Removing Old Cracked Decals from Your RV: A Refreshing Makeover

Old, cracked decals can make your RV look rundown and unappealing. They can also be difficult to remove, but it’s definitely possible with the right tools and techniques. 

The best way to remove old cracked decals from your RV depends on the type of decal and the surface it’s attached to. For fiberglass RVs, you can use a heat gun, a hair dryer, or a commercial decal remover. For aluminum trailers, you can use a heat gun or a commercial decal remover.

If you’re not comfortable removing the decals yourself, you can always take your RV to a professional detailer. However, removing decals is a relatively easy job that you can do yourself with a little time and patience.

Removing Old Cracked Decals from Your RV

Methods for Removing Old Cracked Decals from RV Campers or Aluminum Trailers

When it comes to removing decals from your RV, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The method you choose largely depends on the type of surface your RV boasts. For the proud owners of aluminum trailers or campers, the process takes a different path compared to those with a fiberglass RV. Let’s break it down.

For Aluminum Trailers and Campers: The Gentle Approach

Use Heat Gun 

Think of it as a spa day for your aluminum beauty. First, equip yourself with a heat gun and a plastic scraper. Gently warm the decal while ensuring not to overheat. Once it’s warmed up, start peeling from one edge. The decal should come off with ease. If any adhesive remains, rubbing alcohol is your trusty sidekick to clean things up.

Hair Dryer

Hair dryers can also be used to remove decals, as the heat will soften the adhesive and make the decals easier to peel off.

To use a hair dryer to remove decals, simply hold the hair dryer on the decal in the highest heat setting for a few minutes (4 minutes at most). Once the decal is heated, try to peel it off by hand. If the decal is still difficult to remove, you can use a plastic putty knife to help scrape it off.

Use Adhesive Removers

adhesive removers are chemical products that are used to dissolve the adhesive. They can be used to remove a variety of adhesives, including those used to adhere decals to surfaces.

To use an adhesive remover to remove a decal, simply follow these steps:

  • Clean the area around the decal with soap and water. This will help to remove any dirt or debris that could interfere with the adhesive remover.
  • Apply the adhesive remover to a clean cloth.
  • Gently rub the decal with the cloth until it loosens.
  • If the decal is still difficult to remove, you can use a plastic putty knife to help scrape it off.
  • Once the decal is removed, clean the surface with soap and water to remove any residual adhesive remover.

It is important to note that adhesive removers can be strong chemicals, so it is important to use them carefully and follow the instructions on the label. It is also important to test the adhesive remover in an inconspicuous area before using it on the entire decal, to make sure that it does not damage the surface.

Procedure for Removing Decals from Fiberglass RV

For fiberglass RV owners, the approach is a tad different but equally effective. Here’s your roadmap to reclaiming that sleek finish.

To carefully peel off a decal from one corner, you can use your fingers or a plastic putty knife. Start at one corner of the decal and gently lift it away from the surface. If the decal is resistant, you can use a heat gun to soften the adhesive. Be careful not to overheat the surface, as this can damage the paint or finish.

Once you have peeled off the decal, you will need to remove the adhesive residue. You can do this by soaking the adhesive residue with a mixture of warm, soapy water. Let it sit for a few minutes, then gently scrape off the softened adhesive with a plastic scraper. However, you can use glass cleaner or WD-40 liquid instead of a warm-soapy water mixture.

Here are some tips for removing decal adhesive residue:

  • Use a mild soap and water solution. Avoid using harsh chemicals, as these can damage the surface.
  • Let the soapy water solution sit on the adhesive residue for a few minutes before scraping it off. This will help to soften the adhesive and make it easier to remove.
  • Use a plastic scraper to remove the adhesive residue. Be careful not to scratch the surface with the scraper.
  • If the adhesive residue is still difficult to remove, you can use a commercial adhesive remover. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully.

Once you have removed the adhesive residue, you should clean the surface with soap and water to remove any residual adhesive remover or soap residue.

Tips for Removing Decals from RV

Whether your RV is made of aluminum, fiberglass, or any other material, these tips apply universally to make the process smoother and stress-free:

  • Go Slow and Steady: Rushing the decal removal process may result in unsightly scratches or damage to the surface. Take your time, and it’ll be worth it.
  • Test in an Inconspicuous Spot: Before applying any method or solution, test it on a hidden area of your RV to ensure it won’t cause any unintended harm.
  • Avoid Using Rubbing Alcohol for Fiberglass: Alcohol, such as isopropyl alcohol (also known as rubbing alcohol) and acetone, can dissolve the resin that holds fiberglass together. This can cause the fiberglass to become weak and brittle, making it more susceptible to damage.


As the sun sets on your decal-removing adventure, you’ve not only given your RV a new lease on life but also acquired a valuable skill. Remember, a well-maintained RV isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about preserving your investment and enjoying countless more adventures. So, whether your rig is a gleaming aluminum beauty or a resilient fiberglass fortress, the journey to decal redemption is in your hands. Keep rolling, fellow traveler, and feel free to leave your comments or questions in the section below. We’re here to assist you in your RV makeover endeavors. Happy trails!

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