Evaluating a used convertible you want to purchase is almost like evaluating any other used car. The main difference is that, for the convertible, you need to pay attention to the condition and operation of the roof. Here are four sections your evaluation should cover:

Choose Type of Roof Offered

Convertible roofs can be broadly categorized into hardtops and soft-tops. Here are some of the benefits of soft-tops:

  • They are relatively cheap
  • They don't take up much trunk space when folded
  • They use relatively simple mechanisms that aren't prone to breakdowns
  • They are light and easy to remove

However, they also have several disadvantages, such as these:

  • They are prone to leakage 
  • They admit considerable road noise  
  • They are not as secure as hardtops, which make them relatively easy to break into

The pros and cons of hardtops are basically the opposites of the soft-top. Analyze the pros and cons of each roof type and decide which one tickles your fancy.

Check the Condition of the Roof Seals

The roof seals protect water from leaking into the car's interior with the top down. The seals are located around the windscreen and side windows. Confirm that the seals are intact, pliable, and soft and have no visible signs of damage.

Test for Roof Leaks

Don't assume that the roof doesn't leak just because you can't spot visible signs of damage on the seals. For one, leakage may occur even without visible signs of damage. Secondly, leaks can occur in other parts of the roof other than the seals, especially if you are dealing with a soft-top convertible. Therefore, ask the dealer if you can test for leaks by spraying the car from different angles; don't forget to spray the seals too.

Confirm the Operation of the Roof

Another helpful tip is to confirm that the roof works as advertised. Confirming this is as easy as raising and lowering the roof. All the different parts of the roof mechanism, such as the clips and fasteners, should snap into their places as intended. You should be wary of any roof that doesn't raise or lower smoothly.

Once you are done evaluating the four points above, you can then proceed just as you would when buying any other car. For example, if you discover damage, you can proceed with the purchase if you are sure the issue is minimal and requires a cheap. You can also use any faults discovered as a bargaining chip during the negotiations, or you can look for better options.