Your RV is a major investment like your house or automobile. To help protect your investment and get many years of reliable service and use from your RV, there are preventive maintenance steps you can take. One is maintaining the exterior of your RV.
Maintaining the exterior contributes to extending the life of the RV and protecting your investment. If you let your RV go, without cleaning it for periods of time, it can be very difficult to get that new look back again.
Here are 5 easy steps to keep your RV looking new:
1) To extend the life of the exterior, wash the RV frequently. If you let bugs, dirt, and black streaks stay on the exterior surface too long it can be difficult to clean and remove. Try to wash your RV after returning from each trip. Use a mild soap that is compatible with the surface of the RV. Use a long handled brush with soft bristles to reach the high areas and a wash glove or mitt for the easy to reach areas. Rinse the area you plan to wash first and always wash from the top down. When you rinse soap from the surface, avoid spraying water in any of the appliance vents.
Tip: There are marine cleaning products that work well on fiberglass surfaces. When cleaning the roof keep the sides of the RV rinsed off to avoid soap residue, streaking and any damage to decals, graphics or the paint finish. Never use cleaners containing petroleum solvents, harsh abrasives, or citric-based acids on rubber or vinyl roofs.
2) Metal sidewall finishes require more routine maintenance to keep black streaks cleaned from the surface. If black streaks remain on metal sidewall finishes for prolonged periods of time it can be extremely difficult to clean or remove the streaks. When you use commercial cleaners, like black streak removers, always read and follow the instructions for the best cleaning results and to protect the RV’s paint and graphics from possible damage. Watch a video on cleaning RV black streaks.
3) Removing dead bugs and road debris from the front of your RV can be a real job. The best advice I can offer is to remove the bugs as soon as possible and use lots of water. The water helps hydrate the dead bugs, making them easier to remove. I have had good luck using bug and tar remover products to clean difficult stains and road debris, but nothing replaces good old elbow grease.
4) Waxing or polishing the exterior is a time consuming chore, but it will help extend the life of your RV. Wax or polish the exterior using a quality product formulated for the type of exterior surface your RV has. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Exercise caution when applying wax or polish around graphics on the RV. It’s a good idea to wax the RV when water no longer beads on the surface.
5) As time passes the roof and exterior of your RV begins to show signs of wear, caused by constant exposure to the elements. Ozone in the air and UV rays from the sun start to take a toll on the RV’s exterior. Paint starts to fade and products made of rubber and vinyl start to dry out, crack, and deteriorate. UV rays from the sun make this aging process happen quicker. If your RV is stored outside the only way to protect it from these damaging affects is to keep it covered. Make sure the cover is designed for use on RVs.
These simple cleaning tips are designed to help keep the exterior of your RV looking new, but keep in mind there are other important preventive maintenance steps required to maintain the RV’s exterior. You need to inspect all the seams and sealants on the RV periodically and reseal any areas where the sealant is cracked or separating. If you do-it-yourself make sure you use sealants compatible with the surface you are sealing, or you can take the RV to your local dealer to have it inspected.
Tip: Review your RV owner’s manual for routine and scheduled maintenance and intervals the manufacturer recommends the owner should perform.
Well there you have it, a nice clean RV until you head out on another exciting RV adventure.
RV Education 101