If you own a travel trailer with a fiberglass exterior you will need to take care of it, so that the finish stays shiny and awesome for years to come. Just like any automotive exterior, the finish and look can deteriorate with time. We have all seen those dingy, chalky, dry and faded fiberglass trailers sitting in someone’s yard, or in the storage lot and shuddered at the thought of our rig getting to be just as bad. Don’t worry, maintaining your smooth glossy finish is easier than you think, but it does require a certain amount of effort on your part.
The most important thing to do to protect your RV’s finish is to wash it with a suitable trailer or car wash once a month. Some RV exterior washes that we recommend are the B.E.S.T. Wash and Wax, or Thetford Wash and Wax. They are formulated for your trailer or 5th wheel’s exteriors, and the wax additive helps keep the finish smooth, so that dirt is less likely to sit on it and stick, causing black streaks, and wearing down the finish. It is also a good idea to wax your RV with a liquid or paste wax at least once per year, to help the finish keep a build-up of that glossy shine. Personally, I use the B.E.S.T. Wax, it gives me an easy shine, without having to scrub, just wax on, wax off.
If you bought your camper used, or the fiberglass is already showing some signs of losing it’s shine, then you may need to get a little more aggressive, and use a fiberglass restorer, like this one. It is designed to help recover some of the finish that the fiberglass had before the trouble started, although it isn’t a cure-all.
As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, so make sure you take into account some of the environmental factors that can effect your trailer or 5th wheel when you aren’t using it. Extreme sunlight, air pollutants, excessive moisture, and whether the trailer is parked under a “dirty tree” (or for that matter, under a tree that has a lot of birds in it…) can all have an impact in how the exterior of your RV will last. The longer dirt and stains sit on the trailer, the less likely they are to be easy to remove, so think about keeping the trailer indoors (if practical), or under an RV cover when you aren’t using it. This will help protect the finish, and keep UV rays from dulling and fading the finish prematurely.
It may come to pass that you damage the fiberglass on your trailer. I know, I know, you are careful, but these things happen. If it does, make sure you get it covered ASAP with plastic or duct tape, sealed at the edges well, to prevent water from getting in and making a bad situation even worse. Next, get the damage fixed as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely it becomes that water will get in there, and maybe cause delamination. Delamination is the enemy. Talk to your local body shop, and work with your insurance to get things sorted out as quickly as you can.
As you can see, it isn’t very hard to keep the fiberglass on your camper looking fresh and clean for years to come. And remember, when you are looking to sell it, or trade it in, people see the exterior before anything else, and trailers that look awesome tend to sell faster, and for more money.