RV Exterior Care & Maintenance
Exterior Fibreglass / Gel Coat Finish
Care of the fibreglass finish of a motorhome is similar to caring for a new car or boat. Any finish will deteriorate over time and exposure to extreme sunlight, pollutants, and excessive moisture can cause dulling, fading and yellowing. Regular washing and periodic waxing will help maintain the glossy new look. When washing use a mild automotive wash solution, being sure to rinse off any loose debris first. Avoid spraying water directly into vents. Waxing twice a year is recommended with an automotive wax or polish developed for boats. Follow all directions by the wax manufacturer carefully and remember to wash and wax out of direct sunlight and when surfaces are cool.
The exterior has a baked on enamel finish. Washing frequently with an automotive or RV wash solution will help avoid staining from debris and soil build up. Always rinse with clear water prior to washing to remove any loose dirt. Waxing two to three times a year with a good automotive paste wax will help preserve the finish.
Do's and Don’ts
- DO use automotive / marine grade non-abrasive waxes
- DO use soft cloths to clean and wax
- DO be careful around graphics, wax and wash with the graphic, not against
- DON'T use products containing ammonia or caustic harsh cleaners
- DON'T use high-pressure washers, rotating brushes or power buffers.
- DON'T dry wipe surfaces
- DON'T use rubbing compounds
Plastic / Moulded Parts
Some components of your RV are constructed of strong ABS moulded plastic. A mild solution of soap and water should be used when cleaning. When using any product, make sure the product is recommended for use on plastics. Avoid harsh abrasive cleaners, ammonia or citric-based products as discoloration may result. Carefully read the component manufacturer’s manual for complete instructions and any applicable safety instructions, provided in the unit packet, prior to performing any maintenance.
Inspect the roof at least every 90 days, paying particular attention to the seams where the areas of fibreglass are joined. Carefully inspect the sealant around any vents, skylights, air conditioners etc. Exposure to the elements will cause sealants to deteriorate over time and variations in climate and weather may accelerate deterioration. Inspection and periodic resealing is essential as preventative maintenance. If cracks or shrinkage is noticed, immediately follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for repair or resealing. Special sealants are used due to the composition of the roofing material. For the appropriate sealant, please see your dealer.
Cleaning of Roof
Prior to cleaning the roof, rinse off to remove any debris. Be sure to keep the sidewalls wet to reduce streaking. Standard household detergents can be used for normal cleaning. Do not use petroleum solvents, harsh abrasives or citric-based cleaners that can damage the membrane. Appropriate cleaners are available through most boat or motor trade shops. Remember to rinse thoroughly after cleaning. For stubborn stains, a cloth dampened with mineral spirits is suggested. Do not, however, pour mineral spirits directly onto the roof material or allow a stain to “soak”. Keeping the roof free of debris and clean will help prevent staining. Avoid parking in areas where fruit or tree sap may fall and remain directly on the roof for extended periods, causing irremovable stains. CAUTION: The roof may be slippery when wet. Always use caution when working on top of your motorhome.
Seals and Adhesives
The seals and adhesives used perform an important job, keeping out an RV enemy – water. Close inspection and routine maintenance are crucial to the longevity of the motorhome. While many types are used, none have a pre-set lifetime, as exposure to the elements and regional variances of climate can accelerate any sealants deterioration. Therefore, every six months, inspection of all seals is recommended and a quick inspection prior to every trip will help reduce potential problems down the road. When inspecting, check for cracks, gaps, shrinkage, or any sign of deterioration. If any of these signs are noticed, replace the sealant if necessary. It is important to use the same kind of sealant that was previously used.
Check the seals around the windows at least once every six months. If any interior leaks are noticed, contact an authorized dealer immediately. To ensure window operation, adjust and lubricate latches and any moving parts annually. A light oil or powdered graphite can be used for lubrication. Periodically use a vacuum attachment to clean any debris out of the window weep holes, which are necessary to drain any condensation or moisture from hard driving rains that may collect.
Frames and Chassis
Over time, weather and climate such as rain, snow, salt etc may lead to corrosion. Rinse the undercarriage, wheel arches, and engine bay when needed to remove dirt, oil, tar, salt and other debris. Periodically inspect for rust and if near coastal regions, inspect more frequently.
Clean regularly to remove dirt, salt, mud, etc. and lubricate pivot points with a quality automotive grade lubricant every 30 – 60 days.
Tyres and Wheels
The tyres should be checked before starting out on any trip. Check them regularly and keep inflated to recommended pressures. The recommended tyre pressure is on the side of the tire or in the vehicle owner’s manual. Carry a tyre gauge, a tyre gauge is a very inexpensive and valuable tool for checking tyre inflation. Rotate the tyres at least once every 10,000 kilometres. Note; Some procedures require the use of special tools for safe and correct maintenance. Do not attempt to service, repair or work on any axle, brake, or wheel system unless you have appropriate skills and knowledge. Lack of proper training, failure to follow procedures or use special tools and safety equipment could result in property damage, serious injury or loss of life.