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Convertible through a carwash : A foolproof guide

  • Car Wash
  • Natasha Young
  • 7 minutes

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Having a convertible means, you’ll most likely get admiring looks wherever you go! Just like with any other car, keeping it clean and glossy without jeopardizing its safety is critical. Can you take a convertible through a carwash? The answer will pique your interest if you own one.
Read to know more.
Most convertible owners take their beauty out in the sun in the springtime, away from the dark garages. But it’s fall care month: October already. But let’s not completely sweep out the possibility of you being someone who lives in a place where the weather is pleasant throughout the year. Either way, your convertible’s top will collect dirt and could use some pampering, i.e., have a proper carwash every now and then.
If it was any other type of car, you could certainly consider an automated car wash as an option. But because of the high-pressure water, fast-spinning brushes, and machinery involved, you may have second thoughts. Not to mention, a substantial number of experts and users advise avoiding automatic vehicle washes if you own a convertible. In this blog, we’ll look at whether it’s safe to take your convertible to a car wash or not.

Convertible through a car wash?

There are two types of convertible tops: soft and hardtops. Soft tops consist of a stretchy fabric that may contract and expand without taking up much storage space.

2021 BMW 4 series Convertible
Retractable hardtops are typically made of two to five sections of metal or plastic, and they frequently rely on complex dual-hinged trunk/boot lids that allow the trunk lid to receive the retracting top from the front as well as parcels or luggage from the rear.
Retractable hardtop convertible car

Convertible hardtops are just like any other car with a roof. As a result, as long as your car’s roof is out, you may send it through a hand-free carwash with no worries. But if the roof is left open, it will damage the electrical system beneath the seats, as well as the engine.

Cotton and PVC are used to make canvases for soft-top convertibles. It isn’t thick enough to survive the harsh chemicals and high-pressure sprays found within a carwash tunnel. The canvases will inevitably become wet and allow water to enter the vehicle. High-pressure water, bristles, and brushes can harm the canvas as they are not as durable as a conventional car roof.

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Two cents from the experts

Most convertibles are safe for automated car washes, according to the car wash industry. Millions of convertibles are washed successfully every day, and they are designed to do so without causing damage to the vehicle.
According to Eric Wuf, CEO of the International Carwash Association, high-pressure water is directed at the door handles and beneath the car. This means that the top will be unharmed as long as it is not naturally weakened or worn out as a result of excessive use. Most car washes use spinning brushes made of cotton, so there will be no scratches or damage to the car.
According to Buick‘s Ex-Communications Manager Stuart Fowle, “Every car is quality-checked to ensure water-tightness … the top frame is very rigid to be able to handle going up and down at up to 31 mph, so a car wash brush is no issue.” Mercedes-Benz also confirmed that all of its convertibles are safe for a drive-through car wash.
Experts in the car wash industry generally agree. It is best not to take any chances and to rely solely on your own judgment. To find out if your soft top can withstand the pressure of a car wash, consult your owner’s manual or contact your manufacturer’s customer service.

Touchless car wash for convertibles

Nothing but soap, water, and high-pressure air will touch your car in a touchless car wash. They spray the high-pH soap on your vehicle first, followed by the low-pH soap. This combination sloughs away dirt and dust, removing the need for foam rollers. Brushless car washes are also preferable in the winter since snow, rain, and salt on the roads can cause damage to a convertible. Cleaning it thoroughly is even more important in the winter.

Touchless car washes use the most recent vehicle washing technology, and they will not scratch or damage the exterior of your vehicle. If you’re not sure how well your soft-top convertible will perform in a traditional car wash, a touchless car wash is your best bet. If you don’t have access to touchless car washes and must rely on traditional car washes, don’t worry; the following tips will help you get the shine without any damage.

Keep track of your vehicle’s condition:

Only take a convertible to a carwash if it is in good condition. If your cover is damaged or ripped, don’t risk it. Before the car wash, make sure the cover is in good condition or buy a new one.

Take better care of the undercarriage:

While cleaning the top is considered essential, the undercarriage is often overlooked. Ensure that all dirt, dust, and grime are not present in the undercarriage.

Wash the windows separately:

Typically, washing the windows is just as common as cleaning the rest of the components. However, in the case of a convertible, clean your own windows with a towel and a window cleaner.

Check the weather strips:

Once the carwash is over, look inside your car to see if water has seeped into the seals. If it has indeed seeped, it is a sign that you should replace the weather strips.

Water and frequency:

If the soft-top is dusty or dirty, wash it once a month and once every two months if you don’t drive it as much. If not, the top will absorb oil and become extremely dusty. Wipe it down with plenty of cool water, a special soft top cleaning kit, and a microfiber towel.

Can you wash your convertible at home?

For ultimate convenience, you can have a few supplies and hand wash your car in the comfort of your home. However, the cleaning procedure for a fabric and vinyl top soft-top convertible is different towards the end.

convertible car wash
  • Brush the surface with a soft brush to remove any visible dirt. To clean more precisely, vacuum the top.
  • An all-purpose cleaner is useless on a dry surface; make sure you wet the surface first.
  • To avoid damaging the natural finish, rinse the top with water and use a soft bristle brush.
  • Allow the all-purpose cleaner to soak for a few minutes after spraying it all over the top. Scrub the top clean with circular motions.
  • Avoid using dish soap for your car wash or products with harsh chemicals in them.
  • Choose a non-toxic cleaner that will be gentler on the surface. We recommend using a soft scrub brush that will not leave any lint on the surface or damage it.
  • Wash the cleaning agent away with a garden hose or a low-pressure power spray.
  • Allow the top to dry naturally by leaving the car out overnight, but you can speed up the process by pressing a lint-free microfiber cloth against the top to wick away moisture.

Read How to wash a car like an expert for more detailed guidance. 

Final Verdict 

Can you take a convertible through a car wash? Yes. Hardtop convertibles are ideal for car washes. It is still up for debate among users and manufacturers regarding soft-top models. It is ultimately your choice whether to use an automatic or touchless car wash, but keep the above tips in mind and do not be afraid to speak with the car wash professionals first

If you have wondered where to find the best car wash for your car near you, we recommend you to visit Way.com or download the Way app. You can find the best at affordable rates with no compromise on quality. Click the banner to know more.

Read our blogs for information on the best airport parking and hourly parking spots near you and the most affordable insurance for your car.

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