Convertible Car

Considering a Convertible? Consider This!

So you’ve decided you like the flexibility of having the top up or down and the wind roam through your hair on a balmy evening. While there are some great shapes and sizes out there, and a range of colors that aren’t available in the more standard sedan or hatchback versions like the SAAB 93 for example, you now have the choice of deciding on a soft or hard top.

Soft Tops

Fiat Convertible

On a positive note soft tops…

  • Are lighter and easier to take off if they are not retractable
  • Are fine if you either want to drive them only on fine, sunny days or with the top off permanently
  • Last a long time if you keep them garaged and maintained
  • There are more available on the used car market

Yes, there are more soft top convertibles available on the market, probably because they were cheaper to buy new, however they are not without issues.

  • They are easier to break into (I’ve seen soft tops knifed to pieces after a night out)
  • The Perspex glass used on many models become dull and easily scratch making it hard to see through
  • Can be quite noisy, especially on long trips
  • Tend to rip or pull away either around the rear window or joining parts
  • More prone to leaks and not good in wet weather conditions
  • May need replacing due to condition or usage

Hard Tops

Mercedes Convertible

Hard top convertibles…

  • Resist bad or rainy weather well
  • Are more structurally sound
  • Not prone to being slashed with a knife and less prone to be broken into
  • In most cases have regular glass windows
  • Not noisy compared to soft tops
  • Less prone to leaks

However, the hard top alternative may not be good… 

  • If not retractable and has to be taken off (usually on older cars) can be heavy and need two or more people
  • Can be more expensive than their soft top alternative
  • Take up more room in the trunk if retractable

8 Point Checklist When Purchasing a Convertible Car

So, what do you look for when buying a convertible? Here is an important checklist when buying your next convertible:-

Peugeot Convertible
Mini Convertible

1. Check all rubber seals for cracks or distortion

2. Evidence of leaking like stained seats or smelly, damp carpet

3. Check for ill-fitting tops (either replaced or changed shape with wear and weather)

4. Sluggish, slow moving retractable tops

5. Fabric tears or rips on a soft top (large or small)

6. Rattling noises or creaky sounds when you are test driving

7. Pay close attention for rust around the attachment points on the body or hard top

8. Ask if it has ever been broken into

These are essential checks. A slow moving retractable top may mean the retractable motor maybe close to failure; Ill-fitting tops could mean the original has been replaced with something not meant for that model or an aftermarket alternative; rattling noises when test driving can be representative of reckless driving habits of either going over speed humps fast or mishandling – also check out the break and accelerator pedals in this case for wear and tear.

Mazda Convertible

Keep in mind, there is more maintenance and care involved in owning a convertible, however when you weigh it up to the thrill of driving in the open air under a star filled night or sunny winters day, it could be worth it in the end.

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