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The Detailed Service
Home Guides Soft Top

Soft Top

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The first thing to know about the soft top is the materials it is made from. Most modern convertibles/roadsters have soft tops made from a very durable polyacrylic/polyester canvas. The fabric-like canvas looks and feel great. These fabric tops have a very tight weave, but they breathe, a canvas top is not waterproof it is water resistant. To make it waterproof it must be treated. With no protection your roof would be prone the leaking.

The rear window is also important too. Many of the rear windows are made from a clear vinyl or plastic, this allows the window to fold. These materials will absorb many contaminants (water, acids and hyrocarbons) and over time will turn yellow if not properly maintained. Most of the discolouration is the result of ultraviolet (UV) light.

Cleaning Your convertible Roof

Your convertible’s roof is subjected to the same environmental conditions as the rest of your car. It is easy to notice that your vehicles bodywork is dirty, but not easy to see when your roof is dirty (unless you have a light colour roof)

Fabric roofs like the one above need to be cleaned with a soft brush and a shampoo that does not contain any detergents or conditioners. One of the biggest problems with fabric roofs is dirt getting into the weave of the canvas and begins to act like sandpaper. You should wash your roof everytime you wash your car, when you wash your roof make sure the shampoo has no gloss-enhancing oils in it. Shampoo’s containing these oils will be absorbed into the roof and will therefore turn your roof into one big magnet for dirt, so really two different shampoo’s are needed, one for paint and the other for your roof.

A brush is required to agitate the shampoo deep into the canvas to remove any stains, a stiffer brush might be needed for those heavier stains or bird droppings. When using brushes, just run them over the back of your hand, if they don’t scratch your skin they will be safe on your roof. Make sure you rinse the roof thoroughly to remove all shampoo and dirt. For the toughest stains you will need to use a stronger specific soft top fabric/vinyl cleaner that will penetrate and remove the stain.

To dry the roof you should use a microfibre drying towel and blot the water, not wipe.

Cleaning/Protecting Your Convertible’s Plastic Window

The best way to clean your plastic rear window is with a damp microfibre cloth, it is best to clean the window (both inside and out) after you have washed your car. Then protect the window with a high quality plastic polish.

Protecting Your roof

To make your canvas roof waterproof and stain resistant, it is necessary to treat it with a protective spray. Before you start protecting your roof it must be clean and dry, also it is advisable to mask the surrounding bodywork so the fabric protectant does not cover the rest of your car when spraying the roof.

Once dry, the overspray from the protectant is very difficult to remove, so masking your car is essential (it may take time but well worth it). Now you are ready to start applying your chosen protectant, the more layers you apply the more water/stain repellant it will be. Note, allow each layer to dry before applying the next. And below the finished article, your roof is like new.

If the roof is properly protected and conditioned the water will bead as shown in the video below.

Some of the high quality roof detailing products used by KDS.

  • 303 Fabri/Vinyl Cleaner
  • 303 High Tech Fabric Guard
  • The above products are available to purchase through KDS.

This service is available at KDS.

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