Fighting Rust in Your RV

The contagious and ugly look of rusted metal is a frequent source of panic for boating enthusiasts, but often ignored by RV owners. Expecting zero rust to develop on your well-loved RV is a little too optimistic. Rust comes from many sources, most of which are easy to solve. To manage this rust, and avoid the damaging corrosion it can cause, the first step is keeping your eye out for rust’s causes.

Rust can develop on any exposed metal surface. This means that any tiny scratch on the RV’s exterior coat of paint is susceptible, in addition to everything going on in the rarely visible undercarriage below your RV. When driving around the country on the adventures you love, you’re more likely to have scraped the undercarriage of your RV than you might think, even if you’ve never noticed. It’s not just rocky off-roading that’ll ding up your unit. Speed bumps, loose gravel, and even roadkill can all create enough scratches to make rust a relevant risk.

Even without damage from exposed metal, road salt in places fighting snowfall and sea salt by the coast can create rust on the undercarriage and frame. Inside the vehicle, condensation from simply breathing in your RV can create rust on the windows, and on any exposed metal inside.

By now you might be a little afraid of your own RV, but all this rust is easy to prevent, now that you know where it could be. Locating exposed metals is key: take a slow walk around your RV at least once a week whenever you’re using it and look for any exterior scratches, then touch them up with a coat of paint or get them professionally repaired, if necessary.

A fundamental rust prevention technique is rinsing your RV’s undercarriage, whether at the car wash or with your own hose. If possible, mixing baking soda in your rinse water can even help neutralize any damage salt has already created.

Undercoating your RV will protect it even further, and stop the spread of any rust that might already exist. This can be done with something as simple as the Undercoating in a Can spray. Look at all mechanical components beneath the RV, as they are the most susceptible to corrosion, another problem to take care of that usually signals nearby rust development.

If you find an existing rust formation, a stiff wire brush will scrape it off after a few minutes of work. When it’s removed, keep practicing your rust prevention skills by covering the exposed metal with the rust-inhibiting paint you use for touch-ups.

If you spot a large area or rust or corrosion, don’t try to patch it all up by yourself. The metal in the area could be weakened, creating a safety hazard that needs professional repair. Your local RV store can take care of it easily.

At Pete’s RV Center, we’re here to take care of all your RV sales and maintenance needs. With dealerships in Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, has you covered!

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