9 Common Problems With Convertible Cars (Explained)

It’s all fun to own and drive a convertible car as it looks all sporty and suitable for an open-air ride.

However, as all cars come with their benefits, they also have their downsides.

This article discusses 9 common issues associated with convertible cars and the remedies for these problems.

How Do You Describe a Convertible Car?

A convertible is a two-door vehicle with a retractable roof. This basically means the top of the car can be removed partially or totally and can be folded to fit into the trunk. A convertible can also come as a four-seat sedan.

The convertible features a hard or soft rooftop. The major difference between the two is that the hard top is made of a rigid and sturdy metal (usually the same color as the car) and they are more protective while the soft top is made of fabric-like metal.

The soft top is easier to fold but is more vulnerable to cuts and has a shorter lifespan.

It is the choice of most owners to go for the hard top because it gives an impressive outlook on the car. The only disadvantage to it is that it’s heavy to handle, and it takes up more space in the trunk.

7 Common Problems Associated With the Convertible Car

Here are some problems commonly associated with convertible cars:

1. They Are Not Fully Safe

If you opt for a soft top roof, you are at more risk of being stolen from. This is obvious as the soft tops are much easier to break into since they are made of a fabric-like metal. 

Automakers have recommended owners install a high-tech security mechanism to detect any security breach. Such tech includes the Mini Cooper Convertible Engine immobilizer.

Also, before considering buying a convertible, especially a soft top, it is good to have a secured planned location to park your car.

2. Don’t Expect a Quiet Ride

Convertibles are not quiet operators. Even with the top closed and the windows rolled up, prepare for a noisy ride and it is even more severe with highway driving.

It is that way because of the design of the car. The materials used for the roof are too thin to block out the noise coming from outside when driving.

However, there are some modern convertible cars built with new acoustical top materials for soft tops that improve the sound blocking performance for the outside.

3. The Interiors Age Faster

The fact that their interiors age faster is not shocking because most convertible owners leave their rooftops open. We can’t blame them anyway, but it surely comes at a price.

The direct sunlight that comes down greatly affects the cabin of the car. It is worse when the car has leather seats. Not only does it spoil the seats, but the UV rays can also damage the dashboard and the steering wheels.

4. They’re More Expensive

Convertible cars are pricier than regular cars. Be ready to leave extra cash when planning to buy a convertible. This is because they are more difficult to design compared to cars with rigid roofs.

Their size also gives them away, as they have to be built into smaller units than an average sedan.

For instance, the Chevrolet Camaro is designed as a coupe and the other as a convertible. The price of the coupe is $25,500, while the identical convertible has a starting price of $31,600. That is a whopping difference of $6000 just to get a convertible.

5. They Have High Maintenance

Alongside its high price, owners are not too lucky, as convertible cars require high maintenance and repair costs. The major reason for this is because of the design.

They have more body parts that require gentle care. If not, they break down easily, although these days, automakers are trying their best to engineer the hard or soft top to last longer because they have more moving parts than other cars.

Convertibles are also more susceptible to getting damaged during usage, even with extra care.

Related: Why Do Black Cars Have More Problems? (Explained)

6. The Rooftops Leak

The older version of convertibles had frequent roof leaks, but thankfully modern-day versions are exceptionally built and less vulnerable to leaks.

However, they still leak and can severely damage the interior of the car like the dashboard, the seats, the carpets, etc.

Another difficulty is finding the source of the leakage. They are often hard to diagnose as sometimes the water doesn’t drop instantly from the damaged area.

7. They Are Less Rigid 

Ordinarily, a fixed roof adds to the rigidity of a vehicle and the convertible lacks that. Thus, they need to replace this in another location.

It is often the case that the lower part of the car’s body at the rocker panels gets stiffened with the addition of materials.

If this is not done, the vehicle will shake, which eventually leads to interior noises. Even with the improved adjustment of the rooftops to reduce noise, a convertible, especially the soft top design, will not be as quiet and rigid as a closed car.

8. Less Passenger and Cargo Space 

A convertible has less passenger space than its fixed-roof two-door counterparts. It is more obvious in the rear seats as there is less shoulder and hip room because the roof bites into the back seats.

The headroom suffers too, as tall people will find it inconvenient. For the trunk space, the movable top can also intrude into the cargo area.

9. High Insurance Cost

The high security risk for a convertible car has resulted in a higher insurance cost than a closed sedan. Another major reason is that they are more expensive and have higher repair costs.

It takes more time and skill to work on a convertible. Sometimes the repair can even be more complicated than installing it originally at the factory.

Related: 8 Common Problems With High Mileage Cars (Explained)

Maintenance of Convertible Cars

Here are some maintenance tips to keep your convertible in tip-top shape:

Determine the Rooftop Material 

The first step to maintaining your convertible is to check what material it is made up of. It could be fabric or vinyl.

The proper way to find this is to contact your manufacturer. It could sometimes be the case that the material has been replaced by the previous owner, so it is best that you test the top.

Use Specified Cleaning Products

Using household cleaning agents can be very detrimental to soft convertible tops. Desist from the use of chemicals like bleach, detergent, alcohol, vinegar, ammonia, etc. These substances deteriorate the health of the fabric of vinyl.

Use only recommended products for your vehicle. If it is not so dirty, use clear water once a month to rinse it carefully but thoroughly. Also, you can use a vacuum cleaner to remove dirt from the fabric top.

If the car is really dirty, find the specific cleaning agent for the convertible because many car wash shampoos contain gloss-enhancers which can make the top absorb and hold dust.

Scrub Gently 

While washing your car, scrub gently and evenly. It is recommended to use a soft bristle scrub brush. The brush is subtle on the human body. It will definitely work best for your convertible.

Use Anti-Mildew Spray 

Hard convertible tops can be a home for mildew in high-humidity areas. To avoid this, it is best to use a vinyl cleaner that has anti-mildew compounds. 

Apply a Vinyl Protectant

Before using this product, ensure that the car is completely dry before spraying.

The protector helps to prevent the rooftop from fading quickly as a result of direct sunlight and helps to maintain its waterproof seal.

It is important to note that as the car gets older, the vinyl protector would have to be applied more frequently. It might have to be every few months. Also, if you leave your car often under direct sunlight, you might be needing the vinyl protector regularly.

Related: Do All Cars Depreciate Over Time? (Explained)

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