Thursday, September 28, 2023


Why are RV’s decals fading and cracking so soon?

Dave responds to a reader’s question about why his RV’s decals are fading and cracking on his two-year-old RV. He explains there are two types of decals, one lasts longer than the other (bet you can’t guess why). And he has advice about keeping an RV’s decals in top shape.

Dave looks at the two different types of decals and explains why the reader is having problems.

Products Dave mentions:
303 Protectant:

Other articles by Dave you might like:

Is an after-market paint protection policy on an RV worth the money?

How can I get scratches out of my RV’s solid surface countertop?

My trailer has a soft floor. How much will it cost to fix?

Read Dave’s RV tech advice most weekdays at Subscribe to receive an email reminder of each new issue.


Dave Solberg
Dave Solberg
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. He has been in the RV Industry since 1983 and conducts over 15 seminars at RV shows throughout the country.


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Roger Marble
5 months ago

Simple answer for short life of graphics. COST. Why should a RV manufacturer or dealer care when they have no responsibility for the unit almost as soon as the RV drives off the dealer’s lot. My 2008 had severe cracking and I ended up having to sand the vinyl off and have the RV repainted after the unit was 3 years old

Barbara D
5 months ago

We have a 2016 Montana High Country 293RK 5th wheel in which we lived in full-time and traveled in for 7 years. We rather expected the decals to fade as we’ve seen happen with so many RVs. However, our decals still look like they did when the RV was brand new. So we have no complaints about the decals. However, the same is not true for the gel coat which began fading 2 years ago and is unfortunately no longer shiny.

Don Baxter
5 months ago
Reply to  Barbara D

We are having the same problem with our 2013 Komfort Trailer .

Jeffery H.
5 months ago

When passing by a large, well known RV Dealership I like to go in and ask to see a unit without slides decals, and painting.

Diane McGovern
5 months ago
Reply to  Jeffery H.

So, a quick trip to the dealership, eh? 😆 Have a great day, Jeffery. 😀 –Diane at

Calvin Wing
5 months ago

We passed on to our kids the 30’ 1989 Alumalite Holiday Rambler that we started with in ‘99. It has sat in full sunlight since it was new (the woman we bought it from had it stored in her back yard since it was new) and we stored it on our South side driveway since 99’. All of the black, gray and white decals that run along both sides are still in like new condition except for the door, which has the crinkly stamped steel surface. I had to repaint that. I don’t know what they used but if all decals were like those we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

5 months ago

Great information. I replaced the decals once on my Class A 34′. I vowed I would not do that again – so when they faded and cracked again, I made templates or patterns and used RustOleum spray paint. It is exposed 24/7 to sun, heat and severe cold. No problems after 5 years on the front. The sides about 2 years now. Still looks same as day applied. I wash and WAX twice a year too!

5 months ago

Most of what was said is true. The other problem is the prep of the vehicle before installation. I doubt if any manufacturer really cleans an degreases the paint before applying the decals. Also, proper installation is a must. The decals are put on using a squeegee to smooth the decal. That stretches the material. After time, the vinyl wants to return to it’s original shape. As it shrinks, wrinkles occur and the vinyl cracks.
On my TT, the front decals started to shrink and peel after the first year. That was mostly because the front was in direct sunlight most of the day when in the storage lot. I removed all the front decals. It was labor intensive, but looks a lot better than faded and cracked material.
Plus, you have the cost factor. The better the vinyl and proper time consuming installation, the more it costs the manufacturer. I worked for a sign company doing custom signs and decals. The extreior vinyl cost about 5 times as much as what we used for interior signs.

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