The automatic awning is one of the most beloved features of modern RVs. There’s nothing more relaxing than setting up your home-on-wheels in a gorgeous location, rolling out the awning and kicking back in nature. Unfortunately, as the experts in what can and will go wrong, our insider RV Warranty information shows us that awnings are one of the most commonly failed components. Even worse, the damage to awnings is almost always caused by wind, rain, or extreme weather, meaning it wouldn’t be covered by your extended service contract!
Luckily, it can be pretty easy to protect your awning from the many different weather events you’ll face while traveling. Learn how to keep your awning safe, dry, and attached to your RV where it belongs!
Wind: the Enemy of RV Awnings
Manual or automatic, brand new or well worn, no RV awning is made to withstand very high winds. RV manufacturers know this, and so do your insurance and warranty companies, meaning you’ll be stuck with the bill if you do face wind damage. Avoid that unnecessary cost by keeping a close eye on the elements while traveling, and always retract your awning at the first sign of unsavory weather.
Extended Awning Tips: There are a few inexpensive add-ons that can keep your awning extra secure as well. If you’re only experiencing gentle breezes, Awning De-Flappers can prevent the extended fabric from whipping around and pulling away from the awning mount. You can also strap the awning down to the ground using an Awning Hold Down kit, which should help your extended awning hold up to light winds.
Sensible Add-Ons: The last thing you want to do while relaxing on your RV vacation is keep a constant eye on the winds. Take some of the stress off your shoulders buy installing weather sensors that will alert your or automatically retract your awning if your rig experiences the heavy vibrations of a wind storm.
If you hit a rainstorm while traveling, the water that pools on your awning fabric can cause tearing and pulling, ultimately damaging the pricey motor. When setting up camp, always lower one end of the awning to allow for water runoff in the event skies turn grey. As always, if you’re expecting heavy rain, you’ll want to wrap the awnings up tight to avoid damage.
Maintain Now to Prevent Failure Later
There are several quick maintenance tasks you can perform on your awning to extend its life and prevent costly failures.
- When you pull your rig out after it has been stored for a lengthy period, make sure to clear any dust or dirt from your awning fabric by simply hosing it off. Avoid scrubbing or using abrasive cleaners, as it can damage the water-proof nature of the awning fabric.
- Allow your awning to dry completely before retracting it to prevent mildew issues.
Common Sense RV Awning Rules
When it comes down to it, most RV awning failures could have been prevented by following a few common sense rules:
- Never leave the awning extended when you leave the campsite, even if the weather is perfect!
- Store the awning before you go to bed in case winds pick up during the night.
- Retract and store your awnings tightly before hitting the road to prevent damage during travel!
There you have it—live life in the shade with happy RV awnings!
Have a great tip for awning care? Share it in the comments below to help out your fellow travelers!
Tom Linkimer says
When I extend my awning, it stops 4 times in the process before becoming fully extended. An awning repair person checked it thinking it was the motor, but he ruled that out. Any idea what might be causing this?
Dr Wiliferd Lair says
Check your wiring for an auto-reset circuit breaker.
Jerry and Daniela Henn says
Thanks for the information. It’s a great reminder and good to know.
Joe Cordero says
On manual awnings it is a good idea to use Valcro wrapped around the rails tightly to help hold the awning in while driving down the road. This is especially helpful on older awnings. Better safe than sorry.
Keith Williams says
In order to “hold the awning in” while driving down the road, it is necessary to keep the roller tube from rotating. It’s very simple: if the roller tube can’t turn, the fabric can not unroll and the awning must “stay in.”
Putting Velcro or anything else around the arms will probably hold the arms together, but it will do nothing to prevent the roller tube from rotating. Therefore, it will NOT prevent the awning from unfurling while traveling down the road.
Full disclosure: I sell RV Awning Travel Locks designed to keep awnings from unfurling. You can see them on http://awninglock.com.
There are others available, or you can make your own. Just do SOMETHING to keep your roller tube from rotating.
My 2017 Class A awning does not have an encasement and the black coating on the outside has deteriorated just along the top which is always exposed when closed.
Is there a coating I can put on this deterioration that will help preserve the awning for a few more years?
Belinda Zepeda says
Absolutely! Try using Dicor rubber roof coating.
Speaking of the awning fabric, you need to clean it often as well. However, do not use regular detergent as it cannot deal well with mold and mildew. Only use vinyl cleaners formulated to deal with the specific problem.
Dalton Bourne says
Do you hear a humming noise every time you extend the RV awning? If so then the noise may be coming from the awning roller, which wears out because of the constant movement. The way to replace the RV awning roller is very simple. You can break the process down into two basic steps: disassemble and reassemble. And some simple tools like a screwdriver, non-permanent marker, vise clamp, and a razor,… for this activity.
Robin Nemeth says
We recently bought a 2022 Rockwood Ultra Lite 2912BS. At first, it was awful. Poor workmanship. We were calling the dealership constantly. 99% of it was neglect during assembly.
Today, I was sitting inside the camper and heard a popping sound that caused the camper to shake slightly. I walked outside to look around. I saw nothing wrong. No wind today. It’s been super hot over the last few weeks. Like 103 hot.
Fast forward. I decided to grill. We always let the awning in when we grill. Always. I went inside to let it in and noticed the arm to the right of me looked bent. I stopped and told my husband to look. It looks as if it just snapped inside and won’t close completely.
We haven’t had it a year yet. I’m just hoping that this will be covered. We have taken pictures and sent them to the service department at the dealership. We are set up permanent. I’m just hoping and praying that they make this right. I think it just snapped.
Anybody else have anything like this? The awning is a Solera.