RV awnings are a great thing. They provide not only provide shade they also create an outdoor gathering space. Sadly, they do not always age well. As much as you may love the awning on your RV, the fact is, over time, awnings can fail to function as they should. This can lessen your camping or overlanding experience. So, here are some things to look for that may be indicators that it is time to replace the awning and get back in the shade outdoors the way you really want.
The RV awning material
Not all awnings are made the same way. Some use better materials than others. The different materials mean that some awnings will handle UV and mildew better than others, or clean up better than others. It also means that the ability to withstand winds is going to be different as well. So, if your awning is held together by large swaths of duct tape, is fraying, flaking, or is retaining mildew no matter how much you clean it, it is probably a good indicator to start shopping around for a replacement fabric for the awning.
The RV awning mechanicals
The expansion and retraction equipment of an RV awning needs to be looked at with each usage. They are another thing that may not age well with the weather as well. Getting caught in a bad wind storm can bend some supports and cause the process of opening and closing the awning tedious at best. So, keep an eye on the mechanicals, support posts, and gearing. If it becomes a regular battle involving brute force to unfurl the unit or roll it back up, it may be time for repairs, or worse, replacement of the entire awning assembly.
The last reason to replace an awning on an RV is if there is blatant damage that has occurred. Not all awnings get the opportunity to age with grace. Some have tree branches dropped on them, or some other disappointing impact that causes the material or mechanical damage. In those cases, talking to the insurance company about replacement may be necessary. If a claim is made, though, chances are you will not have to replace the awning yourself. They will more than likely require an approved vendor or dealer to exchange out the old awning and install the new one.
Replacing an awning can be intimidating. But, some people like the challenge of RV maintenance and repair. If you want to tackle it yourself, there are plenty of Youtube videos out there of people undertaking the awning replacement to provide guidance. However, if you find the thoughts of climbing ladders and tinkering with the structural elements of an awning too much out of your realm of comfort, then reaching out to awning vendors or RV dealerships may be the way to go. In either case, if there are problems with the awning’s material, mechanicals, or there has been damage to them, it might be time to replace it.