If you’re a veteran RV’er, you probably know that replacing windows on your rig can be an expensive endeavor. And if you’re a new RV’er, let’s hope it’s a while before you have to face a window replacement. Not only are these windows expensive to replace due to their large size and specialized nature, but the lead time to obtain parts can also be weeks or even months. Don’t let a broken window slow down your next road trip. Use our tips and tricks to protect your glass during travel at the campsite and during storage in the off-season.
Protect your Windows While Towing or Traveling
The most obvious time when you should be concerned about protecting your RV’s windows is while rolling down the road. Rocks commonly kick up on the highway and easily can damage a window when they impact it at 55 miles per hour.
Many campers, travel trailers, and 5th wheels feature a front master bedroom with a sizeable forward-facing window. These windows are great for letting in natural light and giving the bedroom an open feel. However, they’re a prime target for rocks and other road debris due to their size and vertical angle.
Most campers come with a hard protective stone guard cover that fits in place over the window to keep the glass safe while in tow. If your trailer didn’t come with one, don’t worry. There are aftermarket options. The manufacturer might offer a cover as an accessory, or you might have a custom cover made. There are aftermarket options too, with mats that either strap into place or snap into place. The latter option will require you to install permanently mounted hardware.
Be sure your tow vehicle has adequate mudflaps installed. Mudflaps are especially crucial on larger trucks and vehicles with oversized tires that stick out past the fenders. Mudflaps will help ensure that any rocks kicked up by the tires hit the mud flaps first before they hit your trailer. The mud flaps help divert the stones back down to the ground instead of into the air.
Don’t worry, motorhome drivers; we didn’t forget about you. If your Class A, B, or C motorhome is like most, it probably features a large, mostly vertical, front windshield. Again, this is a prime target for rocks and other road debris. There aren’t exactly any accessories you can add to help prevent windshield damage, so it’s going to be up to you to ensure you’re following good driving habits.
- Don’t tailgate.
Rocks are usually kicked up by other vehicles. Giving yourself space between you and the vehicle in front of you helps ensure that any stones kicked up by the lead vehicle have time to fall to the ground again.
- Keep your windshield clean.
It’s a good practice and will ensure optimal visibility. In this way, you can spot and avoid any debris or hazards in the road, which could potentially damage your vehicle.
- Heat and cool with care.
Extreme temperature changes stress glass. Turning on the defrost vents and basting the air conditioner on a hot day or heat on a cold day could potentially lead to a cracked windshield. Whenever possible, warm or cool the vehicle slowly.
If you tow a vehicle behind your motorhome to use after you set up camp, you’ll want to make sure you protect the glass in this vehicle too. Remember the risks of tailgating we discussed earlier?
Towing a vehicle behind your RV is almost like tailgating an RV for hundred of miles. All the rocks and debris kicked up by the RV can cause damage to the vehicle being towed.
Many of the same principles apply to protecting this towed vehicle. Make sure your RV has sufficient mud flaps installed and correctly positioned. Ensure they are in good condition with no rips, tears, or holes.
Protect the towed vehicle’s windshield with a mat. These typically can be purchased from RV accessory stores.
In addition to the glass, you might want to protect the paint on the front of the vehicle too. Paint protection film can be a great semi-permanent solution, but it is costly. Strapping temporary protective mats in place while traveling is another, cheaper option.
Protecting RV Windows While Camping in Campgrounds
If you’re not on the road, you’re probably camping. Perhaps you’re camping in a crowded campground where neighbors are a bit too close for comfort. Those kids next door tossing a baseball don’t seem to be very accurate with their throws. A front stone cover or windshield protector can help here too. Not only will it add protection, but it will also add privacy too. For the side windows, external sunshades and protective films can help provide a bit of protection and privacy.
Protecting RV Windows While Backcountry Camping or Boondocking
Perhaps the typical campground isn’t your style, and you prefer to get off the beaten path. Many RVers like to get into the backcountry for some privacy. And if you’re set up for it, you might be off the grid entirely and “boondocking.” Sometimes this calls for going down roads you’ve never been down. Sometimes tight roads where tree branches encroach taller RVs. In this case, you’ll want to make sure your side windows are protected.
There aren’t too many aftermarket options for this, but there are a couple. Exterior protective film can be installed and is probably the best option. You might be able to get creative and install temporary mats or have custom covers made. The most significant help in keeping side windows from breaking in the backcountry is to simply be aware of your surroundings, drive cautiously, and don’t get in over your head.
Protecting RV Windows from Weather
If you’re storing your RV or preparing it to ensure extreme weather such as an impending hurricane, there are a few things you may want to consider.
Similar to the rain guards found above the side windows of passenger cars and trucks, rain guards positioned above RV windows can help deflect water away from the window. Ideally, your RV windows should be entirely water right, but we know this isn’t always the case. Diverting excess water away from the windows can help keep things dry inside, especially during heavy downpours.
Extending your awnings can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you don’t want to wear out the awning’s fabric, and you certainly don’t want to damage it if you’re expecting high winds. At the same time, awnings provide additional protection from rain by diverting water further away from your camper. They also provide extra shade by blocking direct sun into the windows. Awnings can even offer a certain level of protection from falling debris and projectiles. You’ll have to make a judgment call based upon the weather and your priorities to determine whether extending the RV’s awning provides added protection.
Reflective sun shades are excellent for blocking UV light from entering the inside of your RV during storage seasons. Not only will this help keep the interior cool, but it will also help keep the sun from fading carpet and furniture.
You probably know that tinted films can be applied to glass to add privacy and UV protection. Did you know some films can be used to add extra security? Security films act as an additional barrier. If the window glass breaks, the film helps hold the glass in place and adds another layer between the interior and exterior. Film can help keep out weather in the event of severe storms when window breakage might occur. It can also help keep out burglars in the event of a break-in.
One of the best investments you can make for storage purposes is a full RV cover. Massive RV covers may seem extreme, but it’s the next best thing to parking your RV indoors or in a carport. It will help keep sun, rain, snow, and dust from accumulating on your RV while not in service.
RV Window Replacement
If your RV, motorhome, camper, 5th wheel, or travel trailer has suffered from a broken window, don’t worry! Glass.com has nationwide glass replacement services available for all types of RVs. Simply use Glass.com to request replacement services and get back on the road quickly.