This post may contain affiliate links or mention our own products, please check out our disclosure policy.

Is Sun Damage Ruining Your RV?

sun damage on RV in California

Protect Your RV From Sun Damage: Essential RV Maintenance Tips

As the weather warms up, you might start thinking about how to stay cool this summer. But you shouldn’t only think about the sun when it’s hot outside! UV rays can affect your RV all throughout the year, so it’s important to have a few strategies to prevent sun damage.

The sun is important to all of us, but it can cause some serious problems for RVers. These vehicles often need to sit out for long periods of time, and they’re exposed to all sorts of natural forces during that time. Sun damage occurs gradually, so it can sneak up on you if you’re not careful. Over time, it can damage and fade every part of your vehicle.

Fortunately, there are ways to protect your RV from sun damage. If you take preventative measures, your rig will stay in good condition for years to come. Below, we’ll explore some of the dangers of sun damage, as well as ways to keep your RV safe.

Sign up for the newsletter today!

Please enter a valid email address.

An error occurred. Please try again later.

× logo

Thank you for subscribing to the Do It Yourself RV newsletter, keep your eye on your inbox for updates.

The dangers of sun damage

You might not think that UV rays are very dangerous, and in the short term, you’re right! It takes time for sun damage to build up, and the changes are so subtle that you may not notice at first.

This type of damage may not ruin your RV or stop it from functioning, but it will weaken various elements and lower the resale value. If sun damage gets out of control, it can ruin your exterior beyond the point of repair. Complete replacements may be necessary, and nobody wants to deal with that!

If you don’t protect your RV from sun damage, it could experience the following issues:

  • Peeling decals
  • Faded paint
  • Cracked sealant and caulking
  • Leaky roofs
  • Damaged tires (prone to air pressure loss)
  • Weak seals around windows and slide-outs
  • Faster depreciation rates
  • Additional maintenance and repairs

Best ways to prevent sun damage

After looking at the list above, you might feel like sun damage isn’t a major problem. And sure enough, maybe you could deal with one or two of these issues. But as the damage accumulates, it becomes harder and harder to ignore the problem!

It’s much better to take some preventive measures to protect your RV before you reach the point of no return.

Park in shady areas

For starters, you can protect your RV from the sun by putting a barrier in the way! Physical objects are the best way to block UV rays. Parking near trees, buildings, carports, and other shady areas will limit the amount of sun exposure your vehicle receives.

This isn’t always possible, especially in a crowded RV park. But if you can, try to prioritize parking lots and campgrounds that offer some level of shade. You can read campground reviews before you go to learn more about the amount of shade at a particular location. This will help keep your interior nice and cool during the summer!

Apply protective wax

Keeping your RV clean and waxed is another effective strategy. Unprotected surfaces will fall prey to sun damage much more quickly than treated ones. You should already be washing your RV on a regular basis so you can prevent black streaks, mold, and other issues.

But if you apply a protective wax coat at the end, you can also protect the vehicle against UV damage. Wax almost acts like sunscreen for RVs. Some products even offer additional protection, such as built-in fungicides. Wax can protect the underlying surface and prevent color degradation too! Star Brite RV Wash & Wax is a fantastic option to explore.

Roof coatings

Speaking of protective coatings, let’s talk about RV roofs. It’s important to protect every piece of your camper from sun damage, but roofs are especially vulnerable. They are exposed at all hours of the day and will almost always bear the brunt of the UV rays.

RV roofs are made with a lot of different materials, but every substance can eventually succumb to sun damage. Rubber roofs can shrink and crack, the seams of sealed roofs can split, and other materials can experience dry rot. In order to prevent this type of damage, you need to regularly clean, inspect, and reseal your roof. Examine the seams and reapply caulk wherever necessary.

Finally, you need to apply protective treatments to your roof. RV Roof Magic is a stellar all-purpose sealant. It can create a smooth, protective coating across any type of roof. In addition, it’s UV resistant, waterproof, fast-drying, and extremely tough! Use this or a similar product to protect your vehicle’s roof. 

RV covers

RV covers will be your best friend when it comes to long-term parking and storage. If you leave your RV exposed to the elements, all sorts of damage can occur. Wind, rain, snow, dirt, pests, and sun damage can all ravage an unprotected camper.

RV covers provide a layer of protection, and they can block the vast majority of these forces. Even thin tarps and covers will block (or at least dilute) UV rays before they can affect your vehicle.

It’s usually better to invest in a high-quality cover that can protect against a variety of forces. But something is always better than nothing, even if it’s a low-budget solution. If you plan to keep your RV outside for extended periods, make sure you cover it up.

Tire covers

On a similar note, don’t overlook the tires during this process. Tires are also exposed to UV rays, and they can easily crack and dry out if they’re left uncovered. Rubber is quite vulnerable to sun damage and dry rot. The more often they are exposed, the faster they will degrade.

Tires are an important part of your RV, so put in the effort to protect them! There are plenty of tire covers for sale, but you can also wrap them in cheap tarps. Covering your tires will help them last longer and ensure that you don’t have an untimely blowout during your next drive.

Refresh sealant and caulking

This next tip isn’t necessarily preventative, but it is an important part of RV maintenance. There are several elements on the exterior that use caulk to create a firm seal. You might find these seals around your roof vents, windows, slide-outs, and more. If you see that the caulking is wearing out due to sun damage, take some time to strip away the old stuff and replace it with a fresh layer.

Re-caulking should be a standard part of your process as you monitor your roof’s integrity. Even small cracks and splits can develop into major issues if they’re left unaddressed. Always follow up with a protective layer of wax to seal everything up!

Use window tints and covers

Finally, don’t forget about your RV interior during this process. Prolonged sun exposure can fade your carpets and furniture. It can also cause your walls and flooring to warp and peel. This type of damage can vastly lower your resale value, so take some steps to limit the incoming UV rays.

For starters, you can tint your windows. This type of treatment helps the glass absorb UV rays before they make it inside. You can also use reflective window covers, curtains, or blinds during the sunniest parts of the day. This will protect your interior and keep the RV cooler.

Track your RV maintenance

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.

Related articles:



Support Do It Yourself RV

Do It Yourself RV is run by RVers who share the most up-to-date and valuable content on camping and RVing every week. We couldn’t do it without the support of our readers just like you.

You can help support the efforts of Do It Yourself RV by becoming an RV LIFE Pro subscriber, which gives you access to:

  • RV LIFE App, an RV Safe GPS™ with voice- and lane guidance, even offline.
  • RV LIFE Trip Wizard, a visual RV trip planner with custom RV-safe routes and a comprehensive directory of RV parks, resorts, and campgrounds.
  • RV LIFE Maintenance, a cloud-based service that tracks your RV maintenance and provides reminders, reports, and related documentation.
  • RV LIFE Masterclass, an online educational platform where RV experts share tips and advice on everything you need to know about RVing.

If you value our site and want to see us continue to grow, please consider supporting us by becoming an RV LIFE Pro subscriber today.