Choosing the Best RV Product for Your RV’s Exterior

It can be a challenge to find the right RV product to use on your rig’s exterior. Maintain your RV and remain a happy camper with these tips from FMCA and the “RV Doctor” Gary Bunzer.

Five Conditions That Affect Product

Many factors can affect an RV product’s performance. For instance, did that polish work great for you, living in a colder climate, but not so great for your friend who lives on the beach? Simply put, some exterior products work better in different conditions.

There are five factors to consider when choosing an RV product:

1. Climate

Variations in temperature, relative humidity, rainfall, and even the proximity of the sun can have an effect on how well a certain product will perform.

2. Location

Does the RV spend an abundance of time parked in an industrial area, a wilderness area, the city, or in the country? 

3. Environment

Air quality, in particular, can have an impact. How much smog or airborne pollutants are present in the air?

4. Age of the RV

Certainly, the older the RV, the more chance of it sustaining a deeper level of oxidation.

5. Amount of Effort Exerted During the Cleaning Process

The elbow grease you employ when using a particular product may be directly proportional to your success.

So now you have a better understanding of product limitations, but how does that help you actually determine what’s best for your needs? Keep reading…

RV Product

Five Steps to Choose the Perfect RV Product

1. Know Your Material

First of all, be sure you know the type of material you are attempting to protect or restore. Some products, when applied to an incompatible surface, may actually cause more damage than any pre-existing condition. For instance, never use petroleum products or wax on vinyl stripes or design elements.

2. Read the Label

Second, read the label carefully and follow the directions explicitly before applying the product. Understand the supplier probably knows more about its product than you do. It can be difficult to succumb to “reading the directions,” but in this case, it is the best advice.

3. Test

Try the product on an inconspicuous location first. See whether you can obtain a small sample of the surface you wish to clean, polish, wax, or otherwise protect or restore and test the product on that piece. If that’s not possible, try the product in an area that is hidden or not readily visible, such as inside a wheel well, behind a bumper, etc. Better to discover its effectiveness or lack of prior to slathering it on the entire sidewall.

4. Pick a Reputable Brand

Stick with a reputable brand name. Check for contact information printed on the label or container. Notable product suppliers will have their address, phone number, and website info prominently placed on the product. The good companies will have a toll-free phone number. Any reputable firm will welcome feedback, whether pro and con.

5. Don’t Mix

This is your RV, not a cocktail. DO NOT MIX PRODUCTS! Find the preventive maintenance products that work best for you and stick with them. Avoid switching products every time you hear of something new. If your travel habits or home base changes, then it may be necessary to switch to a different product; however, until one no longer works for you, staying loyal will have a positive outcome most of the time.

Take it from the experts – maintaining your RV’s exterior surfaces can be a challenge if the products you choose don’t have the intended results. Hopefully these tips will help you maintain that showroom look for many years or at least reap the return on your investment come trade-in time.

Read more tips from Family RVing magazine. What RV products do you use? Comment below. 


This information is for educational purposes. FMCA shall not be responsible nor retain liability for RVer’s use of the provided information. Prior to making any RV service decision, you are advised to consult with an RV professional.

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