Common Convertible Top Problems

Common Convertible Top Problems

Need to know the common problems of having a convertible top vehicle? Read the procedures below to learn the problems you might encounter and know possible solutions.


  • Slow convertible top movement – If your convertible top moves slowly, it could be due to several reasons. Worn out lift cylinders. Low fluid level or air in the lines. Corroded relay contacts.Binding of links or cable. Weak car battery.
  • Convertible top won’t raise or lower – The convertible pump is not getting power or is not working. The relay of the fuse could be bad. Bad convertible switch. Damaged or misaligned hinge.
  • The Beck lid won’t open – Bad limit switch. Low fluid level. Defective deck lid solenoid. The pump is not working.
  • The convertible top won’t go down – Bad relay. Flow fluid level. Burned out motor. Excessive friction at hinges and linkage arms.

Common Problems

Let’s take a quick look at some of the most common convertible top problems.

Low convertible top fluid

Low hydraulic fluid level

The low convertible top fluid is the #1 cause that will prevent your convertible top from going up and down. A small leak due to aged seals can cause the convertible top fluid level to go below the min.

Get the correct convertible top fluid for your car, Pentosin Hydraulic Fluid CHF11S 1405116
is a commonly used fluid. In most cases, the reservoir for the convertible top can be found in the trunk area.

Failure of limit switches

Failure of limit switches

These small switches are all over the place on a convertible. The one that fails the most is the switch for the trunk divider. When it fails, it will stop the convertible top from working at all.

Failed hydraulic pump

Failed hydraulic pump

The hydraulic pump may fail. Before you replace your convertible pump motor, check the fuse and relay of the convertible top. They may be the culprit instead of the convertible top pump/motor.

Worn lift solenoids

Worn lift solenoids

The cylinders may wear out if you use a convertible top a lot. If your convertible top is very slow to go up and down or gets stuck, a worn or leaking convertible top cylinder may be the problem.

Relay / Fuses

convertible  top not working due to blown fuse

Check the relay and fuse for the convertible top. You can visibly inspect the fuse to check if it is blown. The relay can be tested as well but requires a multimeter. Most use a simple automotive relay for the convertible top that is cheaper to replace than the trouble of testing it if you don’t know how to.


Defective relay or corroded contacts

Rust will kill anything, including your convertible top. Inspect your convertible for rust and fix the problem before it worsens.

Can tears or cuts on the convertible top be repaired or patched?

Small patches can be glued. The repair will be visible when near the car. If you are looking for the best solution, you should consider replacing the convertible top.

The rear glass is separating from the top fabric. How can I fix it?

If you only have a small gap between the top fabric and the rear window, a convertible top repair shop should be able to fix it. If the rear window glass has started to come off, it will be almost impossible to reattach it to the old fabric.

The convertible top won’t go up. The convertible top won’t go down. What is the problem?

First, you must follow all the instructions in your owner’s manual on operating the convertible top. If you follow all the steps but still can’t get the top to go down, it could be due to a bad convertible top relay, burned fuse, hydraulic pump needing to be replaced, a defective limit switch, weak cylinder, or a hydraulic line leak.

My convertible top goes up and down very slowly; what can be the problem?

Slow convertible top movement can be caused by a low hydraulic fluid level, worn lift cylinder, or a failing pump.

One side of the convertible top moves faster than the other.
If one side is getting ahead, you may have a worn lift cylinder or a stretched or broken tensioning cable.

What is the rain rail in a convertible?

The rubber strip goes between the convertible top and the car’s frame.

Can I install my Convertible Top myself?

Yes. If you have experience working with cars, you should be able to change a convertible top yourself. Make sure you have another person help you as you replace or install the convertible top.

We hope you find the Common Convertible Top Problems guide helpful. Check these troubleshooting and repair guides for more help on your vehicle.


  • Rushit Hila • ASE Certified

    Rushit Hila, an ASE-certified engineer (G1 Automotive Maintenance and Repair), brings over two decades of hands-on experience in the automotive world to his writing. With a strong educational background, including a Master of Science in Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, he has honed his skills and expertise through years of practical work. As a respected authority in the field, Mr. Hila is dedicated to offering insightful and valuable content that resonates with both vehicle owners and mechanics.

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One Comment

  1. Holly Yeary says:

    Where is the relay switch for a 2007 VW Beetle? I am trying sell my Bug and the top and the driver’s window isn’t working. It started after I replaced the battery. It started acting funky prior to that, and then I jump started my neighbor’s car, which killed my battery. I have no idea what I’m doing. I just need to have an idea of what to tell the dealer.