Spring is already upon us and summer is just around the corner — it is the perfect time to go for a leisurely drive in your cabriolet with the top down! However, before you pull out the sunscreen, your favourite hat and the picnic basket, you should make sure your electric folding roof is in good working order.
If the folding roof on your cabriolet has a technical problem on the road, you could be stuck with the roof permanently down, unable to close correctly or unable to open. This article will share a few useful tips for keeping your electric folding roof in good working order and for avoiding mechanical roof failure this summer.
The Importance of Preventative Measures For Your Electric Folding Roof
Many problems that cause mechanical roof failure can be avoided with the simple preventative measures outlined below. It is important to remember that convertible roofs need to be maintained throughout the year — not just in the summer months.
At Cayman Auto Services, we usually receive an influx of customers at the start of summer. These owners only discovered that their convertible roof was malfunctioning at the start of the hot season — often with catastrophic results. In many cases, they tried to get their convertible top down for it to only go half way or they couldn’t close the top after opening it.
Both soft top convertibles and hard top convertibles require care and maintenance to ensure smooth operation. Don’t spend your summer with your roof closed because you forgot to perform maintenance!
Tips for Maintaining Your Vehicle’s Retracting Roof
These simple tips are essential for the continuing operation of your retracting roof and can save you hundreds of pounds in repair costs.
Tip #1 — Clean Me Please!
A dirty vehicle is far more likely to have mechanical roof failure, caused by debris entering the folding roof’s operating mechanism. Some of the seals and rubber surrounding the folding roof’s operating mechanism will perish faster if the car is covered in dirt, asphalt, salt, tree sap and dead leaves.
Tip #2 — Convertibles Love to Be Garaged
Just like any other car, cabriolets love to be garaged — you are far less likely to deal with mechanical roof failure if your vehicle is kept out of the elements.
Tip #3 — Don’t Ignore Small Problems
If you notice a small problem with your convertible roof and it is not operating correctly, don’t ignore it! Close your roof and seek professional advice as soon as possible. If the small problem results in mechanical roof failure while the roof is half way up, the car may be undriveable — leading to expensive recovery costs.
Tip #4 — Don’t Place Items on the Parcel Shelf
A great preventative care tip is to avoid placing items on the parcel shelf. Small items like coins can easily fall into the folding roof’s operating mechanism, causing catastrophic failure.
Tip #5 — Keep the Drain Holes in Your Vehicle Clear
Water damage is another common cause of mechanical roof failure. When you clean your cabriolet, check that the drain holes are clear. This will help prevent water from being trapped in the vehicle and flowing into the cabin or boot area, compromising the mechanics of your retracting roof.
Tip #6 — Only Use Specialist Repairers
The mechanical components of the retracting roofs found in cabriolets can be very complex. Unfortunately some cabriolet owners take their vehicle to a mechanic who does not fully understand how these mechanical components work. The end result is often more damage to the electric folding roof and a larger bill when you take it to a specialist repair shop.
We recently had a gentleman come in with a VW Eos that had a faulty retracting roof. The repair should have cost £360, but he had taken it to his corner mechanic first, who had damaged some components as he attempted to repair it. Instead of £360, the repair ended up costing thousands.
Tip #7 — Do Not Force Parts
Some components in retracting roofs are quite fragile. If you are closing your retractable roof manually, do it very carefully and do not overwind the mechanism. Manually closing the roof should only be performed in an emergency and you should avoid opening the roof manually.
Tip #8 — Follow the Manual
We understand how much some people hate reading car manuals, but they are essential reading if you own a cabriolet! The manual will explain the circumstances necessary to open and close you electric folding roof. Some cabriolets require the handbrake to be on when operating the roof, others need the engine running, some can only close when driving below a certain speed. Learn how your retracting roof is supposed to operate and only use it in that fashion.
Tip #9 — Only Operate Your Roof When There is Sufficient Headroom
Another important tip for looking after your convertible’s folding roof is ensuring that there is sufficient headroom for its operation. Many damaged vehicles come into our shop after being opened in a small space like a home garage.
Tip #10 — Check Your Battery
Many retracting roofs on cabriolets operate using the electrical current from your car battery. You can avoid many incidents with your convertible soft top or hard by ensuring the battery is in good condition.
Cayman Auto Services — Leading Repairers of Retracting Roofs in the UK
Cayman Auto Services specialise in convertible roof repairs. We have many years of experience repairing the retractable roofs all makes and models, from Vauxhall Twin Top and Tigras, through to Ferrari and Bentley GTCs.
Our technicians would love to help you repair or maintain your convertible roof so you are ready for summer! Please contact us today on 01306 885566 to learn more.