A Great Way to Protect Your RV Investment
An RV is a huge investment, and one you will definitely want to keep in tip-top shape. Of course, this means keeping up with RV maintenance.
There are a huge number of maintenance tasks that come along with owning an RV. Many of these focus on preventing leaks and ensuring you are safe when driving down the road. Others focus on keeping the appliances, plumbing, and electricity in good shape. Unfortunately, very few manuals focus on keeping your RV decals intact, shiny, and looking like new.
How to Protect RV Decals From Damage
RV decals are well known for their tendency to fade and even peel over time. It is unfortunate when this happens, because faded, peeling decals really take away from the beauty of a trailer or motorhome. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid this problem.
Read on for our top tips on how to protect your RV decals from damage.
Avoid abrasive RV cleaners
As a responsible RV owner, you will want to keep your RV nice and clean, making sure to wash it at least every few months. This is great and won’t hurt your RV decals at all. That said, you will want to ensure you’re using a non-abrasive cleaner and a soft cloth.
Finding a product that is made specifically for cleaning RVs such as this will ensure you don’t damage your decals during washing. Meanwhile, purchasing only cloths made for cleaning vehicles will prevent damage caused by the cleaning cloth.
Use protectant on your RV
Washing an RV is a big job, and it can be tempting to finish your washing project and call it a day. However, there is still more to be done after the washing is complete. You see, putting a protectant on your RV is incredibly important for the decals and can even help protect the paint job, meaning it’s a step you won’t want to skip.
The best protectant we’ve found is 303 Aerospace Protectant. This product creates a barrier between the surface of the RV and anything that might cause it damage. It even protects against the petroleum distillates that tend to be found in RV waxes. Therefore, adding protectant is one of the best proactive steps you can take.
Park in the shade
Harsh UV rays can be incredibly damaging to an RV. The bright sunshine will eat away at the roof over time and leave the plastic skylights brittle and yellow. It causes the paint to fade and the RV decals to fade over time and eventually peel.
Because the sun is so damaging to the exterior of your RV, we highly recommend parking in the shade whenever possible. This will limit the amount of sunlight your home-on-wheels sees, helping it look better and last longer—two things we all want for our rigs. Read reviews on sites like RV LIFE Campgrounds to get a better idea of how much shade each campground offers.
Cover when in storage
In addition to parking in the shade when camping, it’s also a good idea to ensure your RV is covered when in storage. This might mean renting a covered storage spot, or it could mean building a covered storage area for your motorhome or trailer in your own yard.
There is also the option of using an RV cover to keep the sunlight away, and while this is the most labor-intensive option, it is also the most affordable for many.
Watch out for branches
Branches can be very damaging to RV decals. They can cut right through the decals, leaving them split and peeling in the middle. For this reason, you will want to look out for low-hanging branches surrounding campsites and avoid narrow roads that are lined on both sides by trees.
If your RV graphics are already beginning to crack or fade, check out this video from RVStreet on how to fix them:
Keep track of your RV maintenance
Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all of your documents and receipts in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due and potentially avoid a costly repair or serious accident.
Hopefully taking these steps will help you protect your RV decals, keeping them fresh and ensuring they continue to look new for years to come. Have a tip you’d like to add? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Chelsea Gonzales is a full-time RVer, freelance writer, and roadschooling mama who loves sharing her expertise about RVing with kids, roadschooling, and full-time RVing. The entrepreneurial and free-spirited author is also artistic director of the Aistear Mobile Irish Dance Academy, and currently travels with her family in a 27-foot travel trailer. Chelsea’s informational articles about full-time RVing, raising children on the road, camping, and destination features appear on her blog, Wonder Wherever We Wander. throughout the RV LIFE network, and in RV industry media outlets such as Outdoorsy, Coach-Net, and RV Share.
Richard Menchel says
Great job filming and explaining how to fix up the graphics on your motorhome. Very meticulous.
I’m looking for suggestions on how to remove oxidation from exterior of my 5th wheel before waxing. I don’t want to damage the gel coat
Michael Doherty says
303 Protectant is very good. I use it on many of my outdoor possessions, including the roof of my Outdoors RV. I try to reapply it twice a year, though it never seems to wear off at all. I also use a product called “The Last Coat 2.0”. I started using it on my truck and cars and eventually on my trailer. It is incredibly protective of all surfaces, including the RV decals. Road grime, including tar splatter and bugs do not stick to it, making cleanup after trips much easier. It is extremely easy to apply and lasts a long time. Simply spray it on a microfiber towel and wipe it on, then buff it off with a dry microfiber towel. It also works great on glass and appliances. I highly recommend it.
Wow very informative and a great teaching video. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
I will be applying what I learned from you this summer
Theresa Baurer says
I need clarification on when and where to use 303aerospace protectant or REJEX.
I found this video very interesting/informative. Thanks. .
Craig Hobler says
All good information on the saving of graphics. You may want to look at McKees 37 line of products that come under the Max’s brand https://www.mckees37.com/rv-vinyl-decal-graphic-restorer.html#
I have used the Graphic restorer on my coach. Its and 07 Meridian and the graphics were starting to show age. After using this product the graphic are looking good and holding up well. I will have to say I use it two times a year however.
Again just another product in the RV line of stuff.
walt chomosh says
Thanks for the great vid!….walt….tulsa,ok
Nathan Neal says
really was informative
Jim Watson says
Always enjoy your brief articles on your site with some helpful information!
Charles Davis says
NEVER USE A WAX WITH CARNAUBA in it on decals, I learned that years ago from a guy who makes the decals and supplies them to the RV industry.
Barbara Morales says
We had our decals painted on. It was worth it to us. We had that problem with our last camper and had replaced the front ones twice.
Also, do NOT use a high pressure sprayer – it will peel em’ right off! A fine spray from the press. washer is fine – but no direct concentrated spray!
Wendell B beard says
thanks for the info. i took notes and will apply them soon to our recent class c upgrade.
Dalton Bourne says
You can try the wet sanding method to remove oxidation from RV decals. Some types of RV oxidation are superficial scratches that give the motorhome a dull and oxidized appearance. For this method, you will need to use sandpaper of different grit sizes. Always start with the coarsest sandpaper (No. 600 or No. 400) and work towards the best grit size (No. 2000) you can get.
Samantha Nichols says
Very proud of how easy it absolutely was to wash with a car wash mitt, sprayed on and therefore the shine came back immediately. Decal colors also returned. the following day there was a tiny low amount of wax chipping on the black decals, but this was easily wiped off with a microfiber. but 1/4 bottle of TR Wax used, 29ft RV.