RV Decals: How to Protect, Restore, and Replace Them

RVs usually take quite a beating from the sun and the elements, which can result in fading decals over time. These fading decals lower the value of the vehicle because they can make it look older than necessary. Luckily, there are ways to prevent this problem, as well as to restore or replace damaged decals. Let’s learn more about how to keep your RV decals looking as fresh and new as possible. 

Protect your RV decals from fading

Assembling a camper trailer at Riverside RV in LaGrange, Indiana
Assembling a camper trailer | BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

While the sun can undoubtedly have a negative effect on your RV’s decals, there are ways to prevent them from fading excessively. RV Travel has offered some great tips in this regard.

One of their main pieces of advice is that to keep your decals looking as new as possible, it’s best to avoid household and truck wash cleaners. These cleaners often contain harsh chemicals that can contribute to the fading of your decals. Additionally, anything that contains lemon, lime, citrus, and/or a bug and tar remover should be avoided. 

When you do wash your RV, it’s also a good idea to use a protectant on the vehicle. Protectants stand between your camper and the sun and elements, helping prevent damage to your decals. 

How can you restore faded RV decals?

Using the right soap and adding a protectant can go a long way toward protecting your RV decals, but there may come a time when they begin to fade despite your best efforts. Many people assume that once their decals lose their luster, there’s not much to be done besides replacing them. However, sometimes it’s actually possible to restore them. 

RV.Net enthusiasts have shared some of their methods for restoring faded camper decals. One such method involves starting by washing and thoroughly drying the decal area. Then, apply 1500 grit, wet sandpaper to a rubber sanding block, and dip it in warm water for a couple of minutes. Apply to a small area of the decal and lightly sand using uniform pressure. This will start the process of oxidized pigment returning to the area. However, be careful not to oversand.

When you are done, rewash the area and allow it to dry. You should find that much of your decal’s color has been restored. If the color on your decal doesn’t appear even, you can continue sanding the necessary parts until a uniform look is achieved. 

Sometimes you have no choice but to replace your camper decals

If restoring your decals doesn’t work, you have another option to rejuvenate your RV: replacing them. Of course, you must remove the faded ones before you can replace your decals. 

To remove faded decals, start by heating the area with a hair dryer or similar appliance. The heat will help loosen the adhesive, making removing the decals easier. From there, you can slowly start peeling away the decals. Using a product such as WD-40 can help make the process easier. Just remember to go slowly. This requires patience, but it will pay off in the long run. 

As for adding new decals, your first step will often require matching them to your old ones–unless you plan to start completely from scratch. Often, contacting the manufacturer directly will help you make sure your match is as close as possible. It can even help to take pictures of your old decals before removing them to ensure you get the most appropriate replacement. 

Once your new decals have arrived, you’ll need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when you put them on your camper. This will ensure that they’re properly placed and stay attached for as long as possible, giving your RV many more years of attractiveness. 

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