In this category, you’ll find carefully selected products for caring for, treating and maintaining a good-looking convertible top, that looks nearly as good up as it does when it’s off. We have the advantage of testing these products here in South Florida—probably the harshest climate anywhere in the US for a clinical trial—on our own cars and boats, as a sacrifice to delivering only tried-and-true top-quality products to our customer. I also like to offer a little knowledge gleaned from years of experience and friendly advice, where it’s appropriate. If this as much as helps out one warrior in search of the truth, my day will be complete.
Below you’ll find cleaners, sealants and protectants for the four materials involved: fabric (woven fibers), vinyl (a man-made solid sheet), poly-cotton threads, and clear plastic. However, you have the ultimate responsibility to your top: Is it fabric or vinyl? Products for these two materials are very different from each other; using the wrong one can damage your convertible top. Once you’re sure whether you have vinyl or fabric, you may proceed with choosing the best product for your top.
The best cleaners for any convertible top are low-pH, low alkalinity, and gentle enough for repeated use over years. They will rely on proteins and enzymes for their safe, but effective, cleaning power. Harsher chemicals leave behind eroding residues, especially harmful to the stitching.
Be aware that rubber and vinyl surface protectants that you have for your dash and interior surfaces, especially those that have been around for years may not address the unique problems of an exterior vinyl or plastic surface. They were not made to stand up to rain; they can run, quickly streaking up your car’s paint. A quality protectant for either fabric or vinyl will have one key ingredient, powerful UV stabilizers. UV rays are the single biggest factor when attempting to protect surface that is constantly in the sun.
The following products are ones that we’ve found to offer unsurpassed protection, longevity, and value.