Maintenance of your awning starts the day it is first put up, and how it is treated will determine how long it will last before requiring replacement. Look after your awning, and it will look after you.
Sometimes the awning zips can become stiff to move. This can possibly be due to the material being over tensioned, if slackening it by relocating some ground pegs, and/or guy ropes may be all that is needed. If they remain difficult to move, then proprietary zip lubricants are available, although often a candle rubbed along the zip teeth can be the solution.
When storing, try not to fold with any rubber tensioning straps in contact with a window, as with time this can leave unsightly brown stains on the clear plastic of the window. Any creases that form in the window material will often disappear once the awning is erected and correctly tensioned in warm weather.
If possible, try not to put up or take down an awning when it is very windy, but if you have to, ensure that you have enough helpers to prevent the awning breaking loose, possibly causing damage. It is often easier for two people to put up an awning rather than one person alone, however do not be afraid to ask a neighbour for help if needed. Most caravanners are a friendly bunch, and will be only too pleased to assist. Ensure that all guy ropes are correctly positioned and tensioned, and that all walls are securely pegged down.
Some sites insist on not using a groundsheet, others say it should be lifted daily, but most will be displeased if you damage a grass pitch by not taking care, so consider others before deciding whether you need a groundsheet or not. If you do need one, then a breathable one is preferable for anything more than a couple of days on grass, and it should be slightly smaller than the awning floor area. If however you are on hard standing then a plastic covering will do no harm, but again ensure that it does not protrude under the awning walls, as any rain may then be directed into your living area.
Always ensure that your awning is correctly tensioned, as this will minimise the chance of it becoming damaged by adverse weather, or accident. Flapping material puts much more strain on ground pegs and the awning rail, than firmly pegged material. Always use guy ropes, even when in still air, as this will help to hold the shape of the awning on the frame, and you never know what the weather may do while your out for the day, or asleep at night. Always fit he draught skirt and wheel cover, as this will prevent the awning from ballooning from wind blowing under the caravan.
While not actually part of the awning, most are useless without one, so make sure it is free from kinks and dents, and keep the channel clean. To ensure the awning material will slide smoothly through the channel, remove any sharp burrs at the ends of the channel, or where there are joints, and spay a little furniture polish into the slot, remembering to wipe through with a small piece of rolled up kitchen roll or similar to remove any excess.
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