Practical Tips for RV Awning Care and Maintenance

small travel trailer with awning out and campsite
California and Utah, Photos:Adam Clark/Brody Leven

An RV awning is one of the most useful features available for recreational vehicles and oftentimes has to repaired or replaced. An awning provides much-needed shade from the sun during the hot summer months, creating a cozy outdoor space perfect for barbeques and family gatherings. In addition, an RV awning protects you from rain or snow so you can enjoy the great outdoors even when the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Although awnings are built to withstand exposure to the elements, it’s critical to maintain them to remain in top working condition for years to come. Luckily, RV awning maintenance doesn’t have to be time-consuming or difficult. Read on to learn about the fundamentals of properly caring for your awning to avoid having to buy a pricey replacement in the future.

Wash Your Awning Several Times a Year

Remember to hose your awning down from time to time to keep it clean. Use a non-abrasive brush with soap and water to scrub away more severe stains. You can also invest in a variety of cleaning products on the market made specifically for washing RV awnings. Beware of harsh chemicals like bleach that can wash out the fabric’s color. If mold or mildew is a problem, apply vinegar to the awning and scrub the area clean. Always allow the material to dry thoroughly before rolling the awning back up.

Awnings and High Winds Are a Bad Combination

Remember to put your awning away when wind speeds start picking up. The constant strain of high winds can cause serious damage to the material, potentially ripping the fabric. The awning may even break away from the RV entirely. The best way to prevent this is to retract the awning when it’s not in use. Even if you’re leaving the RV for just a few hours, tuck it safely away in its housing just in case the weather turns while you’re away.

Remember To Lock the Awning in Place Before Driving

Before you travel anywhere with your RV, double-check that the awning is securely locked, so it doesn’t start to unravel on the road. The locking mechanisms on RV awnings vary from model to model, so carefully review the user manual to determine how to secure your awning to the vehicle properly. If your RV awning doesn’t come with a travel lock, look online for a travel lock kit that works for the type of awning you have. Failing to ensure the awning is snug and secure before driving can cause the apparatus to unfurl during travel. This can create a potentially dangerous situation for yourself and other drivers. In addition, the sheer force of the wind against an unsecured awning can tear the material and undermine the integrity of its mechanical components.

Avoid Rolling Up a Wet Awning

Allow your RV awning to dry completely after coming in contact with water before storing it away. Letting moisture accumulate on the canopy can contribute to the growth of mold and mildew, causing your awning to look drab and discolored. Not only that, you’ll likely notice an unpleasant odor emanating from the fabric. For some, mold and mildew can even cause health problems after prolonged exposure. Use a towel to speed up the drying process if you’re in a hurry, or simply let your awning dry out in the sun before retracting it.

Invest in Useful Awning Tools and Accessories

Consider spending a little money on some tools that can make RV awning repair and maintenance easier. For example, an awning stabilizer kit or a few tarp clamps to keep your awning securely fastened while in use. You can also make cleaning your awning less time-consuming by purchasing a high-pressure nozzle for your water hose. Buy a broad, soft bristle brush to remove more stubborn spots.

We’re Here to Help

If your RV awning stops working correctly, won’t retract, or simply needs to be replaced, our experienced team of professionals at Good Sam RV ProCare can help. Give us a call and we’ll come out for a one-trip fix!

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