How to Repair a Convertible Top

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How to Repair a Convertible Top

It is great fun to cruise around in a cars interior. It is important to repair a convertible top as quickly as possible by assessing the damage, determining the best repair method, and ensuring that repairs stop all leaks.

Types of Damage

Several different types of damage can cause problems with a convertible top. Something can cut, puncture, or tear the soft-top material. The seams of the top or the material itself may develop a leak over time. Or the frame or motor can receive damage that prevents it from opening or closing properly.

Type of Damage

Basic Repairs

Tear

Repair with a patch, stitching, an adhesive repair kit, or a combination of these repair methods

Leak

Apply a protective sealant to the leaky seam or one designed to seal the entire top

Frame Damage

Carefully bend the frame back into shape

Replacement parts may be necessary

Motor Damage

Replace damaged components

May require professional repairs

Whether or not the car owners are able to fix the damage themselves depends on their abilities and the extent of the damage. Most owners feel fairly confident stitching, applying patches , and following the directions on adhesives and water repellent products. For a professional looking patch and for more difficult fixes to the working mechanisms that make the top go up and down, most convertible owners prefer to pay a professional for their expertise.

Repairing a Tear

Depending on the size and location of the tear and the owner's preferences, repair a tear by using a specially designed adhesive sealant that securely joins the torn edges back together, by stitching the hole closed, by applying a patch and stitching it into place, or by using a combination of these procedures. When using an adhesive sealant or a manufactured patch, follow the packaging instructions closely to ensure the best results.

Stitching the Tear

Stitching a tear in a convertible top is not much different than stitching any other item except that the repair work must be done while standing next to the car and that the top material is much stiffer and harder to stitch through than most fabric is. To accommodate for how hard it may be to get the needle through the material, and to ensure that the repair is secure, it is important to have all of the appropriate tools and supplies gathered together before beginning.

* A curved upholstery needle

* Needle nose pliers

* Strong adhesive tape

* Outdoor thread that resists UV damage

Several manufacturers produce thread specifically for use on outdoor items. It is weather resistant and stands up well against the suns damaging rays. Other thread may quickly lose its strength due to exposure.

Mending the Hole

Clear the area of loose threads by cutting them. Use the tape to hold the material in position. Keep the top up to help the material stay in position, but leave it unlocked to allow some flexibility while stitching. Start the stitches a half to one centimetre beyond the tear to keep it from spreading. End the stitching approximately the same distance past the other end of the tear. Place the stitches at least half a centimetre away from the tear and have them go straight across on the top side of the material.

The pliers make it much easier to do. Finish off by applying a sealant designed for convertible tops.

Applying a Patch

Many consumers prefer to reinforce a mended tear by covering over the area with a patch. This may be a commercially manufactured patch, a piece of matching material, or even a piece from another convertible top. If using a manufactured patch, follow the instructions that come with it. If using other material to patch with, use adhesive glue that is suitable for the material and/or stitch the patch in place. The patch should be at least one to two centimetres wider than the tear on all sides. This type of repair is durable and should easily stand up to all weather conditions.

How to Buy Convertible Top Repair Supplies on eBay

One way to repair a convertible top is to purchase a used one inexpensively that has different damage than the one on the vehicle. Use the components from the purchased one to replace the damaged ones on the top that is on the car. Use the material to create matching patches to cover any damage.

eBay sellers regularly list both convertible tops and the necessary tools and supplies to repair them. Check out the items listed on eBay Deals to find some even better bargains. Thankfully, repairing a convertible top is something that most vehicle owners are capable of doing on their own, saving them repair costs and saving the car interior from further damage.

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