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How to remove oxidation from your RV’s fiberglass

The only thing better than having a shiny new toy is still having that toy look shiny months or years after you buy it. And the bigger (and more expensive) the toy, the truer this is. It can be so satisfying to keep your RV looking clean— and so bothersome when it starts looking dull and yellowed. 

Fortunately, fiberglass doesn’t form rust when it is oxidized like iron or steel that includes iron, but the corrosion caused by oxidation can still look unsightly and damage the integrity of your RV’s walls and roof. If it gets too bad, your RV may no longer be waterproof and might start to leak, which can cause water damage to the walls inside, furniture, electrical equipment, and insulation. This can be expensive to deal with if you let it get too bad, or it might even ruin your RV completely. 

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure, so we will go over how to prevent oxidation on your RV and how to deal with it when it has already crept in so it doesn’t get any worse.


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Removing RV fiberglass oxidation

If you have ever had to deal with yellowed, foggy headlights on your vehicle, then you are prepared for removing oxidation from your RV’s fiberglass. It may seem like an intimidating process, but fear not! Here’s what you need to know.


You’ll want to start by gathering your materials:

  1. A marine gel-coat oxidation remover (since boats and RVs both typically have fiberglass construction)

  2. A buffer tool

  3. Buffing pad

  4. Polishing pad

  5. Finishing pad

  6. Boat polish

  7. Marine wax

  8. A few soft terry cloths

You can also find some kits that come with everything you need for this process, as well as the instructions that go along with it. However, you can definitely buy the different parts separately and follow this guide yourself. 


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Once you’ve gathered everything you need, it’s time to get to work!

  1. Clean the surface with soap and water. This will ensure that you can actually see where the problem lies and not just see the dirt on top of the oxidized fiberglass. This also helps with the rest of the process, since you will be buffing out the oxidation with a buffer, and you don’t want any coarse pieces of dirt to get caught under that and gouge the fiberglass, causing even more damage than it already has.

  2. Next, attach a buffing pad to your buffer tool and apply the oxidation removal liquid gel to the buffer pad. Dab or spread the oxidation remover on the fiberglass before turning on the buffer. Once you’ve got a light coat of it down on the RV, you can turn the buffer on at the lowest RPM setting and start working the oxidation remover over the surface, increasing the speed of the buffer slightly as you go. 

  3. Move the buffer slowly side-to-side along the surface of the RV, applying light pressure over the area that needs extra attention. 

  4. Wipe off the residue with a terry cloth, and the oxidized section of your fiberglass should be removed.

  5. Once the oxidation has been buffed out, you’ll want to replace the buffing pad with a polishing pad. This pad is less coarse than the buffing pad, as it is used to smooth the surface rather than remove oxidized parts. 

  6. Apply a high gloss polishing gel to the pad, and then gently spread it over the area you’re working on with the power off. 

  7. Once it is coated, you can do the same process as last time, working the polish onto the surface with the buffer on a slow setting. You will again want to move slowly to make sure that the product is being evenly applied to the fiberglass. You can increase the buffer’s speed a little bit and go over it slowly again. 

  8. Gently wipe the RV down again with a terry cloth.

  9. Finally, you’ll want to replace the polishing pad with a finishing pad. Apply the marine wax to this finishing pad, and use that to dab the wax onto the fiberglass. With a light touch, start applying the wax with the buffer on a low setting. Slowly move the buffer across the wall until the wax coating is thin and even. 

  10. Leave the wax on for 5-10 minutes before wiping it off with a fresh terry cloth

Once you’ve wiped it off, your RV should be free of oxidation and protected from further damage  and also look nice and shiny like it just rolled off the factory floor.


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Preventing RV fiberglass oxidation

Proper and regular maintenance should prevent oxidation from happening to your RV. As the last section implied, regularly polishing and waxing the RV’s coating can help prevent oxidation. The wax and clearcoat are meant to protect the fiberglass from being damaged by water and sunlight. 

Waxing an RV can be a very long, tedious project though, and while some find it relaxing and therapeutic to work with their hands and see the results of their efforts right in front of them, not all RV owners have the time available to perform this upkeep as often as they should. If that is the case, then you should try to keep your RV stored away from the elements. Keeping it stored under a carport or some sort of roof is a great place to start since it should be safe from direct sunlight and precipitation. 

Indoor storage is a little more expensive but can keep your RV even better protected from the elements, and if you have the room for it in your budget, climate-controlled storage is an RV’s best friend. 

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