While your soft convertible top may last for years without the need for replacement, there is a pretty good chance if you hang on to the same vehicle for a lot of years, eventually, you will need a replacement. Even though it is ideal to have a professional install a new convertible top for you, you may watch a few how-to videos and determine this looks like a project you can handle on your own. Before you get started, you should know that installing a new convertible top is not always as easy as it may look. In fact, there will be several pretty big mistakes you will have to work to avoid during the process. Here are two of the primary mistakes you should get to know.
Mistake: Expecting a classic car to have a properly installed soft top.
Why? If you own a car that is considered a classic, or even one that is just a few decades old, there is a good chance that the top has already been replaced once or twice. Even though having a soft top that has already been replaced is normal, the problem lies in the fact that you cannot count on the methods used by the previous owner. Therefore, it is quite likely that you could run into prior installation mistakes that will slow the process for you. For example, if the previous owner used the wrong type of sealant glue, you may be dealing with a gummy mess when you pull the old top off, which will have to be removed for an appropriate and smooth installation.
Mistake: Not getting to know the ins and outs of what the top should look like when done.
Why? Taking a fair amount of time to get familiar with the soft top construction and setup for your specific vehicle will save you a lot of time through the project. Every top has its specific layout, design, and features that work well for your specific vehicle, but sometimes little details will look like problems if you are not familiar with what the top should look like when complete. For example, some soft convertible tops have a slight flair at the back window. Without familiarity, you may think this is not supposed to be there and spend a lot of time trying to make adjustments. Yet, this specific flair could be an intentional design element by the manufacturer to prevent window rubbing when the top is closed.
Auto shops like Fred's Auto Interiors can provide more information and assistance.