Convertible owners, don’t skip this important fall maintenance
As the serious cold approaches in much of the U.S., convertible owners are enjoying last drives of the late fall season and thinking about storing away their drop-top. Before that, though, it is important to give your convertible a thorough cleaning inside. Convertible interiors get much dirtier than normal car interiors, and an annual cleaning will not only keep your ride looking good now but into the future.
If you have a leather interior, you should give it a good two-part clean and preservative treatment. First, get a high-quality interior cleaner. We like Griot’s. Spray it liberally, but be careful not to let it streak downward. On vertical surfaces spraying the cleaner on your paper towel or clean cloth is the best bet. Part two is a leather cleaner/preservative. Again, we have found Griot’s to work well. Here you have to apply the solution to the cloth and rub down all the leather surfaces. After you have done that, go over it all again with a dry, clean cloth to remove the remaining cleaner. Don’t forget the steering wheel and shift knob.
Dash and Interior Plastics
Interior cleaner will do a great job on your interior plastics. A damp after cloth as a last wipedown also seems worth the time. We would not recommend any plastic treatments. They all seem to make claims that are false, and then they fog your interior glass with off-gassed chemicals. Be very careful when cleaning the gauge cluster. Use your best microfiber or cotton cloth with just the minimum water possible and wipe gently. The acrylic plastic used to cover gauges is very easy to scratch.
Carpets, Upholstery, Belts
Use an upholstery cleaner like Turtle Wax’s to clean your cloth seats and seat belts. VAccuming might be enough for the rugs and floor mats. If your interior is mostly cloth and very dirty consider letting a local detailer or car wash do the job, They have a nifty carpet-cleaning type vacuum that can spray cleaning water and vac at the same time. It is faster and more effective than hand-cleaning.
If your convertible top is cloth, follow the instruction in your owner’s manual regarding cleaning. Be sure to clean and vacuum the area that the cloth top stores down into as well. That can be a place for debris to gather.
Convertibles deserve a little extra attention in late fall. Put in an hour of elbow grease and your car will look better and retain its value better.