Tips for Cleaning a Convertible at a Car Wash

Convertibles offer many perks to those fortune enough to own one—they make the most of nice weather, they provide the ultimate road trip experience, and they incite envy everywhere they go.

However, when it comes to taking your car through the car wash, convertibles might create a few problems. Because of the high pressure power of the sprays and the delicate nature of the canvas cover that protects your convertible’s interior, it’s not recommended to take them through the automatic car wash.

Of course, that doesn’t mean self-service washes are out. In fact, with the right tips and tricks, you can accomplish that perfect, showroom ready shine. Here’s how.

  • Make it Secure: Only convertibles in good condition should be taken to a car wash. If the cover is ripped or damaged (or if you’re holding it together with duct tape), you may want to first invest in a new cover before you start worrying about regular washing.
  • Avoid Direct Spray/Chemicals: Because canvas covers and other soft tops aren’t designed to withstand the same barrage of cleaning that regular cars do, you should take care of the top separately from the bottom. Try to do most of the top by hand and with a gentle spray of water rather than the standard point and hose. If you’re worried about their condition, you can also look for specialty chemicals and cleaners you can bring with you.
  • Control the Spray: There’s no reason why you can’t wash select portions of your vehicle at a car wash (regardless of whether or not it’s a convertible). As long as you make sure the top is up and secure to avoid overspray damage, you can go through all the steps you normally would. Soak, scrub, rinse, wax, repeat…just select the areas where you want to focus, and focus there.
  • Take Care of the Undercarriage: One of the best reasons to regularly visit a car wash is to get rid of the dirt, debris, and winter chemicals that collect in the undercarriage. Because your convertible’s underside looks much the same as any other vehicle’s, you can go through your regular steps without worry.
  • Wash Windows Separately: In a normal car wash, you most likely wash the windows as part of the overall car wash. With a convertible, however, it’s better to treat them as a separate entity. After you wash the bottom half of your car, grab some towels and window cleaner so you can focus on the glass. You’re more likely to get a better overall wash this way, anyway.
  • Double-Check the Weather Stripping: Once the wash is done, take a look inside your car to see if there are areas where the water penetrated the seals. This is actually a great way to find out if you need to replace weather strips or have work done to improve the car’s winter durability.

You have a convertible because it drives great and looks good. Keep it working that way with regular car washes that put the shine back on the paint without damaging the exposed parts thanks to a self-service convertible car wash.

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