Getting a car loan doesn't have to be a nightmare, even with bad credit.

Are You Using These 8 Tips on How to Buy a Used Convertible?

last updated February 18, 2019

When buying a convertible, you want to emphasize more on its ability to deliver the desired open-air experience. That’s why we made a list of these Tips on How to Buy a Used Convertible. Unlike in the past when convertibles were ideal for use in fair weather, modern models are more advanced with technological features. This makes them convenient for use in all types of weather.

Tips on How to Buy a Used Convertible

What you Should know about Convertibles

Some of the available convertibles come with retractable hardtops,  bendable metal roofs that tuck in the trunk easily at the push of a button. When the top is raised, hardtop convertible models offer more insulation from weather and noise, enhanced visibility,  and reliable interior security.

When lowered, however, they take up a big percentage of the trunk space. Today, soft tops come with enhanced insulation against weather and noise. Rather than the light plastic and scratch prone windows which were commonly used in the past, they feature glass rear windows.

Even then, soft top convertibles are more susceptible to theft and break-ins compared to their hardtop counterparts. If you own a soft top convertible, you will need to exercise more diligence to safeguard it from the elements. Some manufacturers caution you from exposing your car to automatic washes with high-pressure water jets and brushes.

Cars derive their rigidity from the roof. This means that convertibles need added reinforcement to cut down wear based structural flex. The convertibles available today come with extra rigid reinforcement which enhances handling while minimizing body flex.

General Factors to Consider when Choosing a Convertible

Think about how you plan to use the car. Are you searching for a four-seater or a sports car complete with an opening roof? Do you plan to use it for your daily or occasional driving? If you are shopping for a car to use every day, consider fuel economy, convenience, and comfort. If you are a driving enthusiast, you may want to factor in how much fun the car will offer as opposed to its practicality.

Price is a major factor and since many convertibles are specially designed for luxury needs, they cost more than ordinary fixed-roof cars. If you’re shopping on a budget, you’ll have limited options. In this case, buying a used model comes in handy.

Consider the handling capability if you’re searching for a sports car. Wind noise, trunk space, back seat, and ride comfort are critical factors to consider when it comes to top-down cruising. Powertrains for convertible cars vary from small 4-cylinder engines to the robust V-8s.

Droptops are characterized by poor fuel economy compared to fixed-roof models which is attributed to the extra weight. You can cut down fuel consumption by dropping the top when driving. The main concept of a convertible is top driving. Therefore, ensure that the top can deploy with ease.

A latch free power top design can be more convenient. In cases where the top has latches, however, try them before purchasing the car. Some power tops can be raised and lowered easily while the car is in motion, albeit at low speeds. This is an essential feature to consider. A simple top is more convenient than a sophisticated one.

Second-Hand Convertibles

When summer comes, it sends people on an excitement mode with many making every available effort to enjoy the sun. Riding across the cities in convertibles on the way to and from work is a favorite activity of many people during this time. The market today is filled with a vast range of used convertibles to meet your desires and budget.

They serve a variety of needs such as efficient and practical four-seaters convenient for use as family cars, refined grand tourers which are ideal for daily driving, luxury models, and sporty two-seaters great for driving on a sunny afternoon during the weekend.

If you’re window shopping for your inaugural convertible, there are numerous used options to choose from. What’s more, they’re affordable with vehicle dealers exhibiting some popular models for sale at relatively reasonable prices.

After finding your ideal convertible model that meets your budget, go for a road test expedition. Do not be too excited to own the car and forget to notice some warning signs, an indication that the car could have some underlying issues. The tips below should help you choose the ideal used convertible. Ensure to make use of it during the test drive session.

1. Test the Roof

Whether the convertible is motorized or manual, put the roof up and down repeatedly. Check for free movement of the hinges, inspect the roof for any damages, and ensure that its assembly neither catches nor binds.

Check for any rips or excessive wear and tear on the cloth top. Are there any duct tape patches? Are there visible signs of paint wear in an isolated area where panels come into contact when the roof is moved?

Can you detect any strain or whine from the roof motor? If you answer any of these questions in the affirmative, you can either choose another model or ask for price negotiation. Remember, some newer model convertibles can exhibit an error or warning alert on the driver computer whenever the roof operational system encounters a problem. If that is the case, then the car may require further attention to ascertain and repair the problem.

2. Check for Leakage Signs

Inspect the car for any leaks. Is there rust or dampness where the roof tucks away? Does the footwell carpeting area display any signs of dampness, rust, or dry watermarks? Is there any mildew smell in the cabin?  These could be signs of a water leak. Ensure the carpeting in the trunk does not have any water damage signs, rust or leaks.

3. Give it a Thorough Hose Washing Session

You can either take the convertible for a car washing session or have the seller wash it using a hosepipe. This will give it an even soaking down giving an impression of a heavy downpour which is likely to overload the convertible’s inbuilt drainage system.

Eventually, check the car for any indication of water trickling on the floor, seats, or down the glass pillars. Inspect the roof’s perimeter from the inside of the vehicle and check the roof storage area for any wetness signs.

Recommended topic: How to avoid getting duped when buying a car

4. Seats

The state of the seats will communicate to you the state of your desired convertible. If they appear faded or dull, perhaps they’ve been exposed to a lot of direct sunlight. Leather seats will appear dry and faded especially when they are exposed to excessive sunlight.

Keenly inspect the seams where the leather panels are sewn together on the seat. Does the seat appear dry, crispy, or is it separating from the seams? This could be an indication of water damage. Excess wetness and drying can change lather from soft and elegant to thick and dry.

5. Inspect the Rest of the Car

If you are convinced that the roof system and the rag-top are in perfect condition, inspect the car systems. Remember, some convertible car sellers are passionate about their cars which means they’ve maintained them appropriately.

A few sellers, however, aren’t keen when it comes to maintaining their cars. Inspect the condition and level of all fluids. Proceed to feel the engine for any evidence of bumpy acceleration, which could mean that the engine requires more servicing.

Small cars for ladies you should check out!

6. Check the Rubber

Convertibles utilize an intricate network of rubber adhesive across the windows, doors, roof mechanism and tonneau cover to safeguard the car from water and wind. These may need to be lubricated regularly to keep them plump, soft, and effective depending on the make and model of the car. Inspect all the rubber adhesives on your desired convertible to ensure they are not missing, falling apart, or dried.

Suggested read: Should I buy a rebuilt title?

7. Incorporate the Services of an Experienced Car Mechanic

A mechanic is trained to deal with cars. Further, they are better placed to help you inspect your desired vehicle due to the experience they accumulate from dealing with a variety of cars. They can help you identify any abnormal wear, evidence of damage, and other potential issues.

Hiring a mechanic for the inspection process can be costly, however, it prevents you from purchasing damaged cars that would have otherwise cost you more in repairs.

8. Maintain Your Convertible

Once you’re satisfied with your choice and purchased it, take good care of it. Use a mild good quality automotive washing detergent and scrub it gently. Where possible, do not expose your car to automatic car washes with rotating brushes and high-pressure sprayers. Use your hand and appropriate products for best results.

Be extra careful during winter and avoid using an ice scraper lest you damage your roof material. Additionally, do not allow a heavy build-up of snow on the top of your convertible. Never tuck away your roof before it’s completely dry as it can encourage the formation of mildew and rust and eventually damage the top.

Hot topic: Planning to buy a high-end car under $40k


Consider the tips mentioned herewith before purchasing your convertible. This will save you from incurring costly expenditures in repairs and replacements.

Suggested topics based on popularity!

Apply Now Get Started