The call of the open road is at its strongest during the summer – and so is the call of the convertible. If you’re one of those drivers who has long dreamed of dropping the top and heading across Missouri and beyond, we have some buying tips for you.
And before we forget, make sure you’ve got plenty of sunscreen!
Of course, you want to be safe when driving your new car, so here are a few things to look for in a convertible, according to Edmunds.com.
- Roll bars: Generally, convertibles offer some sort of roll bar to protect passengers should the car roll over.
- Airbags: Side airbags that deploy from seats can be an optional feature on less-expensive convertibles and something you should consider. Some of these airbags offer extra protection for the head.
- Rear-view cameras and sensors: When the top is up, it can be difficult to see out of the rear window. Cameras and sensors can provide added safety.
Hard or soft top?
You have two main choices when it comes to tops: Soft, which can result in more road noise and may be more susceptible to damage, and hard, which often look better but add weight and take up more trunk space when down. (A third option is a completely removable hard top, such as those found on some Jeeps.) This choice is largely a matter of personal preference, though cost can be a factor.
You’ll also want to test the top for leaks – regardless of whether it’s a soft or hard top. Spray water where the roof connects with the windshield and where the glass meets the roof along the sides. You’re looking to make sure no moisture gets inside.
If you’re planning to drive your convertible frequently (and why wouldn’t you?), there are some practical things you should take into consideration:
- Wind noise: When you have the top down at highway speeds, you might find it difficult to hear the stereo system. If you’ll be driving a lot with the top down, getting the upgraded stereo might not be worth it. Then again, a better stereo can have more power, allowing you to actually hear your music.
- Putting the top up/down: A motorized top, of course, makes everything easier. But they are more complex. Be sure to test out the top and how long it takes you to put it up or down, especially if it’s a manual process. After all, if it starts raining suddenly, you want to be able to get the top up as quickly as possible!
- Luggage space: Most convertibles aren’t large to begin with, but trunk space is even smaller when the top is down. If you plan to take your convertible on vacation (or pack golf clubs or other bulky items), it’s a good idea to really take a hard look at the trunk space before you buy.
- Passenger space: Do you need to take more than one passenger on many of your drives? If so, a roadster (two seats) isn’t an option. But even if the convertible you’re eying has four seats, hop in back and check the comfort level. If you aren’t comfortable, your passengers probably won’t be, either.
According to Edmunds.com, there are certain features that truly make a difference in convertibles, such as wind deflectors, heated/cooled seats and sun-reflective upholstery. Certain features, such as heated seats, can make your convertible much more comfortable to drive on cooler days when they come.
Above all, you’ll want to choose the convertible that best fits how you’ll use it. If you’re lugging golf clubs (and golf buddies) around in the summer, you probably don’t want a roadster. Conversely, if your idea of a great weekend is to toss a duffle bag in the passenger seat and hit the road, smaller may be better.
One of the great – and annoying – things about buying a car is the sheer number of options out there. But if you get frustrated, remember one thing: You’re buying a convertible. Your friends are probably envious!
And when you buy that convertible, give us a call. We’ll make sure you’ve got the right coverage – and we’ll probably be envious, too!