Can You Go Through a Car Wash With a Soft-Top or Convertible?

Driving your convertible through that scorchy summer day as you feel the whip of the wind brings so much joy. Even so, owning these cars have their fair share of work regarding cleaning. If you own one, you are likely having second thoughts about taking the soft-top through a car wash because of the nature of the car and the cleaning process involved.

Most soft-top vehicles can safely go through a car wash without getting damaged. However, the cleaning method depends on the model and make of your car. The ideal way to clean a soft-top is to use the touchless car wash or simply handwash.

Keep reading to learn more about taking a convertible through a touchless car wash. I will also give you some tips for safely cleaning the soft-top at a car wash and how to hand wash a soft-top convertible.

Can You Go Through a Car Wash With a Convertible?

Generally, most manufacturers approve driving your convertible through a car wash, especially the hard-top convertible. The convertible top often remains unharmed as the high water pressure is directed towards the car’s sides and beneath it.

A convertible can go through a car wash without suffering any damage. However, the cleaning technique the car wash uses is the most important factor here, since certain methods and tools can scratch the surface of a car.

Some car wash joints use spinning brushes consisting of cotton, which can scratch or damage the surface of a car.

The good thing is that every car undergoes a quality check to verify its water-tightness before getting to the market, and the convertible top frame is often rigid enough to withstand water pressure and car wash brushes when cleaning.

Even though most automotive experts agree that it is safe to drive through a carwash with a convertible, it is best to stay on the safer side by consulting the manufacturer’s customer service or confirming with your owner’s manual before doing so.

Can You Go Through a Car Wash With a Soft-Top?

A soft-top can go through a car wash if the manufacturer indicates so in the manual. If not, contact the soft-top manufacturer first before going through the car wash. The best way to clean the soft-top is through handwashing or going through a touchless car wash.

If I plan to take the automatic car wash route, avoid taking chances by confirming with the car wash of choice if they have a specific way of cleaning a soft-top.

Luckily, some car brands like Mercedes Benz, Buick, and many more mention in their handbooks that their soft-top convertibles are safe to go through any car wash. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about a thing if you own one of them.

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

Perhaps you don’t have time to hand wash your soft-top convertible yourself, and you are thinking of taking it through a car wash. Well, I got your back with some tips to help you safely and successfully clean your soft-top at your preferred car wash.

  • Confirm the recommended cleaning method for your soft-top model: Every convertible has its wash-style recommendations. Before driving to the car wash, contact the manufacturer or go through the owner’s manual to check if your vehicle can go through an automatic car wash or just ordinary car washes.
  • Inspect the condition of your vehicle: If your soft-top is not in good shape, repair it first before taking it to the car wash. That way, you will avoid causing further damage to the vehicle. For a ripped or torn cover, repair it or replace it with a new one.
  • Ensure you clean the undercarriage: Most people often overlook the undercarriage when cleaning their soft-top, yet it is equally essential. You need to ensure that your undercarriage is free from grime, dirt, and dust.
  • Separately clean the windows: You clean the ordinary vehicles’ windows the same way with other car components. But with convertibles, you need to clean the window glasses yourself using a window cleaner and a towel.
  • Check the weather strips: Once the car washing process is complete, look inside your vehicle to check if water has leaked into the seals. If that’s the case, you will have to change the weather strips.
  • Water and frequency: Wash your soft-top convertible once a month if it’s dirty or dusty. But if you don’t use it often, wash it every two months. Failure to clean it will cause your top to absorb oil and become super dusty. You can use a special soft top cleaning kit, a microfiber towel, and plenty of cool water to wipe down the top.

Can You Wash Your Convertible at Home?

You can wash your convertible at home using a few cleaning supplies. However, the cleaning procedure for vinyl and fabric top convertibles differs towards the last step.

Here are the simple steps to follow when cleaning your convertible at home:

  • Use a soft brush to remove visible dirt from the surface.
  • Vacuum cleans the car’s top for added precision.
  • Wet your car surface with water first since an all-purpose cleaner may not work on a dry surface.
  • Use fresh water and a soft bristle brush to rinse off the car top to minimize damaging the natural finish.
  • Apply the all-purpose cleaner all over the top, give it a few minutes to soak then scrub the top surface in a circular motion – avoid washing your car with dish soap or cleaning products with harsh chemicals as they can deteriorate the canvas. 
  • Use a low-pressure power spray and a garden hose to flush away the cleaning agent.
  • It’s best to leave the car overnight to enable the top to air dry, but, if need be, speed up the process by wiping away the moisture on top of the vehicle using lint-free microfiber cloth. 

Key Takeaways

  • You can run your soft-top or convertible through a car wash as long as the manufacturer’s manual has specified that it’s safe
  • Ensure that the cleaning technique you use is appropriate for your car
  • If in doubt, hand wash your soft-top or convertible at home with mild cleaning products.


Car Independent: Can You Take a Convertible/ Soft-top Through a Car Wash?

Your Jeep Guide: Can You Take a Soft Top Through a Car Wash (Convertible 101) Can I take my soft-top convertible through a car wash: all you need to know Convertible Through a Carwash: A foolproof guide

Wikipedia: Convertible

Carwash: Connecting the Car Wash Community

CVEL: Convertible Top Control

Jan-Lucas Ganssauge
Jan-Lucas Ganssauge