How Should You Care For RV Awnings?

RV awnings can be seen on almost every make and model of RV, from the smallest campers to the largest motorhomes.

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They can cover individual windows and they can cover the entire side. Either way, if you plan on putting your RV awning to use (which you should!), there is no way to avoid the fact that it will constantly get exposed to the elements. Whether it is raining, snowing, windy, or even sunny outside, your awning will get worn down and eventually will need repair.

We've made this page to serve as your guide when that time comes (and indeed before that time as well, with proper maintenance strategies). For if you understand a bit of the basic info on this page, you'll both save some money and have a beautifully functioning awning for years to come.

How is your awning working for you? Are you having touble maintaining it? Successes? Let us know by sharing your thoughts with us and the other visitors on the site

RV Awning Make-Up

First, let's start with a little bit of basic information about the actual structure of your typical RV awning.

There are many parts that and you might not be familiar with the all lingo that is used to describe them, so I will do my best to paint a good picture for you:

The fabric is connected to the awning rail on the top of the side of your RV. It is also connected to a long cylindrical tube on the other side called a roller tube.

The awning tension arms go from the awning rail to the roller tube to tighten and hold the fabric in place. The main support arms can rest on the ground or connect to the brackets, located on the side of your RV, for when you want to keep the main support arms up and out of the way. The awning also has a locking mechanism that secures your awning in place.


There is a powerful spring located in the roller tube that is under a considerable amount of pressure. Do not under any circumstance attempt to access the spring yourself. The spring can cause serious injury and should only be accessed by a trained and experienced professional.

I have personally lost all the skin on my knuckles one time from the spring unloading its tension, and I'm lucky I didn't break a finger or my wrist. It is very dangerous!

Simple Maintenance

Most RV awning parts will need proper maintenance and all parts will eventually need replacement. Although you should not try to replace the spring, there are many other parts that you could maintenance and replace yourself.

You can maintenance all moving parts by lubricating them with a silicone spray. Do not use WD-40 because it will just attract dirt and dust and make things worse. Also do not use too much spray because that as well will attract dirt and dust and you will end up having to clean these parts more often than necessary.

You can replace all parts yourself, with the exception of the main awning arms, the fabric, and the spring. You can get all of the other parts at your local RV parts dealer.

Proper RV Awning Operation

The best way to prevent your awning from damage is simply to use it correctly. Although RV awnings are almost as common as RVs themselves, it is not uncommon to see RV owners making simple mistakes when operating their awning. These mistakes can lead to significant damage and unnecessary and costly repair or replacement.

Again, remember, for all manually operated RV awnings the golden rule is: never open or close your awning with the black knobs tight!

Other than the golden rule I recommend practicing opening and closing your awning when the winds are calm and the weather is good. Many RV owners put their awnings out and don't attempt to close it until it is already pouring rain and gusting wind. This is obviously not the time to learn how to operate your awning!

So the best advice before taking your RV on a trip is to practice opening and closing your awning in good weather conditions until you feel comfortable doing it quickly, but still properly. I know it can be a hassle to close your awning when it might not be necessary, but if it looks like a potential storm or the weather man predicts it, you'll save in the long run if you take that little bit of effort and roll up your awning.

Important RV Awning Tips

Important Note: Again, it bears repeating, do not under any circumstance attempt to access the spring located in the roller tube yourself. The spring can cause serious injury and should only be accessed by a trained and experienced professional. It is very, very dangerous!

The Golden Rule: Never open or close your awning with the black knobs tight!

  1. When it is raining, lower one awning arm lower than the other to allow water to run off. If you don't do this the water will accumulate on the awning fabric and do damage.

  2. Don't leave your awning out when it's windy. When you are leaving your RV unattended and there is chance of strong winds, roll it up.

  3. If you pull into an RV park and the RVs around you don't have their awnings out, find out why, there is a good chance it has been too windy or will be too windy to put yours out.

  4. Try not to close your awning when it is wet. It is ok to close the awning when it is wet for a short period of time, but it needs to be opened within a couple days to prevent mold from taking over.

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Read More Thoughts About RV Awnings

Click on the links below to read other thoughts and stories about awnings. They were all contributed by visitors to this page, just like yourself.

Awning Release on Forrest River 
Question: How do I release the awning on the forrest river? Robbie: The type of RV you have has nothing to do with the operation of your awning. …

One Arm Has Broken At The Top Of RV Awning - Is It Repairable? 
Question: MY son not knowing how to open the awning asked a neighbour on our park who proceeded to force the awning and snapped the top of the …

First 6 Inches of Awning Damaged by Hail 
Question: I have a 7 year old horse trailer and my awnings were damaged by hail whilst rolled up. Only the exposed 6 to 8 in closest ches were damaged. …

Help, Lost Awning Strap in a Uncontrolled Roll-Up This Weekend! 
Question: I'm new to this and asked for a little help from a fellow camper to close the awning up. I'm having difficulties with strenght and dexterity …

Awning Won't Retract or Extend All The Way. Also Quits When Running in Either Direction 
Question: The awning on our rv seems to hang up when electrically extending or retracting. could the motor be going bad Robbie: It does sound like …

My Awning on My Slide Hangs Up 
Question: My awning on my slide out hangs up when i to open it? Robbie: Sorry, but I'm going to need more information to answer this question. From …

Pulled Down Old RV Awning And It Was Full Of Water 
Question: I pulled down the awning that was supposed to have been rolled up for a year+. It was full of water. Do awnings collect water while they …

Oops! I Broke The "Golden Rule" 
Question: I could go into a long story of closing up the awning at the end of a trip and being distracted with other things going on, but the bottom …

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Where To Go From Here

Go from RV Awnings to RV Roof Repair

Go from RV Awnings to Maintaining Your RV Batteries

Remember The RV Awning Golden Rule:

Never open or close your awning with the black knobs tight!

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Robbie Warford, San Diego RV Repair

Hi, I'm Robbie. Welcome to!

Like the name implies, this site is all about helping you save money while keeping your RV in tip-top shape--and that is all about you having the knowledge to do so.

I've been a technician in the RV industry for 30 years, operating out of San Diego, California. And let me tell you, I love my job.

But I also love empowering RVers with the knowledge they need to make the right decision on repairs, or to make the fix themselves--and that, my friend, is the reason for this website. I hope you enjoy.

Or, learn more about me, my RV service practice, & this website here.