Removing a Vinyl Car Roof

Written by russell wood
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Removing a Vinyl Car Roof
Get ready for some work. (sandpapier image by Thomas Aumann from

Vinyl tops used to be popular options on many cars back in the 1960s and 1970s, but have waned in popularity since then. Part of the reason for that is the damage that a vinyl top can do to the underside of the roof. Since it holds water, it can rust out the roof and cause damage to the car. Removing the vinyl top is not an easy process either, since it is glued in place. But it can be removed at home, with some elbow grease.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Exterior trim tool
  • Razor blades
  • Putty knife
  • Air compressor with air line
  • Pneumatic dual-action sander
  • 80-grit dual-action sandpaper

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  1. 1

    Pull off the trim around the vinyl top using the exterior trim tool. Make sure all of the trim is off the car so that you see a visible edge to the vinyl top.

  2. 2

    Place the putty knife between the edge of the vinyl and the roof. Pry off the vinyl using the knife until you can get a hand on the vinyl itself. Pull up the remaining vinyl, cutting it into manageable pieces using the razor blades along the way.

  3. 3

    Sand any glue or foam off the roof using the dual-action sander, dual-action sandpaper, air compressor and air line.

Tips and warnings

  • Before you take off your vinyl top, know that there is a possibility that you'll have to do some rust repair as well. Not all cars will rust under the vinyl top, but there is a good chance.

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