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Monday, November 16, 2009

RV Awning Angst

We have had this problem with two different motorhomes. We have been in a strong side wind and it has knocked our patio awning latch ineffective and the awning unwinds and flips while we are driving! It actually broke our vent cover on top of the motorhome. We need a way to anchor the awning and secure it instead of using duct tape. Recently while in a very strong side wind, our awning came loose and when we pulled over to secure it, there were two other motorhomes pulled over fixing their awnings too. Any suggestions?
Shirley, (Eugene, OR)


Shirley, so sorry to hear of your awning loss. It can indeed be quite disconcerting to have any awning unroll as you are driving down the road. There are a few things to check on your awning; first, the locking mechanism. Integral to all RV patio awnings that I'm aware of, a locking mechanism prevents the roller tube from rotating while it is in the travel position. Check to be sure yours are operating properly. There are aftermarket safety latches available that can be added to secure the roller tube. These devices add a redundant locking method to the installation.

Second, be sure you have enough tension on the awning torsion spring assembly. A properly tensioned spring should require a bit of effort to extend the awning during normal set-up. Of course, driving down the road, if the wind gets under the canopy, it will be easily extended if the locking mechanism is non-functioning. You didn't mention what brand awning you have, but the number of turns on the spring assembly is determined by the length of the awning. The manufacturer will have a chart you can refer to for the number of turns required by your awning.

And thirdly, in addition to properly securing the awning lock mechanism, I also recommend a product called Awning Cinch Straps. One of these little straps on each awning arm should prevent the arms from jumping out of position and falling away from the RV and prohibiting the wind to inflate the canopy and extend the awning further.

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