Ford Authority

2019 Ford Mustang Convertible Roof Procedure Drives Us Crazy

We just finished spending a week with the 2019 Ford Mustang Convertible. Ours was the EcoBoost model – the one powered by the turbocharged 2.3L I4 EcoBoost engine mated to the ten-speed automatic transmission. While not a drag strip showoff, the baby Mustang, especially with the roof off, is a wonderful summertime cruiser. But we must address an important issue related to the retractable roof and its operating procedure.

Normally, all one must do to remove the roof in a convertible car is press a button, and the mechanism takes care of the rest. But in the 2019 Ford Mustang convertible, it’s a tad more complex.

You see, in order to ensure optimal air flow and economy benefits, Ford created a flush beltline around the car – which is great. The only problem is that this design trips over the retractable roof’s mechanism.

To patch the issue, retractable plastic covers are used on each side of the car, roughly where the C-pillar would be on the Mustang Fastback/Coupe. And therein lies the problem: if these covers are in place, the Mustang downright refuses to open its roof, with a message appearing in the instrument cluster asking you to remove the covers.

It’s nothing demanding, or particularly hard, since it takes just a few seconds to toss them in the trunk. But it’s an extra step a convertible can and should do without. In fact, we quickly got tired of removing the covers after a few instances. Also, one could only imagine how these covers would hold up after a few years of use, potentially becoming loose, cracked, or damaged in some other fashion. And if not, then it’s just one more thing for the owner to take care of and potentially forget, break or misplace (lose). In other words, things would be better had the Mustang Convertible been developed without the need for these covers.

The good news is that it is still possible to drive the car without these caps on, but Ford stipulates that the promised fuel economy numbers won’t be achieved. We drove it with and without the plastic components and we didn’t really notice a difference, averaging a healthy 26 MPG.

What do you think – are convertible caps a hassle, or a legitimately necessary feature? Share your thoughts in the comments section below, and don’t forget to subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford Mustang news and around-the-clock Ford news coverage.

Automotive journalist from Canada.

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  1. gareth

    If you can drive with out then leave off if does not make that difference in the economy numbers or if you want the sleek airoe look keep them on with the roof down but no doubt some one will have law suite in a few years time after wear and tear on the plastic pieces

  2. Rich

    Boy what 20 years has done to you folks, you mean to tell me you can’t get up and get off your rosy rumps to remove just 2 simple covers. Hell man, what happen the the wrap around vinyl boots? My Classic 1987 Mustang GT Convertible(which is for sale-13,300 original miles) and almost all convertible before it have a beautiful wrap around, snap-on and lock in channel vinyl boot that covers the entire opening the convertible top fits into. It’s clean and adds to the dynamics of the car.
    1987 Mustang GT Convertible Boot

  3. Doc

    The top has been like this since the first S550 Mustang was made in 2014 it’s a non issue. It must be a very slow week at Ford authority making up nit pick stories.

    1. Rich

      It did get my attention, but it doesn’t change the fact that our younger generation is being pampered. A little more effort in achieving the same goal doesn’t hurt. At least they don’t have to use a hand crank. 🙂

  4. Mike

    We leave ours safely stashed in the house and have since day one. Two years and 22,000 miles of fun in our Ecoboost Premium manual averaging about 26 mpg and a million smiles per gallon.

  5. Allen

    Seems to me making a big issue about nothing my 71 Torino has the vinyl wrap that you have to install a lot more work than a couple plastic caps don’t sweat the small stuff enjoy the ride ?

  6. sTEVEC

    Okay so really. You looked at the car….stunning. You drove it….stunning. You looked at it again….stunning but you thought, we have to be real cool and try and think of something negative to say. Congrats, you did it!

  7. Dennis C

    Great observation. I took delivery of a 2019 ruby red GT Premium with the Coyote V8 & every available option. ( I’m 68 BTW, not that that matters). What a fantastic ride, top up or down. I used the covers once. No one notices, one way or the other, but I’ve since convinced myself that a heavy foot on the gas and a rough roadway would send these things flying at whoever was behind me! I completely agree there must be a better solution. The one problem I encountered was that the inside liner fabric got twisted and caught up in the frame & almost tore the material. I suspect the way the covers snap into place had something to do with it. Once was enough for me and I never had the problem again but I also don’t use the covers any more either. Does anyone really care about the gas mileage?

  8. Andy Branigan

    I have a 2016 and the covers are a monumental pain in the ass. They don’t do a thing for appearance except hide the big mechanism wells and as for fuel economy, someone is blowing smoke. That’s three years experience talking.

    The only real problem I’m aware of is that if you use them in the Arizona sun, they’ll warp a bit while installed; and, if you forget they’re there and put the top up they look like depth charges being fired off the side of a PT boat (at the traffic light in Prescott when everyone is trying to impress everyone else after the show). When they warp slightly they don’t disable the top switch. It’s funny now after two years. It wasn’t then with all the traffic trying to avoid them flying through the air and then sitting on the blacktop. Oh well. Lesson learned.?

    I’m really hoping someone comes up with a one piece boot, a la 1972, that will cover the entire well with the top down. I hate those things. They never fit flush and, well, read my post above for the rest of the story.

  9. Matt

    The covers don’t bother me at all, because I put them on a shelf in the garage the day I brought the car home. But what DOES bother me is having to deal with a manual latch, not being able to put the top down with the remote, and having no option to automatically close the windows when I put the top up.

  10. Mary

    Those tonneau caps on our 2019 Mustang GT Convertible are just a PAIN. We just leave the caps off. What should also be addressed on the Mustang convertible is the convertible top latch handle for securing (lock/unlock) the top. Why have a power top when you still must manually put it into action?

  11. Dennis C

    All great points folks. Although I do like the comfort of knowing the car has an intense locking mechanism at both corners so when I am traveling fast ( in case big brother is reading) I won’t offer the mph, but you get the idea) I’m not at all worried about the top popping open. Haha.
    I’d love to hear from the 2019 owners if anybody lasted more than a month with the single note horn (super embarrassing) or the 1950’s hood prop rod? I’ve added the missing horn note and gas struts to the hood. What a difference!!! Ford needs to keep the cost cutters out of the car design of their only car/Sedan left.

  12. Rich

    Mary, this must be your first convertible. Those latches secure the top so it doesn’t open, they are a major safety factor found on almost all convertibles.
    I tried to attach a photo of my 1987 GT Convertible ,showing the boot, it really does look nice. I don’t think this chat forum has a provision for attaching photos. If we can let me know how.

  13. Matt

    Rich, all convertibles have latches, not just almost all. But this is the 21st century. These days many convertibles have electrically activated latches. Why, even a Camaro has them.

    Manual latching is simply a cost and weight saving measure, appropriate for cars like the Miata.

  14. Michiana Dunes

    I have a 2016 GT convertible only because I prefer the roof line of a convertible to the hardtop. Always liked the coupe better than the fastback. Have had the top down twice now and used the little side covers. Not a big deal but thought they were sort of useless. If ever I put the top down again, I’ll just leave those in the trunk. I prefer the manual latching and would really prefer more mechanical self directed operation on the car. All the automatic stuff is a waste on me and simply adds cost to the car which I don’t appreciate. The simpler, the better in my opinion. Take off all the automatic stuff and reduce the price by a couple thousand $ and I’d be happier buying my next convertible. Thank you.

  15. Michael

    I have a 2019. The trim caps give a nice finished look to the mechanism bay. I use them every time I am at a car show. They came with the car, and I enter in the 2015 and newer, stock category at several car shows in my general area. I get a lot of complements on the tonneau covers. People ask me where I got them, they are dumb founded when I tell them that they are in the tire compartment, and that there is no spare tire in the spare tire compartment. I have to say, I was surprised to see that ford had the better idea to put an air compressor in my car to air up my flat tire, but they did not give me a jack, a spare tire, or a can ot puncture sealer. so I have to wonder, what genius thought this up? What if I get a blow out, then what? Hello, AAA….

    1. Don

      the silly little compressor is also full of “puncture sealant” 🙂 shhh

  16. Will

    I have a 2019 EcoBoost convertible (with a rare manual transmission) and using the plastic tonneau caps is no big deal, but as others mention ya gotta wonder if the engineers could come up with a way to automatically cover the hinges. At least the Mustang convertible trunk space is far better than the Camaro, but again the designers could have made the opening larger, less like a puzzle piece. For Michiana Dunes I suggest her next convertible should be a 65 to 68 Mustang. For Michael, you can buy the complete spare tire kit. I required the dealer to include the jack and spare and keep the silly inflator. I don’t want to be stranded someplace for who knows how long waiting for a spare tire. If you read your Mustang roadside assistance brochure you’ll note that it says if you have a flat they will put on your spare for you………and if you don’t have a spare……..doh! As far as the manual top latch, big deal, it saves weight and complexity. I’ve had many convertibles and the Mustang top is the best and makes it the quietest convertible ever.


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