DETAILING MY CAR > Convertible Top Plastic Rear Window Care

Convertible Top Plastic Rear Window Care

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You love the feeling of the wind rushing through your hair with the top down. You’re driving the babe magnet – for men and women! But there is one unique challenge with convertibles … beyond a sunburned bald spot or a hairdo that looks like a squirrel’s nest. Some convertibles come with a plastic back window. If you own one of these, you may notice it is getting harder to see through as time goes by. They start looking hazy and can get bad enough that it’s almost impossible to see through them.

In this post I am going to cover how to clean up and restore a plastic window. I have found that some regular maintenance to the window makes all the difference. Hey, you need to be able to see!

Prepping the Plastic Window

It is vital to begin the plastic window maintenance or restoration by cleaning it. This is easily done by wetting down a clean terry cloth towel and wiping the window off. You don’t need any soap or other cleaners for this step. Be sure to clean it inside and out since we will be working on both sides. You have to start by cleaning it or you run the risk of scuffing it up with any surface dirt that may be on it.

Convertible Top Window Cleaner and Polish

Today there are quite a few products available to maintain and restore a plastic window. I have had outstanding and consistent luck using two products from Maguiars. You need to get Mequiars M17 clear plastic cleaner. Next, buy some Meguiars M10 plastic polish. These can be found at most larger auto parts stores or automotive paint and supply stores.

The Process of Restoring the Plastic Window

To start off the process you need to dampen a clean towel – be sure to wring out as much moisture as possible. Next, apply a few tablespoons of the M17 cleaner to the towel. Rub the cleaner onto the plastic window in a small circular motion – overlapping each hand stroke. I have found that working over a 5-inch by 5-inch area works best. Continue this process over the entire plastic window. Allow the product to dry to a haze, then wipe clean with a clean, dry towel. This takes a little elbow grease, but you will swiftly see your results. If the window still looks a little dull, then do this step one or two more times. Be patient!

Once you have gotten the window looking clear, it is time to switch to the M10 clear plastic polish. This is an even finer grade of polish, and it contains nourishing oils that help it spread easily over the window. Apply this polish the same way you did with the cleaner. After you wipe down the window check to see if you need to apply a second coat. Keep in mind that you will also need to repeat this process on the inside of the plastic window. This second step really makes the plastic clear.

Final Tips for Clear Plastic Windows From an Auto Detailer Pro

There is a tip I want to share with you from my days at the auto detail shop. Once you have cleaned and polished both sides of the window you can add a layer of protection. This is done using some liquid wax or polish. I prefer the Nu Finish brand. It goes on easy and wipes clean fast.

Now you know my tricks for convertible top plastic window polishing. We have gone over the process in two steps – a cleaner and a follow-up polish works best. We have learned how to apply the product and how to maintain the look with some liquid wax as a final step. Having a clean and clear plastic window isn’t just for aesthetics – it is also a safety issue. You need to be able to see out so you can back up!

9 comments on “Convertible Top Plastic Rear Window Care

    • Hi Debby. This is a tough one. Once mold has formed it is extremely hard to fully remove. You will need to work over the plastic several times. It will improve but in most cases you will not see a 100% restoration. If the plastic is older and has also yellowed from UV exposure along with the mold problem you may need to have it replaced. Before you spend that kind of money grap the plastic polish and a hand full of clean soft towels and have at it. Just a reminder – do both sides of the plastic window. Good luck! Bradley.

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    • Hello CleverPatrick/Bestlan. I am sorry for the delay – I prioritize my time with responses to actual car issues. This site is a hobby of mine after spending over 26 years in the auto detail business. I still work on cars – mine and my friends – and their friends too. I like to stay current on product technology and new detailing tricks. It is not intended to be a profit center – I am not 100% loyal to one product line. I like to test everything – then use the product in the real world. My cars are my test subjects! I do not want to be influenced by a manufacturer. Real person (me), real cars, real problems and honest advice. That’s my goal. Beyond all of that – I am in the SEO/content marketing field for my day job. We use this as a test site as well. I don’t need your help – but thank you for reading the site. Hope you enjoyed it. Thanks, Bradley.

  2. My window is clear and pliable but seems to have some tea colored staining, maybe from collecting rainwater as it sat. Is there any way to remove the stain?

    • Hello Walt. I am thinking that the car was left with the convertible top up/closed. Probably outside..? My first thought is that this could be something like old dried bird poop, cat pee or even tree sap. You have probably washed the plastic and dried it off. Feel the spot with your fingers – can you feel a raised area indicating that it is a foreign material sitting on the plastic window? The very worst case is that it is the husk of a sticky leafed tree – like a poplar or a cotton wood. Just throwing idea out there. I would start with some very mild plastic polish. If you don’t have that handy or can’t get it easily there are some alternatives. You can use a very mild car polish to rub the areas clean – something like Meguiar’s #3 polish. NuFinish car polish can work here also. The trick is to use a damp applicator and ample product – rub it in gently with a side to side hand action. You don’t want to rub a harsh and abrasive product on a plastic window. It will leave visible scuff and scratch marks. I do have a detailed post on this topic. Read through it and make sure you are following the proper steps and being very careful. If all else fails pay a visit to your local automotive upholstry shop – the good ones make new convertible tops when a factory one is unalienable – you know, for old cars. I hope all that helps. Thanks for writing, Bradley.

  3. How do you get a car windshield clean? We have tried numerous things and it is still looks like there is a film on it that is stricked

    • I am betting you are talking about the inside of the front windshield? Window cleaning is actually very challenging! I am sure you have tried some real window cleaners….of all the brands out there I seem to always have good luck with Invisible Glass or good old Spray’Away glass cleaner. It is best to work our of the sun – on a cool surface. spray half the glass with the cleaner. Wipe it well using side to side/horizontal overlapping strokes. Try and remove about 70% of the moisture using a lit free cotton towel. Take another clean/dry cotton towel and re wipe the glass using the same hand strokes. You may have to repeat this two or three times depending on what that sticky film is. If after all that there is still a film – switch to good old clean water. Mist the window with water and use the towel methods I described. That should do it. One thing – never try and clean your car windows with a microfiber towel. These leave super tiny bits of microfiber residue on glass – it will look great in the driveway or garage. But when you get the sun in your face those little fiber bits will look like salt and pepper specs on your glass. Good luck, Bradley.

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