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Hoodies &  A Guide to its care

Love That Hoodie Published: 9th Jun 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Hoodies &  A Guide to its care
Hoodies &  A Guide to its care
Hoodies &  A Guide to its care
Hoodies &  A Guide to its care
Hoodies &  A Guide to its care Tears common on fabric hoods. Trick is to repair asap
Hoodies &  A Guide to its care Look for unsightly water staining on headlining, signifying hood has been folded wet or leaks badly
Hoodies &  A Guide to its care Heavy duty tape is ok for quick fix; hood experts can patchwork repair but if too many, then get new top
Hoodies &  A Guide to its care Bodges (top) are common but some actually work okay.
Hoodies &  A Guide to its care Regularly check hood frame for damage and operate monthly (especially) electric to keep it free moving
Hoodies &  A Guide to its care How a good quality hood should look
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Okay, so this year’s summer has been a washout - but that doesn’t mean you should neglect your classic’s soft top. Here’s how to make your convertible more than a fair weather friend

Had the hood down on your classic much this summer? Doubt it, but even if you have hardly had the chance to go topless this year, all this wet weather is doing your hood, your sunroof or even your vinyl roof no good at all. So while there’s still some summer left, here are 12 tips on how to get the most out of a rag top.

Use your senses

Buying any soft top can be a task because by their very nature, they are more susceptible to advanced rusting. Apart from your eyes, use your sense of smell as a musty odour signifies damp - and we know what that leads to! Look for water stains and always lift the carpets to inspect the floor; be suspicious if it or the underlay has been stuck down. Check the instruments for misty faces and discoloured trim due to water ingress. Bear in mind that older classic convertibles usually leaked, even when new, so don’t expect modern MX-5 integrity. That said, an aged or ill-fitting hood always compounds matters.

Price fluctuations

Back in the old days, values of soft tops used to change with the weather; higher in the summer but dipping as the mercury fell. Thanks to better hoods and sealing meaning all year civility, a modern rag top enjoys a more stable valuation although hot weather always draws extra interest in them and so premium prices. Talking of prices, a tatty hood is always a useful bargaining tool when haggling a deal. Conversely, putting a new hood on your classic can greatly enhance its resale potential and isn’t that costly. By shopping around a typical classic can be re-roofed for comfortably under £200, making second-hand ones a bit if a false economy.

Age concern

Hoods don’t last forever and it’s common for them to require replacing every five or six years, especially if it is made of vinyl (Stayfast and Mohair can last quite a bit longer, which is why they are dearer). But by treating it with proper care you can make hoods last a fair bit longer. This means keeping the outer skin clean and supple, folding the hood down properly and making any repairs in good time before they worsen.

Man made or natural

Essentially hoods are made from Vinyl, Mohair, Stayfast and Double Duck, although unless you own a real oldie the latter won’t concern you. And it’s that order in terms of ascending price and quality. There’s nothing to stop you up or downgrading to suit your budget, although bear in mind if you go the latter route it will effect resale values.

Use it wisely

There’s nothing worse than poseurs who buy a convertible and yet drive around during a heat wave with the hood still up. Similarly, there will be days when you will be caught out when the hood has to be put up in the rain - and down again. And this is where the problem starts because you shouldn’t lower a wet hood and certainly not leave it like that over long periods (such as overnight) as it will lead to creasing and shrinking, especially vinyl. For this reason the hood should be fully erected as you would to drive along to keep the skin tight as you dry it off, not simply with a cloth or chamois but some heat, too if possible, such as a hair dryer. Sounds extreme but it can prolong the life of a (perhaps rare?) hood.

Throw in the towel

Not literally but certainly carrying one around with you will certainly prolong the life of your classic’s hood. Simply folding the hood back and allowing the plastic rear screen to fold against itself or the vinyl will lead to creasing and marking; a towel separating the screen will prolong its life. Also, many hoods feature a zipped rear screen and many enthusiasts wrongly assume that it’s only for ventilation. Actually it’s also there to allow the screen to stay flat when the hood is lowered.

Keeping that skin so sexy

A tatty hood is like dirty wheels - it spoils the look. Normal soap and water (don’t use washing up liquid as it contains salt) only goes so far as some detergents can dry out the skin. For vinyl, a normal bumper and plastic dressing not only gives it that ‘new’ look but also feeds the top and helps keep it pliant and supple. Fabric hoods such as mohair are best cleaned by first brushing the cover to agitate the dirt before hovering. It can be washed with mild soap and water, although a specialist cleaner is always best. Actually car care expert Autoglym even says its normal engine cleaner spray works fine here!

You’ve been framed…

Don’t be - look after it and it will look after you. Rough handling can damage and misalign it. Regularly inspect the frame, checking for wear, rust and general ageing. Apply some lubricant on pivots etc and work the hood regularly as inactivity is a real harmer, especially on power operated ones where any problems with the hood can burn out the motor. If you are buying a car with a power hood, check it works properly as repairs are usually expensive as sometimes only a main dealer can help. But if properly looked after, a frame should last virtually the life of the car.

Experience counts

Remember that old adage of if you don’t use it you’ll lose it? The fact is that the longer any roof is left inoperative, the more chances there are of it jamming and failing. Open and close it at least once a month to keep the mechanisms free. But are you opening and closing the roof correctly? Sounds silly but it isn’t. Modern sports car and cabrio hoods are so light and easy to operate that they are one-handed wonders. Not so older hood designs fitted to the likes of MGBs and Triumph Spitfires where if you don’t unclip the rear first of all, it can jam or rip the hood. So if you are buying a rag top, ask to see how the hood operates - could be that the seller has been doing it wrong and trouble possibly looms!

Stitch in time

Unless you cosset your classic or are extremely lucky, there’s a good chance it will become damaged at some point. Some repairs can be done at home while others are best left to the pros, but either way the critical thing is not to let any damage linger as it will only worsen. Localised repairs can be effected by all sorts of materials; Duct tape (we’ve all see hoods plastered in this), simple material patches which can be stitched, glued with contact adhesive or hot glued and even tyre puncture repair patches, although like a bike’s inner tube there are only so many repairs you can carry out before it’s best to completely replace.

Going one better

If you need to replace your classic’s hood then why not have one made to your exact needs? For instance, you can move away from a stock black hood and go for colour to give a nice two-toned look. Or opt for a zipped rear screen to aid folding plus give an extra bit of ventilation. Some caneven have a heated screen installed. Speak to your hood expert as the price difference may not be too great.

The right fit

Installing a new hood can be done at home, but really we’d sooner entrust the job to an expert as the secret is in making the hood a tight fit to the frame to avoid leaks, excessive wind noise and even the roof making a bid for freedom at speed. Also a good specialist can match the hood to the frame; remember on an oldie it may have a pattern skeleton or perhaps one from a later model. A good specialist will take this into account plus advise on tweaks and improvements. Bodge the job at home and you may damage the hood and its assembly. That’s true for sunroofs where correct alignment and tension is critical. Dealers can spot DIY fits against a pro job, too.



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