Recommended Mercedes Convertible Top Care


Mercedes Benz 1981 380 SL Convertible

Mercedes Benz 1981 380 SL Convertible

Hi Everybody!

There are literally millions of older Mercedes Benz SLs that are being driven as daily drivers. If you want to know all about the history, specifications, and just plain sheer beauty of the awesome Mercedes Benz SL models produced from 1970 through 1990, just look at the post where we found the picture above. It is by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide—and the link is right here! >>LINK<<.


Some of these older convertibles are treated very well and are being properly maintained but, lots and lots of folks just don’t know what to do for their tops. You know what—even worse than that is that many people don’t even know that they have to do anything for their tops!!


Hey, do you know what SL stands for? I bet you don’t! It stands for “sporty” and “light”. Well – that was before they launched the 500 SL in about 1990! That baby weighed in at just over 2 TONS! Later, when Mercedes introduced the CLK, the “K” stood for “short”. Now you know everything I know about that!


Anyway, back to convertible top care. You just can’t go to the dealer or AutoZone and buy whatever you are sold by some well meaning but unknowledgeable clerk. You think the dealer knows anything about your top? WRONG! They won’t even know what it is made of. They won’t even know that most convertible top “treatments” contain silicone! When did silicone ever become “good for cloth”???


The convertible top on your Mercedes is what they call a Twill Weave. Pre-1993 the fabric was called Sonnenland Classic and after that it was called Sonnenland Plus. The top is sort of like a sandwich. The top layer that gets all the weather is made from Acrylic or Polyester or a blend of the two. Then, they spray a very thin layer of Elastomeric (rubber) coating under that and then there is the inside liner (usually cotton) that you see.


Even if you NEVER take care of your top you probably won’t get wet because of that rubber liner. HOWEVER—and you need to understand this, the Sun and it’s ugly UV rays can, in fact, peer through the tough weave of your top and start working on that thin rubber coating. Have you ever left an elastic band on a window sill in the sun??? Yes, it turns to crap real quick! That can and will eventually happen to your top unless you take care of it. Then—you start getting drips inside.


No Problem though if you know what to do. The top needs to be cleaned regularly with an approved fabric cleaner. You don’t want to use strong detergents like Tide or dish detergents with big phosphate levels. You need to use gentle, effective and preferably water-based cleaners. If there appears to be “no work required” forget about it! There is no magic Genie! Dirt in a convertible top still requires scrubbing to get it out! A good cleaner will foam and help lift the dirt out but, you still need to scrub it once in a while. Every time you take that car through a car wash (cringe) it gets serious abuse from their caustic detergents but, worse than that, you will get “accidental Carnauba wax” in the top. The wax won’t hurt it but it eventually turns cloudy and your color starts looking bad. A proper cleaner will take that out.


Once you get the top clean, you then need to re-waterproof it! Remember the car wash? The caustic crap that they use strips most waterproofing off the surface of every convertible after about 5 trips through. If your top just soaks up water, your waterproofing and UV protection are shot! Your top should “bead water off” like a duck’s back. UV protection is super important—remember the elastic band example earlier? The UV rays not only kill your waterproofing and rubber liner, they also kill your color. Without UV protection, your nice black or blue top will start looking like your favorite golf shirt after 37 washes—dull and drab! You can now easily re-color your top yourself with Renovo products, but that is for another article.


Lots of doom and gloom stuff, huh, but—not really! There is more crap than good stuff, but there are some really great products out there!


I’ll give you a hint—just look at what Renovo can do for an older Mercedes-Benz convertible top!

Mercedes to partly re-dyed


The best news is—that you found this blog! I’m gonna show you just exactly how to keep your convertible and boat tops in the best condition ever! There is just one simple thing to remember—Renovo. It is a European company and it makes safe, water-based products for European cars and tops. It is now in North America. You have a European car, so—? Use the Renovo products here, and you’re good for a couple or three decades. The kits are an especially good solution because they contain everything you need to follow the drill above. Kit A has Renovo Plastic Polish, too, so you can keep your plastic rear view window as transparent as the day it was born! You can read all about that, hereThat’s it for now and I will leave you some words of advice.  


If you care about your car (!), keep coming back to check this site out: Top Renew!


Let’s Play Cars!


—Soft Top Bobby