Streamline the process of installing a motorhome cover with these simple tips
If it weren’t for pesky things like a budget, homeowner’s association rules, time and space, we would all likely have our own motorhome garage at our residence to protect our coach. Unless you live in a rural area free of homeowner’s associations and have lots of property, it’s unlikely that you will ever be allowed to construct an RV garage on your property. Many owners rely on offsite storage and in some cases those facilities offer covered storage, but of course the cost is much higher than just storing the coach in an uncovered lot. In our case, we have a motorhome driveway at home but do not enjoy the benefits of a full garage; therefore, the use of a motorhome cover is necessary.
For most of us, a motorhome is a major financial investment not only in the initial purchase, but also the maintenance and upkeep. Covering the coach helps protect its appearance and resale value, and it also helps lower monthly maintenance costs. By protecting the coach with a cover, the roof’s caulk joints, acrylic roof vents and skylights, as well as the tires and paint, stay looking new. It’s a small price to pay to keep your coach looking good for as long as possible.
In most cases, for the price of covered storage for a few months you can purchase your own cover and keep your motorhome protected all the time. For some reason there is a misconception that motorhome covers are hard to use or can damage the coach’s finish, but our experience is just the opposite. Covers such as the all-new Elements brand that we used here are very soft and do not damage the coach, plus they offer a lot of protection from UV rays and weather. This particular cover is sold at Camping World at a regular price of $546.99 (for our Tiffin Phaeton), but can be found for as little as $436.99 when on sale. It comes with a manufacturer’s 2-year warranty, but living in the southeastern U.S., in our experience we get between 3 and 4 years’ use out of one before a replacement is needed. That is about $100 a year, which we consider a bargain. Tire covers can be found on sale for $62.43 a pair depending on the size your coach requires.
This Elements cover is different from other major brands and it offers several major advantages. When compared to other brands, the sides are made from a heavier material to ensure it lasts longer. It also has a heavy-duty Tyvek roof panel that is 10 percent stronger than other brands you may have used in the past. Another major advantage is that the front- and rear-cap fabric is reinforced with elastic inserts. This elastic really makes a big difference in keeping a tight fit. It also has an integral inner panel sewn into the backside of the cover to help prevent it from wearing on the front and rear bumper area. Another advantage we noticed is that the sides extend completely down below the cargo bay doors so the coach is 100 percent covered. For those who need in-and-out entry into the coach while it is covered, the Elements brand has an answer for that. On the entry side there are two full-length zipper panels to allow easy in-and-out privileges. I have used motorhome covers for more than 10 years and this is by far the best one I have ever used.
This particular motorhome is 8 years old and when not in use it is covered about 70 to 80 percent of the time, including the tires. Though the coach is not new, most of the people we meet while traveling think it is. We credit that to taking good care of it with regular washing and waxing and keeping it covered when not in use. UV damage is a factor for anything that is exposed to the sun and your coach is no exception. If you look at the condition of a motorhome that is kept outside and uncovered you will see signs of UV damage. The rubber around the windows starts to get chalky, the tires will show cracks around the sidewall area, and even the paint and trim on the coach will start to deteriorate in just a few years if left unprotected.
Of course if you are a full-timer, covering up is not an option for you, but for those of us who store our coach part of the year, covering them makes a lot of sense. The Elements cover shown here blocks 99.8 percent of UV rays and features three-layer construction to help make it last. Unlike tarps or poly sheets, the fabric in this cover actually breathes to let moisture pass through the material, which eliminates trapped moisture. It also has vented sections on the front, rear and both sides to improve airflow, which will virtually eliminate mold and mildew even when stored for long periods of time. This particular cover also has handy tie-down straps that go under the motorhome to help prevent the cover from flapping in the wind or being blown off during storms.
Another big concern of most owners is getting the cover on the roof and installing it properly. We found that most people who can climb on the roof can also install a cover, so long as they follow the right steps. Climbing a ladder always has risks, so proceed with caution and make sure you have a helper with you in case you need assistance. All you really need is some self-confidence, a good pair of shoes (no flip flops or slip-on shoes) and the desire to protect your coach from the forces of weather.
Installing a cover can usually be done with two people in about 30-45 minutes after you get the process down pat. Follow along as we show you some tips that will make installing a cover a much easier process.
Help fend off the damaging effects of weather by selecting the right cover for your coach