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Can You Use Vehicle Wax on Your RV or Trailer?

If you own an RV or trailer and are looking for a way to keep it in perfect condition, then you may wonder if vehicle wax is suitable. After all, wax is wax, isn’t it?

In this post, we will discuss all the details regarding vehicle wax and its suitability for RVs and trailers. We will also look at the types of wax you should use for different construction materials, how often you should wax your RV, and how best to keep it shiny.

So whether you’re polishing for a special occasion or to keep your camper clean, read on to find out how to wax your rig!

What Is Vehicle Wax?

Vehicle wax is a product that protects and maintains the paintwork of cars, trucks, RVs, and trailers. You usually apply it in a thick liquid before buffing it to a glossy finish.

The wax helps to repel water and dirt, protecting the vehicle’s paintwork from damage by the elements over time. Wax also adds an extra layer of protective film to your vehicle’s surface, providing gloss and making it easier to clean.

Is There a Difference Between RV Wax and Car Wax?

Yes, there is a difference between waxes for RVs and trailers and those for cars. However, it depends upon the finish of your RV or trailer.

RV and trailer waxes are typically thicker and more rigid than carnauba wax, the most common type for cars. RV and trailer wax also tend to be better at resisting dirt, grime, UV rays, and other corrosive elements, so they provide longer-lasting protection.

Can You Use Vehicle Wax on Your RV Or Trailer?

Whether you should use vehicle wax on your RV or trailer depends on its finishing coat. If your RV or trailer is painted like a car or truck, it is safe to use a standard vehicle wax for a car or typical passenger vehicle.

An RV with a fiberglass shell is gel coated to provide a smooth and shiny surface. Specially-formulated waxes work better than typical car wax, which oxidizes and leaves cloudy streaking on a gel-coated surface.

An aluminum-sided RV also requires a specially-formulated wax. Like gel-coated fiberglass exteriors, there are waxes specifically for polishing a metal surface like aluminum.

Waxing RV
Depending on the finishing coat on your RV, you may be able to use standard car wax.

What Kind of Wax Should You Use on an RV?

If yours is one of the many RVs that is fiberglass or aluminum, steer clear of standard car wax. It will oxidize and leave chalky patches and streaks all over the place. For gel-coated fiberglass or aluminum-sided RVs, you need to use a specific type of wax to do the job correctly.


The best waxes for a gel-coated fiberglass RV are the ones that you would use to wax a fiberglass boat. These waxes are formulated for fiberglass exteriors and gel-coated surfaces to provide long-lasting polymer protection. They bring out the deeper colors and shine hidden behind a coating that has lost its luster.

Pro Tip: Ready to invest in a fiberglass RV? Check out these 5 Best Fiberglass Camper Trailers (with Bathrooms).


Aluminum can be a bit trickier, depending on what your goals are. There’s a difference between being clean and protected and having a mirror-like shine. 

A mirror-like shine is more about polishing the aluminum than cleaning and providing a protective layer. If this is your goal, you need to know if your aluminum exterior has a clear coating or is bare, like the old vintage Airstreams. When it is bare, you can use a quality aluminum polish to get that shine. If it has a coating, you’ll need to remove the layer first, which is a lengthier process.

After cleaning, like with a gel-coated fiberglass rig, you need to find an appropriate wax for aluminum exteriors. You’ll still get some shine out of the wax, but it won’t give you a mirror finish like polish. 

Close up of man waxing RV
If you own a fiberglass camper or aluminum RV, you will need to get special RV wax.

How Long Does Wax Last on an RV?

The lifespan of wax on an RV depends significantly on the type of wax you use. Generally, a carnauba-based vehicle wax has a shorter lifespan than RV and trailer waxes, lasting between three to four months. These are only suitable if your rig is painted; otherwise, it can oxidize and look cloudy.

RV and trailer waxes provide long-lasting polymer protection that can last up to six months. They can sometimes go even longer to a year, depending upon what elements the RV experiences and how well you maintain it.

How Often Should You Wax Your RV?

The frequency you wax your RV depends on its environment and how often you expose it to the elements. For example, if your RV is usually in a garage or covered storage, you may only need to wax it once a year.

On the other hand, if your RV experiences harsh weather conditions or you drive it frequently, you’ll have to wax as often as every four to six months.

How Often Should You Wash Your RV? 

At a minimum, you should wash your RV every time you wax it. It is not suitable for the finish if you don’t. Waxing your RV will always be most effective when you thoroughly clean your rig and allow it to dry before applying any wax or polishes.

Even if you don’t need a new coat of wax, you should generally wash your RV at least once or twice a year. If you expose your RV to a lot of dirt and mud during drives, you should wash it more frequently.

Use a gentle shampoo and a soft cloth to avoid damage from abrasive products or harsh scrubbing. Additionally, clean the tires, tire walls, and wheel wells regularly.

Pro Tip: Make your RV shine by using this guide on How to Remove Oxidation from Your RV.

How Do I Keep My RV Shiny? 

Keeping your RV shiny requires consistent care and maintenance. The first step is to clean the surface of your RV by washing it with mild soap or car shampoo. After that, use a microfiber cloth to dry it off completely.

Then, apply an appropriate wax to add shine and protect the paint from UV rays, pollution, and harsh weather conditions. When you do it regularly, it’s simple.

When was the last time you applied wax to your RV? Tell us in the comments!

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