While the high-end Class A diesel pushers have painted stripes, more common among RV’s are vinyl graphics. These are made to be semi-permanent, and usually, contain UV inhibitors to reduce fading. The decals on your RV can add pizzazz and style. Unfortunately, nothing looks worse than decals that have started to fade and peel. The sun’s UV rays will take a toll on every surface of your RV, from the roof, the tires to the vinyl decals. UV rays from the sun will remove the natural plasticizer oils that help keep vinyl decals flexible. This is what will cause them to crack, fade, and discolor over time.
Vinyl film decals are petroleum-based,t and must be cared for accordingly. Compared to the fiberglass sides of an RV, the vinyl decals are a fairly soft and porous material, allowing air and water molecules to pass through with ease.
What can be done to keep your RV looking stylish and new?
Keep your motorhome, travel trailer or 5th Wheel under a cover when not in use, rather than leaving it exposed out in the elements. Although RV decals are made to last, it doesn’t mean they are impervious to extreme weather. When you aren’t out camping, you should keep it in under a cover, safe from the elements.
Avoid washing the RV in direct sunlight or in extreme temperatures; it’s easy to “shock” the vinyl decal, which can cause micro-cracking.
Use a microfiber washing mitt when cleaning the vinyl graphics. High-pressure washing can be risky, so keep the wand several feet away from the surface. Avoid using brushes, they will scratch the vinyl graphics.
Avoid cleansers, polishes, and wax with high concentrations of solvents. Solvent-based products will penetrate and affect the plasticizers, destabilizing the vinyl film. This causes it to shrink and become brittle. Solvents can also affect the bond of the vinyl adhesive layer.
For vinyl decals, treat them with a vinyl protectant. As an added layer of protection, use a Teflon or silicone polish your vehicle graphics.
As a general rule, any car wax can be used on RV decals. The same protection you apply for the fiberglass siding, will also be good on the decals.