It’s finally Summer, which means it’s time to get the soft top back on! Nothing beats cruising down the road with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face.
Would love to get your soft top on, but need to clean it first? Struggling to find a good way to store your hard top? Don’t worry, we have some tips & tricks for you!
No matter where you go, your soft top is sure to get dirty. You can’t clean it like you would clean your hard top, it’s quite challenging to keep it clean and long-lasting. Cleaning and preserving the soft top is important for both function and looks.
Your soft top will be vulnerable to things like dirt, debris, bird dropping and off course the sun. That last one will be one of your worst enemies in longterm. If possible, try to store you car in a shady area or garage to avoid UV ray damage over time. But try not to park under trees! Resins, sap and bird dropping can be major trouble for your soft top over time! Winter and sea air can be especially harsh for your soft top aswel, if you have a hard top you should consider switching it every Autumn or Winter.
We would recommend washing your soft top once a month or at least every few months. Vinyl and cloth soft tops will require slightly different cleaning products for example you should use a vinyl-specific protectant for those types of tops.
What not to do
- Don’t use a high-pressure washer or hot wax.
- Don’t go through an automatic car wash.
- Don’t use any harsh cleaners or bleaching agents. Avoid using alcohol, ammonia, vinegar or any abrasives.
How to clean
Use a non aggressive car shampoo in combination with a soft brush to get all the dirt from your soft top. Don’t use a shampoo that has wax or sealant. If your vinyl or cloth is really dirty you can always use a vinyl cleaner, this doesn’t only removes the dirt but it also stops mold from growing.
Make your soft top wet before you apply the cleaner, use a soft brush to gently rub your soft top with the cleaner. Rinse it down and your soft top will be all clean again!
After cleaning you can also use a protector to make sure the color doesn’t fade and make it less easier to tear. Try to pick a protector that has a good UV protection and is dirt, oil and grease repellent.
Don’t forget to clean and treat your plastic windows! They are more easy to discolor than the top itself. Try to use a cleaner and polisher that resists tearing and maintains clarity.
Hard top storage
We all want to switch our hard tops when the sun is out and it’s getting hot again, but where and how do you store it properly? First of all, we recommend to remove the hard top with 2 persons.
Some methods can actually do both the lifting and the storing of a hard top together. Here are the most commons systems of storying a hard top.
A hoist is an appliance intended to lift or lower loads using the aid of a rope or chain coiled around a lift wheel. A hoist cart is great for removing your hardtop and you can actually lay the hardtop on it.
Drive a Jeep Wrangler? You can also get add-ons to it such as the freedom panel storage option and door hangers. So not only can you store your hardtop but you can keep your freedom panel and hand your doors (both 2 and 4 doors).
The top is lifted to the ceiling with a cable pulling mechanism. These are great if you have a tall ceiling or don’t have space on your floor as you can store the hardtop high up in the air.
Depending on your car brand, some might even offer storage bags. Storing them can be a pain and you’d want them to remain undamaged for as long as possible. Drive a Jeep Wrangler? They sell bags for the freedom panel that you can easily carry in and out of the garage and you can keep this bag in the back of your Jeep.
Heavy duty hard top storage cart
They are usually designed to store the hardtop in a vertical position to save space in your garage or shop. I would recommend you buy one with wheels so that you can glide the top around with ease after it has been removed from your jeep.
You’ll find multiple aftermarket varieties available from multiple-storage dollies capable of holding the doors also, custom colors and more. Features like purpose-built winches and pulleys can make it really easy to remove or reinstall the hardtop.
Build your own hard top dolly
If you’re a DIY-er who wants to save some money, you can definitely make your own storage cart. The plan would all depend on your card model and how you want to store it, horizontal or vertical, in the air or on the floor.