(PICTURES) How to Remove and Replace RV trailer Decals

How to Remove and Replace RV Decals

How To Replace RV Decals (And Why You Might Have To) Replacing your RV’s decals can be a serious DIY project, but if you want to save some money and have the right tools, it can be done.

It will take a little bit of time and probably some sweat equity, so get ready for that. New decals are available from most manufacturer’s websites or through their dealerships.

One advantage of ordering them directly is that they should come with detailed instructions on how to install the new ones. Some might say it’s common sense stuff, but since many things aren’t these days, we’ll go through the process anyway.

How to Remove RV Decals

Depending on the type of decals you have, different tools might be required. For vinyl decals this is true if they’re not already installed in a wrap-around manner.

There’s no need to replace the decals on your RV if there’s nothing wrong with them. Sometimes replacement is done for appearance purposes or because the old graphics are looking faded and worn.

It can also make sense to do so if the decal adhesive is failing and falling off after being exposed to weather for several years (sometimes it just falls off). If that’s the case, see below for tips on removing stubborn leftover pieces without damaging your RV or its paint job.

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Remove Old Decals

Why You May Need To Remove Old Decals First Since you’re probably just replacing decals, you won’t need to worry about removing existing wraps.

However, if your old decals are vinyl and not a wrap, then you will likely have to remove the old material before applying new ones.

This is because most manufacturers use an adhesive that’s difficult to remove without damaging the paint underneath it (especially if it’s been on there for 5-10 years).

Use Heat Gun or Hair Dryer

Vinyl decals can be removed with thinner or heat depending on how they were applied in the first place.

Removing Vinyl Decal Adhesive With Heat If your decals are stuck on purely through pressure from their own weight, this option will work great for you.

It works best when your original RV decal is light colored because if it’s dark, the color can run and smear when you try to remove them.

Start by using a hair dryer or heat gun on low setting against the decal material for about 10 minutes. You want to get all of the surrounding adhesive warm so that it softens up.

Use A Scraper

Next, scrape off as much of the decal with a plastic putty knife as possible (that’s why it needs to be light colored). If there are still pieces remaining after this step, use more heat and continue scraping until they’re removed completely.

Scraping is okay – your paint won’t be damaged if you do this correctly. Remove any leftover sticker residue left behind using standard rubbing alcohol and a clean rag.

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How to Replace RV Decals

Decals That Can Be Applied On Your Own There are several easy ways you can install RV decals yourself.

Transfer Tape

One of the most common techniques is using transfer tape and a credit card to get them in place before peeling off the backing paper and sticking them directly onto your motorhome.

This method works really well if they’re small enough to handle this way (typically under about 4 inches).

Scotch Tape

Another way is by using plain old scotch tape, but it takes quite a bit longer since you have to wait for the adhesive to stick to the RV itself before peeling it away from the backing paper and slowly sticking it in place.

The downside to both of these methods is that if you mess up, you have to start over with a new one.

How to Remove and Replace RV Decals

How To Protect RV Decals

There are two ways that manufacturers address the problem of protecting your RV Decals, so be sure that you know which type (if any) is on the product description for whatever type of decal you’re purchasing.

Clear Protector

One option is to use a clear, hard plastic over the entire graphic so that it becomes a permanent part of your RV’s exterior and can’t be scratched off or peeled away.

This method works well for graphics that aren’t too large because they really need to be covering as much area as possible to stay in place while driving down the road.

Freeze Spray

The second option is using what’s called an “ani-freeze” which actually freezes the adhesive on the decal material itself so that it doesn’t sag anymore once applied.

It usually lasts about two winters before it needs reapplying, but after this amount of time, most people just apply a new one anyway.

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Different Types of RV Decals

Decals That Are Manufactured To Be Permanent There are several RV manufacturers who use high quality wrap designs instead of stickers as their factory default graphic.

They’re made out of vinyl instead of paper, which means they’re waterproof and won’t have any issues staying stuck onto your motorhome’s body after you drive all over the country in extreme weather conditions.

If you purchase one of these types, there will usually be an instruction card included in the box that tells you how to apply it correctly. If your RV has a factory applied graphic and you’re in the market for a new one, this might be an option worth looking into.

How to Restore a Faded or Cracked Decal?

You may prefer the decal’s original appearance and do not wish to go through the hassle of removing it. In that case, you can try priming and painting it to restore it.

Preparing the area and applying multiple coats of primer and paint will be a meticulous process. If you do a good job, the outcome will be fantastic.

Here’s an example of what you can achieve by painting over a worn or cracked decal.


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