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How long can an RV last?

A common question we are often asked is "How long can an RV last".  This is not a simple question. Fretz RV has been in business since 1946.  That is two decades earlier than when Winnebago produced their first motorhome.  Our experience with motorhomes and travel trailers has taught us several things regarding maintenance and best practices in preserving your RV investment.

Keep the water out of your RV

Water leaks are the number one cause of RV destruction.  It doesn't matter whether you have a Class A, Class B, Class C, Travel Trailer, Fifth Wheel, or Pop-Up Camper; all types of RV's will likely develop a water leak at some point.  All RV's have sealants that need to be maintained.  Roof vents, TV antennas, transition molding on the roof, radio antennas, and sky lights are just a few examples of the various items that need to be maintained.  The sealants degrade over time due to sun damage, drying and cracking, expanding and contracting, and body flex from road travel.  This can result in gaps that allow water to get in.  If gone unnoticed, this will lead to extensive damage and deterioration.  It is recommended that you check your sealants twice a year and have the sealants repaired before water leaks develop.  It is important to note, that most insurance policies will not cover water damage caused by lack of sealant maintenance.  It’s also worth noting that most manufacturers do not consider sealant maintenance a warrantable item.  

How much do you enjoy your RV?

Certainly how often you use your RV will have an impact on how long it will last.  We have clients that use their RV as few as two or three times a year, and some that use them full-time.  RV’s are designed to be traveled in and enjoyed, but they are built for recreational use.  If you plan on using your RV full-time, you will likely shorten it’s life.  

Factor in the Environment and Climate

The climate and environment will also have an effect on your RV’s life.  Extreme conditions and hot weather can cause premature failure of sealants and roof membrane.  Also, some areas are extremely corrosive.  For example, if you live on the coast, the corrosive salt air can rust the metal components quicker than in the midwest.  We recommend protecting your RV with Duratain.  Duratain is a three part protection for your RV.  There is a coating applied to the outside that will protect the finish and does not require waxing for five years.  The second part is a self healing rubberized coating applied to the frame.  This undercoating protects the exposed metal from the elements.  The third part is a stain and fabric protection applied to the interior upholstery (and exterior awning).  Another way of protecting your investment from the elements is using an RV cover while your RV is not in use.  This cover will provide protection from the sun and rain.  If you are going to cover your RV, make sure you get an RV cover.  RV covers breathe, unlike plastic tarps.  If the cover can not breathe, you often develop mold and algae build up on the exterior of your RV.

At the end of the day

There are many factors that needs to be considered when trying to determine how long your RV will last.  When it’s all said and done, the fact of the matter is you are far more likely to get sick of your RV and want something different than you are to wear it out.  If you follow the recommended maintenance, and provide some level of exterior protection from the elements (i.e. Duratain, RV Cover), your RV will last longer than you will want to own it.  So get out there and do some traveling.  Enjoy the splendors of our great nation, and create and share memories with your family that will last a lifetime. 

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