How to Repair a Torn Top on a New Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

Written by mona harte
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Cruising around under a bright blue sky is one of the true pleasures of owing a Volkswagen Beetle convertible. Then comes the stomach-lurching moment when a tear in the convertible top is discovered. Rather than drive around with raindrops falling on your head, fix it. Getting it done quickly prevents further problems such as ruined carpet, rusted metal and mould. There are several solutions, from quick fixes with tape to more involved methods using fabric swatches and canvas strips.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Duct tape
  • Fabric swatches or coloured canvas
  • Waterproof fabric glue
  • Upholstery thread
  • Canvas needle
  • Sharp scissors

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  1. 1

    Cut a two equal strips of duct tape. Apply one to the interior of the torn canvas and the other to the exterior side. This quick-fix method works best on small tears.

  2. 2

    Obtain a fabric swatch from a VW dealer, a fabric shop that deals in canvas or a sailmaking shop. Cut the fabric in two equal lengths of the tear plus another inch on all sides. Apply waterproof glue to one piece and apply to the interior of the tear. Let dry according to the manufacturer's directions. Repeat the gluing process, using the second piece of fabric, on the exterior of the tear. Allow to dry per the manufacturer's directions.

  3. 3

    Cut canvas the length of the tear plus another 2 to 2.5 inches on all sides. Fold all edges 1.5 to 2 inches under the canvas. This will interlock the ragged edges and form a watertight seal. Have someone place his or her palm or hold a book against the interior side of the tear to provide a flat work surface. Place the piece over the exterior of the tear and secure with backstitches.

Tips and warnings

  • Canvas needles are numbered. The heavier the canvas, the larger the needle will be.
  • Sharp scissors will reduce the fraying along edges of cut canvas.
  • Any repaired tear will eventually tear again from stress or age. The only way to have a perfect repair is to replace the convertible top completely.

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