There’s no reason why you can’t still drive your soft top in winter. It’s just a case of giving it more attention during the colder months to ensure it stays in good condition.
Protect the soft top
Make sure you fully proof the soft top material. A thoroughly proofed fabric will repel rain and snow. You can also prevent algae from forming by using a good reproofing product.
If your soft top is parked outside, it’s worth investing in a water-resistant cover for the car. A breathable cover works better than tarpaulin as this can trap moisture.
Check windows are closed completely and in their proper position. If placement is incorrect, wind and water can get through the gaps and cause shrinkage and misalignment. Condensation is a sign that water is entering the car, also check the carpets to feel if they’re damp.
Try not to operate your soft top roof in freezing temperatures or wet conditions as moving between up and down positions can cause premature wear and tear. Mould and mildew can form if the inside of the soft top is exposed to rain and then remains damp.
Keep the car clean
In snowy conditions, remove snow and ice with a soft brush. Don’t hack away at it as you could damage the material. Run the car to warm it up or park it in a heated garage for a while and then remove the snow and ice.
Any type of pressure washing can damage a soft top or leave marks. Also, the rubber seals on a soft top may not withstand the vigour of a power wash – and you don’t want to risk warping them.
Hand washing is ideal for the fabric top and should be done fairly regularly to remove any salt that can build up and damage the material. Once clean, give the fabric a spray with soft top protector.
How frequently you clean your car depends on where it’s usually parked. If it’s susceptible to the elements and bird droppings, then it will need more frequent cleaning.
Clean seals and clear drains
To avoid gaps, make sure dirt doesn’t build up on seals. Open up the roof system and check for any grime and debris that may have collected. Seals can be cleaned with warm soapy water. You should also make sure that drainage channels are clear.
Rubber seals can be prone to drying out and then cracking. If this happens, you’re going to get a gap that will allow further damage. Try applying a silicone lubricant every so often to stop them drying out.
Make sure your car battery is charged
A lack of battery power can affect the efficiency of the soft top opening mechanism. You don’t want the top to get stuck hallway when closing. If you don’t use the car much in winter months, make sure the battery stays charged.
However, as long as you keep your car in good condition, there’s no reason you can’t still use it on fine days during the winter. Just invest in a warm, secure hat if you have the top open!
Would your car benefit from an inspection this winter?
We offer car servicing, maintenance and repair for all makes and models of vehicles, including classic and vintage cars. Free collection and delivery can be arranged if you live near our Fleet or Dogmersfield service centres.