Imperial Home Page -> Repair -> Body -> Vinyl Top -> Cleaning
Question from Bill (1959):
I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on how to care for the factory textured vinyl landau section of my '59 Imperial. I have repainted it with trim paint, so it is semi-gloss to look like real vinyl, problem is, what can I use to protect it? If I use regular car wax, it will make it too shiny, last time I washed the car I used silicone, but I don't think it is the answer either. I need something that will protect the paint, without adding too much shine, since it is supposed to resemble a vinyl.
I would suggest Clear Guard as a potential candidate for your roof, and decidedly for your tires and some interior parts.
I think that it's from Johnson Wax, but not certain. It comes in a clear 409 sized spray bottle with a yellow (I think) sprayer. Clear label has a colored stripe a-la the BMW M diagonal stripe. National Car parts chains are where I get my fixes.
It goes on wet. Wipe off with a cloth. Leaves a matte sheen that makes tires look new without making them look like you actually "did" anything to them like the shiny shine stuff does.
This may contain silicates, and another poster warned of the evils of diminishing returns over time with use, so buyer beware, but my tires love this stuff, and I've used it with satisfaction for years. Tires aren't tops though.
I second Kenyon's nomination. I've been using Clear Guard for 15 years on my vinyl including convertible top and it works great! Be sure to clean well first with a good vinyl cleaner.
One other alternative would be "303" protectant. I've used it for a couple years with no complaints, but I guess time will tell whether it lives up to its claims of protecting vinyl (and other plastics and rubbers) over the long haul. The science seems believable enough to me, though--basically it functions as a number 40 sun-block to keep UV rays from deteriorating the material. One other claim that I CAN vouch for is that it does a great job of softening up old, brittle rubber, such as weather-stripping. Here's a link: http://www.303products.com/home.htm
Question from Gary (1966):
I need advice as what works best on a original white vinyl roof covering on my 66 crown coupe.Vinyl is s little bit 'Yellowed" would Wesley's bleach white help?
Don't let Wesley's touch your paint! it will pull the finish off in a heartbeat! I did this on another car trying to cure the same thing. It didn't solve the color problem and it ruined the paint.
Try Soft Scrub w/ bleach. I have had good results with it, but it is very likely that the yellowing will not go away. You may have to go to dying your top white to get an even white color. I have used vinyl dye in spray cans with very good results on floormats, etc, but have never attempted a top. The alternative to do it yourself is to have a shop do it; it will be a good bit more that a few spray cans, but it might be well worth it.
Question from Matt (1975):
I need to give the vinyl top on my 75 a good cleaning. Its been so long since I have had to do this what is best?
I'll bet some guys will gasp in alarm, but since 1967 I have always used a combination of things: first I spray with Fantastic or equivalent, then, if it is a light colored top I sprinkle on Ajax. Next scrub with a brush and rinse liberally with water-especially the painted areas that catch the drip. No problems, none, ever.
G A S P !!! Got rid of my vinyl top cars a while back, Fantastic works good but Ajax??? Doesn't it take off the top shiny layer of the vinyl? On my convertible top I use Armor-All Cleaner and then Clear-Guard, the top is about 20 years old and still looks great.
I just picked up a Meguiar's flyer with their "professional" product line. They have two products which should be pretty good - "Heavy Duty Vinyl Cleaner", M-3916 and "Vinyl & Rubber Cleaner/Conditioner", M-4016.
Both mention use on vinyl tops. I haven't tried these myself, but everything else I've used from Meguiar's has been pretty good.
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