Thursday

Choosing the Best RV Exterior Care Products


Did you catch our article last month about maintaining your RV’s exterior (Link to September article if possible)? FMCA and the “RV Doctor” Gary Bunzer are here to help you find the perfect products for your RV.

Five Conditions That Affect Product Performance
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 simply work better in different conditions.

There are five factors to consider when choosing a product to maintain your RV’s exterior:

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.

Location
Whether the RV spends an abundance of time parked in an industrial area, a wilderness area, the city, or out in the country can have a significant impact.

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

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

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.

Five Steps to Choose the Perfect Product for Your RV

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.

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.

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.

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 or con. 

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.

FMCA RV Club brings you this monthly tech tip to Enhance Your RV Lifestyle. FMCA delivers RV know-how to its members. Learn more at https://join.fmca.com/trader18



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.

In Case You Missed It: October RV News

It’s that time again. We’re here to hit you with the latest RV news you won’t want to miss for the month of October. We’ve got some great stories for you, so let’s dive right in.

Sealander RV Transforms into a Small Houseboat - A company out of Germany has developed the Sealander, a vehicle that combines a towable RV and a boat all in one. The floating pod is made of glass fiber-reinforced plastic that’s lightweight and can be towed by a mid-sized SUV. When a user is ready to transform the towable into a boat, an outside motor is easily connected. The inside of a Sealander has two leather benches that can be converted into a bed. While transformed into a boat, users have the option of enjoying an open-air cruise. We love to see this type of innovative technology entering the RV space. Read More

Image: RV Business

Venture RV Unveils Stratus Trailer at Open House - Venture RV recently unveiled their new Stratus lightweight travel trailer at this year’s RV Open House. The new Stratus interior was designed to have a more urban/sleek vibe. The model is available in six floor plans and starts at 4,500 pounds and 24 feet. All floor plans include a sizable pantry, an eight-cubic-foot refrigerator, and a 60 in. by 80 in. queen mattress upgrade. The Stratus is also dog-friendly with a doggie dish cubby and dual-purpose Venture bottle opener/doggie tie down. You’ll want to see this new unit for yourself. Read More

Image: RV Business

Winegard Introduces Connected App for Easy Access - We’ll admit it, we still love the option of taking technology on the road with us and Winegard is making it easier. Winegard, a leader in the design and manufacturing of quality antenna products, recently announced the release of the Winegard Connected app that is compatible with 4G LTE hotspots and WiFi range extenders. The app was designed to ensure a simple setup and consistent operation across all of Winegard’s connectivity products - no network setup required. With the app, you’ll be able to easily connect with friends and family on the road, just like you would be able to do at home. Read More.

Are Celebrities Driving Up Airstream’s Sales? - Forbes recently reported that the iconic silver-bullet-silhouette recreational vehicle was recently mentioned on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Matthew McConaughey was a guest on the show and shared that he took his family on a wilderness trip in their Airstream. Airstream’s CEO said that conversation was organic and they do love the association, but their products are for everyone - not just celebrities. The company’s growth is record-setting, with a 24% growth year-over-year, and think the celebrity acknowledgment can’t hurt! Read More.

We love keeping you in the know and now you’re all caught up! Stay tuned for next month’s edition of “In Case You Missed It”. Let us know your favorite story in the comments below.

Tuesday

In Case You Missed It: September RV News

It’s time to hit you with the RV news you need to know this month. September has been a busy time for the industry and we’re excited to catch you up on all things RV. Check out the top headlines below.

Thor Set to Become Largest RV Maker in The World - Elkhart-based Thor Industries Inc. has just announced an agreement to acquire a German recreational vehicle manufacturer for approximately $2.4 billion. Once the deal is complete, Thor has stated that the deal with Erwin Hymer Group SE will create the world's largest RV maker. This deal will give Thor an entrance into Europe. Erwin Hymer Group SE currently employs more than 7,300 globally and their RVs are sold through a network of over 1,200 retailers. Both companies have noted that there should be no change in employee headcount as a result of the acquisition. We’re interested to see how this all plays out for Thor! Read More.

4G LTE and Wi-Fi Now Come Standard in Keystone Line - Keystone wants to make sure RVers have the ability to stay connected, so that’s why they are equipping their entire towable lineup with 4G LTE and Wi-Fi ready capability. The new Furrion technology is set to roll out at the Sept. 24-27 Elkhart RV Open House. The new technology offers an antenna that integrates 4G LTE and Wi-Fi with standard VHF/UHF/AM/FM reception, and the Wi-Fi and cellular signals are routed to a wall-mounted base inside the trailer. We love to see manufacturers step up their technology game! Read More.

“America’s Largest RV Show” Comes to a Close -
The Hershey RV show held from Sept. 12-16 at the Giant Center in Hershey PA, tallied a final gate attendance of almost 60,000 people - just 5,000 attendees shy of last year’s show. The lower numbers were reportedly due to Hurricane Florence, but many vendors and manufacturers saw growth in sales. The show had 156 booth vendors and about 1,400 RVs from 42 manufacturers - we’ll highlight some big releases at the show below. All in all, America’s Largest RV Show was a great success and we want to give a huge shoutout to all of the attendees that stopped by the RV Trader booth - we’ll see you next year! Read More.

New Releases at Hershey - As we mentioned above, Hershey was full of new models. Check out a few new releases you won’t want to miss below. 
Like we said, September was packed with RV news and we’re excited to see more exciting headlines as we head into fall. Which new model are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below!

Tech Tip: Maintaining Your RV’s Exterior


Take pride in your home on wheels! Read these tips from FMCA and the “RV Doctor” Gary Bunzer to keep your RV’s exterior looking its best.

The Roof
Get into the habit of inspecting the roof often, preferably once a month. Pay special attention to the seams, edges, moldings, caps, and anything else attached to the roof. Realize that any screw or mounting method used on the roof can become an entry point for moisture. Water intrusion is the largest threat to the integrity of any RV.

Keep the roof clean. Use a soft broom every couple of weeks to sweep away leaves, dirt, and road grime. Look closely for evidence of mold and mildew, especially on synthetic surfaces. Remove bird droppings or tree sap as soon as it is spotted. Small problems will not go away on their own. Left unaddressed, small problems will only worsen and quickly move (along with its associated cost) from the preventive maintenance stage. Wash the roof with the appropriate cleaning agent four or five times each year. A clean roof is simply easier to inspect!

And, finally, know what material forms your RV’s roof. Be sure the products you employ are safe for that roof surface material.

Sidewalls
Learn what material is used on the exterior of your RV’s sides. Is it painted aluminum? Fiberglass? Filon or another FRP derivative? ABS or PVC plastic? Are steel components used? If you own a Type C motorhome, don’t forget about the cab portion and its exterior surface.

Scan the sides of your RV and start counting how many components are attached: storage bay doors, refrigerator vents, furnace vents, city water inlet, etc. Every attachment point is a potential source for a water leak.

Inspect all seals around the sidewall openings. At the first sign of a deteriorating sealant, reseal! In severe cases, it may be necessary to completely remove the component and reinstall using fresh sealant. In other cases, a quick but correct application of a silicone sealant over the suspected gap may be all that is required.

Next, check for black streaks. Unfortunately, every RV is susceptible to those nuisance black streaks caused by four elements: dirt, moisture, time, and neglect. This video explains how these streaks form

When using any type of black streak remover, never apply the solution directly to the surface of the sidewall. Always moisten a clean, soft cloth with the remover and try to keep within the boundaries of the black streak. All black streak removers contain components that will remove existing wax, so areas treated with the remover will need to be re-waxed.

Unless the black streak is deep-seated and has become oxidized, it eventually should come off or at least be minimized. If the black streak has oxidized into the finish, other products exist that can address this specific type of problem. But, remember, it’s crucial to use a product compatible with your RV’s exterior surface to prevent further damage – read those labels!

Fiberglass Caps
Many RVs have some form of plastic caps covering their front or rear ends. Over time and with exposure to UV rays and ozone, the appearance of these fiberglass caps can become dull or fade to a certain extent. This is the first degree of oxidation. Whenever sunlight, heat, and moisture collide, oxidation can be expected.

The second level of oxidation results in a pronounced chalking of the finish. You’ve probably seen front and rear caps that display a distinct, blotch-like chalky residue that can be wiped away with a moist rag. Neglected further, the cap surface eventually can crack and deteriorate and, in the process, cross the line between restorative maintenance and damage repair. If individual fibers become visible in the fiberglass, it may require a repair out of the DIYer’s realm.

It is imperative that fiberglass front and rear caps be protected with wax or polish. Plain old car wash soap is a good option because it does not remove wax as detergents do. Polish is similar to wax, but some polishes and polishing compounds actually contain trace amounts of abrasives.

Undercarriage
The underneath surface of the RV is the “forgotten” exterior surface. The main concern is critter infestation. Look for large gaps around exposed plumbing that may pass through the floor and subfloor. It’s important to seal around all gaps that can trap moisture and road debris.

Look for loose or damaged sections of the underbelly, regardless of the types of materials used under there. Some RVs have sealed underbellies, while other RVs may be open to the bottom of the subfloor. Others may have only a soft plastic wrap encasing the floor insulation. Look for anything that appears out of the norm. While you’re down there, check all chassis and suspension components for damage or irregularities, and look for evidence of water leaks. If you use the RV in winter conditions where salt is used on the roads, check for rust.

Stay Tuned
Next month we’ll cover the best products to use on your RV’s exterior. Stay tuned!

FMCA RV Club brings you this monthly tech tip to Enhance Your RV Lifestyle. FMCA delivers RV know-how to its members. Learn more at FMCA.com.

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


Wednesday

In Case You Missed It: August RV News


Sit back and relax, we’re here to catch you up on all of the RV-related headlines you should know about for the month of August. We’ve compiled our favorite RV news stories to keep you in the know. Check out our top picks below.

Coachmen to Debut Spirit Ultra-Lite - Coachmen recently announced that their new Spirit Ultra-Lite will debut at the 2018 Forest River RV Expo in September. Coachmen, who is a division of Forest River, noticed the need for a competitive ultralight brand. The new Spirit lineup will feature five different floor plans ranging in lengths from 23-36 ft., with weights as low as 4,500 pounds. The modern interiors offer 83 1/2 inches of interior ceiling height and updated features. We are excited to see this new lineup in September. Read More

Image: Coachmen

Nissan Unveils All-Electric Camper Van - Although this news broke in late July, we had to keep you up-to-date with the latest news from Nissan. The company recently unveiled an all-electric campervan based off of their e-NV200 van that will be released in Spain. Nissan revealed two versions of the van, one based on the NV300 van and another based on the e-NV200. The e-NV200 just received a few upgrades including a new battery pack to improve its range to 124 miles This still isn’t the greatest range for a travel-oriented vehicle, which might limit the use of the camper. But, the van could still be a great solution for some travelers depending on how they plan to use it. Contingent on its success in Spain, Nissan has reported that they will consider bringing it to additional markets - and we are hoping the U.S. is on their list! Read More

Image: Nissan

Airstream Salutes Military and First Responders - Airstream recently announced they are launching a new program that is designed to offer military personnel and first responders factory rebates on the full range of new Airstream products. The folks at Airstream thought that saying “Thank You” was simply not enough and wanted to provide military and first responders with the opportunity to explore the country that they serve. The Airstream Salute program is available to United States active duty military personnel, veterans, retirees, members of the National Guard and reserves, certain military spouses and dependents, EMTs, firefighters and members of law enforcement. Kudos to Airstream - we love this idea. Read More

Image: Airstream

Renegade RV Introducing ‘Veracruz’ Class C Coach - Renegade RV, a division of REV Group Inc., just announced the addition of their all-new 2019 Veracruz Class C motorhome. The Veracruz features a king-size memory foam bed, a 40 in. LED TV, a Samsung Soundbar system, new lighting features, and so much more. The new Veracruz also provides 12,000 pounds of towing capacity and is available in two-wheel or four-wheel drive. The new model is offered in two different floor plans, and from what we’ve seen they look incredibly spacious. We can’t wait to see the new Veracruz on the road! Read More.

Image: Renegade

Airstream Classic Trailers Offer Smart Technology - In other Airstream news, the manufacturer announced that their 2019 classic models will feature the company’s Smart Technology. This technology will digitally connect owners to their RVs for an enhanced camping experience. So if you’re looking to “get away from it all” while still being connected, these new models could be perfect for you. Airstream’s Smart Technology allows 2019 Airstream Classic owners to control and monitor systems such as lighting, HVAC, awnings, vent fans, water, propane, and battery levels from anywhere. The 2019 Airstream Classics will also include one year of unlimited 4G LTE data. Read More

Image: Airestream

August has been a busy month for new models and we are excited to see what news September will bring - so stay tuned for our next edition of “In Case You Missed It”. Did any of these headlines spark your interest, or have one you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!