The Pros and Cons of a Sliding Ragtop
Have you ever pulled up to a traffic light, seen a cool car with a sliding ragtop roof and been just a little bit envious because you wish your car had one too?
What you might not be aware of is that most cars can actually be converted to accommodate a sliding ragtop even if you have owned it for years.
What is a Sliding Ragtop?
Also known as a canvas sunroof, a sliding ragtop serves the same purpose as a glass sunroof – it lets the sun and the wind in on a warm day – but it is made from a durable canvas instead.
To operate it, the driver just needs to slide it open and closed but there is no need to worry about electronics going wrong because a sliding ragtop is almost always manually operated.
Some cars – especially older classic cars – come with a sliding ragtop installed. You can however install a sliding ragtop, or have one installed for you, on almost any car that is on the market today.
Sliding Ragtops versus Glass Sun Roofs
Glass sun roofs come standard on a great many different models of cars these days and they are usually an optional extra on even more.
They serve the same purpose as a ragtop and they too can often be installed on an after market basis so why choose a sliding ragtop over a glass sunroof?
Ease of operation is one reason that many people cite for choosing a ragtop over a glass sunroof. Many modern sunroofs are electrically operated and they can have a rather annoying tendency to get stuck.
Even those that do have a manual operation option can be hard to operate as the handles and levers that operate them are usually quite stiff and it takes a bit of brute strength to work them properly.
A sliding ragtop is manually operated but because it tends to lighter it is easier to handle.
Customization options are another reason that sliding ragtops are popular. A glass sunroof is just that – glass. You can opt to have it tinted but that is about as far as you can go in terms of customization.
As a sliding ragtop is made out of canvas, in theory your options are almost endless. You can choose your color, your pattern and more to create a look that matches your car and is unique to you and your vehicle.
Installing a Sliding Ragtop
To install a ragtop in a car that has never had a roof opening before means that a part of the car roof has to be removed. Doing so can be achieved with some fairly simple tools that the average avid DIYer probably already owns but doing it properly calls for a great deal of precision.
If a DIY enthusiast were to get their cuts wrong, they could damage both the look and the structural safety of the car. So you would have to be very familiar with car customizations before you attempted to use a DIY kit to install a sliding ragtop on your vehicle.
For some people restoring or customizing their vehicle is a passion and a full time hobby that they become very good at. For these people, using a do-it-yourself kit to add a ragtop to their vehicle can make for a weekend of enjoyment as well as a real feeling of satisfaction.
For these car lovers, there are a number of different online retailers who offer all kinds of kits to help them with their project.
Those who are less mechanically inclined tend to choose to leave the installation of a sliding ragtop to a professional instead.
A number of body shops do offer standard options but if you want something very unique then a trip to a custom installer is a better idea, although it may cost a little more than either a standard professional installation or a do it yourself kit.
The Costs of a Sliding Ragtop
One of the most important questions people have if they are considering adding a sliding ragtop to their car or truck is just how much is the project going to cost?
The answer is that it depends!
It depends on the type of vehicle they own, the size of the opening they want to create, the type of canvas they want to use and whether they are going to buy a do it yourself kid or opt for professional installation.
All of this having been said though it is usually perfectly possible to commission a customized professional installation for well under a $1000 and some DIY kits can be purchased for just a few hundred dollars.
There are lots of reasons people choose to add a sliding ragtop to their car but whatever yours is if you take the time to shop around carefully to get the right style and price is a decision you will probably never regret!