How to maintain a clean car roof

How to clean your convertible roof

There are few things in life that are better than a sunny summer’s day. Driving around in your convertible car with the top down, wind blowing against your face and the sound of the great British countryside around you. This is precisely the reason why many people choose to buy a convertible car, to experience that unbeatable feeling.

But as with all the best things in life, there are some challenges that the convertible driver exclusively face when it comes to car maintenance. One of which is keeping a clean car roof, including keeping the seals around it in good condition.

This is particularly prevalent in the UK, where winter weather conditions, road dirt, grime, bird mess, tree sap and debris can damage the roof system. In this article, we take a look at why keeping a clean car roof is so beneficial and give you some specific tip on how to do so.

The pleasure of a clean car roof

Convertible owners are often very proud of their vehicles, yet a surprising number of them fail to undertake the proper maintenance and cleaning required for their specialist roof.

It goes without saying that for the image-conscious convertible owner, one of the biggest benefits of doing this is simply that a properly cleaned roof will make your car look substantially better. Just consistently spending a small amount of time maintaining a clean car roof can have a dramatic impact on image.

More practically, keeping your hood and seals clean and drains dirt free can prolong the life of your folding roof. Doing so will limit the potential of water ingress creeping into the mechanical folding system which can lead to mechanical problems. Not only is this frustrating, but it can often to lead to an expensive and unneeded repair bill.

Lingering water can also lead to the growth of moss an algae, which can be the cause of some nasty smells. This doesn’t quite fit in with the ambience that most convertible car drivers aim for.

Most simply, ensuring a clean car roof is consistently maintained will prolong its life. Again, just a small amount of consistent work in this area can lead to major cost and hassle savings in the long run.

Types of roof

When it comes to understanding how best to keep a clean car roof the material which the roof is made of is the best starting point. There are two types of cabriolet roof system, each of which requires a different system of care.

The first type is a fabric folding soft topic, typically black in colour. The other is a hard top folding roof. We will cover details on how to clean both of these roofing systems below.

How to clean and maintain: Soft top

Soft top roofs are a common convertible roofing system which requires a certain amount of specialist care. Due to the nature of the material, this roofing system can become porous over time. Much like you often see with waterproof jackets.

This is because the fabric can lose its water repellence and any water that sits on top of the fabric will eventually seep through the cabin or boot area. This can lead to a number of issues including wiring corrosion, motors and pump damage, water ingress, smell, rotting carpets and sloshing noises.

Therefore it is important to clean and protect your roof to prolong its life and maintain its water resistance.

A number of expert products can be used to remedy this. You should always clean all your roof at once, as spot cleaning can lead to dark patches. Use a soft dry brush to clean away the dirt and then apply a product such as using Renovo’s ‘Ultimate Fabric Soft Top Cleaner’ as instructed.

Once clean you should also seek to protect your roof. Using a similar product such as Renovo’s ‘Ultra Proofer can re-establish the waterproof weather barrier of the roof, reinforce the UV barrier and protect against mould and mildew.

Nicks, holes and tears cannot be repaired on soft top roofs. You will find that these will often lead to water finding its way through. Even with correct maintenance, after a prolonged period of time, your roof will lose its integrity. In both these instances, we recommend the replacement of the fabric.

How to clean and maintain: Hardtop

Whilst many drivers opt for hard top folding roofs due to the benefits compared to soft top roofs. This includes protection from nicks and tears, vandalism and security, hardtop roofs still require consistent maintenance and cleaning in order to remain fit for purpose.

Water ingress is by far the biggest problem that car owners face with metal folding roofs. Similar to fabric roofs the front and rear drains can become blocked. These areas should be cleared as part of a regular servicing schedule.

Seal maintenance should also be part of this schedule. This is one of the most common causes of issues in cars with hard top roofs. Seals can deteriorate over a period of time, becoming dry and shrinking. This leads to a small gap being left where water can find its way through into the car.


For a seal to work, both contact surfaces need to be clean to create a firm bond. This prevents water from ingressing into the cabin or boot area.

Seals should be cleaned to ensure they are completely dirt free. Krytox solution should then be applied sparingly to the seals. Once this solution has been allowed to dry it will rejuvenate the seals, restoring their plumpness and elasticity.

When customers bring us their hardtop cars, we often find the carpets to be soaked through. The customer is often not aware of this, but complain about their cabin area excessively misting up with condensation. This is indicative of a water leak within the vehicle.

We recommend that seals are assessed, treated and cleaned annually to maintain the prevention of water ingress.


We can see that for those who want the pleasure of driving a convertible car, there are some common issues they need to be aware of. If car owners undertake a small of consistent maintenance, these issues are nothing to be worried about. However, those who ignore this maintenance will likely find themselves paying some hefty and unneeded garage bills.


At Cayman Autos we are experts in car roof repair and maintenance. Talented professionals undertake all of our repairs and they come with a 1-year warranty! If you need help looking after your convertible roof, contact us today on 01737 761599. Or visit the shop at 51 Ormside Way Redhill, Surrey RH1 2LG.

You can also keep up to date with the latest Cayman Autos news via our website, Facebook page, Twitter account, and LinkedIn page. Don’t forget to check out reviews from our customers on Facebook, Google or our website.

Cayman Auto Services
We specialise in Convertible Roof Repairs and have customers from across the UK and Internationally. If you need advice about your folding roof please contact us.
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