Does the term tarpaulin mean anything to you? Anyone who drives an older convertible should know what to do with it. But the word doesn't even come from the automotive industry. The term tarpaulin comes from the sailor's language. To this day, seafarers use it to refer to an impregnated fabric or a waterproof cover made of such a fabric. This type of cover can still be found today as water protection for a cargo hatch or as a cover for a sail that has been taken in. The term actually comes from Dutch and means something like "wrapping". The cover for the convertible top is also referred to as a tarpaulin.
Protects the convertible top and is a must
With older cars, the cover must be removed before starting the journey. If the convertible top is open, it lies in the so-called convertible top tray. This tub is covered by the tarpaulin when the roof is open. But not only to protect against incoming water, dust or other environmental influences. The tarpaulin also serves to avoid fluttering movements or vibrations while driving. And soiling from the convertible top can also be successfully avoided. The cover is not an integral part of convertibles without a roof tray, but sometimes just an accessory. The tarpaulin is kept loose and must be pulled up on the folded-down convertible top before starting the journey. The tarpaulin is fixed with the help of push buttons or a zipper. The fixation is quick and easy if you are practiced. You should also take the time to fix the tarpaulin for another reason. Because when driving a convertible with the top down, it is the vorgeschrieb such a cover for the convertible top in convertible types without opening the convertible top. The obligation to use is even noted in the vehicle registration document.
typical material of a tarpaulin
The tarpaulin used to be made of impregnated fabric made of tar and several layers of fabric. To this day, sailors refer to such a cover as “tar blanket”. In the past, tarpaulin had to be treated with impregnation agents at regular intervals to keep the material waterproof. For example, Feldtol with tassels was used for this. Today tarpaulin has an additional layer of plastic, in the form of polyester-acrylic fabric or PVC or just acrylic. There is also an acrylate or polyurethane coating on the inside. A good tarpaulin can withstand a water column of 800 to 1700 mm.
Only on the road for a few vehicles
Pulling up a tarpaulin used to be a common procedure before leaving with a convertible. Because owners of a convertible have always been very proud of their vehicle and of course wanted it to stay intact for a long time. In the past, only convertibles were produced that did not have a convertible top tray. In the past, it was not technically feasible for the convertible top to be invisibly sunk near the trunk in order to be protected from the weather and other influences. Today there are only a few convertibles on the market that require a tarpaulin - apart from youngtimers and oldtimers.
The tarpaulin can be tuned
Of course, a tarpaulin can also be customized. It is possible to refurbish an old tarpaulin and, for example, cover it with a material of your choice, but you can also have a completely new tarpaulin made if the old one is no longer usable. And here there are hardly any limits to individuality. All colors are feasible, lettering, for example of the vehicle type, a company or a life motto can be incorporated, and the possibility of attachment can also be selected. If a tarpaulin with snap fasteners was previously installed, it is possible to convert to a zipper. The reverse also applies, of course. For this purpose, however, corresponding changes have to be made to the roof trough. Variants with a snap lock are also available. For common vehicles such as the VW Beetle, an old Ford Mustang or an Opel Kadett, an individual cover including locking mechanism is available.
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