Carefree Blog

Frequently Asked Questions About RV Awnings

RV awnings are hailed as one of the most must-have RV accessories out there. They are known for bestowing campers with much-needed relief from unforgiving sun rays, and they also significantly expand the RV living space. You’d be hard-pressed to find an RVer who doesn’t include blissfully lounging underneath their canopy in their defintion of the perfect campsite.

Just like with anything in life, the more you understand about RV awnings, the more you will get out of them and the longer you will be able to maintain yours.

Whether you’re looking into buying an RV awning for the first time, or you are simply trying to learn more about the one you have, here is a list of frequently asked questions to help you get on the right track:

Which RV Awning Fabric Is Right for Me?

There are two main types of RV awning fabric: acrylic and vinyl. Acrylic is a woven type of breathable fabric that dries quickly but is not waterproof, whereas vinyl is a laminated fabric that is generally waterproof. Areas underneath acrylic fabric tend to stay cooler, as the fabric allows for increased air circulation.

To learn more about which option is better for you, read our article on the topic here.

How Can I Protect My RV Awning Fabric From Deteriorating?

RV awning fabric is designed to be out in the sun, and most quality canopies will be able to stand up against harsh sun rays on their own. That being said, long-term exposure to damaging UV rays paired with dirt, debris, pollution and moisture can all lead to gradual degradation of the fabric.

If winds and rain are expected to be in large supply, it’s always a good idea to keep your awning away until the weather calms down. However, that’s not always possible, and inevitably, your awning will be exposed to unideal conditions.

The good news is that there are many RV awning protective covers available that will shield your awning from potentially destructive forces. Some even come with design and color options, helping you add style and function to your awning.

Can I Leave My Awning Out in the Rain and Wind?

RV awnings are designed to provide shade and shield you from the harsh sun. While a few raindrops and some light wind won’t ruin your awning, it’s best to keep your awning retracted throughout intense, inclement weather.

Canopy clamps will help prevent your awning from flapping around in the wind, and tie downs will help keep your awning steady throughout an incoming breeze. However, it’s always best to keep your awning away until severe winds have passed. Unrelenting gusts can tear your awning off of the track, which can result in damage to the RV as well as injury to yourself and any bystanders.

When it comes to rain, the same sentiment applies. If water heavily collects in the canopy, the weight can cause the fabric to stretch. In some cases, this weight can also affect the hardware. You can mitigate any damage by lowering one end of the awning so that the rain runs-off. Some awnings also come with an “automatic dump” feature, where the awning is designed to empty the canopy if too much water builds up.

Your best bet is to stay in the loop on upcoming weather conditions and retract your awning before any threatening weather comes your way.

How Do I Install My Awning?

The quick answer to this is that it depends on what kind of awning you have. Your awning should come with an installation manual that goes over all of the installation steps as well as any important safety precautions.

If you’ve lost your manual, additional copies can usually be found online, or you can contact the manufacturer or a local dealer for help. For Carefree products, see our product library for owner's manuals, installation guides, etc.

Remember that there are always professional installations services available if you are not confident installing it yourself. Improper set-up can result in a damaged awning as well as injuries to the person installing/using it.

How Do You Clean RV Awnings?

Hosing down your RV awning once every month or so can remove accumulated dirt and debris, which generally postpones the need for deep cleanings. If you hose it down regularly, you should only need to deep clean your awning every 2-3 years.

When it is time to clean your awning thoroughly, this article details the steps that will help you do that.

Remember, to prevent mold and mildew, always allow your awning to air dry before rolling it back up.

Can You Repair Damaged RV Awning Fabric?

There are tools on the market, such as tapes or patch kits, to help you patch up small tears or rips, but if your canopy is severely damaged by mold or mildew, is significantly tearing off of the tracks, or is dramatically sagging, you may want to look into replacing your RV awning fabric altogether.

As with other areas of RV awning installation or repair, professional installation services are always the safest way to go if you don’t feel comfortable taking the project on yourself.

How Can I Keep the Mobile Components Lubricated and Free From Rust?

It’s important to keep the parts of the RV awning that move or retract in good shape. Avoid allowing dirt to build up in the crevices of the hardware pieces, and also be proactive about keeping them lubricated and free of corrosion.

Using a dry silicone spray on the hardware parts of the awning will help to do this, but remember that too much will allow debris to build-up; a light coating is all you need.

Also, as a reminder, never use WD-40 on your awning.

Can I Find Awning Replacement Parts, Or Do I Need to Replace the Entire Thing?

If most of your awning is operable but there is a clear area that is having issues, you most likely won’t need a full replacement. You should be able to order RV awning replacement parts rather easily through your manufacturer. Keep in mind that certain warranties are only applicable if you order a part through the specified vendor, so always double check the details of your warranty.

If your awning seems to be having issues and you are not mechanically inclined, the best thing to do is to consult with your manufacturer or a dealer near you.

When Should I Replace My RV Awning?

An awning that is well cared for can last as long as the RV itself. That being said, there are times when replacing the awning is necessary.

Here are a few signs that indicate it may be time to look into replacing your awning:

  1. The fabric is deteriorating and/or covered with mold, rot, and mildew.
  2. The awning hardware parts are bent, loose, or broken.
  3. The awning won’t retract as it should, and/or the arms aren’t sliding into their proper places.
  4. You’re having trouble adjusting the pitch.
  5. There is any visible damage.

Keep in mind that if it’s only your awning fabric that’s damaged, you can replace the canopy without having to replace the awning. However, if there are multiple problems occurring simultaneously, it’s likely time to retire your current awning and install a fresh one.

Also, please note that any hint of structural weakness or malfunction could signify serious damage. Using a faulty awning could result in injury, so always take proper safety precautions when necessary.

What Should I Do If My Awning Is Not Functioning Properly?

If your awning is having issues, it’s always a good idea to first contact a local dealer. They can help diagnose the issue as well as see if your warranty covers any work that needs to be done.

Are RV Awnings Covered By Insurance?

The short answer is that some insurance plans will include RV awnings in the coverage, and others will cover them if you add additional coverage to do so.

To get a well-rounded view of what kind of incidents and situations are covered, it’s also important to understand your awning’s warranty details. For Carefree products, see this page for warranty information.

Have a Question That’s Not Covered?

If you have a question that wasn’t covered in this article, or if you’d like to find out more information on any of our specific RV awnings, accessories, or replacement parts, contact us today.

Awnings are what we know best, so if you need anything at all, we’d love to hear from you!