Convertible Top Replacement Cost [DIY & Pro Install]
Everyone loves a good convertible. The stylish look and the wind on your face; what’s there not to love? If you own an older convertible, odds are the convertible top has taken some wear and tear over the years.
Like any car part, eventually, the convertible top needs to be repaired or replaced. And the first thing any car owner asks when it comes to repairs is: How much is it going to cost me?
Overall, you can expect to pay around $500 on average to replace a convertible top. Prices for convertible top replacement range from $200 for a low-end car to $1,000+ for luxury brands or classic vehicles.
Like any kind of car repair, the exact price depends heavily on the age of your car and your location.
Convertibles are great cars and owners want to keep theirs in working condition. So we put together this guide on the costs of replacing a convertible top. We will discuss costs for various models and provide some examples.
Convertible Top Replacement Cost
According to various estimates online, you can expect to pay around $500 on average to replace a standard soft cloth convertible top. Lower-end cars like a Miata will probably cost around $200 to $200, while a higher-end model such as a Benz will most likely cost over $1,000 or more. Expect your price range to hover between $500 to $1,000, including parts and labor costs.
Here is a table with the cost of a replacement top for several popular convertible models. Keep in mind that these costs are just for parts and do not include labor costs, taxes, or fees.
|Audi A3 Cabriolet||$1,200|
|Mazda MX-5 Miata||$300|
|Mini Cooper Convertible||$600|
|Make & Model of Car||Average Price of Convertible Top|
|Mini Cooper Convertible||$700|
As you can see, prices hover in the $300 to $1,200 range for most popular convertible models. All other things being equal, it costs more to replace the top for a newer model than for an older model.
Additionally, the year model of the car greatly affects prices as well. For example, a replacement top for a 2016 Chevy Camaro will run you about $850, while a replacement top for a 2005 model will only cost about $500.
Soft Top vs Hard Top Costs
When it comes to soft tops vs hard tops, soft tops are the cheaper options. Hard tops usually run several hundreds of dollars more than soft tops, for obvious reasons.
Hard top convertible roofs often need to be modified for the specific body of the car and they have many moving parts.
The average cost for a hard top replacement is between $1,500 to $2,000. For example, based on our research, the average cost for a Nissan 370Z hardtop convertible roof is around $2,000, while the average cost of a Mazda MX-5 hardtop convertible roof is just over $1,800.
Hardtop convertibles are generally the safer and more durable option, but they are much more expensive to care for and maintain. Hardtop roofs will also cost much more to service because they have several moving parts.
Perhaps the best part of a soft-top convertible roof is that you can take it completely off if you feel like doing so. However, keep in mind that you will likely have to pay more expensive insurance premiums if you go for a soft-top model.
Will My Insurance Cover a Convertible Top Replacement?
Whether or not your insurance company will cover your convertible top replacement will depend on the type of insurance you have and what event caused the need for replacement.
Usually, insurance will only cover this if you have full coverage or if you got into an accident that was not your fault.
If you have full coverage insurance, the company will probably cover your replacement if your top was damaged due to environmental factors, such as a severe storm.
And, as long as you have sufficient coverage, they’ll likely cover it in the event you get into an accident caused by another party.
However, insurance companies don’t typically cover damage due to an accident that was caused by your own negligence. A convertible top replacement is no different.
How Often Does a Convertible Top Need to Be Replaced?
Generally, a convertible should last approximately 10 years before it will need to be replaced again.
Like most parts of a car, this lifespan depends heavily on how well you care for and maintain it, how your car is stored when not in use, and how often you drive it.
To get the longest lifespan possible from your convertible top, make sure to perform regular cleanings, maintenance, and inspections.
If anything isn’t working properly with your top, or if you notice any tears, get it repaired as soon as possible. Storing your car in a covered area, such as a garage, will also increase its lifespan.
Roof Motor Replacement
Most of the time, you will have to replace your convertible roof motor at the same time you replace your top. The typical convertible roof motor will cost you anywhere between $150 to $300 for the partial, and between $100 to $200 for the labor.
Here is the cost of several popular convertible roof motors
- WayJun BMW Z4 Convertible Top Motor – $160
- ACP 94-04 for Ford Mustang – $200
- Cheriezeng Convertible Top Hydraulic Roof Pump – $145
- Audi S4 Convertible Top Motor – $350
- Corvette Convertible Top Hydraulic Motor – $800
Motors are usually the more expensive part of replacing a convertible top. Some convertible models do not require a motor to retract the top.
OEM vs Aftermarket Parts
Just like other parts, you can choose between OEM or aftermarket replacement tops. OEM parts are made by the original equipment manufacturer so they are designed specifically for particular models of cars in mind.
Aftermarket parts are made by a third-party company, mostly without the original manufacturer’s supervision.
OEM parts are usually higher quality products, but they are limited design options and they can be significantly more expensive than aftermarket parts.
Aftermarket parts are comparatively cheaper but they are not as high quality. If you get an OEM top, you will end up paying more money but the product will likely last longer.
Is Replacing a Convertible Top Cost-Efficient?
There are a couple of reasons to replace a convertible top. First, you can get a few more years of life out of the car by replacing the top. Second, you can up the resale value of your car if you want to refurbish one and sell it.
Much of the variance of cost for your convertible top replacement will be labor and mechanic costs. If you can get your roof repaired for under $1,000, then we would say that the cost is worth it.
Even a car that is only worth $3,500 can benefit from up to $1,000 in repairs before it is no longer cost-effective.
Factors that Affect Convertible Top Replacement
- Make/Model. Most obviously, the make and model of your car will affect the price. Lower-end consumer vehicles will be less expensive to repair while higher-end models will be more expensive to replace.
- Materials. You can choose between a hardtop or soft-top convertible hoods. Hard tops will cost significantly more to replace while cloth tops are comparatively less expensive. Within cloth tops, some fabrics are much less expensive than others. Most cloth convertible tops are made from acrylic or polyester material.
- Car age. If you have a discontinued model, it may be more expensive to find the necessary parts to replace the roof.
- Repair vs replace. All other things being equal, it will cost less to repair your convertible rather than replace it.
- Related repairs. Like most car issues, convertible top issues are rarely present alone. For example, your mechanic will likely recommend you also replace your roof motor when you replace your convertible top.
Can I Replace My Convertible Top on My Own?
There are a couple of ways that you can decrease your costs when you need to replace your convertible top. The best way is to opt for a DIY replacement instead of a professional replacement.
While a professional job can run you upwards of $1,000, a DIY repair will often only cost a few hundred dollars.
Of course, the biggest cost factor is still your vehicle’s make and model. However, whether you choose a hard or soft top will also greatly influence the cost.
A soft convertible top is almost always less expensive than a hard top and is often easier to install yourself. Soft tops are available in a variety of materials, including canvas, vinyl, and synthetic leather.
When you purchase your replacement top, you’ll likely also have to purchase new hardware, windshield sealer (if you have glass windows with a rubber trim), and silicone spray.
If you can find a DIY convertible top replacement kit, it will probably include these parts. However, you might also need a new curtain window and backlight, which are not usually included in these kits and will need to be purchased separately.
To cut costs further, you may be able to reuse your old hardware if it’s still in good condition. This includes parts such as the top frame, pads, and cables.
While replacing your convertible top yourself can definitely help you keep costs down, it’s still a complicated task that not everyone can handle.
Make sure you take your time and complete each step correctly, otherwise you may cause a leak or other damage to your car’s interior.
Tips on Replacing Your Convertible Top
- Don’t be afraid to try different materials for your top. Modern convertible tops are made from lightweight, weather-resistant synthetics that are cheap to make and maintain. Canvas and rubber are two common materials that make a great rain-proof convertible top.
- There are several online outlets that target budget convertible top replacements. Check out Tops Online or Auto Tops Direct to find good deals on aftermarket convertible tops.
- If you want to save even more, you can always go for used car parts. Make sure that you buy used parts from a reputable vendor that offers a warranty.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you replace a convertible top?
Yes, you can replace both soft and hard top convertible cars. Damage from weather or falling objects could require you to get your car fixed.
How much does it cost to replace a convertible top?
You can expect to pay an average of $500 to replace a convertible top. Hardtop convertibles will cost more to replace than soft-top convertibles. Replacing the convertible top of a luxury brand car could cost over $1,000.
Are hardtop convertibles more expensive?
Yes, it is usually much more expensive to replace a convertible hardtop. The low end for hard-top convertibles starts at around $1,500, compared to $300 for soft-top convertibles.
How often do I need to replace my convertible top?
Assuming you regularly clean and detail it, a mid-grade cloth convertible should last anywhere between 5 to 7 years. Hardtop convertibles can last the entire life of the car if properly maintained.
How long does it take to replace my convertible top?
It takes an average of 5 hours to fully replace a convertible top with a new model.
Is replacing a convertible top worth it?
Yes, depending on the make and model of your car, replacing a convertible is an economical and affordable choice that can breathe new life into your car. So if your convertible room is damaged, don’t write it off just yet.
- How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Miata Soft Top
- Mustang Convertible Top Cost
- Mini Cooper Convertible Top Replacement Cost
Convertibles are great cars full of style and substance. But over time, you will need to get your convertible roof replaced.
Make sure to shop around to find good deals on parts so you can replace your convertible top in the most cost-effective way possible.
If you are lucky, then you will only need repairs. But if you need to get the whole thing replaced, you can do so for around $500.