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Understanding travel trailer life expectancy is important because it costs thousands of dollars. The more money you put in buying something the more time you want it to run for you.
And, Its normal to have such expectations. Travel trailers costs you significant amount, and they do not disappoint on the age up to which they last.
There are people who have been using their 25 year old travel trailer without having a second thought of buying a new one. But, not all are that lucky.
Lets decode the travel trailer life and understand the factors that determine the average life of a travel trailer.
Average life of a travel trailer
To be honest, there is no single that applies to all. Quite a lot of factors decide on the average life of a travel trailer.
There are human factors and that are not predictable. It totally depends upon how you use the travel trailer, what was the original design of the travel trailer and many other factors. Lets figure out average lifespan of a travel trailer.
Most travel trailers last between 12 to 15 years; however, it is not uncommon for people to use them up to 2 decades and even more. Some high quality brands like Airstream remain usable for 40 years and beyond. Built quality, material used and how well they are maintained, directly affects their life.
For finding an answer in somewhat ideal and good conditions; lets assume you have been doing regular maintenance of the travel trailer, and the manufacturing of the trailer was good enough (like for example you had a travel trailer by Airstream or a similar other better manufactured brand) then the life of the travel trailer on an average should be 12-15 years minimum. It is quite normal to see people using their travel trailers even after 15-20 years from when they bought it brand new.
Obviously, to use it for so long, the travel trailer would need extensive maintenance and proper storage. Maintaining the travel trailer is a key in extended life.
A lot of people buy travel trailer for their full time RVing journey because they are less costly as compared to motorhomes and fifth wheels. Here are some of the top travel trailers for full time living.
One thing that defines the life of travel trailer is the roof, even a good trailer may have leakage within like 10 year or earlier. And thus replacing, repairing roof is needed.
With years passing, mostly the roof starts to leak and eventually you may have to replace the roof itself. Even with great care the roof may not last beyond 15 years. But, even with an average life of more than 10 years its fully worthy it.
A travel trailer where in you maintain the roofs properly and then replace them timely may mean you end up using the travel trailer even beyond 20 years up to 25 years. Also, obviously a old travel trailer will start showing wear and tear on the exteriors and also the engine may not remain in good conditions.
How many years does the camper roof last
One of the deciding factors in travel trailers life is its roof. A good roof will extend the life of your trailer. The roof conditions determines how long the travel trailer will last.
The roof is more prone to damage, leaks and a good care is needed to keep it going for years. An ideal maintenance should be every six months or at least once a year.
Even with good manufacturing, a travel trailers roof may need replacing after 12-15 years. Roofs may start to leak before 10 years which will need proper fixing.
A neglected roof may mean replacing is needed much earlier though. Water is the biggest enemy of your roof and you need to be very quick in identifying such leaks and get them fixed. A delay will worsen the problem and will lead to permanent damage.
What causes the travel trailer roof damage
A travel trailer roof would come with a warranty of around 10-15 years and it may last so long unless you end up doing things that aren’t good for your trailers roof. Cleaning a rv roof can be good, but over doing it may turn ugly for the roof.
Scrubbing too much, and cleaning with the help of chemicals that are harmful will damage the roofs coating. The white protective coating keeps the roof safe from UV rays may get worn out.
This normally starts to happen once the roof is more than 10 years old, but may also happen earlier if you use chemicals for cleaning or clean the rv roof too much.
How to protect the Travel trailer roof
Periodic maintenance will keep the roof protected. An early water leak detection can help a lot. Caulking the leaks in rv roof will keep the roof safe from water and increase the life of travel trailer. Here is you complete guide for protecting a RV roof, do check it out.
A best thing to do is doing period checks and applying the caulks. Use liquid coatings to put on new shine to your trailer roof. The roof becomes thin overtime and looses it strength.
The white coating that protects from UV rays goes away and a black inside is exposed. A liquid coating will give the roof strength and increase the life span of travel trailer roof.
Rv roof patch is also an option just in case you happen to figure out the leaks while on travel. Its a patch that can be applied on the leakage to prevent further damage and water flow. Using RV covers is also a good option to keep the roof protected when the travel trailer is parked or stored.
What to use to seal off the travel trailer roof
Different things are used for sealing travel trailer roof cracks and breaks. People tend to use household things to repair the breaks and try to seal them off.
Sealing the cracks can be useful to prevent further breakage and increase the life of roof. People use anything that comes cheap and try to carry on with the roof as long as possible.
But, there are good ways to seal off the breaks. Ways that are more effective and better. Also not all travel trailer roofs are same and you need to be careful before using any kind of sealants.
Such sealants can be helpful and repair cracks , damages but there is no specific period for which they will be effective. Thus take proper professional advice for repairing.
Such sealant also don’t cost much, thus you can always try and see if it works for your RV roof. Do check price of this Decor RV roof sealant on amazon.
What kind of roofs are best for travel trailers
Life of roof is almost directly proportional to the life span of travel trailer. Thus, understanding the roof construction, type and material can help understand and extend the life of your travel trailer. There are 3 different types of travel trailer roofs that you would normally find.
Aluminum or metal roofs:
A trailer roof can be made up of aluminium. Aluminum puts weight on the trailer and thus this is less often used in making roofs of trailers. This however has an advantage that it need lesser maintenance.
This also need less maintenance, however they are more costly and can also put on weight on the travel trailer. This too are not much used. These kind of roofs are more smooth and hard. Also they become slippery with water and thus, special care needed to be taken while climbing up on the roof. They may need protection from oxidizing too.
Unlike the other two types of roofs, the rubber type are light weight and are perfect fit for travel trailers. They are also less costly and thus are mostly used in building roofs of travel trailers.
Mostly, the rubber types are used in building the roofs is EPDM or Ethylene Propylene-Diene Monomer. The rubber roofs are soft and mostly white in color. Rubber roofs start to become chalky as they start to age.
Understanding the roof type material is important because it will help in identifying the kind of maintenance is needed. How often the maintenance is needed. It will also help in identifying the type of maintenance tools are needed. Both, fiber glass and aluminum type of roofs are not much used these days.
Aluminum vs fiberglass travel trailers
One would see both the types available for sale at dealers. Decision on the selection, thus could be confusing.
Most travel trailers would be built in similar fashion with a blueprint that is almost similar.
Fiberglass construction has had advances and the overall designs have improved much in comparison to traditional makes.
The compactness, weight reduction has been great in recent years. Fiberglass is definitely the future although you would still continue to see aluminum ones probably due to the prices. The demand for travel trailers has also been a factor why the construction has seen such tremendous upshift.
Pros and cons of fiberglass and aluminum travel trailer
Lets start with a conclusion. Fiberglass it is. Fiberglass built travel trailers are better and clear winners here. You name a factor and they stand tall, ahead of their counterpart aluminum.
Fiberglass are more durable, they tend to better in terms of cleanliness. Its easy to clean them, aluminum on the other catch up dirt easily. Aluminum travel trailers tend to be more on weight also fiberglass travel trailers are designed better for aerodynamics.
These two factors mean one thing, fiberglass travel trailers are better in mileage. Aluminum are hard ones and during accidents they can in fact be good for your travel trailer condition.
The layer construction of aluminum puts them in better insulation. This can be good during harsh cold weather conditions. Fiberglass travel trailers also have less wind resistance which makes them do good in terms of mileage. Mostly fiberglass is used to reduce the weight of the travel trailer which aluminum cannot do.
Aluminum travel trailers are cheaper in comparison to fiberglass and a new buyer may tend to go for this type of built. However buyer need to consider about running costs and thus making the right decision at this point of time very important.
Running costs of aluminum tend to be more and with less mileage you their overall cost could actual catch up with fiberglass in long term. The resale value of fiberglass is much better than aluminum.
Aluminum can be hard to maintain also dents, dirt catchiness makes them loose their value faster than fiberglass.
Even though we did conclude in the beginning that fiberglass are clear winner, there are still many in fact almost half of them who would buy aluminum travel trailers. And that’s not surprise, aluminum does have its own pros.
While it can be confusing which one to go for, the best way to decide is by listing out your priorities and map them with the above pros and cons both fiberglass and aluminum travel trailers offer. That’s the best way.
Some brands that manufacture fiberglass travel trailers and RVs
- Casita: They have been building fiberglass trailers for more than 30 years.
- Bigfoot: They are into fiberglass travel manufacturing ad also build truck campers.
- EggCamper : They are a funny name company. The name probably because of the shape of campers they produce. They are known for manufacturing ultralight weight campers.
- Escape : One of the popular and bigger names in the fiberglass travel manufacturing industry. They have handful of travel trailers under their banner. They are a British based travel trailer manufacturers.
- Nest Caravans: They have been into fiberglass travel trailer manufacturing for some years, newer in comparison to the other listed above. But are promising and have some light weight travel trailers to their name.
- Scamp: They produce fiberglass travel trailers that are easy to use and manufactures considering the end user. They have some of the best designed travel trailers that good in aerodynamics and weight.
Other common issues with travel trailers
A travel trailer may loose its life not only if its roof starts to die but also due to other things like going out of use or dying out. Most of things just like roofs can however be replaced or repaired.
But, then again there is a limit as to how many times or how often you want to do that. At times replacing the whole trailer can be a good option (Specially after you used the RV more than 15 years or so).
Travel trailer tires are one such things that need replacements mostly in 4-5 years. Some of the other things that may need replacements in trailer are bathroom, kitchen set up, flooring.
Travel trailer batteries go out of order on an average almost every 4-5 years (if used with good maintenance). But most of the things or appliances can be maintained or the replaced as needed. However the most important thing is the roof.
Most of the other problems like dc batteries issues in travel trailers or travel trailer tire issues can be mostly handled by good maintenance and care. Understanding the travel trailer tire life and doing sufficient to makes sure the tires are replaced on time can help a lot.
What are some of the good and most reliable travel trailer manufacturers
Travel trailer life depends on its manufacturing quality. You will find many brands that builds and sell travel trailers thus understanding them and buying the best make will definitely put you in good spot as far as trailers life and maintenance is concerned.
A lot of brands manufacture trailer and many of them have been making advances in making them strong and as light as possible at the same time.
The prices have also gone up. Here are some of the popular brands that manufacture travel trailers and have good reputation of manufacturing. These are the long lasting travel trailers you can own. These are in no particular order and not all of them have been listed.
They of history of building travel trailers for more than 80 years. Airstream produce some of the luxurious travel trailers that pack in many things in those compact and light travel trailers. This manufacturer produces quality products that are definitely’ worth the buy.
Airstream is one of the long lasting travel trailers that can be used for more than 40 years and even beyond. Their solid build quality makes this possible.
Operating for more than 15 years, these travel trailer manufacturer also produces fifth wheels, pop up campers and other types of Rv’s. They manufacturer some of the ultra light travel trailers that have electric awnings, stainless steel appliances etc.
This company is in business for more than 45 years and have been producing innovative travel trailers. Some of the models include Melbourne, Greyhawk, Seneca and Redhawk.
This is a division of forest river manufacturer itself. It is headquartered in Middlebury, Indiana. It also manufacturer other types of RV’s
This subsidiary of Thor has been building some of the best travel trailers.
They manufacture best in quality travel trailers. Grand design was formed after breaking from keystone.
What should you do to enhance the travel trailer life? Below things can make your RV last a lot longer. You can beat the average lifespan of RV by doing these little things.
- Regular maintenance as per schedule
- Should you cover the travel trailer? Yes, if you don’t have indoor storage or shade then do use RV cover.
- Winterize the travel trailer before winter
- Protect roof, floor and walls. Repair them and reseal the caulks.
Do, check all the travel trailer do’s and dont’s.
Travel trailer life can be increase by taking sufficient care, doing scheduled maintenance. Life of a travel depends a lot on the roof condition. Thus, give more attention to its well being. Buying a good quality travel trailer should be first priority though. A well maintained travel trailer will become your companion for many years; if not for life long. Do let us know your experience in using travel trailer in comments section.