How To Care For Your Convertible Top

How To Care For Your Convertible Top

Last Updated February 5, 2020 | Drew Goodman

If you are a hockey fan or like the cold temperatures, you undoubtedly enjoy the winter months. If you are a Ford Mustang owner, however, wintertime will most likely have you counting down the days until spring.

Cold weather can be a real drag for those trying to enjoy their performance cars to the fullest. But when the days get longer and the temperatures begin to rise, it's open season and auto aficionados’ spring and summer calendars quickly fill up with cruises, car shows, and racing events alike. Mustang drivers from all walks of life eagerly anticipate the warmer months, but for a special sect of pony car owners, the air tastes much sweeter in the spring and summertime.

The group of people that we are referring to is, of course, Mustang convertible owners!

S197 Mustang Convertible

First introduced in the Mustang’s 1965 model year, convertibles have been prominent members of the pony car family for all six generations. Ford Mustang convertibles have even been featured in countless popular films over the years, such as Bull Durham, Thomas Crown Affair, and The Troops of St. Tropez, to name a few.

In addition to their sporty appearance, Mustang convertibles and convertibles as a whole, are popular due to their versatility and the freedom in which they offer. On a warm, breezy day, convertible drivers can enjoy unlimited headroom and a burst of cool air in their faces as they cruise down the open highway.

Many people relish in any opportunity to drive their open-air muscle cars on beautiful, sunny days, but when the clouds, cold, and rain roll in, a convertible top becomes a necessity to keep their vehicles on the road. The vinyl Mustang convertible tops add a nice touch of style to a vehicle when the weather is not as favorable and provide enough protection from both the elements and cool air.

First Generation Mustang Convertible

Your convertible top will require a fair amount of maintenance over the years, and if you've got a vinyl roof, it will call for a number of distinct upkeep procedures for proper care.

This guide breaks down several convertible top care tips as well as how to clean a convertible top so that you can enjoy your pony car in all environments.

What To Avoid When Cleaning a Convertible Top

Before we delve into the best way to clean a convertible top, we thought we'd give you a few strategies that you should avoid. Obviously, the biggest elephant in the room is the debate about whether to take your Mustang convertible to the carwash or not. It seems like the debate has plagued convertible owners since the beginning of time, but it is best not to take your Mustang convertible through an automated carwash if possible. Unlike the roof of a fastback or coupe, a convertible top is rather temperamental and must be washed in a different manner. If you do go the carwash route, it would be wise to do some research to seek out the milder establishments.

Most automated carwashes feature powerful spray units, and the high-pressure flow of water can damage the top’s seals, which can create a pool inside the vehicle. In a pinch, a touchless carwash should work, but be sure to refer to the owner's manual to see if your particular top is suitable before you proceed any further.

It is always best to wash your convertible top by hand, but it is imperative to ensure that you are using the correct materials when doing so. The chemicals that you choose to wash your car with can either make or break your top, and it is best to avoid products that include alcohol, detergent, and vinegar. Any material that is high in acid can deteriorate the canvas and lead to a slew of expensive repairs.

Notably, while alcohol is great for cleaning wounds and table surfaces, it could negatively impact your vinyl top. In addition to the chemicals, you must exercise a degree of caution when selecting a brush. You should avoid cloth materials, lamb’s wool mitts, and anything else that can leave lint behind. Instead, it is always best to use a soft scrub brush when washing the top of your Mustang convertible.

How To Clean a Convertible Top

Now that we have addressed the don’ts, it’s time to talk about the do's for cleaning a Mustang convertible top.

The process begins with the gentle, free flow of water, preferably from a garden hose or similar device. It is best to carefully and repeatedly go over each section of the vinyl top with the hose’s nozzle to remove any loose dirt or other harmful debris from the area. After the top is free from contaminants, you are ready to apply a special car shampoo to the vinyl material.

Washing a Mustang Convertible Top

Once you have lathered the shampoo all across your freshly moisturized top, it is time to break out the brush! When it comes to choosing the best brush for a convertible top, you are going to want to seek out one with soft bristles that will not cause any damage to the vinyl material. Just as you did with the hose beforehand, carefully spreading the shampoo across the roof with your brush.

Washing a Mustang Convertible Top With Shampoo

In addition to shampoo, you will also need special convertible top spray. This is an important step in the cleaning process, especially if those stubborn dirt particles do not come off with a standard washing. You can either apply the top cleaner to the affected areas or to an additional brush prior to rubbing it in. These special chemicals effectively break down dirt, grease, and any other harmful contaminants.

After you have given your top a good scrubbing and have provided those persistent areas with some good elbow grease, you are ready to rinse everything off. The shampoo and convertible top sprays did their jobs, and now it is time for them to be completely washed off of your top!

Rinsing a Mustang Convertible Top

When it comes to drying your top, be sure to pad the towels down over the top so that it absorbs the water and avoids any unnecessary agitation. This also prevents lint from coming off of the towels and remaining on the top. Once all of that material is gone and the surface is free of dust and dirt, we strongly recommend that you apply a protectant spray.

As its name implies, the protectant protects the roof area from UV rays, while also preserving the color and distinct texture of your Mustang convertible top. Before you are ready to take your newly washed convertible for a spin, be sure to also address the rear window area. Now that you know how to clean a convertible top and the steps that need to be taken, you will be proud to display your pony car, whether the top is down or up!

Rinsing a Mustang Convertible’s Rear Window

Find the Best Convertible Top Parts at CJ’s

You now have the cleanest convertible top in your entire Mustang club, but depending on what year your vehicle is, you may need to replace one or two of its original accessories. Over the years, a Ford Mustang convertible top will endure a fair amount of wear and tear every time that it is lowered and raised. If you ever decide to swap out your old convertible top for a new one, it would be wise to replace your stock convertible top parts at the same time.

With that in mind, CJ Pony Parts is proud to be your one-stop-shop for the best Mustang convertible top accessories around! Because we care about the safety of your vinyl top whether it’s up or down, CJ’s only carries aftermarket and OE convertible top parts from the most trusted names in the industry. Regardless of which popular brand that you select, you can rest easy knowing that you will be able to enjoy your convertible to the fullest!

In addition to replacement convertible tops, CJ’s offers a large selection of Mustang convertible top parts, including boots, latches, motors, pads, switches, tacking strips, tension cables, and well liners among many others. The convertible top accessories from CJ’s can assist in lowering or raising the top, while also adding a layer of shelter and stability whenever you are cruising around with open air.

No amount of rain, debris, or wind will be able to slow you down once you have properly secured your top with the proper protection that it needs. Be sure to note your muscle car’s correct year as well as any specific fitment requirements before you make your final purchase. What are you waiting for? Head over to CJ’s for the best Mustang convertible top parts on the market today!

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How To Care For Your Convertible Top

Owning a Mustang convertible or other droptop is great, but you must also perform a great deal of maintenance to keep your top safe and functional. This guide discusses a number of convertible top care tips and walks you through how to clean your convertible top.