How To Polish RV Fiberglass The Right Way
Many RVs have an exterior that’s made of fiberglass or aluminum. These materials are hardy and are perfect for all the ravel and various weather conditions RVs are exposed to. Fiberglass does tend to wear down and gather scratches and stains over time though, so it’s important to know how to polish RV fiberglass to get it looking like new again!
A stained and scratched fiberglass exterior looks terrible and it will lower the resale value of your RV. Untreated fiberglass can also sustain long-term damage from UV rays, debris, and other natural forces. So to keep the value high and help it look more presentable, let’s talk about polishing RV fiberglass.
Clean the RV before polishing
It’s tempting to just dive right in and get to work on your RV exterior, but it’s important to do a bit of prep work before getting started. Polishing is great, but if there’s a layer of grime and debris on top, you need to address that first.
To begin, sweep off the roof of your RV to remove any dust, bugs, leaves, or other debris that may be resting there. Next, you’ll want to apply a fiberglass-safe bug and tar remover solution. These are easy to find at RV supply sources or even general auto part stores. This Bugsplatter Multi-Surface Vehicle Cleaner is a fantastic option that is also Climate Pledge Friendly.
Bug and tar removers are important products to use because they can remove discoloration and stains and make it easier to clean off any residue from tree sap or dead bugs. Apply a generous amount to the most problematic areas and scrub until the majority of the buildup is gone.
Next up, you should do a general wash and cleaning of your RV exterior. When you wanted to know how to polish RV fiberglass, you may have been surprised to hear that there is so much cleaning involved! But it’s important to start with a fresh surface so you can get down to the root of the problem.
Use soap, water, and sponges to thoroughly clean the fiberglass exterior. Don’t overlook the roof during this process because it’s often exposed to the highest amount of debris and UV damage. Clean the whole RV and rinse it off with a hose. Leave it out to air-dry so there isn’t any streaking.
Wax and polish
Now we can get to the real question: How to polish RV fiberglass. This process is fairly simple, but there are a few items you’ll need to have on hand. First off, you’ll need to choose a good wax that you’ll use for polishing. Ideally, the product you choose should be able to remove oxidation and have UV inhibitors included that will protect your vehicle from sun damage. It’s like sunscreen for your RV!
One of the best products for fiberglass RVs is Meguiar’s M4965 Marine/RV Fiberglass Restoration System. This is a good all-around wax that will provide great protection for your fiberglass RV. It’s also suitable for boats, so you can rest assured that this is a product that can withstand the elements and repel water!
It is also an oxidation remover, so it can treat stains and discoloration that your fiberglass may have developed. Once you apply and polish this wax, you will be left with a smooth and glossy finish. This is fantastic if your RV is prone to collecting scratches and scuff marks.
Once you have your wax of choice, you can move on to the actual polishing process. RVers can either buff out the surface by hand, or use a power buffer to achieve the level of polish they want.
If you do want to polish by hand, all you need is a kitchen sponge and your wax/polish. Scrub it into the surface of the fiberglass until the surface is clean and smooth. Let it dry and cloud over, then wipe down the surface with a soft cloth. This method will take longer and require more effort, but some people find that it is worth it!
You can also use a mechanical power buffer to do the majority of the work for you. A random orbital buffer is usually the best option. You just need to apply the wax to the fiberglass surface and run the buffer over it until it is smooth and glossy.
Be careful when you use this method because running the buffer too fast or using it on decals, plastic, or rubber surfaces can damage those parts. Just take your time, work in small sections, and check your work as you go.
Take preventative measures to protect your fiberglass RV
Knowing how to polish RV fiberglass is important, but it’s not a catch-all for every problem your vehicle might experience.
If an RV’s fiberglass has been left untreated for a long time, it can sustain deep and serious damage. Sometimes it’s so extreme that it can’t be fixed with just a simple cleaning and polishing session. In these cases, you may need to dig a little deeper to treat the oxidation by performing wet sanding with sandpaper (source).
This is a more time-intensive process. In extreme situations, you may need to get the entire surface gel-coated again. However, if you stay on a good cleaning and polishing schedule, your RV will never end up in this state.
To protect your RV, it’s best to leave it under a protective cover when it’s not in use. This will protect it from UV rays, dust, scratches, and other types of surface damage. Performing regular washing and waxing sessions will also keep it in good condition for a long time. If you use the RV regularly, a monthly washing could be a good idea.
Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all of your documents in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due to help you avoid costly repairs and potentially serious accidents.
If you’re interested in buying a fiberglass RV or just want to connect with a community of knowledgeable individuals, visit fiberglassrv.com. They have fantastic tutorials and forums where members can ask questions and share tips on fiberglass RV maintenance. There are some handy tips on how to polish RV fiberglass there as well.