We normally associate paint protection with new cars, as the dealer piles on the extras. However, your caravan – and your wallet – can also benefit from a paint-protection regimen and protective products. Looking after your caravan’s paint will help hold its resale value.
Keep It Clean
Keeping your caravan clean can be a chore, especially in those hard-to-reach areas such as the roof. However, removing dirt, salt, grease, oil and bird or bat droppings should always be your first step in your caravan paint-protection routine. Remove bird and bat poop as soon as possible; it contains uric acid, which can etch the paint within minutes.
Get rid of more challenging stuff with detailing clay, aka a clay bar.
DIY paint-protection kits
Paint-protection kits and systems vary in cost. Most are based on a fluoropolymer sealant (Teflon is the most notable), which forms a protective film on the surface of the paint. Fluoropolymers protect against acids, alkalis, grease, oil and UV light. At a microscopic level, the sealant forms a layer over the naturally pitted surface of paint, filling in the troughs and evening out the peaks to create a smoother surface.
Because it’s vital to clean your caravan’s painted surfaces before you apply the sealant, some kits even include the cleaner.
Many manufacturers claim that their paint protection will last for as long as five years before you need to reapply; however, this depends largely on how much you use and how you store your caravan.
Kits range in price, depending on the brand. As a guide, the Polaris DIY kit retails for $110 for new caravans or for $176 with the paint-rejuvenation kit.
Professionally Applied Paint Protection
If you don’t want to do the job yourself, you can also have the professionals apply the same fluoropolymer paint protection. In addition to saving you from having to climb all over your caravan, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that the pros are correctly applying the product.
As with the DIY kits, prices vary by vendor and product. Paintseal Australia, for example, protects the exterior of your caravan with its regular product for $1695. Undoubtedly, much of this fee accounts for labour.
In addition to UV light, water and surface contaminants, temperature variation is a big contributor to paint damage. Over the years, changes in temperature will degrade your caravan’s paint. Storing your caravan in a garage helps even out the extreme temperature variations your caravan would face outside.
Keep It Under Wraps
If a garage isn’t an option, your next best bet is to get a caravan cover. Cover materials range from thin membranes to canvas or tarpaulin fabrics. The better options feature tough, multilayered, waterproof fabric and foam padding to protect against hail. They also have cut-outs for doors and air vents to guard against moisture build-up.
Prices for covers vary wildly according to build and caravan size. They range from approximately $200 for a basic weatherproof cover to $1800 for Stormcover’s 27-foot hail-proof caravan product.
Ideally, you should use a combination of these options to ensure your caravan continues to look its best and keeps its resale value in good shape.
If you’ve left it too late or you’ve bought a fixer-upper, here’s how to do a caravan paint repair.