RV bumper caps serve an important function. They protect the vulnerable edges of your rear bumper from cracks, dents, rust, and other damage that can occur. However, these plastic end caps often become loose and fall off over time due to frequent travel vibrations, minor impacts, sun exposure, and more. You might one day walk out to find a cap dangling by a thread or fully detached on the ground behind your RV. Not only does this leave your bumper unprotected, but it creates an unsightly gap that catches the eye.
Thankfully, there are several effective methods you can use to resecure loose bumper caps or upgrade to caps that will stay permanently attached through all your adventures on the road. This guide will walk through your options – from quick temporary fixes to heavy-duty permanent solutions – plus other useful tips for maintaining your RV’s bumper caps. After assessing the factors unique to your situation, you’ll be able to decide how to keep those rear corners covered for the long run.
Types of Fixes You Can Apply to Keep the Bumper Caps On
The techniques for keeping bumper caps in place span a wide spectrum when it comes to duration and strength. Consider which best aligns with your needs.
1. Temporary Solutions
If you’re in a pinch and need to quickly reattach a dangling or detached bumper cap just to make it to the next RV park or repair shop, temporary solutions do the trick. Typically affordable and easy to implement on your own, these short-term fixes provide basic holding power using whatever materials you likely already have on hand. They require occasional replacing or redoing as materials wear out or environmental conditions take their toll. But they can reliably get you down the road when you need to act fast with minimal tools or RV alteration.
Common temporary solutions include sturdy zip ties, waterproof duct tape, and small elasticized bungee cords.
Zip ties: Wrapping sturdy plastic zip ties around both the base of the truck bed cap and a fixed point on the truck bed frame creates an improvised fastening system to keep the cap in place. But zip ties should not be over-tightened or they could crack the plastic.
Duct tape: Wrapping strips of strong tape, like gorilla tape, around the truck bed cap and bumper secures the cap in place through adhesiveness instead of fasteners. This is a quick and simple fix, but may not hold up long-term.
Small bungee cord: Attaching a short elastic bungee cord between a solid anchor point on the truck bed or bumper and the base of the cap keeps tension to prevent the cap from flying off, similar to a cargo net. Care should be taken not to over-stretch the bungee to prevent it from breaking loose.
In summary, all three are creative, improvised methods to secure a loose truck bed cap using easily available tools. But care should be taken not to overtighten things to prevent damage or failure over time. Permanent mechanical fasteners would provide the most robust long-term solution.
2. Semi-permanent Solutions
For RV owners needing ample bumper cap-staying power for extended travel but not necessarily permanent adhesion, semi-permanent solutions fit the bill. Typically easy to install yet providing durable mechanical strength, these fixes remain reliable through lengthy trips across states and national parks, but can still be removed or replaced later on without damaging the bumper itself.
Silicone sealant: Think of this as glue for your caps. Apply a thin layer around the rim of the cap where it meets the bumper, and press firmly. Let it cure, and bingo! Your caps are now part of the family (until you decide to break things off).
Hose clamps: These metal rings are like tiny belts for your caps. Wrap one around the base of the cap and tighten it with a screwdriver. Just make sure you don’t overdo it, or you might crush the poor things.
Both versatile silicone sealant and adjustable clamps make viable solutions for RVers who remount bumper caps annually before winter storage or those who remove and replace end caps to touch up paint nicks underneath throughout ownership. Unlike permanent fasteners that lock caps in forever, semi-permanent fixes allow non-destructive cap access when needed.
3. Permanent Solutions
For maximum bumper cap security come rain or off-road shine, permanent mounting mechanisms physically anchor caps into the bumper structure itself. Unlike temporary or removable options reliant on surface-level adhesion or compression, permanent solutions involve mechanical fasteners and upgraded cap components specially engineered to lock permanently in place without falling victim to impacts or vibrations over decades of cross-country duty.
Screw or bolt: This is the ultimate commitment. Drill a hole through the cap and bumper (carefully!), and secure it with a screw or bolt. Just remember, once you go screw, you can’t go back (without a lot of drilling and patching, at least).
Replacement caps with locking mechanisms: Ditch the stock caps and invest in ones with built-in locks or latches. These bad boys offer peace of mind and a sleek, upgraded look. You can use bumper caps like mag caps, bumper caps with hinge doors, etc.
Bumper Cap With Hinged Door
A bumper cap with a hinged door is a type of bumper cap that has a small door on the front of it that can be opened and closed. This door can be used to access the contents of the bumper cap, such as the tow hitch or electrical connections. Bumper caps with hinged doors are often used on RVs and trailers, as they allow for easy access to these items without having to remove the entire bumper cap.
Mag Bumper Cap
A mag bumper cap is a type of bumper cap that attaches to the RV’s bumper using magnets. This type of bumper cap is very easy to install and remove, as it does not require any drilling or screwing. Mag bumper caps are often used on vehicles that are not driven very often, or on vehicles that are prone to damage, such as off-road vehicles.
Ultimately every cap security method has a unique purpose. Temporary solutions get you to safety for later repair. Semi-permanent options grant long-term roaming freedom minus lasting bumper damage if eventually removed. And permanent designs deliver unparalleled strength for full lifetime attachment. Evaluate the pros and cons when selecting your best line of defense.
Additional Tips for Your RV Bumper Caps
Beyond the repair itself, a little bumper maintenance goes a long way:
Check cap fit and size regularly
Make visual inspections part of routine RV care, catching any looseness before caps detach fully. While checking, confirm the sizing hasn’t been compromised. Caps should completely cover bumper edges without large gaps.
Inspect for wear and tear
Harsh weather plus road debris and gravel take a toll over time. Look for cracks, discoloration or deformities indicating the caps need replacement.
Consider upgrading to more durable materials
Standard plastic caps pale in resilience compared to metal, carbon fiber or heavy-duty polymers. Aftermarket companies offer caps made specifically to endure RV travel conditions.
Resources for finding replacement caps and installation instructions
Talk to knowledgeable RV parts suppliers for brand-specific components. Consult RV technician guides for the recommended steps, tools, and materials based on your bumper type. YouTube also offers helpful tutorial videos for DIYers.
FAQs and Answers
- What are the best zip ties to use for securing RV bumper caps?
For temporary Zip tie fixes, weather-resistant nylon ties with UV protection and at least 50 lb. tensile strength are best. Bring extras in case they become brittle from sun exposure.
- How long does silicone sealant last on RV bumper caps?
With proper surface prep and application, RV-grade silicone adhesive can retain reliable bond strength for around 5-7 years when exposed to outdoor elements before drying, shrinking or cracking occurs.
- Is it OK to drill holes in my RV bumper?
It’s generally not recommended without first consulting the manufacturer’s guidelines. Drilling could inadvertently penetrate the wrong area, causing frame or utility system damage. Use extreme caution.
- Where can I buy direct replacement bumper caps for my RV?
Many RV dealerships and specialist parts stores like etrailer.com stock exact replacement bumper caps for all mainstream RV makes & models. Have the RV specs including VIN # handy to find the right components.
- What tools do I need to install locking replacement bumper caps?
It depends on the specific cap model, but having basics like protective eyewear, work gloves, a rubber mallet, sealant gun, razor, and drill with various driver bits on hand works for most installs.
Keeping your RV bumper caps securely fastened preserves the bumper itself against damage while giving your rig a tidy, complete exterior look. Whether opting for an interim fix with tape and ties or making bumper cap stability a one-and-done project with bolted replacements, the solutions covered give you confidence hitting the open road knowing those rear corners stay covered.
With a bit of visual inspection from time to time plus care when backing up and parking, you can help bumper end caps of all types maintain that just-installed appearance for years out on the trails. Here’s to many more miles with those bumpers fully protected. Safe travels!