Is the "boot" on a convertible really necessary?
July 1, 2005 4:50 PM   Subscribe

I am borrowing a Mazda Miata (convertible). Do I really need to use the "boot"?

The manual says that after I put the top down I need to cover it with a "boot", or risk damage. I suspect the book is just being overcautious, since it also says to never leave the top down when the car is unattended, which my GF does all the time. There is no boot in the car right now, she is overseas, and it's hot out. So I need to know - can I drive around with the top down without the boot, or will I really break something?
posted by mrgoldenbrown to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total)
How long are you going to be driving it around? a week? Nah, not important. What is important is treating the clutch with respect.
posted by Dean Keaton at 4:56 PM on July 1, 2005

I never used the boot on my convertible. If she doesn't leave it in the car, I think it's safe to assume she doesn't use it either.
posted by trevyn at 5:00 PM on July 1, 2005

My wifely friend has a 97 Miata and we only got a boot for it this year. No problems so far, except for the occasional wolverine attack, which I feel was unrelated.
posted by Kafkaesque at 5:08 PM on July 1, 2005 [1 favorite]

If you live in a dusty area, I would suggest using the boot. The plastic window in the back is highly prone to scratching from even the smallest ammt of rubbing against the folds made. Now this does not happen if you have a bootsince the abrasive dust does not get in there.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 5:24 PM on July 1, 2005

Of course mrgoldenbrown's girlfriend might have a Miata with a glass rear window. I never use my boot. Too much hassle.
posted by coelecanth at 5:28 PM on July 1, 2005

I never had a boot for mine either. Do be careful if you have the plastic rear window though. I left the top down on a very hot day and the plastic partially melted because it lays against the black carpet on the back. It was brown and cracked the next day.
posted by mbell at 5:40 PM on July 1, 2005

Kafkaesque has just reminded me that I need to go listen to some Jonathan Richman. : )
posted by cali at 5:44 PM on July 1, 2005

OK - this is confusing for us limeys! The boot that we're talking about here isn't "the trunk", is it?
posted by benzo8 at 6:06 PM on July 1, 2005

benzo8, nope. It's a C-shaped piece of material that covers the retractable top mechanism when in the retracted position. The full name seems to be "boot cover", as here.
posted by trevyn at 7:03 PM on July 1, 2005

I just bought a Miata in the spring and I have never once used the boot. It looks nice in pictures, but, as a practical matter, it'll add a few minutes to the 20 second top removal. Plus, you'd have to get out of the car, which kind of sucks if you want to make that sweet top to topless transition at a stoplight.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:20 PM on July 1, 2005

Thanks for the help. She does in fact have the glass rear window, so it sounds like I'm all set.
posted by mrgoldenbrown at 5:50 AM on July 2, 2005

I worked for a company that built OEM convertible tops. Boots are 1% protective and 99% cosmetic. (Okay I may have over-emphasized the protective part- 100% cosmetic.)
posted by Doohickie at 9:40 AM on July 2, 2005

I don't bother using the boot on my Miata, which has been with me for 8 years and 3 tops, including the original which I replaced immediately on buying it. There is probably some wear impact of not using the boot, a combination of the sun on the inside less-protected material and the wind moving it about. On the other hand there's probably some positive impact from not capturing moisture and contributing to rot.

No matter what, tops wear out and need replacing. The repercussions of boot use don't even come close to the impact of plain and simple time. As doohickie says, they're almost all cosmetic.
posted by phearlez at 3:14 PM on July 5, 2005

Why did you replace the original, phearlez? (was the car used?)
posted by Doohickie at 8:17 PM on July 5, 2005

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