How to Repair a Convertible Top

A white convertible top.
  • 4-8 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-200
What You'll Need
A curved needle
Thread or fine wire
Masking tape
Strong glue
Sharp scissors
Replacement marine canvas

Knowing some convertible top repair techniques will come in handy if your convertible roof has broken or developed a rip. Making these small repairs is actually quite simple and can be performed by any DIYer. By repairing a car convertible top yourself, you can save a great deal of time and money.

Step 1 - Sew it Up

Take a strongly curved needle and either some strong thread or fine wire. Use the needle to stitch up the damage to the convertible top. This will be time-consuming, so have patience and make sure you sew up a tear properly. Use a cross stitch pattern all the way along the tear, which will be better in terms of holding the convertible top together. Sew the tear back together as tightly as you can.

Step 2 - Tape and Glue

A red convertible.

Get inside the car and use some masking tape to hide the bottom of the tear. This is important because it will hold the tear together and it will stop any glue from leaking through to the interior. It will stop the thread or wire from breaking while you prepare a replacement patch. Once you have done this, take a heavy duty and strong glue. Apply it all over the seam you have created on the convertible top. Be generous because the tape inside the car will catch any excess.

Step 3 - Cut Canvas

Cut a replacement piece of marine canvas, which will be large enough to cover the tear with an excess of 1 to 2 inches. Mirror the shape of the tear as closely as you can. Mark out the shape precisely and cut it with a sharp pair of scissors. Wait until the glue you have already used is dry and remove the tape on the interior of the car and start to sew the replacement patch over the tear. You can sew the patch on the outside of the tear if the canvas you are using is the same type and color. You can also dye the patch if you want it to go on the outside. This will make the tear less noticeable.

Step 4 - Seal

A yellow convertible.

Once you have sewn the replacement patch of canvas onto one side of the tear, seal the stitching holes with the same glue you used earlier. Either apply a layer all the way around the stitching or place small beads of glue in between the thread or wire. This will stop moisture from the air or rain from soaking into the replacement patch and inside the car. Apply generous amounts and sand away any glue, which sticks out after it has dried.

Step 5 - Tidy

Tidy your handy work by checking for ragged fibers. Use the scissors you used to cut the canvas to cut away any excess material. Use your hands to gently check that the replacement patch has been attached tightly to the existing canvas. Your repair to the convertible top is complete.