No one ever said there wasn't any risk when buying a retractable hard top convertible, but one member on Bimmerfest's message board is living with a very ugly reality. It seems a grinding sound was heard as the owner was lowering her top and much distress and anguish later the car was towed to a nearby BMW dealership. The rear passenger side back panel (the one with the rear window) popped loose and caused some gnarly panel shifts. The front panel reacted to the rear panel by popping up to on the passenger side really making the whole roof a sad mess. You can see a lot more of this, as the owner posted various photos on Picasa Web Albums.
All of this got me thinking about the hardtop maintenance. I apply 303 Aerospace vinyl/rubber protectant to all of my rubber seals, but doing this really wouldn't prevent anything as drastic as this issue from happening. I also have read that some people apply grease to some of the joints of their tops. I haven't tried that but am definitely looking into doing this now as a I'm sure some grease on the joints would be helpful to keep everything working nicely.
For those of you with a hardtop convertible, what do you do to maintain your top? What products, tips or suggestions do you have understanding that the problems of the Bimmerfest poster is more of a defect than a lack of maintenance care, the car only had 5k miles on it... Yikes! more.