Facts, Info and Vehicles

Guide to Cleaning and Protecting Your Classic Car’s Vinyl Roof

  • Classic Cars, Tutorials
  • Comments Off on Guide to Cleaning and Protecting Your Classic Car’s Vinyl Roof


Owning a classic car is a big commitment, both in time and in money.  Classic cars need a level above the ordinary when it comes to maintenance, upkeep, protection, and general care than other cars do.  Because of their age, and because of the sheer number of years stacked up on such cars, the individual parts of the car need to be maintained, and they need to be monitored more frequently.  For example, the vinyl roof on a car that is just a few years old does not need to be taken care of as much as a vinyl roof that is several decades old.

How to Go About Cleaning a Classic Car’s Convertible Vinyl Top

Here is a step by step list of how best to go about cleaning a classic car’s convertible vinyl top:

  1. First of all, make sure that your classic car is parked in the shade.  As a general rule, always wash convertible tops in the shade, never in direct sunlight, especially with older tops.
  2. When you are getting ready to start the wash, remember to always wash the entire convertible top at one time.  Don’t ever just clean one spot or area as this will leave rings or spots after it dries.
  3. Wet the convertible top thoroughly and rinse off any loose dirt or grime that might be on it.  Be gentle with an old top.
  4. It’s important to use an actual convertible top cleaner.  Any brand will do.  Spray the convertible top cleaner and apply it evenly over the entire roof of the car.  Once full application has been achieved, scrub it lightly with soft bristle brush and be sure to cover the entire area.
  5. For difficult, soiled, or particularly troublesome areas, spray the top and let stand for 15 to 20 minutes to really soak in.
  6. Gently scrub it again with a soft bristle brush.
  7. Rinse the whole thing thoroughly with water until no remaining foam from convertible top cleaner is observed, and let it dry in the shade or in the garage.

How to Go About Protecting a Classic Car’s Convertible Vinyl Top

Here is a step by step list of how best to go about protecting a classic car’s convertible vinyl top:

  1. Start with a clean, completely dry convertible top, preferably one that you just cleaned using the above procedure not too long ago.
  2. Take into account that the protectant should not get anywhere else other than on the top.  If possible, avoid applying protectant on windy days or pull your car inside the garage so it is protected. Try to avoid any light breezes as this will stir up dirt and dust which will then get on the top.
  3. As always. Shake the can fabric convertible top protectant well before use and several times during the application to keep the can activated.
  4. Hold can or bottle upright and spray evenly and systematically 16-18 inches from material and use a gentle sweeping motion to cover the whole top.  Do not saturate, but do apply an even coat.
  5. Allow it to completely dry off for a good minutes or longer between such coats, preferably in the sun.  If no sun is available at that time, artificial heat can be used to speed up the drying time. The drying time might vary depending on conditions, but ensure that the top is completely dry before you go on to the next step.
  6. Spray up to three, light even coats of you chosen vinyl convertible top protectant, again allowing protectant to completely dry between coats before another application is done.
  7. Finally, use a clean microfiber towel to wipe off any excess overspray on paint, trim or glass so that it does dry and leave an odd film on other parts of the car.

This is the step by step procedure to use when cleaning or protecting the vinyl convertible top of any classic car.  For classics, it is recommended that this be done every six to eight weeks for the absolute maximum UV protection.

Back to top