Frequently Asked Questions

I get so much great e-mail from those of you who visit this site… lots of stories and praise, which I love. (Keep ’em coming!) I also get a fair number of questions regarding VWs, Cabrios, the modifications I’ve made to my car, and so on. I’ll continue to reply to all mail that I get, but I’ll give some detailed answers to questions that I frequently receive here, for everyone to read. If you have any comments or additions, please send them!

How do you keep your white vinyl roof so clean and bright?
This is, by far, the most frequently asked question about my car. People often think my car is newer than it really is because the roof is in such great shape! Many people think garaging a car is the key to keeping the roof clean — unfortunately I don’t have that luxury. I keep my roof in great shape with a little bit of work, done every few times I wash my car.
Before washing my car, I dampen the roof with water and Simple Green. I also sprinkle Comet cleanser on the roof, especially on any parts that look dirty. I use a soft scrub brush to clean the entire roof, and then rinse thoroughly. I also wash the roof normally with the rest of the car.
Normally I only need to do this a few times a year — at the beginning of the summer and again at the end. If I get any marks on the roof (berries, bird droppings, etc.) in between I’ll wipe up the mess as soon as possible. If anything stains, I’ll break out the Simple Green and a sponge to better clean the area.
If anyone else has recommendations, please pass them on!
How effective is the windstop at high speeds? What about low speeds? Where/how can I get it cheaper?
I find the windstop to be fairly effective at all speeds. At lower speeds (25-24 MPH), it virtaully eliminates any cross or backwind (depending on how many windows you have down). It also reduces most wind noise.
At higher speeds (45+ MPH), I find the windstop really makes driving more enjoyable. It continues to reduce cross and backwind as well as wind noise, but more importantly, it has a drastic effect on the wind that hits the back of the head and neck. (If you’ve ever taken a long highway drive with the top down, only to later feel like you’ve got whiplash, you know what sort of effect the wind has on the car and its occupants.) With the windstop, I can drive from Washington DC to New York City non-stop and feel no more strain that I would have if I’d taken a plane or train!
Of course, there are some down sides to the windstop. First, it can be time consuming to mount/unmount. I’ve got it down to about 3-5 minutes, which isn’t bad. I only use the windstop when I know that I’ll be doing highway driving, so it isn’t much work considering how I could end up feeling later without it.
The windstop, while made from mesh material, is still fairly dark and can hamper one’s rear view. (On the flip side, however, it does provide some shade from the bright sun during the day, and at night helps reduce the glare from other cars’ headlights.) I don’t recommend leaving the windstop mounted when the top is up — rear visibility becomes severely limited at that point.
But other than that… I’d say it’s a must.
As for price… I was able to purchase mine at a 10% discount thanks to my VW Club membership. Most dealers didn’t have the windstop in stock (and thus would have charged me extra to order it), so I ordered it online via the VW web store. My order was fulfilled in two days by Marten’s VW in DC.
What sorts of problems have you had with your car? Were the repairs covered by the VW warranty? How much have you spent on maintenence?
Answer coming — I’ll dig up my receipts.
How much did the conversion cost? What sorts of problems have you had with your car since then?
Answer coming.