Owning a convertible car is a dream for many of us. So much more than just a vehicle that gets you from A to B, a convertible is the ultimate statement car. However, it’s the price of a brand-new convertible car that can sometimes drive potential buyers away. But what if we told you that you could own a convertible car without burning a hole in your pocket?
Buying a second-hand convertible car gives you the convertible experience without the price tag. Whether you’re on the hunt for a vintage roadster or a slick and modern two-seater, Gumtree offers a wide range of second-hand cars from sellers all across the country.
In this convertible buying guide, we’ll steer you through some of the key things to consider when looking for used convertible cars for sale.
Understanding Convertible Car Types and Their Features
The term ‘roadster’ describes cars with an open top, two front seats and two doors. Roadsters tend to be compact, sporty and fast, with powerful performance and agile handling. Minimalist by design, roadsters are a fantastic pick for those who just love getting behind the wheel and hitting the open road.
An example of a roadster is the Mazda MX-5, which is often referred to as the quintessential modern roadster. It boasts a lightweight design coupled with zippy performance.
Standard convertible cars are versatile and designed for a broader audience. They typically have a rear seat, making them more practical for everyday use compared to two-seater roadsters. Their roofs can be soft tops or hardtops, depending on the model.
‘Standard convertibles’ refers to a wide range of car models—everything from the classic American Ford Mustang Convertible to the Volkswagen Beetle Convertible.
While researching convertible used cars for sale, you’ve probably come across the name ‘cabriolet’. What’s the difference between a cabriolet and a convertible? Funnily enough, there is no real difference. Cabriolet is just another term for a convertible and refers to any type of car with a roof that folds down.
For those who desire their open-top experience to be wrapped in luxury, these convertibles offer maximum comfort, opulent interior materials, advanced features and superior performance. Think classy Nero black leather interior with silver interior trims.
The very best example of a luxury convertible would be the iconic Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet or the timeless Bentley Continental GT Convertible.
Hardtop vs. Soft Top: A Quick Rundown
The one standout feature of convertible cars is, of course, the ability to fold away the roof. When it comes to roof types, you have two options: hardtop or soft top.
When deciding to buy a convertible car, you’ll inevitably find yourself at this crossroads. Do you go for the classic soft top, or a more modern hard top?
Hard top convertible benefits
- Durability: Hardtops are generally more durable and less prone to wear.
- Insulation: Hardtops offer better insulation, ensuring a quieter ride and better temperature control compared to a soft top.
Soft top convertible benefits
- Classic style: The timeless design of a soft top is often a big selling point, as it gives the car a classic look.
- Fuel efficiency: A soft top is much lighter than a hardtop, making it more fuel efficient.
- Extra boot space: The soft top roof is much more compact, meaning that it doesn’t take up as much space as a hardtop when folded away.
The Ups and Downs of Manual vs. Automatic Roof Retraction
Whatever your preference, there are pros and cons to purchasing a convertible with a manual roof retraction function or an automatic roof retraction.
Here are some of the points to consider when searching for a second-hand convertible car.
Automatic roof retraction benefits
- Convenient: Automatic electric roof retraction can be achieved with just the press of a button, so there’s no need to get out and manually put the roof up or down.
- Speedy: Automatic roof retraction is often accomplished a lot quicker than if it was done manually, so you can get on the road faster.
- A touch of sophistication: Automatic retractable roofs offer a luxurious and sophisticated look to your convertible car.
Manual roof retraction benefits
- Economical: Generally speaking, a manual roof is more cost-effective to maintain than an automatic roof and there are fewer intricate systems to repair if something goes wrong.
- More space: Automatic roofs can take up a lot of space, while manual roofs leave more room for your personal items.
The Advantages of Buying a Used Convertible Car
There are plenty of reasons to invest in a second-hand convertible. Here are just a few of the reasons why buying a used car is a smart choice.
Better Value for Money
A second-hand car is always going to be more affordable than a brand-new car. As soon as any car leaves the dealership, it instantly depreciates. This is why buying a second-hand car can offer you much better value for money. You could even find yourself behind the wheel of a high-end luxury convertible that would’ve been out of your budget if bought new.
Room for Customisation
With the money saved from buying second-hand, you might have extra to personalise your convertible, making it uniquely yours. You could invest in leather sports seats, Nero black seat belts or sporty alloy wheels.
Opting for a second-hand convertible car is a green choice. By giving a car a second life, you can contribute to reducing the environmental impact linked to manufacturing and disposing of vehicles.
Key Considerations Before Purchasing a Second-Hand Convertible
When deciding to buy a used convertible car, there are a few things to take into consideration before you can get behind the wheel.
Maintenance and Upkeep
Convertibles may require more maintenance than hardtop cars. In particular, the retractable roof (whether automatic or manual) should be inspected regularly to make sure everything is functioning as it should.
When you’re shopping around for second-hand convertible cars to buy, make sure to ask the previous owner about the car’s service history and the condition of the roof. You can also ask about the routine storage of the car, and where it was most frequently parked.
When it comes to safety, statistics show that convertibles are no more dangerous than regular hardtop cars. That said, the safety-conscious may want to consider investing in a convertible car that features a roll bar. The function of a roll bar is to protect passengers in case the car rolls over. Some modern convertibles come equipped with roll bars that pop up when the car detects a rollover, ensuring the passengers’ safety. When looking for used convertible cars for sale, make sure you ask about this particular feature.
Convertibles often compromise on boot space due to their folding roofs. So, if you’re someone who enjoys taking long road trips with lots of luggage, you need to make sure the convertible you choose can still store all of your baggage.
Another consideration is seat space. Some convertibles, such as roadsters, are designed just for two people. So if you’re considering taking your new convertible out for a family road trip or if you often travel with friends, it might be a better idea to consider a model that comfortably seats more than two people.
While nothing can compare to driving a convertible during a beautiful, sunny day, it’s important to think about sun exposure and protecting yourself from UV rays—especially in Australia, where we often have hot days with high UV ratings. If you purchase a convertible, what are some of the ways you can ensure you and your passengers remain sun-safe?
Your Second-hand Convertible Inspection Checklist
Once you’ve found your dream car online, it’s time to inspect it in person to ensure it meets all your requirements and expectations. As a helpful guide, we’ve put together this list of things you can check for when you meet the seller for your in-person inspection.
- Exterior and roof inspection: Whether it’s a hardtop or soft top, check for any signs of damage, wear and tear, or discolouration. Soft tops, especially, can show signs of aging, such as fraying or fading.
- Seals and leaks: Examine the seals around the roof. These are crucial for preventing water ingress and ensuring noise isolation. It might be worthwhile to hose down the car gently to check for any leaks.
- Roof mechanism operation: Test the retractable roof system to ensure it operates smoothly without any hitches. For manual roofs, check the ease with which it can be put up and down.
- Roof alignment: When the roof is up, ensure it aligns perfectly with the body, leaving no gaps.
- Test Drive: When you take the car for a test drive, test the car with the roof up and down to see how it performs. When the roof is up, pay special attention to any wind noises or rattles. A quiet interior indicates that the roof seals are in good condition.
Why Gumtree is Your Trusted Partner When Buying a Used Convertible Car
With so many options to choose from the finest automotive brands, your search for the right second-hand convertible can be an exciting journey, even if it may take you some time to find the perfect model. Let’s talk about how Gumtree can help make your journey easier, so you can find the convertible car of your dreams.
Detailed Seller Profiles
Gumtree’s in-depth seller profiles give you the chance to familiarise yourself with sellers before making a purchase. Many sellers come with a history of ratings and reviews, giving you valuable insights into their dependability. This extra layer of transparency can be particularly reassuring when you’re considering a significant investment, like a second-hand convertible car.
Safe and Secure Messaging
On Gumtree, you have the advantage of directly messaging sellers via our secure platform. This means you can maintain your privacy, sharing personal details only when you’re ready to proceed with an offer and inspect the vehicle. Our user-friendly messaging feature consolidates all your Gumtree interactions, making it simple and secure.
Safety Resources at Your Fingertips
If you’re looking for a quick refresher on the best practices for online transactions, our Help section has got you covered. It’s packed with safety tips and advice to protect you from scams and other potential hazards when buying online.
Easy Payment Solutions
Gumtree supports secure online payment options, contributing to a seamless and safe transaction process. This feature can help make the payment process smoother and easier for everyone. However, we always advise to take a look at the car and meet the seller face-to-face before you finalise anything.
Find Local Listings Faster
One of the standout features of Gumtree is its localised search capability. This feature enables you to find sellers in your area, potentially allowing you to meet, inspect the vehicle, and even finalise the purchase all in a single day.
What Are You Waiting For?
We hope this guide equips you with the information you need to confidently buy a second-hand convertible drive that fits your lifestyle. So, why wait? Dive into our listings, schedule some test drives, and discover your ideal convertible car. Your coastal getaways and long weekend escapes are just around the corner!