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Now in: Convertible TopsMazda → MIATA QUESTIONS ANSWERED!

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1.       Which fabric  - vinyl or canvas?

2.       What’s best - plastic window or glass window?

3.       Can I use a glass window if I have a plastic window now?

4.       Do I need a rain rail?

5.       What else do I need?


When it comes time to replace your convertible top you realize that there are a lot of options available.  Some of the options were not even available if you had an early Miata.  So we would like to take some of the mystery out of the process and guide you through the decisions.


We are here to offer some advice and offer the best convertible tops available in the U.S. today.  You will notice too that our Miata selections do not stop with the convertible top but extend into the interior as well.  We have upholstery, door panels, headliners and of course the convertible top parts.


1.        Which fabric – vinyl or canvas?

The original Cabriolet vinyl is the same weight and pattern found on the original Miata tops.  It has a 100% polyester backing and bonds better to the vinyl and adds strength and pliability. 

The Stayfast canvas is definitely an upgraded fabric and adds a rich look to the top.  The Stayfast canvas will have a longer life and will resist fading and shrinking better than the vinyl.  It is a nicer fabric to work with on a cold morning.  The Stayfast canvas is the original material for 2003-2005 Miata models.


2.        What’s best – plastic window or glass window?

Plastic windows were the only options on the original Miatas and since then there have been some advancements with the addition of the glass windows.

Plastic window tops are the least expensive way to go and today’s vinyl windows are manufactured using clear 40 guage UV coated vinyl.  This vinyl is UV resistant.

Glass windows offer a clear view and will not discolor which is an advantage over the plastic windows.  There is a choice between the tinted (slight tint) and heated glass window.  The heated glass would be the option if you have the defroster connection in your vehicle. 

You can also go to a plastic window on any model year if you need a budget solution for the convertible top replacement.


3.        Can I use a glass window if I have a plastic window right now?

The tinted glass window top can be ordered for any Miata year even though you originally had a plastic window. 


4.        Do I need a rain rail?  What is it?

This is probably the most common question.  The rain rail is part of the convertible top and is required.  The rain rail attaches to the back of the top at the bottom with pop rivets.  Its purpose is to direct water into the drain holes so it does not collect in your trunk or rear deck.  If you are experiencing water damage it is most likely because the rain rail is cracked or broken. 

We recommend that a new rain rail be ordered along with your new convertible top and have it attached at the factory.  If you plan on reusing your existing one you might discover that as you are removing the rivets on the old one that it is brittle and might break in the process.  If you order the new top with the attached rain rail it will arrive attached properly and ready to install. 

So whether you are having your top professionally installed or are doing it yourself we would recommend you add this item to your top when you make your order.  Drilling out the pop rivets on the old top to remove it from the old top and then installing it again on your new top can pose a challenge to most.


5.        What else do I need?

All manufacturers recommend that you replace the side cables each time a convertible top is replaced.  The side cables are located in a sleeve along the window edges and run from the front to the back.  These cables are what keep your top straight and tight.  The tension on the cables over time will make them brittle and stretched out.  If you remove them from your old top and reuse them in the new top and they should break it will require the entire top be removed again so the new cables can be threaded through.  Replacement is always a great idea!


6.        Can I replace the rear window only?

This is a simple question.  The answer is that it is more complicated than you might think.  There are replacement windows available and they come with both sides of the zipper.  The old convertible top needs to be removed and one side of the replacement zipper needs to be sewn to your old top.  Once that is done the corresponding other side of the zipper is sewn to the new window so they match up.  Once that is done your new window can be installed.  The process is labor intensive and requires some skill.  Most customers opt for a new top rather than spending time and money for the task.




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