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Old 12-30-2012, 12:53 AM   #1
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Soft-top vs Hard-top safety

So.... I'm looking at a '13 JKU Sahara in the next few months. We have a one year old that will rarely ride in it unless in a pinch. I know there are several factors here that I don't even want to try to address, but what are your thoughts on the safety aspect of having a soft-top as opposed to a hardtop? Aside from noise (which seems to be fairly tolerable with the new premium soft-top) how much more protection does a hard top offer in a worse case scenario (flying debris, rollovers, etc..)?

Hopefully, none of you have experienced first hand my scenario, but maybe someone out there has.

I realize this question is leaving the door wide open to a copious amount of speculation, but I'm trying to get some objective thoughts out there.

Feel free to chime in!

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Old 12-30-2012, 02:18 AM   #2
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Honestly, I don't think there would be much of a difference. If push came to shove, the hardtop would snap and fly into three pieces very easily in the event of a rollover/impact, and the soft top would rip/shred to pieces. Take your pick, haha.

**edit**
If I HAD to pick one over the other, it'd be a hardtop. I think I'd stand a better chance with a bear outside my jeep with that rather than fabric, lol.

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Old 12-30-2012, 02:36 AM   #3
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Call it a public service announcement but hard, soft, or topless makes no difference if the car seat isn't installed correctly. Most of the car seats I see on a daily basis are not installed correctly. You may be a pro, but just throwing it out there
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:28 AM   #4
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Both the hard and soft tops carry the same warning label stating that the top and doors are only for protection against the elements and should not be relied on for protection in a collision situation.
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:59 AM   #5
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Soft top
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:07 AM   #6
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You pick. I've had both. Just get a dual top and have the best of both worlds.
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:10 AM   #7
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As mentioned previously both tops are for protection from the "elements"...but a soft top can not shatter and break into splinters since it is cloth.....unless it is very very cold.
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nextgen View Post
Honestly, I don't think there would be much of a difference. If push came to shove, the hardtop would snap and fly into three pieces very easily in the event of a rollover/impact, and the soft top would rip/shred to pieces. Take your pick, haha.

**edit**
If I HAD to pick one over the other, it'd be a hardtop. I think I'd stand a better chance with a bear outside my jeep with that rather than fabric, lol.
^ This.
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:26 PM   #9
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[ We have a one year old that will rarely ride in it unless in a pinch. QUOTE]


Both of my kids at that age rode all over southern Utah in a cj7 . Soft top and no top

Don't crash and you will be fine.
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:33 PM   #10
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I mean you could envision scenarios where one or the other might be preferable. If you roll over onto a tree, maybe the soft top is more likely to puncture on a sharp limb and penetrate into an occupant, perhaps the hard top would break the limb instead. Maybe a large rock could fall onto the Jeep that cleanly breaks the hard top but would have been "absorbed" or deflected by the soft top.

I really don't know, but I think those are pretty manufactured examples that aren't worth really considering in your decision. By and large, I'd expect the tops to be roughly equivalent in terms of safety with the differences being small enough that it shouldn't influence your decision.

My 2 cents
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:35 PM   #11
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Check out the hard top when you get a chance. I have only the hard top as a matter of preference, but having removed it from the vehicle I can tell you this:

The 70 or so lbs of thin, flexible plastic will not offer you significant protection in the event of a roll over - that's what the bar/cage is for. If you want more protection, that's what you need to upgrade.
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:13 PM   #12
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I belive in one of the crush topics in this section has pictures of a hardtop rollover and it looks to have faired pretty well.
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:38 PM   #13
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You say your kid will only ride in the jeep in a "pinch" Why not? My kids LOVE riding in the jeep.
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ltsrapcon
You say your kid will only ride in the jeep in a "pinch" Why not? My kids LOVE riding in the jeep.
Well, my son just turned 1, so he doesn't realize the coolness yet. But he will. :-)
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:23 PM   #15
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Hard tops do not shatter into a lot of pieces in a rollover. There have been pictures of JKs rolled on the interstate posted to the forums, and the hardtop was still intact. I am running freedom panels from a wrecked Jeep right now and the panels are in perfect condition. Which brings me to my point... immediately after a rollover the hard top will make it more difficult to get out of the vehicle. This could, depending on situation, be a safety issue.

In every other instance the hard top will be safer. It will resist road debris better, it will resist severe storms better, it will hold up a little better if a branch falls on your Jeep, and it will hold up better in a rollover which is good because the last thing you want is to be ejected from the vehicle. Based on safety.. the hardtop wins hands down. I mean, why do you think they even offer a hard top to begin with? It holds up better when the nastiness gets thrown at it.

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