Convertible Tops – Cloth vs. Vinyl

Convertible Tops – Cloth vs. Vinyl

Convertible cars represent fun and freedom, but they require special care and maintenance that other cars do not. Convertible cars come with either cloth or vinyl tops. There are pros and cons to each, so it is important to choose based on your individual needs. When you are deciding whether a cloth or vinyl convertible top is right for you, it is important to consider both the protection that the individual materials provide as well as the maintenance and care that they will require. Let’s take a look at the differences between a cloth top and a vinyl top:

  • Many people prefer the shiny appearance of a vinyl top, along with the protection it provides as it is harder than a cloth top. However vinyl tops are prone to peeling and cracking with age and extreme weather conditions. There is no way to repair them once this occurs, you must replace the top. Vinyl tops are also known to get mildew in places. Cracking and mildew are never an issue with cloth tops.
  • Cloth tops are generally not as visually appealing as vinyl tops, and they do not clean as easily or provide the same protection from extreme weather conditions.
  • Caring for a cloth top is basically the same as caring for a vinyl top. The only difference is the tools and products used to care for the specific needs of each material.

Basic care for a cloth top:

  • For a cloth top you will want to invest in a set of brushes. A soft brush is used to gently scrub the cloth, while a medium bristle brush is used for loosening and removing dirt and debris from the fabric.
  • Avoid using shampoos labeled for enhancing gloss as this is not necessary for a cloth top. If you want to use a cleaner, be sure to purchase one specially designed for use on a convertible cloth top. For the best cleaning power, use cleaner in conjunction with the brushes.
  • After cleaning, apply a protectant that is specially formulated for use on cloth tops.

Basic care for a vinyl top:

  • When caring for a vinyl top, avoid shampoos designed for enhancing gloss as this isn’t necessary. You can use a general car shampoo to wash the vinyl top just as you would the rest of the car. You should wash the vinyl top every single time you wash the vehicle.
  • If you notice any mildew in the crevices of your vinyl top, you will need to break it up by first spraying it with water, then by using a cleaner specially formulated for use on vinyl.
  • If your vinyl top begins to peel or crack then you will need to replace it. You can prevent this from happening with weekly shampoos and monthly protectant applications.

Roberto’s Auto Trim in Orange County, California handles all types of upholstery work including automotive, marine and even furniture. With over 40 years of experience, Roberto’s reputation for high quality interiors is unmatched. Some of the top automotive dealerships in Orange County use Roberto’s Auto Trim for their repair and replacement work. If you have questions about your convertible top or another upholstery project, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.