How to look after your convertible soft top hood | Tips and Guide

Looking After Your Convertible Hood

Convertible hardtop roofs and soft tops have one thing in common — they love to be looked after! A poorly maintained convertible roof will eventually malfunction because perished seals allow for water ingress, which damages internal mechanical components.

We often see neglected cabriolets with malfunctioning roofs come into the workshop. The sad part is — most of the repairs that we perform on these vehicles could have been avoided if the owner regularly maintained and cared for their convertible roof!

This blog post will highlight some steps you can take to ensure your cabriolet’s electric folding roof continues to look great and function well. By properly maintaining the folding roof on your cabriolet, you can avoid expensive repair bills and the inconvenience of bringing your car in for an extensive repair. Let’s get cracking!

Have an Annual Roof Service Performed

The best way to make sure your convertible roof remains in top condition is to have it professionally serviced at least once a year. This will ensure that your roof continues to operate smoothly and its mechanical components are well-maintained.

We often see an influx of clients just after winter, when the weather starts getting warmer and there are more sunny days. Many of these clients have tried to open their convertible roof to enjoy the sun but have discovered it is not functioning correctly. This is because problems often occur with an electric roof’s mechanical components and seals when it is closed for long periods.

An annual roof service helps to prevent any issues with your roof occurring over the winter months. The Cayman Autos annual roof service package includes:

  • Re-greasing and lubrication of all hinges and pivot points
  • All hydraulic fluid levels are checked
  • Drains are checked and cleared
  • Your cabriolet’s roof seals are inspected for damage and dirt that can reduce their effectiveness

This service will ensure that your convertible roof system is in good working order and ready for the warmer months!

Roof Seals — Care and Maintenance

Our team often sees cabriolet roof seals that are in very poor condition — particularly on hard metal folding roof systems. This is often due to insufficient maintenance of the seals by the owner.

Many of the cabriolets we work on have dirt and leaf debris sitting in the gullies — this not only prevents the seal from doing its job, it cause deterioration of the seal itself. Road grime, dirt, leaf debris and tree sap can penetrate your cabriolet’s seals, causing them to go hard and shrink.

If the seals fail, it can allow water ingress into the cabin or boot area — which can play havoc with the electric system of the vehicle or damage the folding roof’s mechanical components. It can also cause a bad smell and make using the vehicle quite uncomfortable!

Below are a few photos of a VW EOS that we recently cleaned and treated. This is what your seals should look like!




This is what is looks like when seals that are dirty and not doing their job:

astra-dirty-seals-3 astra-dirty-seals2 astra-dirty-seals1 astra-dirty-seals4

For general maintenance, you can use clean soapy water to remove grime and debris from seals. Just be aware that some manufacturers require you to use specific types of cleaners and lubricants on roof seals. Using the wrong one can invalidate your warranty, so be very careful. If you are unsure about which products to use, consult your vehicle’s manual or have a professional clean your roof seals.

Cayman Autos uses an extremely thorough process for cleaning cabriolet roof seals. It is quite a labour intensive process that takes an average of 20 man-hours. It starts with one of our technicians thoroughly cleaning all seals to strip away any dirt, grime, and debris. This is accomplished with a variety of tools including a fine tooth comb.

Then, the appropriate lubricant is applied to the seals to rejuvenate and protect them. We always use Krytox lubricant — a fantastic product that works well with all types of cabriolet seals. Our technicians then clear the roof drains and perform extensive water testing to ensure there is no water ingress into the cabin and boot. Finally, we make adjustments to the roof to ensure it is operating smoothly.

We get the vehicle back into the shop 6 weeks later after the seals have settled. We perform more testing and make any adjustments that are required. As you can see, it is a very thorough and comprehensive approach to cleaning cabriolet roof seals!

Fabric Cabriolets

Fabric convertible roofs can become tired and faded over time. They also lose some of their water resistance over time -– a bit like your favourite old raincoat — it gets used all the time with our great British weather, but eventually wears out and lets you down when you need it!

Nobody feels like being dripped on while driving around in their cabriolet because the soft top is no longer water repellent! If your cabriolet suffers from water ingress, it can damage the internal electrical components of your car, potentially leaving you on the side of the road!

The weather protector that is applied when your cabriolet is newly manufactured gradually wears away and eventually needs replacing. If it is not replaced, your soft top becomes vulnerable to dirt and grime, tree sap, bird droppings and salt that penetrates the fibres.

The best option is to replace the fabric hood — however, that can be expensive. The other option is for Cayman Autos to clean your soft top and check it for water ingress. Afterwards, a new coat of a water repellent chemical can be applied. Your soft top may require this service if any of the following have occurred:

    • Your fabric roof has stopped repelling water
    • The is water ingress into the cabin area
    • Mould is building up on your soft top convertible hood
    • The original colour of roof has faded
    • Your fabric roof looks dirty and discoloured
    • Sunlight has damaged and faded your fabric roof

All repairs carried out by Cayman Autos come with a 1 year warranty! If you need help looking after your convertible hood, contact us today on 01737 761599!

You can also check us out on Facebook, view our reviews on Google or Facebook or watch some of our videos on our YouTube channel.

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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