What Does Oxidization Mean For RV Decals?
After a few years, you may notice that your RV’s decals and graphics aren’t as shiny as they used to be.
It’s common for vinyl decals or gel coated decals to start to fade from exposure to the elements.
Related Product: Protect and remove oxidation from your entire RV with P-38-Q Pro RV Wax (click to view on Amazon)
UV rays from the sun, dirt and oils from the road, cleaners, and water are all things that affect the finish on an RV.
When the protective coating on RV decals starts to break down it oxidizes and starts to turn white.
If you run your hand along a faded decal you may have chalky white dust left on your fingers.
It’s a symptom of oxidization and the reason the RV decals look faded and white.
Below is a simple way to fix RV decals or graphics that are faded. This technique isn’t for cracked or peeling decals.
Make sure you try a small test area first to make sure it will work on your camper’s decals.
Simple Fix For Faded RV Decals & Graphics
Try this method at your own risk, we do not take responsibility for any damages.
Supplies Needed (click links to view on Amazon)
- Warm Water
- Dish Soap
- 1500 Grit Wet Sandpaper
- Rubber Sanding Block
- 303 Protectant
- Optional: Blue Painters Tape
1. Clean RV Decal
Take a bucket of warm water mixed with dish soap and clean on and around the RV decal.
You want to get rid of all the dirt and oils so nothing contaminates the sandpaper.
After washing with soapy water make sure you rinse off all of the soap.
Let the area dry before moving on to the next step.
2. Optional: Tape Around the RV Decal or Graphic
It’s ok if you go a little bit over the edge when reviving your RV decals or graphics but you don’t want to go over too much.
If you are worried that you might not be able to control where you are working you can put some blue painter’s tape around the RV decal to protect the rest of your RV.
3. Sand Off the Oxidization
Before you start reviving all of the faded decals on your RV you will want to test a small area that’s around 2 or 3 inches to make sure this is the best method for your camper.
Take the 1500 grit wet sandpaper, put it on a rubber or waterproof sanding block, and soak it in clean warm water for about 30 seconds.
Then start sanding the faded RV decal using light, even pressure. You don’t want to take off too much of the finish on the decal.
Make sure you don’t go over the edge if you haven’t taped around the decal.
You should see some of the white oxidization start to come off. Make sure you keep the decal and sandpaper wet.
The most difficult part about this fix for faded RV decals is not over sanding.
Once you’ve taken off a light first layer from the test area, wipe it off with a wet rag and let it dry.
The area you’ve sanded should not look blotchy or have multiple shades, it might not be shiny yet, but it should look like the first layer was sanded evenly.
If it doesn’t look even, wet the sandpaper and lightly sand the uneven areas. Wipe off the sanded spot again with a clean wet rag and let it dry.
Once you’ve figured out how much pressure to use to sand evenly you can start sanding the test area of the RV decal until it starts to look shiny again.
The amount you will need to sand depends on how bad the oxidization was. You shouldn’t have to sand down more than a few layers.
Once sanded wipe the RV decal clean and let it dry before moving on to the next step.
4. Apply 303 Protectant
Many RVers choose to apply wax after removing the oxidization on an RV decal but you want to stay away from products with petroleum distillates because it can break down the decal or graphic and cause it to crack and peel.
Many marine and automotive waxes have petroleum distillates in them.
Instead of using wax, you can apply a vinyl safe protectant like 303 Marine Aerospace Protectant (click to view on Amazon).
It not only makes the RV decal or graphic shiny but protects it from UV rays and future damage.
You can also use a petroleum distillate free wax if you prefer that.
Conclusion About Reviving Faded RV Decals & Graphics
This simple sand and polish method will work on RV decals that are faded but not ones that are cracked or peeling.
If your camper has damaged RV decals that aren’t worth reviving you can try a paint over method or remove the decals and buy new ones.
If you have an RV with slightly faded RV decals using just the 303 Marine Aerospace Protectant might be all it needs.
Remember to regularly apply the 303 protectant to your RV decals and graphics to protect them from damaging UV rays.
303 Protectant can also be applied to the plastic trims on campers to make them shiny and protected from UV rays.
Have any questions about reviving faded RV decals? Leave a comment below.