For any convertible owner, a slashed soft top is a real nightmare scenario.
Sure, a ripped top doesn’t necessarily condemn a car to the scrap yard. But it sure is annoying, and it can be a real pain to deal with.
If your convertible top has been ripped on accident or slashed by a vandal, the immediate priority is to seal the top. Patching up the holes will prevent rain and debris from entering your cabin and causing further issues.
Read on to find out how to get that top sealed temporarily while you sort out a replacement.
How to patch up your ripped soft-top
First, you’ll need to clean the top of any dirt or debris. Then, seal the holes inside and outside of the soft top with tent repair tape or heavy-duty tape. For a more permanent solution, you can stitch up the holes and seal them with glue.
As stated, the immediate priority is to get the soft top sealed to prevent any leakages or further damage. It might not be pretty – but it will do the job.
Once your top is patched up, you can decide whether to go down the insurance route or replace the top with your own money.
For a detailed step-by-step on how to patch up your top temporarily, continue reading below!
1: Clean the top
Thoroughly cleaning your soft top will ensure that your heavy-duty tape will have the best possible surface to bond against.
Begin by removing any loose debris on the top with a soft-bristled brush.
If your soft top is a vinyl-based material, you can clean the roof with an alcohol solution on a cloth or towel. If the roof is a canvas material, you can just use regular car shampoo products applied with a cloth or towel.
Once cleaned, wait for the top to dry before doing anything else.
It goes without saying, but make sure you don’t go overboard with your cleaning solution. You don’t want excess water and dirt to enter through the holes in your soft top.
Once cleaned, you can be confident that your tape will have the best possible chance of adhering to the top and lasting a long time.
2: Apply tape or stitch the top
Again, this might not be pretty, but it’s necessary. Once your top is clean, you should apply heavy-duty tape to the rips or holes. Remember to apply the tape both inside and outside of the top.
I would highly recommend Tenacious Tape (available on Amazon) for this purpose. Having used it myself for a similar repair, it held up with no questions asked. It also seems to be a very popular choice among users in forums.
Alternatively, if you have tent repair tape laying around, that will do the trick. Duct tape can work in a pinch – but I wouldn’t rely on it for more than a few days.
There are also special soft top roof repair kits available on platforms like eBay and Amazon.
If you want to have a go at stitching up the top, this can also work to prevent water ingress. Make sure to use a needle and high-quality thread. After you have finished, apply glue to the seams to seal the deal.
3: Test your repair
We get it – you want to be absolutely sure that your repair will keep the water at bay.
To do so, you can fill up a spare spray bottle with some water. Spray water directly at your repair from a variety of different angles.
Take a look inside the cabin, paying particular attention to your makeshift repair. Is any water getting in? Or does it look dry?
If water is coming in, you may need to try sealing the top again (or adding more tape/stitches).
If it’s dry, well done! You can now consider what to do next…
4: Assess your options
So your top is sealed and your cabin is dry, for now. It’s a good idea to consider your options when it comes to a more permanent repair of your convertible roof.
Of course, you could keep your repair. Friends of mine have had various bits of tape on their soft tops for years. Hey, if it does the job – who are we to judge?
If you want to go through insurance, it’s important to let them know about the damage as soon as you can. Tell them if it has been vandalised, or whether the damage was caused outside of your control (i.e by a tree branch).
If your car is your absolute pride and joy, you might want to purchase a new top to replace the damaged one. Or, you can secure a second-hand one from friends or online marketplaces.
Another option is to get your soft top professionally repaired by an expert. You can send your top away to be fixed, or a repair person can come to you.
Ultimately, it’s up to you. As long as your soft top is patched up and repelling water, you can afford to take your time with this decision.
When the weather is good, soft tops are great fun. But when the weather turns nasty, the soft top becomes the only barrier between the driver and potentially harsh conditions.
For this reason, it’s important that your soft top is sealed correctly. If water gets in, it can cause a whole host of problems: including dampness, mould, damage to electrics and standing water in the cabin.
So, if your convertible roof has been slashed or has ripped, make sure that you put a temporary solution in place while you consider your options.
If this article helped you, please do let us know below. Thanks for reading!