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How can I restore my Alfa Romeo Spider's soft top roof?

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Car Clinic: Alfa Romeo Spider

Q. The soft top on my Alfa Romeo Spider is showing signs of fading where it joins the metal frame. Is there a way to restore it?
JP, Ludlow, Shropshire

A. Some fabric roofs are prone to the sort of fading and marks you describe. It could be because the roof is a bit too tight on the frame and rubbing more when it goes up and down. Unfortunately, once the marks are there, you can’t remove them, although you can cover them up with Renovo Soft Top Reviver (£33.25 a litre,renovointernational.com).

This is basically a dye that you paint over the entire roof until the faded sections are the same colour as the rest. But the dye will fade and rub off over time — and more quickly where the fabric presses on the frame.

The only long-term solution is a new hood. Prices start from about £400 at carhood.com. If you want it fitted — which we recommend — the total cost would be a minimum of £500.


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In future keep the roof as clean as possible, because tiny, gritty particles can act like sandpaper on stretch points. To keep the roof free of grit and dust try Meguiar’s Versa-Angle Body Duster (£24.99, meguiars.co.uk). Essentially the device is a mop on the end of a telescopic handle. The mop head has been treated with paraffin, which makes it act like a sort of magnet for dust, lifting it off the roof and body without the need to rub, resulting in fewer scratches.

During the summer months maintain the roof with Turtle Wax Soft Top & Cabrio System (£17.99; halfords.com), which includes a cleaner and conditioner.

Sunday Times Driving car clinic expert: Dave Pollard

INSPECTOR GADGET
Dave Pollard has written several Haynes manuals and has tested just about every car-related accessory – read more from Dave here.

GOT A PROBLEM?
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