RV Decals Removal And Replacement Guide

RV decals removal and replacement is an important subject for many RVers.

This is because RV decals can make a huge difference in the appearance of an RV.

They can take an otherwise plain RV exterior and transform it into something that is eye-catching.

So its no wonder that lots of RV owners like to dress up their rig with RV decals.

And many RVs come from the factory with an RV stripes and graphics package already installed.

But over time decals can fade, crack and begin to peel off the RV exterior. And this mars the whole appearance of the rig.

RV decals removal - fading and cracking
This is how RV decals can fade and crack

So this guide is about RV decals removal and about RV decals replacement too. Let’s start with removing RV decals.

Table of Contents

RV Decals Removal Using Heat

Most RV stripes and graphics are made from vinyl material with an adhesive on the back. So there is actually two parts of the decal.

And if you try to remove the decals by hand without applying heat, you will often have a hard time. Sometimes they can be pulled off without heat, but it’s rare.

So a time tested method of RV decal removal is to use a common heat gun. In fact, it can be a heat gun like many people use to remove wallpaper.

The trick is not to get the heat gun too close to the material or the RV surface. But you want it close enough to heat the decals for removal.

And you want to keep the heat gun moving to prevent applying too much heat in one area.

After a few tries, you will begin to find the right distance that works best for decal removal. And you will learn how fast to move the heat gun too.

Your goal is to get the decals heated up so they are flexible enough to remove. But you don’t want to get the RV stripes and graphics so hot that they melt.

RV Decals Removal – The Adhesive

Now you may find that the decal itself comes off fairly easily using a heat gun.

But most of the time, the adhesive that held the vinyl graphic onto the RV will be left behind. And this is where the task gets much harder in many cases.

There are all sorts of products that people use to remove adhesive. Some of these include mineral spirits and lacquer thinner.

Of course, any chemical needs to be tested on the RV surface before use. That way you don’t remove or mar more than the decal itself.

And after testing, these chemicals often do work enough to get the job done. But it will be hard and difficult going in many cases.

So a lot of people will get frustrated and start using a razor blade to remove the decals instead.

In the hands of a skilled professional, this may be possible without marring the surface. But the use of a razor blade on decal adhesive is very tricky.

If you aren’t extremely careful, the blade can dig into the RV surface and leave gouges behind. Then you have an even worse problem to repair than just peeling decals.

So are there better solutions to RV decal removal other than the methods I just described? Yes, and lets discuss how to remove RV decals easier.

Better Adhesive Removal Methods – Rapid Remover

I have installed and removed RV stripes and graphics many times over the years. And I have found a product that makes adhesive removal so much easier.

It’s called Rapid Remover and it is made by a company that specializes in vinyl installation and removal. You can view the product by clicking here now.

Rapid Remover for decal adhesive

If you read the reviews of this product you will see that it works very well for most people.

You just spray it on the adhesive, and let it sit for a couple of minutes to soften it up.

Then you can remove the adhesive fairly easily with a plastic squeegee and a paper towel.

And the good news is that it does not damage the RV surface under and around the decal.

Now it will still take effort to remove the adhesive residue with Rapid Remover. But nowhere near as much work as mineral spirits or other chemicals.

Better Adhesive Removal Methods – Steam

Another method for removing old and peeling RV decals is the use of steam. In fact, a common household steam cleaner can do the trick nicely.

Just move the steamer wand over the decal several times. You will eventually notice that the decal starts to soften up.

At this point, you can often pick up the edges of the decal and pull it off. And in many cases, a large chuck of the graphic will come off too.

One of the best advantages of using steam is that the adhesive often comes off with the decal. This doesn’t always happen. But often enough.

So of course, that makes the job of decal removal so much easier. It really shortens the job time when both the decal and the adhesive comes off together.

But even if that doesn’t happen, the decal removal is very simple and easy to do with steam.

If you don’t have a steam cleaner, they can often be rented locally. But if you want to get one, here is an inexpensive steam cleaner that I can recommend for the job.

Steam cleaner for RV decal removal
Steam cleaner

Better Adhesive Removal Methods – An Eraser Wheel

The methods we have covered so far for how to remove RV decals are best for small jobs.

But what if you have lots of decals and stripes and graphics that need to be removed?

Well, I often faced this situation on RVs that I worked on to remove decals.

Many professional vinyl graphic installers use a product to help get the job done more quickly. And that is an eraser wheel. You can view it here.

Eraser wheel for removing RV decals

These decal eraser wheels attach to a regular drill and uses the RPMs of the drill to do its work.

It is also a product that can remove both the decal and the adhesive at the same time. So its a big time saver.

You just spin the wheel with the drill. Then apply the wheel to the decal as it is spinning.

The wheel will begin to grab the vinyl and the adhesive off the surface of the RV. And it usually flakes off and away from the RV.

This kind of method is safe for most painted surfaces. But don’t use it on anything plastic or aluminum areas.

I recommend that you test it first on an inconspicuous spot to make sure it doesn’t mar the surface. Then you can use it with confidence.

The use of an eraser wheel makes a difficult job so much easier. And it is well worth the time saved on a big job of RV decal removal.

RV Decal Replacement

What I have covered so far is RV decal removal. But when the decal is removed, most likely you will also need to replace it.

On RVs, this can be tricky. Very often, the sun has oxidized the exterior surface around the decal. So when you remove the decal, you can still see the outline of where it was.

This means that you will probably need to go back with the same decal that you just removed. That is, if you want to restore the RV exterior to “like new” condition.

So the first step in RV decal replacement is to find someone who can make that original RV graphic.

Fortunately, I know someone who can fit that bill nicely. I have known him for many years and he is able to help you get the RV decal replacements you need.

The company is Florida Applied Films and the owner’s name is Shayne. Just give him a call and let him know what you want to do to replace your RV decals.

Very often, if you have a picture of the decals on your RV, he can match the colors and size.

And if you are in the central Florida area, he can install the decal package for you too. But if not, he can ship the RV decals to you.

An example of RV decal replacement replacement on an Alpha RV

RV Decals Installation

RV decals removal is one thing. But RV decals installation is another entirely.

Very often RV stripes and graphics are very large. And that makes sense. Because if you put small decals on the side of a big RV, it just gets lost.

So what that means is that RV decals often require more skill to install than most RV owners have.

How To Install RV Decals

If you do decide to self install the decals though, I have a few suggestions for you.

  • Clean the are where you will apply the decals thoroughly.
  • Fit the decal to the surface first and mark an outline where you want it placed on the RV
  • Then remove the decal backing and spray it with a solution of 5 drops of dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle of water
  • Thoroughly wet the back of the decal where the adhesive is
  • Having someone help you, apply the decal to the spot that you outlined on the RV
  • Keep adjusting the decal until it is perfectly in place. If this takes a while, pick up one side of the decal and spray more solution behind it. Do this for the whole graphic. Keep it well lubricated this way while you work with it
  • Once it is in position, use a plastic squeegee to remove the solution behind the decal. Start in the middle and work out to the edges
  • When the solution is removed, take off the decal cover on the front if it has one
  • If there are any air bubbles pop them with the point of a pin

Custom RV Decals

After RV decal removal, you may decide though to change the whole design of your RVs stripes and graphics.

If you do, Shayne at Florida Applied Films can help you with that too. He can work with you to come up with a design that fits your RV.

It’s not uncommon that people like yourself may want unique RV decals instead of the factory replacements.

So working with someone who knows about RV decals is a good way to do that. They have the experience to help you find what will work best for your rig.

And a unique RV decal scheme can set your RV aside from all the others like it.

The Best Wax For RV Decals

After RV decal removal and replacement, you need to make sure that your new decals will last.

The longer they last, the less trouble and expense you have to go through to replace them.

And the worst enemies of any vinyl decal is the sun and the elements. In fact, UV rays from the sun can break down RV stripes and graphics very quickly.

And constant exposure to the outside elements also has a weathering effect on decals.

So you need to use products that slow down this wear and tear that your decals experience.

First of all, I recommend that you wash your RV regularly, not just every now and then. This is important to keep the vinyl graphics clean.

I wrote an article on how to do that easily and quickly. And you can read that article here.

Then use a wax product that can help seal out the effects of the elements. And apply a UV inhibitor regularly to slow down the harmful effects of the sun.

So what is the best wax for RV decals then? I mentioned it in the article I just referenced. It’s call Meguiar’s Ultimate Fast Finish. And you can view it here.

Best wax for RV decals - Meguiar's Ultimate Fast Finish

This product will help protect your decals for many months. But I also recommend using 303 Aerospace Protectant as a UV inhibitor too.

For me, the use of these two products together is the best wax for decals that you can get!


So this guide has covered both RV decals removal and RV decals replacement.

I’ve showed you how to remove your decals in various ways. Just choose the one that works best for you and your RV.

I’ve also shown you how to get RV decals replacements that look just like the factory ones.

And I also discussed how to get custom RV decals and unique RV decals as well.

And finally, you now know how to use the best wax for RV decals to make them last as long as possible.

Have safe and happy travels in your RV with beautiful stripes and graphics!

The Top 10 RV Tools That Are Must-Haves For Every RVer

All experienced RV travelers know that having the right RV tools on hand is essential. That’s because RVs constantly need minor repairs.

It’s not hard to understand why when you realize that an RV is a home that is driven down the road. And that means that it’s being shaken and jostled as it goes.

So RVs are subjected to stresses that stationary homes never experience.

That means that screws and bolts often get loose. And sometimes things break. But if you have the right basic tools on hand, you can handle most of these repairs yourself.

So this article is about the kind of tools every RVer should have readily at hand for minor repairs. Let’s get started on the top ten list of RV tools that will be needed.

(Watch my video on this subject by clicking on the image above)

Disclosure: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means – at no additional cost to you – I earn a commission if you make a purchase using our affiliate links. I only link to products and companies I use and feel comfortable recommending. The income goes toward supporting the free content on this website

Table of Contents

#1 – Cordless Drill/Driver

There are lots of screws that are used in the construction of an RV. In fact, that is the one fastener that you will most likely encounter in any repair project.

Of course, you can choose the more labor intensive way and just use a set of screwdrivers if you wish. But having a good cordless drill/driver will make your life so much easier.

And you could just choose a corded one instead. But my experience has been that although it works just fine, it’s more of a hassle to use.

That cord is always getting in the way it seems. And usually it happens at the worst times. So not having to think about managing an electrical cord as you work is great.

It may seem obvious, but don’t forget that you will also need a good assortment of drill and driver bits. The drill/driver is no real help unless it has the bits that go with it.

And finally, there is no need to overbuy this kind of tool. Expensive drill/driver sets are mainly for heavy duty use by professionals. So getting a lower cost quality unit will be just fine for your needs on minor RV repairs.

Cordless drill/driver I recommend

RV tools #2 – Drill/Driver hand tool

You may be wondering why I also recommend having a manual drill/driver after singing the praises of a powered one in the section above.

The main reason it’s a good idea to have one of these tools is to avoid over-tightening screws and fasteners. One of the last things you want to do is strip out a hole where the fastener goes.

And powered drill/drivers can do this very quickly if you aren’t careful.

So I often use the cordless drill/driver to screw in the fastener most of the way. Then I use the hand tool to finish it off.

That’s because you can feel when the fastener is getting tight by hand and then stop. But the powered tool can easily go too far before you know it.

Multi-use hand drill/driver I recommend

#3 – Claw Hammer

Almost any construction or repair project can benefit from having a hammer handy.

And one of the most versatile hammers available is the good old-fashioned claw hammer.

The hammer part of the head is useful for nailing things as well as taking things apart in demolition. It also can be useful for driving stakes in the ground.

The claw part of the hammer is great for removing things that are fastened down.

All in all, it’s a really useful and versatile tool that any RVer should have on hand.

Claw hammer I recommend

#4 – Utility Knife

There are all sorts of minor repairs and projects around an RV that can benefit from using a utility knife.

And there are several kinds of utility knives to be had. But I personally recommend using one that has snap-off blades.

I find that it works well for almost any project around the RV and allows you to have a sharp blade all the time.

Utility knife with snap-off blades I recommend

RV tools #5 – Multi-Tester

If you have any kind of electrical problem or issue on your RV, you will be glad to have an electrical multi-tester to use on it.

A multi-tester is one of the RV tools that proves it’s value over and over again.

It’s not uncommon to have electrical circuit issues on RVs. And diagnosing that kind of problem to find the source can be problematic.

But it’s almost impossible to diagnose these kind of issues without the help of a good electrical multi-tester.

Again, there is no need for a really expensive model if you aren’t a repair expert. And a good, useful multi-tester can often be had for under $75.

Electrical multi-tester I recommend

#6 – Gorilla Tape

Of all the RV tools that you really should have on hand, gorilla tape or duct tape whould be high on the list.

This stuff is so useful for so many kinds of projects around the RV, it’s hard to list them all. In fact, you may find yourself using it more than almost anything else to solve some RV issues.

Even if the RV repair is a temporary one, it usually buys you enough time to arrange for a more permanent repair later on.

So be sure to have a couple of rolls of this kind of tape in your RV tool bag.

Gorilla tape I recommend

Duct tape I recommend

RV Tools #7 – Tape Measure

It seems that I am constantly using a tape measure to find out how much room I have in the RV for something I need.

In fact, a tape measure is useful in almost any project or repair you encounter on an RV.

And it’s a good idea to have them in different sizes. I often keep a smaller 10 foot tape measure inside the RV.

Then for larger projects I have a 25 foot and a 50 foot tape measure in my RV tool bag as well.

25 foot tape measure I recommend

#8 – LED Flashlight

RVs are filled with small, dark places that are hard to see into easily.

So having a good LED flashlight that is small and yet powerful is one of your most valuable RV tools.

I also have different kinds of flashlights too, and I keep them in various places throughout the RV.

That’s because it’s important to have one handy for all sorts of things you do in the RV.

Some of my flashlights have a normal shape, but some are also flat or can be hung up as you use it. Just make sure that one is readily available when you need it.

LED flashlight I recommend

#9 – Ladder

Getting up to the top of an RV is going to be vital. So a good ladder is one of your most valuable RV tools.

Here again, I have more than one kind of ladder for my own use.

I have a very small single step ladder that comes in handy when getting to something just outside my reach.

Then I have a 6 foot step ladder that allows me to access almost any area on the sides of my motorhome.

And then I have a foldable ladder that can be converted from a step ladder into a straight ladder. And it is long enough that I can even use it to get on the roof of my RV if needed.

The key to buying a ladder for use around an RV is to get one that is as light as possible. Usually this means either a fiberglass or aluminum ladder.

Aluminum ladder I recommend

RV Tools #10 – Socket and Wrench Set

Just as there are all kinds of screws used as fasteners around an RV, you will also encounter lots of bolts and nuts too.

This means that you must have a good socket and wrench set to handle these kind of fasteners.

These days it is a good idea to have both SAE and metric sockets and wrenches to be sure that you have the right tool on hand.

Of course, then you need to choose the size of the socket set too. The main choices are 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 inch drive sets.

1/4 inch drive sockets can work for many small RV projects. But if you want a good overall size, 3/8 inch sets are probably the most useful for RV projects.

And 1/2 inch drive is usually too bulky for most standard repairs on an RV.

I know that a lot of RVers just grab an adjustable wrench when they encounter a nut or bolt. But an adjustable wrench can easily round off the heads of the nuts if you aren’t very careful.

So it’s better to take the time to find the correct size socket or wrench and do the job right.

Socket and combination wrench set I recommend

(These are affiliate links for the product on Amazon. It does not cost you any extra to buy the product using my affiliate link if you choose to do so)


The list of RV tools that I just provided in this article is by no means an exhaustive list.

But it is the list of tools that I find myself using more often than most other tools.

So if you feel that you want to try to handle most small and minor RV repair projects on your rig, this list is a good place to start.

5 Essentials That You Need To Know About RV Awning Care

RV awning care is important because awnings make RV living so much more pleasant and enjoyable.

In fact, they can serve many useful functions. They can extend our living space, help cool our RV in summer,and protect things like bicycles and grills.

Besides all that, they also provide a comfortable shelter from direct sun and light rain.

So with all that awnings accomplish, it makes sense to practice some simple RV awning care procedures to extend the life and usefulness of our awning.

This article will discuss 5 ways to maintain and improve the use of an RV awning.

Watch my video about RV awning care

Disclosure: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means – at no additional cost to you – I earn a commission if you make a purchase using our affiliate links. I only link to products and companies I use and feel comfortable recommending. The income goes toward supporting the free content on this website

Table of Contents

1 – Cleaning Is Part Of RV Awning Care

A lot of RVers never even think about cleaning the awning material on their RV. But regular cleaning extends the life of an awning considerably.

Most RV awning materials are made of either acrylic or vinyl. And you can use a dedicated RV awning cleaner on either of them.

Vinyl awnings are more robust and can handle a wider variety of cleaning solutions well. But acrylic awnings call for using the right kind of cleaner to avoid stripping the water-resistant coating away.

The cleaning process is actually pretty simple too. While the awning is out, spray the cleaning solution on both sides of the awning material.

When it is fully covered with solution, roll the awning back up against the RV and let it sit for 15 minutes or so. This allows the cleaning solution to thoroughly get absorbed into all parts of the awning material.

Then open the awning again and thoroughly rinse with water. After that allow it to dry completely before rolling it back up again.

If this is done twice a year, it usually keeps the awning material looking good and generally clean.

Click here for RV awning cleaner

2 – Never Leave An RV Awning Out In Strong Winds

In calm weather an awning functions well and poses no problem. But when high winds start to kick up, it’s time to get that awning back into its storage position.

This is because an awning can become like a huge sail in high winds and it’s easy to experience damage at that point.

Sometimes it just rips the awning material itself, but other times it can even damage the awning frame too.

At any rate, any of this kind of damage is expensive to repair. So it’s best to just avoid the issue completely and take in the awning when winds are strong.

How strong should the wind get before you take it in? That’s difficult to say, but just know that even wind speeds of 15 miles per hour can do damage. And above that speed, the chances of wind damage gets far greater.

So if you plan on leaving your RV for a while, it’s a good practice to think about pulling in the awning while you are gone.

This is because weather can change suddenly and abruptly. So bear that in mind as you decide whether to leave the awning out or not while you are away.

One more tip – always leave one side of the awning lower than the other side when it rains.

This makes sure that the rain water will have a clear path to drop off and not just pool on the awning material. Pooling water can rip an awning easily.

3 – RV Awning Care Can Include Using Tie-Downs

Some RV awnings have better support frames than others. So therefore, some awnings can stand up to more wind speed than others.

In either case, it’s not a bad idea to provide a little extra insurance against wind damage by using tie-downs. They can help provide more strength and stability while the awning is deployed.

They are also very easy to use and don’t take much time to setup and remove.

I often see RV awning stabilizers installed with the tension strap in front of the awning. But I have found that they can work almost just as well if the tie-down stake is placed back toward the RV too.

RV awning tie-downs with the stake installed in front of the awning.
RV awning tie-downs with the stake in front of the awning
Awning tie-downs where the stake is installed in the ground by the RV itself.
RV awning tie-downs with the stake back by the RV

And in most cases, it will be best to use a ground stake that screws into the ground to anchor the tension strap. This kind of stake is much harder to pull up and so is more reliable.

Click here for an awning tie-down kit

Click here for corkscrew awning stakes

4 – Use RV Awning Deflappers

If wind conditions start to get active, you may notice that the awning material starts to flap in the wind. This is especially true of acrylic awnings.

The sound that a flapping awning makes is irritating for sure. But there is also danger of damage being done by this kind of flapping as well.

Over time, the flapping motion can slowly weaken the edges of the awning and cause them to fray. And it also can eventually have a negative effect on other parts of the awning.

So, it’s part of good RV awning care to install awning deflappers that stretches the awning material and holds it in place.

They also go on easily and quickly, so it’s a simple process. And they can be removed in just a few minutes too.

Click here for RV awning deflappers

5 – Extend Awning Protection With A Sun Shade

Part of RV awning care is getting the most use of your awning. And since one of the main advantages of an RV awning is the shade it provides, just extend that shade further.

You can do that with a sun shade that will extend the shady area of the awning farther toward the ground. But it also continues to allow easy visibility through the shade material.

In addition to the added shade, it can also provide a greater measure of privacy if you are too close to your campground neighbor.

These kind of sun shades are also easy to attach to your RV awning. They have a strip that goes into an open rail that is found in most awning bars.

The strip holds the sun shade to the awning firmly. From there most sun shades have grommets that can be used to tie the bottom of the shade to the ground with stakes.

Many RVers use bungee cords to hold down the bottom of their awning shade. And they work well for this purpose.

An awning sun shade tied to stakes using bungee cords
RV awning sun shade tied to stakes using bungee cords

Once the sun shade is attached to your awning, you are shielded from much of the sun on that side of the RV. It can make the difference between enjoying your awning in comfort or leaving to go back inside.

There are even sun shades that can fit on the ends of the awning too. And of course, these can increase both shade and privacy when in use.

Click here for awning sun shades

Click here for awning end cap sun shades


Just adding a few ideas and procedures to your RV awning care plan can be very beneficial. It can save you lots of money on awning repairs and extend the usefulness of your awning too.

The 5 tips presented in this article are simple and easy to do. And putting them into practice will improve your RV living experience.

Have safe and happy travels my friends!

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