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auto body prep-work to do yourself

When you take your car in for auto body work, the mechanic will have a lot of work to do. Each minute that the mechanic spends prepping your car to make the repairs is money that you will owe when the repairs are finished. So, is there anything that you can do to make the mechanic's job a little easier and lower the cost of the repairs for you? This blog is all about preparing vehicles for auto body repairs. Here, you will learn what prep-work you can do at home so that the repairs are completed more quickly and the cost is less.

auto body prep-work to do yourself

How To Clean And Protect Convertible Tops

by Jeremy Hudson

A convertible top looks great when your car is new, but they don't stay looking nice for long without the proper care. Convertible tops are made from clear plastic, fabric or vinyl, all of which are delicate and vulnerable to acid rain, UV rays, the elements and bird droppings. Caring for a convertible top will result in fewer problems and less trips to the local auto body shop for a replacement top. There are two important aspects of caring for your convertible top: cleaning it and protecting it.

Cleaning Convertible Tops

Rinsing the top with water on a regular basis is generally enough to keep it in good condition, but a convertible top should be thoroughly cleaned at least two times a year, more frequently if the car is parked outside on a regular basis. Bird droppings should be immediately removed, because they are highly acidic, which can cause damage to the top. To clean convertible tops:

You'll Need:

  • Convertible top cleaner or a household cleaner that does not have chlorine-based bleaching agents
  • Water
  • Soft sponge or brush
  • Drying towel
  • Wet/dry vac (for fabric tops)


  1. Park the car in the shade and away from direct sunlight
  2. If the top is fabric, lightly go over the top with a wet/dry vac to remove dust and debris that has settled into the fabric.
  3. If using a convertible top cleaner, spray a light coating of the cleaner across the top. If using household cleaner, add a few tablespoons of the cleaner to warm water.
  4. Using a soft brush or sponge gently work the cleaner into the top to loosen the dust and dirt
  5. Once the top is clean, rinse of the cleaner while lightly brushing and using a lot of water from a nozzle-less hose and continue rinsing until the water runs clear.
  6. Use a towel to dry the top. If the top is fabric, blot the top dry and if the top is vinyl, lightly wipe across the top until dry.

Protecting a Convertible Top

After you have cleaned the convertible top, allow it to dry completely to prevent mold and mildew. Once it is completely dry, you need to apply a repelling system to protect it from the elements. If your car has a fabric top, its best to use a product with a fluorocarbon repelling system or if the top is vinyl, you should use a vinyl top protectant that doesn't contain silicone.

If your car has a convertible top, it is best to keep it parked in the garage or under a carport to protect the top from harmful UV rays, which can cause fading and cracking. If you do not have a garage or carport, consider using a car cover. To extend the life of your convertible top, avoid parking in the direct sunlight and during the winter, remove snow from the top to prevent the weight from damaging the material. If you notice shredding or thinning of the convertible top, you should take it to a local auto body shop for a replacement top as soon as possible to prevent the risk of the top ripping, which can result in damages to the interior as well.

Is your convertible top damaged beyond repair? Visit a website like http://www.fredsautointeriors.com for more information.