RV Wax
Why the best wax for your RV may not be wax at all!

For most of you, the quest for the best RV wax will start among traditional car care products. Then shortly along the way you will start to consider the possibility that specialized products must be made for the RV's.

Your quest is most likely what brought you to this page looking for what might be considered the best wax for your RV, motor home, diesel pusher, etc., etc.

After all, it does make sense that a special wax would exist for these special materials. Before long, you will find yourself more confused than ever due to the many forms of marketing and labeling that exist within the world of RV's.

rv wax

You Have Questions. I have Answers

  • Does my RV really need to be waxed?
  • Is there any truth behind these "Marine Grade" waxes?
  • Does my RV really need a special wax?

The questions are many, and one question seems to produce and endless list of additional questions.

RV Wax:
Keeping it Simple (KIS)

I deal with all kinds of people. people Who want a simple answer to basic needs. People who are not interested in becoming fully educated, but want to keep things ultra simple.

And for this reason I will start out by giving my ultra-simple answer to your quest for the best RV wax.

CSI Q-7 Wax 16oz 62-204-P

  • My "go-to" wax for the past 15+ years
  • Only recently available through Amazon
  • I use this professional for cars, boats, RV's, and any other type of "toy" imaginable
  • Non-staining formulation (won't stain black trim)
  • Can be used in direct sunlight on hot surfaces/materials

waxing rv with full body paint with rv wax

Darren's Tips: I only recommend this wax on RV's with full body paint or RV's in excellent condition. If you have an older RV, or an RV that has "deferred maintenance", then I would recommend one of the products below before you attempt to apply this wax or any other choice in an RV wax.

With that said, working on RV's presents unique challenges due to the many types of materials and components you will encounter:

  • Paint (any RV as a rule will actually have clear coat. Clear coat in basic terms is paint with no color added to it)
  • Gel coat (gel coat, which is often called fiberglass will be very typical on the majority of RV's. I only recommend a true wax product on painted, or RV's in excellent condition. If you have gel coat/fiberglass and there is any form of oxidation, you need to begin with a product that can remove the oxidation first)
  • Window frames
  • Awning covers/awning material
  • Rooftop accessories (sky lights, A/C covers, solar panels, etc.)
  • Access ladders
  • Exterior lighting in all their forms

If you chose a wax that is safe for all these materials, then maintenance can be much simpler. I can use this wax on every one of these materials with the exception of a cloth awning (which in every case I have come across is actually vinyl. This wax can be used on any vinyl trim, awning, window gasket, etc.)

RV Wax:
Wax for New RV's

If you have a brand new RV or an RV with full body paint like the one below, then RV care and maintenance are as good as it gets. If you keep up on the maintenance requirements of your RV, you  will avoid the major hassles of trying to restore your RV if it is neglected.

RV with full body paint

Finding the best RV wax is more that just finding a wax that will work on the paint of your RV. RV's represent so many materials and accessories that you will also be required to deal with.

Experience has taught me that finding the "right" RV wax is choosing a wax that is effective and safe for the many other materials or accessories you will come across in waxing your RV.

CSI Q-7 Wax 16oz 62-204-P

  • My "go-to" wax for every car, RV, or boat for the past 15+ years
  • Only recently made available through Amazon
  • Non-staining formulation (won't stain black trim and does not become chalky and hard when it dries)
  • Can be used in direct sunlight, on hot paint (or any other hot surface)

Darren's Tips: I love this wax for so many reasons. One of the main reasons is due to its incredible versatility. Not only is it a super easy wax to use, but I use it on so many other components or surfaces of an RV when I am working professionally.

Think about the many materials, surfaces, or accessories you will encounter when waxing your RV:

  • Paint and/or gel coat (this can work on either assuming both materials are in good condition)
  • Black window frames (completely safe and effective)
  • RV decals (regardless of the color, finish, or type of decal)
  • Roof-top accessories: satellite dishes, sky lights, solar panels, A/C covers made with black plastic, black plastic vent covers, front windshield gasket, front end clear protection film, etc.
  • Also the best wax for any modern day Airstream RV trailer

best rv wax for airstream trailers

Airstream trailers are high-end trailers with much confusion as to how to take care of them. Due to the fact that these trailers were originally made with bare, aluminum panels which required the use of a metal polish to restore and protect them.

The Airstream trailers of today are clear coated and no longer made with bare aluminum. This is the same clear coat you will find on car paint and full body paint RV's.

I love this Q-7 Spray Wax for these Airstream trailers as Airstreams represent even further challenges due to the endless details and nuances of these trailers:

  • Exposed panel lines
  • Exposed rivets
  • Metal window frames
  • Metal light housings
  • Sunlight covers
  • Front plastic window shields

because of these many materials and components, this wax makes for the perfect RV wax when maintaining any of you that own an Airstream trailer.

Darren's Tips: Airstreams have a cult-like following. These trailers are built with a higher level of quality than most other RV's or trailers. But this does not make them exempt from their own problems. I have seen many of these trailers where the clear coat begins to bubble and degrade. This happens most often around the rivets or where the panels are joined.

regardless as to whether your Airstream is suffering from any of this problem, this wax is safe, effective, and easy to use.

Difference Between Fiberglass and Gel Coat

What is the difference between fiberglass and gel coat?

That is a common question and certainly a valid question when it comes to choosing the best RV wax. This problem arises due to a lack of standardization in terminology.

fiberglass reinforced plywoodCross section of what is called in many sectors as FRP: fiberglass reinforced plywood. The gel coat is the white material. Fiberglass can be used in the form of fiberglass cloth or particles that are laid down before the final gel coat, or mixed into a beginning layer of the polyester or epoxy resin that makes up gel coat.

The reality is that virtually all RV's are made using both materials. Gel coat is the final, or top material, while fiberglass is used to reinforce the overall structure.

The above picture shows how the side walls of most RV's are constructed using wood as the core material, then reinforced and finished with either gel coat only (gel coat is typically a polyester or epoxy resin), or gel coat in conjunction with fiberglass in the form of cloth, or fiberglass particles.

Unless you have a full body painted RV, you will be dealing with this gel coat material when waxing your RV and choosing some kind of wax that people will simply refer to as RV wax.

RV Wax or RV Cleaner Wax?

polishing RV before waxing with RV wax

The simple answer would be to use at a minimum, an RV cleaner wax since most of you will own RV's that are in less-then-pristine condition.

If you have made it this far down the page, this leads me to believe you are looking for additional information and help. Most of you reading this will likely own an RV with a combination of materials used to make up the "box" of your RV.

Since RV's are constructed in many ways, your RV will fall into one of the categories here:

  • Full paint: entire RV box
  • Paint, gel coat, and decals: These are the most common RV's. Isolated areas of paint, with the majority of the RV being gel coat, then embellished with graphics in the form of vinyl decals
  • Gel coat only with vinyl decals
  • Corrugated aluminum siding with decals
  • Corrugated fiberglass siding with decals

Experience has taught me that most people either neglect the general maintenance required of RV's, or purchase a used RV that has been neglected.

This means your RV in most cases your RV will need a product other than a basic or traditional RV wax. You will need a product likes the following products to perform cleaning/polishing, along with or prior to waxing your RV.

Meguiar's M5032 Marine/RV One Step Cleaner Wax - Liquid - 32 oz.

  • Called marine or boat wax since it is formulated for fiberglass/gelcoat
  • Can be used by hand or machine
  • I recommend a cleaner wax for every fiberglass/gelcoat RV or boat since fiberglass/gel coat oxidizes so easily even when they are kept indoors and appear to be in mint condition. The cleaners will remove trace amounts of oxidation you likely don't realize is even there until you try and wax your RV or boat.

Darren's Tips: If you are unsure as to what your RV requires specifically because you do not know the difference between paint and gel coat, then I would default to this product. It has chemical cleaners (this means chemical cleaners only, not abrasive cleaners) that have the ability to remove very light amounts of oxidation and other unwanted surface contaminants while restoring some gloss and shine.

This is what I call a lazy man's solution to deep cleaning your RV while simultaneously applying some wax. Two tasks accomplished with a single product.

Professionally I think that any deep cleaning or polishing should be handled as a separate step, then followed with your choice in an RV wax, but I am nt everyone. I understand the need for people who have very basic expectations and want to keep it simple.

This cleaner wax from Meguiar's is a perfect way to accomplish this.

3M Marine Restorer and Wax (33.8-Ounce)

  • Called marine or boat wax since it is formulated for fiberglass/gelcoat which is what your RV is.
  • Can be used by hand or machine.
  • Same explanation as above regarding the use of a cleaner wax for your RV despite how great of condition it is in.

Heavy Duty RV Fiberglass/Gel coat Restoration:
What Would Darren DO (WWDD)

I am going to show you what I do professionally.

If you accept and acknowledge that your RV is not a full body painted RV and is not in pristine condition, I would literally default to using this product first to remove and polish your RV before you even think about applying some type of RV wax to it.

polishing RV with compound using machine polisherHere I am polishing the side of this RV using a machine polisher to remove some scratches. I have taped off the vulnerable edges with painters tape for added protection while using the buffer.

While this product is a true compound and has the ability to remove heavy layers of oxidation, it can also serve as a very safe way to remove mild layers of oxidation on your RV or boat.

It all depends on how you use it:

  • By hand or machine?
  • The type of machine?
  • The type of polishing pads?
  • The amount of pressure you apply by hand or machine
  • Etc., etc., etc.

CSI Rip Cut Compound Quart 62-M200-Q

  • My "go-to" compound whenever I am working on a boat or RV with ANY level of oxidation
  • Formulated specifically for use on gel coat
  • Can be used in direct sunlight on hot surfaces
  • Can be used by hand or machine
  • Easy clean-up (cleans up easily with water since it has been formulated with a "soap". No more rock hard compound residue left in seams and crevices)

Darren's Tips: If you are new to the world of gel coat regardless of whether you own an RV or a boat, you might consider this overkill. But the reality is that oxidation on gel coat is a beast to deal with.

You remain in complete control with this product as you can determine how aggressive it will be, based on your choice in tools, etc. This compound can be used by hand if you want to keep things super simple, but you will never achieve the results by hand, that you can with machine.

Use this compound to remove any oxidation, restore shine and gloss, then choose a quality wax or RV wax to finish with.

Heavy Duty RV Gel Coat Compounds:
Mainstream Compounds and Polshes

Meguiar's M6732 Marine/RV One Step Compound - 32 oz.

  • This is a separate and dedicated compound ideally suited for RV's with moderate to heavy levels of oxidation.
  • Can be used by hand or machine. (I always recommend using a buffer as you will get much better results than trying to go at it by hand)
  • Follow up with one of the cleaner waxes above to finish your job (yes; even though you have just used a heavy compound, I still recommend a cleaner wax as your last step in enhancement and protection.

Meguiar's M4965 Marine/RV Fiberglass Restoration System

  • For those of you really dedicated to getting the best results.
  • Each step of the process has a dedicated product for use.
  • The compound in this kit is not as aggressive as the Meguiar's #67 above, but is still considered an aggressive compound.

RV Wax Summary

Hopefully I have offered additional insight into not only your RV, but in choosing an RV wax or polish that will actually produce more of the desired results you are after.

When it comes to proper RV care and maintenance, most RV owner simply do not understand how quickly the topic can get complicated and send many RV owners into panic.

My goal has been to help educate you so you can get more results, and less panic!


Darren Priest

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