The Ford Mustang is one of the most iconic American muscle cars anywhere on the market.
For many years they have been synonymous with great horsepower, impressive acceleration, pleasing design, and adrenaline-fueled driving.
Mustangs have long been available as a coupe, convertible and sportback models.
This article answers the question “Do Ford Mustang Convertibles Leak?”…
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Do Ford Mustang Convertibles Leak?
There have indeed been multiple reports of Ford Mustang Convertibles unfortunately leaking when encountering heavy rain. The problem seems to be more prevalent in older convertible models that lack additional weatherstripping and have more worn seals.
The fact is that the quality and efficacy of seals have also improved over the years, meaning that older models are more susceptible to leaks after being used for a long time.
Does The Top Need Products To Last Longer?
The top of a Ford Mustang convertible, especially on older models, does need a level of maintenance and care in order to last longer and prevent leaks in the passenger cabin.
First of all, the roof of the Mustang convertible needs to have proper weatherstripping installed in order to function well.
Another area that needs attention is the seals. When the seals are properly cared for, then the roof will continue to keep out water from the cabin.
Drivers should also consider products that add extra waterproofing ability. The key is to prevent any accumulation of water on the surfaces or around the seals.
It’s this water that manages to wear away the seals and gaps and seep through into gaps.
How To Prevent Sun Damage?
The sun’s UV radiation is a constant source of problems for your car.
It discolors paint, damages the seals, cracks, and discolors the dashboard and interior leather upholstery, among other things.
If you own a Ford Mustang convertible, then the sun is also likely doing damage to the color, texture, and overall structural integrity of your Ford Mustang’s vinyl roof.
You can prevent sun damage if you take appropriate steps whenever you detail or service your Ford Mustang convertible.
First, you can make use of vinyl protectant to help maintain color, texture, and integrity.
The vinyl protectant will also help prevent cracking and fading, as well as looking after the seals.
Such products should be used in conjunction with a regular cleaning schedule.
Besides the sun, dirt and other contaminants that build up on the roof can also have a negative impact on its color and seal.
Vinyl protectant typically comes in a spray can, that you just have to apply in an even layer across the surface of the roof and then wipe off.
Look for products that don’t leave behind any film of grease.
Can Opening And Closing Cause Misalignment And Leaks?
Opening and closing will only cause misalignment in the Ford Mustang convertible when it is done improperly.
Some users try to force the roof or attempt to open it while the car is moving.
The Ford Mustang mechanism should prevent you from opening the roof unless the car is either stationary or moving less than 3mph.
If the roof is opened in any improper way, it can damage the hinges, which is the main cause of misalignment in convertible roofs on the Mustang and other convertible cars.
These hinges could also have been damaged if the car has been involved in an accident, or if there are signs of rust or corrosion.
Typically, problems in convertible roof alignment can be traced back to a misaligned, crooked, broken, or otherwise damaged smaller component.
Do They All Leak Or Only Older Models?
The problem of roof leaks seems to affect older Ford Mustang convertible models the most, but it’s not inherently because the car is older.
If an older model is leaking, it is invariably because the roof has not been properly cared for by the owner for a protracted period of time.
When a roof has been neglected, not cleaned, not treated with products like vinyl protectant, then it will be more susceptible to damage.
Even though older models may not have the latest seals or other weatherstripping, these can be applied by a caring owner, but it shouldn’t matter if the owner takes proper steps to ensure the roof remains protected.
Do New Tops Fix The Leak Issue?
Newer Ford Mustang tops do feature superior weatherstripping and better seals.
The vinyl is also of a higher grade and more resistant to various problems, especially when it is combined with a vinyl protectant product.
A well-cared-for Mustang convertible roof should last from 5-7 years. If, however, the roof has been damaged and is leaking then you might want to replace it.
A replacement roof for a Ford Mustang will cost between $1,000 and $1,500 depending on specific labor costs and the typical pricing for repairs in your geographical area.
Even if you opt for repair instead of replacement, then you can be looking at costs ranging from $500 to $1,000, which in reality makes replacement a more viable option since it will last longer and typically feature better components to prevent leaking.
What Are The Tops Made Of?
At least since 2005, Ford Mustang convertibles have been made using Haartz Sailcloth vinyl. This was a new creation made specifically for the Ford Mustang roof.
The structure comprises a single-texture vinyl combined with a two-ply composite made from PVC sailcloth grain on the outside and a polyester and cotton inner lining.
How Long Should The Top Last?
When the Ford Mustang convertible top is properly cared for, it should last for at least 5 years, but also can last as long as 7.
To make your roof last longer, the first thing you need to do is to take proper care of it.
Like any part of your car, it doesn’t take care of itself. First, remember to clean the roof regularly and apply protection.
You’ll most likely need vinyl protectant if you’re driving a Ford Mustang since the vast majority of Mustang roofs keep their OEM vinyl material.
Second, always follow the correct procedure of lowering the roof.
Don’t force it by hand or use any other improper methods of lowering it in case you do some damage to internal components and cause misalignment.
Third, when the car is serviced, ensure that the seals and raising/lowering mechanism components are all in good order.
Finally, make sure that your roof hydraulic fluid reservoir is topped up to the right level and ensure that you always use the correct hydraulic fluid as recommended by the OEM or your service mechanic.
What Causes The Leaks And How Can You Fix Them?
Leaks in the Ford Mustang roof are caused by several factors. The first one is not closing the windows fully.
When you close the roof, the windows should be brought up automatically. They are also lowered automatically when you put the roof down.
If the windows are open even slightly while the roof is up, then leaks are bound to occur. This is actually true on just about any car.
In addition, when the hydraulic fluid level gets too low and/or the hydraulic fluid becomes contaminated, it can immediately hinder the operation of the hydraulics that move the roof securely on and off again.
In this situation, the roof might not fully close, even if it only leaves a small gap then it can cause leaking in your Mustang.
Another cause is broken seals/gaskets in the roof. These can become cracked and damaged either through lack of servicing or by too much exposure to UV radiation.
If the seals dry and crack, then small amounts of water will find their way through.
If you have a fabric roof, the tiny holes in the roof can cause leaks to occur, especially in heavy rain and when the roof has not been properly waterproofed or otherwise treated.
Water that is allowed to gather on the roof of the car can seep through small holes in the fabric, which is why treating the roof in advance is important.
Another interesting feature of your Mustang roof is special channels that are meant to direct water to drain holes, guiding it quickly away and preventing it from building up.
Water buildup brings mud, tree debris, and other contaminants into your system that clog and block the mechanism in other ways, as well as potentially leaking into the passenger cabin.
If your roof drain holes have become clogged, this is another potential cause of leaking.
A plugged hole means water will build up. It’s that buildup of water that increases the risks of leaks occurring.
How To Get The Wet Smell Out The Car?
The simplest way to get rid of any unpleasant odor in the car caused by water leakage or damage is to apply baking soda and then leave it for several hours.
The best time to apply the baking soda is at night and then leave it to work on the moisture all night.
By morning you can just vacuum away the baking soda and the wetness (and odor) should be largely carried away.
You can also remove the smell by using a steam cleaner, especially if the original wet smell is being compounded by other stains or problems in the car.