Convertible top and Car washes [Archive] - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

: Convertible top and Car washes

03-20-2002, 07:54 AM
To all CiC people.
Does anyone go through those automatic washes? I've read somewhere that one should "never" subject the top to the spray-on "wax" that they use in automatic washes. I also haven't sealed the top with the BMW protectant - just whatever came with it from the factory.
I've got a dirty car, little time, and mid-western Missouri weather that will just not cooperate with a hand-wash.

03-20-2002, 07:58 AM

Even if you'd take a fixed roof car through one (which many of us here won't even do), NEVER take a convertible through one.


03-20-2002, 08:31 AM
Take it easy TD...
I've taken mine through a touchless wash, no spinning things, with the ragtop. NO PROBLEM. The car is tight as a drum, minor leak between the front and rear side windows (just hold up a rag when the power blast of water goes by) and the top is just fine. I also read not to, and wouldn't recommend, the add on waxes to the top. It's just silly to think a BMW (Haartz) ragtop can withstand wind, dirt, salt, rain, snow, ice, pollution, acid rain, sun and hail but can't handle a car wash of any sort for that matter. The junk and dirt on your top is worse than the wash in my opinion. Come summer, you can wash with Wolfsteins cleaner and retreat to look and seal like new with Wolfsteins protectant. Great stuff. Remember to never lower the top until absolutely dry.
All that said, I prefer to wash the ragtop by hand and have a hardtop for winter.

03-20-2002, 07:32 PM
BMW fabric tops are really durable, and whether or not one cares to take their cab through a car wash, the top can handle it fine. The very aggressive brush type washes aren't going to be ideal, but the hanging cloth type are fine. We've had cabs with these tops for many years, the last one 5yrs, and the tops really hold up.

My guess is that really anal owners do more damage to their cars by claying them excessively, which micro-grinds at bare paint, than the occasional trip through a car was does.

Compared to leaving heavy dust or salt spray in the fabric, a car wash is definately preferable. One thing not to do is to lower the top when it's really dirty. The sharp micro edges of the dirt particles will definitely cut fibers, just like they do in carpeting.

I had a neighbor with a 328 cab that put his top down on a trip when it was seriously dirty, and drove around that way for several days of heavy traveling. When he got back he had worn a fuzzy spot in the top where it rubbed on something. Cost around $600 for a new top at that time.


03-20-2002, 08:38 PM
I recently bought my brother's '00 323CiC, and although he never took care of his car the way most of us do (never did anything to the top, and ran it thru car washes for almost 2 yrs), the top looks great (I haven't seen a new one).
Anyway, I plan to take care of the car from now on, and I like your advice in the top department.
I just ordered the RaggTopp cleaner and protectant, to be applied for the first time as soon as I get the car back from the dealer (recalls and other problems: aargh!). I have one question before proceeding: I washed the car for the first time the other day, and the water didn't beat AT ALL; does that mean water is seeping in? I'm concerned about rusting the mechanism.
Now my care questions:
1. How should apply the protectant? I read somewhere 3 applications. The lady from said just one every 6 months. Please be VERY specific, including how to wash it (I used a manual wash last time, with high-pressure soap then rinse, but from top to bottom, and no leaks), and if it should be applied wet, damp, or bone dry.
2. My main concern: how can I clean the top from dust in-between washes? It hardly rains in this town, but there's dust all the time, and I'm not going to wash the car every day. I bought a dirt-devil vacuum with brush and didn't seem to work well. A chamois worked pretty good with a minimum of leather left over. I just bought a new chamois and a california duster, but haven't tried them. Is any of those a good idea? Any other solution for in-between washes?
I hope to find better help (and better people) over this site.

Thanks a lot in advance, and have a great evening gentlemen.

Juan Carlos

03-21-2002, 05:14 AM
First wash the top with the Raggtopp cleaner in the hand trigger SPRAY bottle, not the aerosol. When finished, leave the car in the sun and make sure the top is thoroughly dry. Then apply the Raggtopp Protectant in light sweeping motions, again in the sun letting it dry to the touch in between coats. I applied one vertically, another horizontally and two on opposite diagonals. Again, leave in sun to dry completely. When finished, top will be beautiful and bead with no problem. For in between washings, I use a stiff shop brush and brush in sharp, swift strokes away from the center of the top. In fact, if it hasn't rained, I'll wash the car and not the top. Good luck.