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Can I Leave Convertible Top Down . . .

7998 Views 11 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  ragtopmark
. . . all summer or will it shrink? My 2007 stays in the garage and will only be taken out in convertible appropriate weather. So how often do I need to put the top up to keep it in good shape? Also is it OK to use 303 protectant on the top? (No, I don't drive it in the snow! I pulled it out to take pics last month with the new rims and Nittos)


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Your car is the same color combo as mine.

I would not leave the top down for long periods. Whenever the car is parked, I would suggest raising the top. Better for the vinyl and for the top mechanism.
OEM tops are fabric. Mine will not get any treatment that is designed for a vinyl based top. I think that 303 stuff is good for rubber/vinyl, but not for me. Only use something designed for a fabric top!

I would have no problem leaving the top down if it were to be clean and treated properly for a week or two. It is ozone [The Sun!] that deteriorates any thing.
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ZGrand, my car does look just like your avatar! OK, so I won't leave the top down for long and will use proper fabric top conditioner. The top's been down for over a month now.
My concern would be that the top would permanently crease if left down for long periods of time. When I had my '91 'vert, I would put the top up but not latched when it was in the garage.
Most of the earlier factory tops are vinyl, not fabric. Fabric was offered later, but then only in black, so any original tan tops on 2005-2009 Mustangs should be vinyl.

I would leave the top up so that the vinyl does not set with a crease. You may not need to latch it, but it should be up. I also found that if I left the top down in the garage I still got quite a bit of dust in the car. Even a garage that is seldom opened is not really that clean.

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ZGrand, my car does look just like your avatar! OK, so I won't leave the top down for long and will use proper fabric top conditioner. The top's been down for over a month now.
That is really too long. In fact it's best to raise the top when not driving the car, or in other words don't leave it down overnight. Is there a specific reason you leave it down so long?
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My 08 GT convertible has the vinyl top. Fabric was optional at extra cost. My top is down most of the time, and the car is always garaged. The only issues I've had so far are that the sewn on "rain gutter" thing on the edge of the top above the side windows is starting to crack where it folds. The other issue is the dust in the car that's been mentioned already.

My personal belief is that folding the top when it is cold will cause damage to the vinyl material, but probably not the fabric top, unless those gutter things are made of vinyl.
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I use Raggtopp convertible top products on my `13 GT & get good results.
Here is some advice from another site:

, 2014, 07:26:20 AM »

The main thing to remember is to put it down when the sun has had a chance to warm up everything, and when putting it up, also do it when the sun is up, and warmed everything up.

One of the problems with leaving it down, and driving it around all summer, with it down is that there is the chance that all the vibrations and rubbing of the material as it sits all folded up, can result in damage from friction.

When I leave mine down, and I need to put it up, I park it out in the sun, let it warm up, and then slowly put it up, and eventually put it up all the way, but not lock the header bow to the screen until it is completely warm. It doesn't take long for the folds to come out.

The other things are:
Do not put a dirty top down.
Do not put a wet top down, unless you are going to put it back up within a few hours.
Do not put a top up when it is cold, as in at midnight, unless you know it is going to rain.

Do these things and your top will last for years.

A friend had a '64 Ford Galaxie Convertible, and that original top lasted 30 years before it had to be replaced. Boy, was he fussy.

I have heard that the top material will shrink if you leave it down all the time.
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I had my OEM vinyl top replaced with another vinyl top (Robbins) after I broke the rear window. The installer said if I left it down a long time it would shrink a bit and be difficult to latch but it would stretch back out after a while. As a result I try not to leave mine down for extended periods and generally don't have any shrinkage issues. But occasionally it is down overnight and I notice it takes a bit more effort to line up the pins to latch it. Perhaps yours won't shrink too much. Try it for a few days and see how it closes and go from there. It will stretch back out so no permanent damage (I think).
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I leave mine down 90% 0f the time. It does stretch out after a day or so when up. 10 years old an no issues yet. When I garage it for the winter (Dec. - April) I put it up and cover the car as well.
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