Do Convertible Top Tears Drive You to Tears?
It does seem odd that a community so vocal about driving with the top down gets all teary when the convertible top frame wears a fine hole through the material. One second you’re a jingoistic top-down proponent cocking a snook (thumbing your nose) at other convertible drivers who are blissfully unaware that the roof can be rolled down, and the very next you’re a quivering mass of jello as you contemplate the cruel blow that fate and the engineers at Honda struck you with.
At this juncture, “more gas equals less wet” and “top always down” and “storm should have a name” conveniently slip the mind as you reach for the keyboard to bawl your heart out in S2000 Talk or another forum of your choice.
To be fair, a feeling of getting sucker punched is par for the course, especially when most of us go the extra mile to take care of the convertible top. We wash the vinyl with a gentle soapy mix, rinse it off and lovingly rub RAGGTOPP or 303 Aerospace Protectant for that extra sheen. When we park it at night, some of us leave the top unlatched (only if parked in a secure personal garage, of course) so we don’t cause undue stress to the top frame and mechanism, and yet fate and Honda engineering put paid to all our effort.
It’s all well and good if the car is still under warranty as a request for a top replacement is usually expedited provided no red flags are raised. Your friendly neighborhood Honda dealer as well as the American Honda representative will confer and make a determination as to how much they like you and how much they want you to pay. The issue, though, is when the car is out of warranty. All of a sudden, you are clutching at straws. That service advisor who you ticked off for not knowing how to start the car suddenly appears as stern as Simon Cowell (when in fact you are seeking a sympathetic Paula Abdul) on American Idol as you, the “contestant,” desperately try to convince him or her by waving the TSB in their face hoping you can magically turn it into a recall. If the stars are in your favor and the dealer service rep is a half-decent person (which would depend on how you behave with them), then a request for consideration will be made and you could come away with a new top, albeit with a somewhat lighter wallet.
We recommend that, if your top is flawless and your car’s VIN is listed in the convertible top TSB, you check for abrasive spots on the frame rails and also reinforce the material at the points where it is likely to wear. A stitch in time saves nine. Alternatively, S2KI also contains several DIY threads for convertible top replacement should it be irreparably damaged. Maybe that damage is the perfect opportunity for you to order the blue top that was offered as an extra accessory or perhaps to go all out and purchase a hardtop (as if Honda made that easy to find). If your car should develop a tear in the convertible top, we recommend you contact your dealer for goodwill consideration as well as do your civic duty towards the community and post in the Soft Top Tears thread in the Tell Honda forum. If Honda is reading it (as we expect them to), then it would give them an insight as to the extent of the issue.
While keeping your car in pristine shape is laudable, we think a tear, were it to happen, only lends to the character of a car much like the British roadsters of yesteryear with all their gremlins. Come to think of it, we are probably better off than vintage roadster owners as the car is reliable as can be. A tear can be patched with liquid vinyl repair complemented by Tear-Aid Type B vinyl repair patches. Once patched, it can last you a long time, following which you can organize a top-replacement tech day in your garage mahal and invite members of your local community over to help you. Be sure to provide cold beer and nourishment though.
Do tell us, have you had your convertible top tear or are you among those smart enough to patch it in time? Or do you belong to those who could care less about the whole issue?
Photo courtesy of dagle