Today we are going to talk about the myth that covers cause damage to Caravans and Motorhomes. I say myth, simply because the damage we fix is because a cover was fitted, but it’s never the fault of the cover.
Ever been in a situation at the start of the season where you remove a cover from your Caravan or Motorhome, expecting it to look exactly as you left it, only to find it doesn’t. You stand back and it doesn’t quite look right. It’s covered in what look like dark patches. You try to clean them off and they don’t budge. Sound familiar?
This is what we refer to as ‘Tiger Striping’ Have a look at the photo below and notice that although the panel has a reasonable shine, it has what can only be described as dark patches or blotches ingrained into the finish.
This is something we deal with dozens of times at the start of every season. It’s easy to diagnose over the phone, or e.mail, but you need to be very careful what questions you ask the customer, because not many owners will admit fault if they realise how it’s happened.
This is caused by one of two reasons. The main reason this happens is simply because an owner didn’t wash the Caravan or Motorhome properly, if at all, before covering. The general dirt and dust will sit on the surface of the vehicle, and once covered, this is sealed in. The natural movement of the cover in the wind, and the dirt on the surface will act as an abrasive. Where ever the cover moves in the wind, will create the pattern you see above. This is also the same pattern if you park your vehicle against a bush or a branch. The movement of the plant will also create this type of damage. The second reason this is caused is again a simple one. The vehicle in question was already oxidised before covering. In this situation, no matter how clean the Caravan or Motorhome is, you will still end up with Tiger stripes. Why? Because the cover again will move in the wind, and the cover material will polish tiny areas where it touches. This removes the oxidation slightly, and gives exactly the same result as above.
The owner of this Swift Caravan freely admitted he’d not cleaned the Caravan before covering. He excepted because of this, he had this problem, and was happy to have it rectified by us. The front panel on this 2007 Swift had gone dull anyway, so we ended up Restoring the full Caravan, fixing both the Tiger Stripes, and the dull front panel in one hit.
As you can clearly see when you compare both photos, the problem is totally fixed. The Tiger Striping won’t wash off, and you won’t be able to polish it off. (have a go and see for yourself) This work needs a specific compound that only we use, and a machine polisher, with the correct grade of head, correct speed, and correct pressure applied. Once we’ve Restored the panel back to the factory standard, we will then seal in our work with a wax to protect in the future.
The fully Restored Caravan looked as good as new. The owners were understandably overjoyed with the result, and mentioned it had never looked this good in all the time they’d owned it.
Lastly, this finished job can now be covered with confidence. I assured the owners that if the Caravan was kept like I left it, and they followed our simple aftercare, the Caravan would stay looking this way for years, and the use of their cover was perfectly safe.
Covers work. They don’t cause problems if you follow the manufactures instructions. I’ve personally used a cover on my Caravan for 5 years and never had an issue. I now use a cover on my Motorhome when it’s in storage. My Motorhome is pretty new, and cost my wife and I a lot of money. If i’m confident that a cover won’t cause an issue to my own Caravan or Motorhome, then you should be. Don’t think you have to buy a tailored cover. A universal one will do the job just as well, providing it’s breathable, and you adhere to the instructions. (it’s your personal choice) Covers get a bad wrap on the internet, and it’s simply untrue that they cause damage if used correctly. We don’t sell covers, but we always recommend them after our work. It will cut down your maintenance no end, and prolong the surfaces of your pride and joy for as long as you keep using a cover. The same goes for towing covers for Caravans. Used correctly they work. Used incorrectly and let’s just say, our details are on this site when you want it fixing… You have been warned..
Finally, a cover is not just for winter. Use a cover all year round, but in my opinion the summer use is far more critical. This will block out the suns UV damage 100%. The winter will just leave your Caravan or Motorhome filthy and green, and that’s a cheap job to fix. The summer will destroy your surfaces if not covered or maintained, and that’s a far more costly job to rectify.