Full paint waxing requirements

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Lesh

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I'm curious how often everyone waxes their RV?  We just got rid of our Thor ACE, had it for 6 years and didn't wax it once.  Paint still looked brand new with one minor scratch when we traded it in.  We have purchased a Newmar and they are saying that you have to wax it twice a year.  The dealer tried to sell us on some Teflon coating so we didn't have to wax it for 5 years.  We declined.

We live in Florida, but our RV is stored in a warehouse when not in use.  We use it about 3-4 days a month 10 months of the year and 3 weeks at the holidays.  We don't wash it regularly, but when it looks dirty or the bugs get bad we get it detailed.  Maybe the detailer uses a soap with wax?  Not sure, but I'm curious if we will need to be more diligent with this new RV.
 

Larry N.

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I think you'll get the same life out of the Newmar paint as you did your Thor -- I'd suggest you treat it the same. Dealers like to sell things. Still, even on the Thor, had you waxed it annually it might have looked a tad better. Wax on the front (of any coach) will make it easier to get the bugs off, though.
 

Gizmo

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Your dealer is not incorrect when talking about wax, though hard to say because many folks use wax interchangeably with sealants.  Where wax is concerned it  generally lasts 3-6 months, while sealants generally last 6-12 months.  So if you are really serious about maintaining the finish and if you use a wax, I would do it at least about 6-months if not sooner.  I prefer a sealant which lasts longer, up to about a year so do it once a year and call it good, every 6-months if you are so inclined and really want to insure the protection.  The Teflon coating your dealer mentioned is likely one of the new breed coatings, which when applied correctly and depending on quality of the product, can last anywhere from 2-5 years after which you can have the product reapplied or use a sealant or wax at shorter intervals.  I would be reluctant to have the dealer apply it for a couple of reasons, first unless you know and trust the dealer, you would not know if they applied it or not, one would hope so but the industry is loaded with unscrupulous dealers.  Second a dealer will likely charge more than you could have done at a good local RV body shop company that applies these kinds of coatings. So you are likely to wise to have declined the Teflon coating.  A final reason is for the coating to be completely effective, the rig has to be prepped thoroughly and meticulously and I am not sure dealers will invest the time required.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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You don't need to do anything special - treat the full body paint just like you do your car and your previous Thor.  It's the same paint as on your car.  Some people are satisfied with once a year; others may "wax" it 2x or 3x each year.  Modern synthetic films last well in most circumstances, but exposure to harsh chemicals (acid rain) or use of detergents that can strip waxes can shorten the life.  Do what works for you.

RV (and car) dealers love to sell expensive and highly profitable protection packages, inside and out. They are rarely worth more than what you can do yourself at home with a bottle of car wax or a can of Scotchguard.  Further, the remedy provided if you are unhappy after a couple years is basically just that they will apply another coat of the same stuff.  They aren't going to repaint your coach for you.
 

Lesh

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Thank you all so much for the replies!  I read through the Newmar washing instructions this weekend and they are crazy.  I'm not sure how someone can go into so much detail when washing a large RV.  We will definitely look into getting this one waxed at some point just to make sure we don't have any issues.  Fingers crossed we can keep the paint looking as nice on this one as our last one.  :D
 

Gizmo

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Lesh said:
Thank you all so much for the replies!  I read through the Newmar washing instructions this weekend and they are crazy.  I'm not sure how someone can go into so much detail when washing a large RV.  We will definitely look into getting this one waxed at some point just to make sure we don't have any issues.  Fingers crossed we can keep the paint looking as nice on this one as our last one.  :D

I am curious, what are those washing instructions from Newmar?
 

CJBROWN

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Indoor storage will be key. It really doesn't matter if it's gelcoat or paint, extended sun exposure WILL breakdown the finish.
The first to go on paint is the clearcoat. Then the rest of it. It's not pretty. And it's expensive. Oh well.

Yeah, have it waxed once a year, that indoor storage thing will be simply amazing.
 

Lesh

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Gizmo said:
I am curious, what are those washing instructions from Newmar?

I've attached the brochure.  Maybe these instructions aren't crazy?  Is baby shampoo a common thing?  My grandparents always used a soft brush to wash their RV so that's what we've used without issue.  It just seemed like a lot to me when dealing with a 35' RV.
 

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Gizmo

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Thank you.  What Newmar has presented is factual and follows good detailing principles, whether one of their coaches or your auto and yes it can be a lot of work especially for a large coach.  Whether you need to invest the extra time and effort depends, certainly waxing twice a year with a good quality cleaner wax will go along way to maintaining the finish. 
 

Larry N.

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Those instructions look good to me. I didn't see anything particularly complex, just some cautions about what might damage your finish and some tips on making it look really good. It's about what I'd expect for a car or pickup, too. With a new rig, using some of the liquid coatings (Ice comes to mind) can minimize scratching while applying and wiping off -- microfiber cloths really work well.
 

ChasA

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I've heard that microfiber cloths are not recommended for auto finishes now.
 

Gizmo

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ChasA said:
I've heard that microfiber cloths are not recommended for auto finishes now.

Not sure where you heard that but it is still the detailing industry standard and indicated by the wax, sealant coatings product manufacturers.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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They aren't "crazy", but they are ultra-conservative. Probably what most detailing guru's would recommend, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are the minimum acceptable practice.  Newmar has had those "no wash brush" instructions for a dozen plus years, but they seem to be the only ones.  I've used a soft wash brush for the same amount of time on my full-body-paint coaches and it was still gleaming when I sold it at age 12.


Anecdote:  I was washing my coach in a campground where we workkamped when my new neighbor with a 2007 Newmar  felt the need to tell me I was "ruining my paint".  Later I learned that his wife was the instigator, since she wanted to use a long-handle RV wash brush while he insisted it was not allowed and would only use a mitt and a ladder to wash.  The net result of that is he rarely washed the coach, which [in her opinion and mine] was worse than anything a brush might have done.


Manufacturers have a big problem these days when stating procedures. Some idiot always does something totally lacking in common sense  and then sues because he wasn't specifically told "NO".  For example, using a brush to wash covers a multitude of possibilities, many of which are poor choices. It's difficult to describe a wash-brush spec in layman's terms, so they just say "no brushes". Ditto for "no detergents", "no pressure sprayers", etc.  Too many ways to go wrong, so they rule them out.

I recollect the "OMG don't use microfiber cloths on the car! " thing from several years ago and that I had decided to ignore it as shear paranoia.  I couldn't remember the arguments so I tried to find them online and couldn't locate either the original claim or a "microfiber myth debunked"  article. 
 

SargeW

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The no brush rule is also recommended by Tiffin, as well as using baby shampoo.  The no brush recommendation is because many brushes start out being just fine, but as they are used the soft flexible ends of the plastic bristles wears away. Since owners rarely change out there wash equipment, with time and use the brushes can turn into just stiff plastic bristles that you are scrubbing against the clear coat.  That's when the manufactures get complaints about the "lousy finish" on the RV wearing away. 

The baby shampoo is recommended as it won't strip away the wax on the surface of the coach, or leave a residue as some "wash and wax" shampoo's will do.  I have been using baby shampoo on my current rig, and a lamb's wool pad as recommend by Tiffin.  The results are self evident, as at the 1 year mark the finish still  looks brand new.

I am however a full time RV'er and my rig is constantly subjected to a wide range of climates and temperature extremes.  I wash whenever possible (which is often at the mercy of a campground owner) and wax 2-3 times a year.  I am getting a detail right now I will post about after it's done as it is unbelievable. 

I just spent much of the last 2 months on the Oregon coast, and the wind, salt spray, and blowing sand were brutal on the coach.  Getting it detailed was imperative. 
 

John From Detroit

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2995 Intruder. save for a few "Dings" I still get complements on how "new" it looks.

Wash and wax spring and fall just before my twice a year 800 Mile "Hike" (Get better gas millage with a fresh wax job) same as a new car owner does.. Same wax even.. My favorites are the "M" brand I can never remember the spelling of (many will recommend it) and turtle wax ICE.
 

RVRAC

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I wash mine every two or three months depending on the campground.  Wax it with No-finish every six.  Looks better than when I took it out of the dealer as I don?t think they wax them before delivery.
 

Gizmo

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John From Detroit said:
My favorites are the "M" brand I can never remember the spelling of (many will recommend it)

If you are referring to MeGuiars, yes excellent products.  They have been in the business for along time and well respected among industry professionals, hobbyists
and the casual user.  I use their Flagship Marine cleaner wax followed by their Flagship wax for second and third coats. 
 
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