Monday, November 28, 2022


RV awning causing issues for couple

Dear RV Shrink:rvshrink
My wife is always insisting that I roll the awning up when we go sightseeing or shopping for the day. I have camp all set up and would rather keep things covered. We witnessed an incident last year, watching an awning blow up and over a motorhome in an unexpected storm while the occupants were away. I think it was a fluke and not staked down as well as I do. I also have a middle support pole. Could you convince her she is paranoid? I hate rolling it up and down all the time. —Pokey Roller in Pocatello 

Dear Pokey:
I am not suggesting you should roll your awning up every time you leave your site, but I think I would err on the side of caution with your wife.

An awning is nothing more than a sail on the side of your rig. Mother Nature has a way of getting your attention at the drop of a hat. I, myself, have seen several awnings ripped off. It takes minutes to roll one up when you leave for any amount of time and that same amount of time to drop it back down.

If you lose it to a windstorm it will often cost you more than a few hundred dollars in fabric. Usually the hardware is bent and anchor bolts are ripped out, causing damage to your siding. You will also spend much more time dealing with your insurance company and awning installer than the few minutes it takes to roll it up. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

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Bob Glasson
4 years ago

If you’re in the market, the folks over at Carefree developed the Mirage that detects wind movement and automatically retracts the awning. Check it out.

Phil C.
4 years ago
Reply to  Bob Glasson

Read the awning manual….most have disclaimers about leaving it out in the rain. We have a Carefree awning with auto retract but if we leave for some sightseeing we press the button and Voila! it rolls up. We had a manual awning on our previous RV and always brought it in. Two minutes to maybe save a lot of aggravation is a no brainier must do…..

Lee Ensminger
4 years ago

She’s right, you’re wrong. Roll it up when you leave. The End.

4 years ago

It’s not just wind you have to worry about. Some manufacturers will not cover the replacement of the awning or damage to the RV if it occurs during rain…any rain…heavy or light.

Michael McCracken
4 years ago

Last year I was in the process of pulling my awning out when the strap broke. It was a calm day with just a small breeze. I decided to leave my awning halfway out and take a trip to the local RV store for a new strap. I returned after a 45-minute trip to a calm day to find my awning rapped over the roof. One of the supporting arms was ripped from the motorhome. The attached screws had made long deep scratches on the side of my motorhome. The awning housing was twisted and bent. According to my neighbors, they watched a dust devil come through and it lasted only a few seconds. I camp a lot in Arizona. High winds with high gusts can come out of nowhere. I am with your wife on this one. The resulting insurance claim and repair time caused a major delay in my travel plans.

Bob Gash
4 years ago

Roll it up!! We were camped on a nice, calm day, and left our coach for 2 hours with the awning open.

When we returned, we found a “non-forecasted” storm had come in, and our awning had blown over the roof, and was 1000.00 to repair.

Tough lesson to learn. BG

4 years ago

Just roll it up. It takes SECONDS for Pete’s sake!

I’ve had little problem with wind, but even WITH angling it, a freak rainstorm put 500 gallons or so into my awning faster than it could drain and bent the roller halfway to the ground. Now I retract it when I’m not there, ALWAYS.

4 years ago

We were workampers for years. I can’t tell you the number of times people leave their awnings out when a sudden gust of wind comes along and takes it sailing! If we worked in an area prone to sudden wind gust we always told them not to leave their awnings out when they go somewhere. Many don’t listen. Also, make sure the park management has your cell phone number. I can’t tell you how many times we tried to call someone about their awning and it was their home number we had.

As for the electric wind sensor awnings – don’t trust that part. The park we live in – people have had their awnings damaged because a sudden winds come through hitting it before the sensor can react.

We live in a park now prone to sudden wind gust. One day three people lost their awnings with damage to their RV. One guy who knew better said ‘I only quickly ran into town to the store. the winds were predicted not to hit for 3 hours’.

Another danger is a rain storm could hit. When we were working at a park in NH that have the seasonal, those people often left their awnings out. We had a big rain storm and one guy did not have his awning angled. The awning filled up with water eventually causing one of the arms to go right through the RV wall to inside.

Better safe than sorry I say.

Patti L
4 years ago

Oh, and don’t feel too cocky about averting problems by just rolling up the awning. Make sure it is secured and here is why. We had rolled in our awning because we were going to be gone for two days only to get a call from the park owner saying that our awning had been damaged in a sudden windstorm. We were only 2 hours away so we dashed back and sure enough our awning was ripped and the arms twisted badly. Luckily there was no damage to the RV itself. We had neglected to put in the locking screws that we use before taking her on the road and a freakish wind had unrolled the awning and whipped it badly. You just can’t be too careful sometimes.

Jerry X Shea
4 years ago

A beautiful sunny day and suddenly a heavy wind storm. By the time we got back to our Motorhome it cost me a new gear driven motorbox.

4 years ago

If you have plenty of money and do not mind the hassles of repair, by all means, leave it deployed. Enjoy!

Tim P
4 years ago

Yes, rolling up the awning each time is a pain. Not too many years ago we spent the summer in a campground as seasonal. We had the awning staked down in several places, even had that strap that goes across the entire awning at the roller and screwed into the ground. We got a call one day during the week that a wind storm had flipped our awning over the top of our unit. It did not rip the material but did bend the legs somewhat and put a couple of dents in the roof. I diligently repaired all the dents and holes in the roof, so I thought. A year later I almost fell through the floor in the bathroom. The floor had dry rotted, Not just the floor but the entire back of the unit was dry rotted for a small hole I did not see at the time I repaired the awning damage.

So when I purchased our next unit to full time in I got an electric automatic awning with a wind sensor. The cost was minor as compared to the repair to the other unit. the wind sensor eventually got knocked off by a limb and replacement was impossible without replacing the control unit at over $500.00. so today I just hit the button each time we leave the area.

Tommy Molnar
4 years ago

I suppose we could be accused of being {bleeped} about this (ahem), but if we leave the trailer – for any reason – we roll up the awning – period.

Mark B
4 years ago

Your wife has a flaw. Her flaw is being so accommodating that she’d stayed married to a yutz that would turn to random public opinion to attempt to prove his point.

With a lottery ticket your chance is 3.42465753e-9 and a lightning strike is 3.3333333e-3. Just tell your wife that your logic is you’ll never win the lottery and you’ probably won’t get struck by lightning, but you get a vicarious thrill from taking risks and the awning may the closest you’ll ever get. Now, grab your umbrella and go stand under a tree during a thunderstorm!

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