrysler Crossfire, a 1958 FriskySport, a 1962 Triumph TR4 and a 1985 AMC/Renault Alliance convertible.  He offers some comments about the pricing of used convertible models.

“In collector car circles the ruling adage is ‘If the top goes down, the price goes up!’ and this also applies to the crop of more current convertibles. Whatever the price of the average hardtop, add three to six thousand dollars depending on the desirability of the model. Remember that even though you’re paying a premium for a convertible, it will keep its value better than any sedan.”

Consumer Advice: Convertible Care for Best Resale Value used car reviews auto consumer info Consumer Advice: Convertible Care for Best Resale Value used car reviews auto consumer info
Convertible Care for Fun and Profit. Click image to enlarge

Owning a Convertible

New convertibles require virtually no additional maintenance or attention over a standard, less-awesome fixed-roof car, especially in light of ever-increasing convertible-top quality and the demands of drivers who want to drive their drop-tops all year round.

Still, a few considerations are important to keep in mind.

For some tips I asked Jeff Sheeran, the Senior Account Executive at Haartz, a leading manufacturer of acrylic cloth and vinyl convertible topping material across the globe. If the new drop-top you’re checking out comes with a soft lid, the material used to construct it was probably made by his team.

Sheeran says that despite the long life built into today’s convertible roofs, the built-in protective properties that fight off the elements can be stripped through normal use.

“Through normal use and car washes, both manual and automatic, these specially designed fluorochemical finishes are removed from the fabric. Replacement of this finish via an approved protectant helps prevent the accumulation of soil and road debris, which lengthens the life of the top,” Sheeran says.

Consumer Advice: Convertible Care for Best Resale Value used car reviews auto consumer info
Convertible Care for Fun and Profit. Click image to enlarge

Translation? Be gentle to your top when washing it. Use a mild, quality automotive wash (not Palmolive from under the kitchen sink). Scrub gently, and avoid automatic car washes with high-pressure sprayers and rotating barrel brushes. Washing by hand using the appropriate products is the best bet. Driving your soft-top in February? Don’t hack away at the material with your ice scraper, and always keep heavy snow from building up on top of it.

Sheeran adds, “A program of keeping the fabric and vinyl material clean through regular washings and protections, before it gets dirty, will enhance the life and beauty and make successive cleaning easier. Car washes with low-pressure water jets and hanging cloths provide a more gentle cleaning action. Hand washing in shade or partial shade, not direct sunlight, is best.”

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