Can You Take a Soft Top through a Car Wash (Convertible 101)

The arrival of spring and the accompanying rise in temperature necessitate the removal of convertibles from their winter storage.

Even if you are fortunate enough to reside in a region that enjoys pleasant temperatures throughout the year, even a convertible will eventually collect dust and require a thorough washing.

You’ve avoided using a self-service vehicle wash because you’re wary of the high-pressure water, spinning brushes, and other moving mechanical machinery.

You need to know how to maintain your convertible top before you can drive about town with the top down and the wind in your hair. The following are some of the most important things you should know about auto car wash for convertibles.

Type of Convertible

Convertible types can be distinguished by the roof design. Specifically, these types are the soft-top convertible and the hardtop convertible.

Soft Top

The roofs of most soft-top convertibles are constructed from a PVC- and cotton-coated fabric. An automatic car wash uses high-pressure sprays, harsh chemicals, and brushes, which would surely damage such a roof.


This convertibles are designed with hard roofs made of metal or plastic. They are more durable because they’re just like the standard car, but with a retractable roof.

Can You Take a Soft Top through a Car Wash

Can You Go Through a Car Wash With a Convertible?

Taking your convertible, especially a hard-top convertible, through a car wash is often recommended by manufacturers. The tremendous water pressure is typically channelled to the sides and underneath the automobile, sparing the convertible top.

A convertible will not be harmed by going through a car wash. One must be careful about which car wash one chooses because some cleaning techniques and tools might cause damage to the automobile’s finish.

Each vehicle is tested for leaks before it is released to the public, and most convertible top frames are sturdy enough to withstand the pressure of water and the abrasive brushes used in car washes.

Although most auto experts agree that driving a convertible through a carwash is safe, it’s always a good idea to double-check with the manufacturer’s customer service or the owner’s manual just to be sure.

Is It Safe to Take a Soft Top Through a Car Wash?

If the owner’s manual specifies that soft tops can be washed, then you can take your vehicle to the car wash. If you need to wash your soft top before contacting the manufacturer, you should wait. Cleaning the soft top by hand or at a touchless car wash is recommended.

I should not take any chances if you intend to use an automatic vehicle wash, therefore we should call ahead to find out whether they have a special method for cleaning a soft-top.

Some manufacturers, like Mercedes-Benz, Buick, and many more, specifically state in their owner’s manuals that their convertible soft tops can be safely washed at any public car wash. As a result, having one means that you may rest easy.

Generally, you can take a convertible through a car wash without any problems. However, you may want to check with the car wash beforehand to make sure that they can accommodate your car.

Some car washes have special instructions for convertibles. For example, they may ask you to lower the roof before going through the wash.

Touchless Car Wash

Brushes aren’t utilised in a touchless car wash, instead, high-pressure water, chemicals, and high-pressure air are used to clean the vehicle.

To have such security measures in place makes this service suitable for washing convertibles with fabric tops. Nonetheless, check for roof tears or damage before bringing these cars to a touchless car wash.

Water may seep in through the cracks, and the high-pressure sprays and whirling brushes could make matters worse.

Can You Take a Soft Top through a Car Wash

Tips for Safely Cleaning a Soft-Top Convertible at a Car Wash

You could be considering a trip to the vehicle wash since you simply don’t have the time to hand-wash your convertible top. Well, I’ve got your back and am here to offer advice on how to clean your soft-top in a secure and effective manner at your favourite car wash. keep in mind the following tips in mind to get the shine without damaging your soft top.

Check the weather strips

Check for water leakage into the seals after washing your car to make sure it didn’t happen throughout the process. Probably the weather stripping needs to be replaced.

Water and frequency

When soiled, wash your soft-top convertible once a month. Wash it every two months if you don’t use it often. Your top will absorb oil and get filthy if not cleaned. Use a soft top cleaning kit, a microfiber towel, and cool water to clean.

Ensure you clean the undercarriage

When cleaning a soft top, most people just focus on the top, but the undercarriage is just as important. You must keep the undercarriage clean and free of debris.

Check the vehicle’s condition

Look inside your automobile after washing it to see if any water got in via the seals. In that scenario, you need replace the weather seals.

Separately clean the windows

Normal car windows should be cleaned in the same way as the rest of the vehicle. However, the glass windows of convertibles require manual cleaning with window cleaner and a cloth.

Separately clean the windows

Normal car windows should be cleaned in the same way as the rest of the vehicle. However, the glass windows of convertibles require manual cleaning with window cleaner and a cloth.

Can You Wash Your Convertible at Home?

The convertible may be cleaned with basic household detergent and water. However, there is one key difference between the cleaning processes for convertibles with vinyl and those with fabric tops is the final step.

Follow these easy instructions to clean your convertible at home:

  • You can clean the surface by gently brushing away any dirt that is already there with a soft brush.
  • It’s best to use a vacuum cleaner on the car roof for the most thorough and accurate cleaning possible.
  • An all-purpose cleaner might not be effective on a dry car surface, so make sure you dampen it first.
  • You may avoid scratching the car top’s natural gloss by washing it with clean water and a soft bristle brush.
  • When cleaning your car, use an all-purpose cleaner instead of dish soap or other cleaning agents with harsh chemicals that could damage the canvas.
  • Flush the cleaning solution away with a low-pressure power spray with a garden hose.
  • It’s ideal to let the car sit overnight so the top can dry naturally, although a lint-free microfiber cloth can be used to hasten the process if necessary.


A soft-top convertible can go through a car wash without any damage. But on older models, the seals around the back window and the window frames may lose some of their hold. This isn’t usually a problem, but it can be when the high-pressure car wash is used.

Even though the soft top isn’t fragile, you should still do everything you can to keep it in the best shape possible. You might want to go to a self-service car wash where you can leave the car and lower the water pressure on the roof.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do car washes ruin soft tops?

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.

Is it OK to take a convertible through the carwash?

The right care with automatic car washing
This concern is generally unfounded! Thanks to modern, soft brushes as for example SofTecs and the correct washing chemicals, convertible drivers can also wash their car safely in a gantry car wash or conveyor tunnel system.

How do I protect my soft-top car?

Spray up to three light even coats of Fabric Convertible Top Protectant allowing protectant to completely dry between coats. Use a clean microfiber towel to wipe off any excess overspray on paint, trim or glass. Apply every 6-8 weeks for maximum UV protection and to protect against the harsh environmental elements.

Andrea Barbuti
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