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Jeep CJ7 Soft Top

Care and Maintenance Tips for Jeep CJ7 Soft Top

The soft top in the Jeep CJ7 allows you to enjoy the wind and the sun when driving and protects you once the clouds come rolling in. But whenever the soft top is up, it's also exposed to dirt, mud, brake dust, and other undesirables from the road. Fortunately cleaning and maintaining Jeep CJ7 soft tops are relatively easy and require only a few simple tools to accomplish.

The following are some maintenance guidelines to follow for soft tops of Jeep CJ7s:

  • What's your soft top made of?

How to clean the soft top in your Jeep CJ7 depends mainly on whether it is made of vinyl or canvas. Vinyl tops have different maintenance requirements than canvas tops and vice versa, and using the wrong procedure or cleaning products may lead to a ruined soft top and an expensive repair bill.

  • If your Jeep has a vinyl top, you can wash it with water and vinyl top cleaner.

Let the water and cleaner solution soak into the vinyl - the dirtier the top, the longer the cleaner should sit - and scrub in a circular motion using a nylon brush. Make sure to rinse thoroughly afterwards. It is also recommended to apply protectant to vinyl soft tops after every wash to prevent them from yellowing.

  • When cleaning canvas tops, use mild detergent mixed with water and scrub the dirty areas in a circular motion.

Rinse off all the remaining detergent and apply rubber preservative in order to restore their vibrancy.

  • Inspect the soft top for signs of wear and damage on a regular basis.

Even a small crack and tear can grow bigger over time if not addressed quickly. Keep an eye out for cracks and scratches for vinyl soft tops, while for canvas tops, tears and fraying are common warning signs of wear.

  • Make sure to dry out the soft top when it gets wet from rain or from washing.

A damp soft top will quickly accumulate mold and mildew, which not only looks ugly but also damages the material.

  • Avoid using hard-bristled brushes when cleaning soft tops.

These can also leave scratches on the surface of the top.

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  • Diagnosing Jeep CJ7 Soft Top Problems

    A problematic soft top can be quite a hassle, more so if you’re driving under the hot sun or in pouring rain. Thankfully, soft tops do not usually cause problems when cared for properly, and when they do start to fail, it is easy to diagnose the cause of the problem and resolve it immediately.

    The following are some common problems with Jeep CJ7 soft tops and how to troubleshoot them.

    Ill-fitting soft tops

    If you bought a new soft top for your Jeep and it doesn’t fit properly, check for obstructions in the fasteners and mounting hardware. Also, check if the soft top matches the specific make and model year of your Jeep CJ7. On the other hand, if the ill-fitting soft top is an old one, it may be due to the weather. Dry, arid conditions tend to shrink tops, particularly those made of vinyl.

    Mold and mildew

    If you notice any signs of mold and mildew particularly on the corners, the soft top may be damp and not dried properly. Wash the soft top with cleaners according to the material it is made of, rinse, dry with a soft cloth, and air dry. Do not put the top directly under the sun as this may cause the top’s surface to dry up.

    Cracks on vinyl tops

    Do you notice signs of cracks on the surface of your vinyl soft top? Chances are that the vinyl has dried out and lost its suppleness. Apply vinyl protectant on the surface using a soft cloth to prevent the cracks from growing. Make sure that the surface of the top is clean before you apply the protectant. Also, avoid parking the Jeep under direct sunlight; if possible, park in a covered garage or under a shaded area.

    Another causes of cracks in vinyl tops are alcohol and ammonia, which are found in certain cleaning products, and these can also dry out the vinyl. Check the label in the cleaner that you use to wash the soft top, and replace it if necessary.


    Yellowing is another sign that the soft top may have been left over under the sun for too long. Ultraviolet radiation reacts with the surface of the soft top, causing it to deteriorate and leave a yellowish appearance. The color of the top may be restored by washing and applying anti-UV protectant, but for severely yellowed tops, replacement may be a better choice.