Read This Before Buying A Convertible!

A lot of motoring enthusiasts, have a recurring daydream. You’re cruising down an open road in a sleek, low convertible with the top down and the wind in your hair. What’s missing from this fantasy is the bird droppings, heavy gusts of wind and of course rain! While convertibles are incredibly fun to drive, some people buy them without really thinking it through. If you’re shopping around for a convertible, then make sure you understand everything that comes with it. Here are a few things you should know about convertibles before buying.

First of all, the road noise. When you think of the wind rushing through your hair, you probably censor this side to it. Obviously, when you’ve got the top down you won’t have the shield of steel and glass around you. This means that the road noise is going to be exceedingly louder. In some cases, this can even be a health hazard! A study in 2011 found that driving in a convertible over 55mph can create an unhealthy amount of noise exposure. Over time, this has the potential to manifest as hearing loss. I’m sure this is more than you bargained for, so consider the noise of driving a convertible!

Another big thing to consider is the reduced storage. With all the prestige surrounding convertibles, many of us forget that they’re pretty small. If you need all the storage you can get as it is, then I recommend going for a four-seater or cabriolet. If you want the sexier, two-seater models such as an F-Type R, then you’ll have to sacrifice a lot of space. This is especially true when you consider that the top folds back into the trunk. If the car isn’t going to be purely for fun, then your search may be a lot harder. Yes, dealerships such as Carbase have been known to stock convertibles that are both sporty and spacious. Be warned though; they’re a lot harder to come by!

2015 Corvette Stingray - park 1 - AOA1200pxYou also need to think about the reduced safety that comes with a convertible. Safety features are now one of the most important things for car manufacturers, and modern convertibles are safer than ever. However, when you’re driving with the top down, you’re always running a greater risk. This is especially true when it comes to rollovers. Although these kinds of accidents are incredibly rare, a driver in a convertible is going to be at more risk than in any other vehicle. A roll bar would protect you, but I’m sure you’ll agree that it would completely destroy the looks! It’s not like convertibles are ticking time bombs. However, you should still consider the lowered safety of driving a convertible.

You also need to consider the elements when you’re thinking of buying a convertible. What’s the best thing about a convertible? Obviously, the fact that it converts! Many people buy these cars simply for the euphoric rush of speeding along with the top down. As I explained in my first point, this also leaves you exposed to all the elements. Cold winds are going to be battering you, and every now and then a shower will take you be surprise, soaking the interior. If you’re new to the car, figuring out the roof can be a real hassle. Even if you live in the sunniest part of the world, your wheels are always going to be coughing grit and dirt into the car.

Finally, the insurance and running costs. Obviously, this varies from model to model. However, you’d be very lucky to find a convertible that’s both sleek and cheap to insure. Don’t think that picking out models from decades ago will help you too much either. Soft-top convertibles are easier to break into, meaning that the insurance rates will be invariably higher. When you combine this with the high prices of the cars themselves, you might start to reconsider the whole idea of a convertible. As you can imagine, CO2 emissions aren’t usually a big concern for people designing convertibles. This may have a significant impact on the road tax you pay. Like with any vehicle, the insurance and running costs of a convertible have to be considered as part of the package.

If you can deal with these minor drawbacks, then get out there and start shopping! Although they’re not always practical, convertibles are truly exhilarating things to drive. Explore the market thoroughly, and consider all the options you have. It shouldn’t take long for you to find a convertible that suits all your needs.

Emily Muelford
Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.