Used Convertible Cars For Sale

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Used Convertible Cars For Sale

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Used convertible cars for sale

Who hasn’t stared at someone driving a convertible with the roof down in summer and been just a little jealous, stuck in a tin box with only the option to roll down your windows? If that sounds like you, then perhaps it’s time to look for a convertible - and by buying used, you have even more choice and at much more affordable prices.

Convertibles come in all manner of shapes and sizes and they’re not the leaky, windy devices they used to be fifty years ago. In some convertibles you’ll struggle to tell that the roof comes down at all, and almost all have easy electric operation these days, some with the ability to drop or raise the roof on the move at lower speeds, so you can make the most of the current weather even if you’re rolling in traffic. Read on below for what you should know before buying a used convertible.

What is a convertible?

A convertible is pretty much any car with a folding or removable roof, so you can keep the weather out in poor conditions but drop the top as soon as the sun comes out. Open-air vehicles are as old as the car itself, but the idea of a car with an easily opening and closing roof really took off in the 1950s - and has been with us ever since.

Convertibles come in many shapes, sizes and styles, from folding fabric and hard-top roofs, to completely detachable hard tops and soft tops, while body styles include two-seat roadsters like the Mazda MX-5, hatchbacks with full-length roll-back fabric roofs like the Fiat 500C, to larger four-seaters based on saloons such as the Audi A5 Cabriolet. Even SUVs like the Range Rover Evoque and Volkswagen T-Roc have been offered as convertibles in recent years.

Why buy a used convertible?

Buying a used convertible is a good way of saving money on a new one. Convertibles make up a relatively small segment of the market and the extra engineering that goes into them tends to make them more expensive than conventional cars, so they’re not always especially affordable - particularly as fewer manufacturers offer drop-top cars these days, so more accessible models are rare. Nearly-new and used convertibles though can be quite a bit cheaper, especially as they tend to be beholden to the whims of fashion.

How do I choose the ideal used convertible?

The breadth of roof types and body styles means not all convertibles are created equally, so you’ll need to decide just what you want from a drop-top before you write the cheque. Or even whether you want a convertible at all - it’s not unusual for buyers to buy a soft top for the image and the idea of driving around with the roof down, but rarely if ever touch the button. You might find it more cost-effective to buy a coupe and simply put the windows down when you want some fresh air…

That would be a shame though as driving with the top down is a fantastic experience. Some cars make it easier than others, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a power roof: the manual top in a Mazda MX-5 takes mere seconds to stow or put back up, far quicker than any power top and with barely any effort. Smaller fabric roofs like those on MX-5s, BMW Z4s, and Porsche Boxsters do tend to be quicker than folding hardtops or expansive multi-layer roofs on larger convertibles. These smaller models tend to be true sports cars too, so will offer the most thrilling driving experience - but larger cars will of course be more practical. Some offer enough seats and boot space to even serve as an everyday family car, though bear in mind the boot will still be smaller and less accessible than that of a hatchback or saloon.

Where can I find used convertibles for sale?

Most used car sales websites will let you tick a box to limit your search to convertibles, which is an easy way of browsing the market if you’ve not got your eye on a specific model. Beyond that, it’s simply a case of finding something in budget - the RAC’s search tool for instance even has a widget to show you a representative finance example on whichever car you’re looking at - and suitably nearby to take a look at.

One thing to remember with buying a used convertible is that prices may change depending on the time of year. Just as SUVs see a small uptick in sales in the run up to winter, when people are thinking about poor weather and navigating potholes, convertibles are often at their most expensive in spring and early summer, as sellers capitalise on demand. If you can wait, it pays to buy a convertible when the weather is at its worst and sellers are struggling to shift them…

Basic used convertible checks

Since convertibles are all about the roof, this is the main point you’ll want to check when viewing a used convertible. The two main things to look out for are the roof’s condition, and its operation. Modern fabric roofs are amazingly resilient but fabric is still subject to the ravages of time and weather, and a lack of TLC, so check for wear and tear, rips, fraying, and the condition of stitching and any glass or plastic panels. Folding hardtops will be more sturdy so here you’re checking more for chips in the paint, or dents like you might find on normal bodywork.

The roof’s operation is the other thing to check. Whether manual or electronic, you want to ensure the roof opens and closes smoothly, parks where it should when down, and seals where it should when up. It’s not always easy to check how weatherproof a roof is, but on a test drive excess wind noise is a telltale sign the roof isn’t sealing correctly (though bear in mind, a soft-top will almost always be noisier than a regular fixed-roof car anyway). If the roof can be opened and closed from a key, ensure this works too.