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Convertible car -> Do's and Don't

Posted on 2006-04-05
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I just bought a convertible car, yay me.

What should i know?
I live in Canada, so winter is an issue as i will be using it all year, but the car will be in a garage at home.

Advices, stories, general maintenance tips ect.

Points will be splitted of course.
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Question by:techn125
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by:overworkedops
overworkedops earned 200 total points
ID: 16383953
Odds are, your convertible is rear wheel drive.. the Miata, Solstice, etc... they all are. I would recommend buying a set of steel wheels (you can find them online) and winter tires to go with that. They are a NIGHT AND DAY difference between driving in the snow. If you insist on going with "all weather" tires, then do yourself a favor and put sandbags in the trunk to weigh your rear end down and keep it planted. RWD and snow does not mix well :)

Otherwise do your oil changes at 3-5k miles, make sure you change your plugs and wires if it's used, and just use common sense. There's not a lot to know about taking care of a convertible other than "don't be an idiot" -- so if you are one, I apologise because the car is already going to have problems :)

Good luck!
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by:techn125
ID: 16384042
>Overworkedops

Hehe thx for the comments. I think i can take care of a car, given that the previous one was a Hyundai Accent that i kept running since 1996 :o) so oil changes and all will be religiously done (not by me)

Its a front wheel drive (pt cruiser convertible) but i will be putting winter tires on it, as i always do.

Nothing special about the roof maintenance? No soft roof maintenance kits or something?
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by:Steve Sirica
Steve Sirica earned 300 total points
ID: 16384105
Polarized sunglasses and hat or visor are necessities.
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by:wertyk
wertyk earned 200 total points
ID: 16384136
do NOT leave your convertible top open when you go into a store or something like that. especially a theater where people know you're going to be inside for an hour or two.

people can steal things out of your car.

i once saw my friends convertible at the theater (i was meeting him there) and so i stole his cell phone (the idiot left that in the car too). i walked in to the mall and met up with him. after the movie he went back to his car and started yelling that someone jacked his cell phone. he was mad when i gave it back to him.
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by:Prester John
Prester John earned 200 total points
ID: 16384183
If you run with the top down in the winter I would recommend a LOT of REALLY SERIOUS cold weather gear.

Aside from that, try not to raise or lower the top at any real air speed.

Let the snow pile up on the top. It acts as an insulator and helps keep the interior warmer in the winter (top up).

Remember that people can hear you talking through that top.

Do not leave any valuables in plain sight. Convertables are pretty easy to break into.
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by:Prester John
ID: 16384191
wertyk> you are quick today! :-)
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by:keneso
keneso earned 200 total points
ID: 16384239
Don't leave anything precious (camera, notebook, lady bag) on sight, on the seat, anyone can grab it at the traffic light, or anywhere you stop.
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by:keneso
ID: 16384259
>>RWD and snow does not mix well :)

They do and are very FUN ;)
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by:keneso
ID: 16384302
Emjoy driving it in mild weather with top down, and heater on, it's a great feeling.

Do not drive with top down while it's snowing, or raining. ;)
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Expert Comment

by:bthomasian
ID: 16384309
Never open an umbrella in a Converatble! :)
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by:keneso
ID: 16384332
I don't know if you got it with leather or fabric interiors, in the latter case you have to do extra maintanance for the dust, which will be in large amount compared to a hard top.
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by:Steve Sirica
ID: 16384373
Warning...Leather seats in the summer while wearing shorts can be hazardous to the health of your legs!!!
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Assisted Solution

by:phileoca
phileoca earned 200 total points
ID: 16384536
Do not Flip your car.
90% of convertible flippings result in death by decapitation.

If your convertible came with a "boot", use it often to preserve the life of your convertible top.
(a convertible boot is a part that after you put the top down, it covers the top from any wind, dirt, sun dmg, etc.

Buy convertible top cleaner, and a turkish towel (a really really thick towel).  you can wash the top as normal with the rest of your car, but quarterly, you want to apply convertible top conditioner on the car, and use the turkish towel to dry it when finished.

Keep your trunk organized, cause you'll need room to put your crap in it cause if it's in the back seat.. high chances of it flying out.  I almost lost 2 sweaters and jacket this way... And i've lost countless pieces of paper

here's my convertible
http://www.phileoca.com/pics/misc/mycar1.jpg
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Expert Comment

by:phileoca
ID: 16384561
Install a PROXIMITY alarm.
a proximity alarm inside your convertible will deter people from cutting a hole in your roof to get inside the car.
when you turn on your alarm, the proximity field establishes.  Once the field is violated, the alarm will go off.
for fun, i'd put my friends in the car, and turn on the alarm.. as soon as they move... it goes off. :-)
downside to proximity alarm.... heavy rain/wind can set off alarm, and possibly very powerful lasers.
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Author Comment

by:techn125
ID: 16385030
Good stuff, good stuff

Philoeca,
Proximity alarm = the kind that shouts at you when going too close to a car having it (Step back from this vehicule blah blah)?
So you mean a standard anti-thief alarm (similar to the manufacturer's one that comes with it i guess) will not necessarilly be triggered by intrusion via tempering on the soft roof? I know that kicking a tire can trigger it, so some careful thugs could get inside the car without the alarm noticing?

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Expert Comment

by:phileoca
ID: 16385254
my proximity is not a voice proximity alarm, but they both work the same way.  Also, my proximity alarm is an additional zone to the alarm.
I have the Rattler installed in my car (circuit city), I had them attach the proximity alarm as an additional zone.  What they'll do is take out the middle console and place it under neath that.  There's no wires that can be cut, there's no way to get to it accept through the console itself, by removing it.  Additionally, it has it's own power supply in the event that someone finds a way to disconnect the battery without the alarm going off.

kicking the tires our hitting doors or trunk would be part of the primary alarm.
The proximity alarm is more focused on the field inside the car. touching the roof can violate the proximity bubble in the car, and thus the alarm goes off.

2nd, the proximity alarm is GREAT for leaving the top down.  if someone walks by and jumps in the car, or even sticks their hand in to try and grab a CD or something, the alarm goes off.  That was the selling point for me.  
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Expert Comment

by:hes
ID: 16385266
Do not fly under a flock of seagulls with the top down.
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by:Steve Sirica
ID: 16385391
hes,
>> flock of seagulls

Great example if you ever want to explain bad 80's hair styles.
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Assisted Solution

by:cool12399
cool12399 earned 200 total points
ID: 16385455
USE IT.

People get so scared of 'damaging' their baby, it sits in their garage for 365 days of the year. GO OUT AND USE IT.

DRIVE IT IN THE SNOW! :) That is much fun. If you do -- simply make sure you get the underside taking care of (im sleepy i forget what its called even though ive worked on cars. the black gooey stuff to protect against salt deposits, etc). Costs you about $100 at most 'standard' car shops (imo, very expensive since the can of tar only costs $5.00 retail)... but... you can do it yourself, just get a jack and by the can... or if you feel like paying for someone elses meal, spend the extra $95.00...
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by:cool12399
ID: 16385464
and where ABOOTS do you live in canada? :P
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by:techn125
ID: 16385574
Thx for the description Phileoca, ill be looking for those alarms.

>USE IT

I can't stand in place! Oh man, this thing is going to see alot of road, no worries here!
I'm in Québec, heh, y'know, tabarnak. No, i wont risk eating a poutine inside my new car either :oP
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Assisted Solution

by:dxf224
dxf224 earned 100 total points
ID: 16385802
My experience with convertibles in leaving the top up or down  unattended in good weather is that it would have been better for me to have left the top down.
My roof got slashed twice by folks after my tape deck.  
Maybe if the tape deck had been removable  it wouldn't have happened, or maybe the roof would have been a gonner anyway from some idiot wondering what they could find in the glove box or under the seats.

As for alarm systems, seems that so many of them go off accidentally these days that  no one thinks much of the noise created if the car's in a public place.
...you might want to try a steering  wheel lock, though.  I believe that the good ones are a fairly effective deterrent.
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by:wertyk
ID: 16385818
the club!
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Accepted Solution

by:
x4u earned 200 total points
ID: 16386817
If you've got a rear window that is made of plastic you should never ever use a ice scraper on it. Use a brush for it or just wait until the ice falls off by itself after the car gets heated somewhat. Also be carefull with this window at cold temperatures, the plastic becomes much harder then and can actually break if try to remove the ice by beating on it from the inside (although this works quite good if done carefully).

You should also treat the rubber seals of the roof with some rubber maintenance agent every 3-6 month to avoid that they become brittle.

Don't worry if you find some moss on the roof, this can be easily be removed with a strong water beam. A water beam treatment of the entire roof can also do wonders if it starts to look abit dull. And driving through a automatic car wash is no problem for the roof not even for the rear window (at least not with car washes here in germany).
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by:wertyk
ID: 16386888
>> And driving through a automatic car wash is no problem for the roof not even for the rear window (at least not with car washes here in germany).

DONT go through a drive through with the top open.


(unless you havent taken a shower that day)
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by:cool12399
ID: 16387651
>>s for alarm systems, seems that so many of them go off accidentally these d

lol, in some parts of NYC, if you have a stupid alarm, people will go outside and turn it off for you.
(in fact, some parking lots say they will tow your car/trash it/etc if that happens).
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Expert Comment

by:ECNSSMT
ID: 16388978
Top ten things not to do with a convertible in Canada

10. Don't honk at a moose with the top up.
09. Don't do that with the top down, either.
08. Don't go over Niagara Falls in your car with the top up.
07. Don't attempt to stuff your convertible into a barrel to go over Niagara Falls with.
06. Don't drive the convertible up the CN Tower just so that you can park on that 6x6 foot plexiglass flooring just so that you can determine if the convertible weights more than 6 elephants; which is what the CN Tower tour guide said is as much weight that plexiglass floor can take.
05. Do not attempt to bungee jump from the CN Tower in your convertible with the top down.
04. Do not call any CANADIAN MOUNTEE -- Dudley Do-Right, especially with the top down.  (with the top up, you at least have a good chance of not being picked out in a line up)
03.  Do not drive around in your convertible telling everyone you are Alex Trebek.  (I don't know where to go with this, but keep you top up)
02. Do not attempt to drive across the US/Canadian border (with your top down) yelling "I'm free, I'm Free", authorities from both sides of the border will not understand.
And the number 1 thing that you should not do while driving a convertible in Canada.......











Well... using that little button to bring the convertible top up and down while attempting to do any of the previous nine items individually or in combination as it will surely damage the convertible top.
Regards,
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Assisted Solution

by:CarlosMMartins
CarlosMMartins earned 100 total points
ID: 16391392
Well, you need to keep the soft top as clean as possible - both the fabric and the isolation rubbers.
there are specialized products to do it.

Don't ever put it down if it's too dirty, or wet.

And that's it...

Here in Europe, every car maker is switching to "Coupe-Convertibles" so they have hard retractible tops (either metal or glass) - so you get a cabrio without worrying if anyone is going to slash your soft top. or having to make the proper treatments to make last as long as possible.
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Assisted Solution

by:shankshank
shankshank earned 100 total points
ID: 16391399
I have a convertible, and don't live in the warmest state at all. don't try and put the top up or down while driving. you are asking for wind to grab it and break it, wreck the motor, or carry your car just enough for you to lose control. Not carry, but just move in a sense. rear wheel driving is a bi***. That is for sure. I have a mustang convertible, and it is hard to drive int he winter, almost impossible. my 2 cents,, have lots of sand bags back there, but don't expect that to be the saver of you getting stuck on a minor hill
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by:Steve Sirica
ID: 16391459
shankshank,
>> I have a mustang convertible

What year?  I love love love the new restyled Mustangs.  I want one, but it would have to replace my Saab as the 3rd car.  I could never live in a state with snow and not have a 4x4.  No offense, it's just stupid.  
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by:CarlosMMartins
ID: 16391589
All the recent convertibles I've seen, they all offer ESP and all other acronymis, that make it "safer" to handle in all weather conditions. If you're moving at a speed over the "limit" operation, the "convert" button has no effect. So it's not really an issue.

I drove a Mercedes SLK for a while, and if you moved faster than the speed limite for the conversion, it would stop the process, beeping all over, and you would need to stop, to conclude the operation.

The new model has a "air scarf" system, that directs air through the seats, around your neck, making it enjoyable to drive with the top down even in cold weather.
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Expert Comment

by:shankshank
ID: 16391664
a 99 mustang yellow convertible. selling it for a 2003 black on black cobra or 2005 gt convertible. No it's not really stupid to have a convertible in the snow. It's called parking the car in the window, storing it, especially a mustang, and bringing it out in the summer. If you can afford multiple cars that is. If you are a college student, paying college, living, and a new car, then maybe that same car is all you have for the winter :)
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by:wertyk
ID: 16391796
4 wheel drive part time.

love it.
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by:Steve Sirica
ID: 16391944
shankshank,
>> No it's not really stupid to have a convertible in the snow. It's called parking the car in the window

That's what I said, it would have to replace my 3rd car...the convtible Saab.  I have a Nissan Frontier 4x4 and my wife has a Trailblazer 4x4.  The Saab is our summer car.
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by:techn125
ID: 16402039
Alright everyone, thank you for your input. Now if the summer and sun could arrive :o)
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by:Steve Sirica
ID: 16402081
How is it?  Everything you expected?
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by:techn125
ID: 16402505
Oh yeah, and more! Its fully loaded and with a comfort level like i never had in a previous car (I'm 30 yrs old, I had only 3 other cars before...yeah i like to wear out my stuff heh). Road handling is firm but very comfortable, accelerations from immobile are very nice, but a bit more power on the highway would have been nice though (read funnier, no problemo on doubling cars either here). Engine is the smallest available 2.4 liters 4 cyl. 150hp (other versions are turbo), but its still a whole lot more than what i had in my Hyundai.

Summer is going to be memorable :oD Thx for asking!
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by:Prester John
ID: 16405764
tyvm!
have fun!
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