One of the greatest things about a well-manufactured RV or trailer is that it doesn’t turn into a massive oven. This is because of the ventilation system that allows air to come in and out of the vehicle so you and your passengers don’t roast in the summer heat like Thanksgiving turkeys. Your air conditioners and RV roof vents provide circulation to make your vacations more comfortable for all.
Of course, where there’s a part, there’s a possibility of it breaking. Such is the case with an RV vent lid — the lidded plastic dome that opens and closes above the vent to keep air from going out or allow it to come in.
Many RVs come with several of these useful vent lids, but they tend to fall into disrepair over time due to rain, overexposure or simple wear-and-tear. Even ultraviolet rays take a toll on the vents over time, making them liable to crumble at the slightest contact.
RV vent lid replacement may seem a deceptively simple task, but for those of you who might struggle with the difficult instructions on your new vent lid, or with obtaining the right tools, we’ve compiled a list of helpful tips to keep your RV up to date and as unlike an oven as possible.
Purchasing a New Roof Vent
Don’t lose money buying overpriced replacement parts. Instead, review your options and the specifications to ensure that your new RV vent lids are competitively priced and made to fit your vent opening and type of hinges (though most are made for 14″ x 14″ vents). If you’re uncertain, you can bring the remains of your busted vent lid into an RV retailer to help compare. Before purchasing a new roof vent, check all those on your RV, as they’ll generally crumble due to weather conditions around the same time.
Although vent lids are a relatively straightforward piece of equipment, there are certain features that vary between products. Some require you to drill holes into your roof’s surface for installation, while others use less-damaging mounting systems. The best vent lids operate via hinges so you can open and close the vent with ease. They come in either translucent white or smoky gray, allowing for more privacy and preventing some light from entering your cabin.
You may consider purchasing a separate vent cover to protect the lid itself from damage, and protect you from rain or any sort of debris coming through the lid’s opening. Maxxair covers are the industry standard for these vent covers, which allow you to leave the vent open on rainy days without any water seeping into your RV. These heavy duty covers keep the inside cooler and well-circulated, particularly during long periods of disuse. If you want to avoid having to replace another vent lid in a few years, this is a safe investment, generally costing around $30.
Similarly, you might also choose to spend roughly the same amount of money on a metal RV vent lid, which is impervious to hail and ultraviolet damage — although, unlike the Maxxair, it will let water in.
Purchasing a cover in addition to a lid will set you back further, but luckily RV vent lids are sold for reasonable prices, generally under $20 if not $15. Camco’s white and smoky gray vent lids are both available through Amazon for roughly $13. Notice how the product reviews are overwhelmingly favorable.
RV Vent Lid Replacement Instructions
Replacing the vent lid may be a pressing issue, as you’ll want to do it before the next rain storm hits, so let’s get started.
Installation varies depending on the brand and model of vent lid, but there are generally a few rules you’ll have to follow. RV-road trips summarizes a few:
Installation is usually a matter of removing a hinge pin or two and hooking up the pivot point to the mechanism that raises and lowers the cover. You don’t have to remove the whole vent structure, only the lid.
Start by using a ladder to get onto your roof with the replacement lid. EHow offers their incite on a few further steps in the process:
Remove the pins in the hinge. Each brand has a different type of hinge style, but they all require the removal of the pins in order to remove the old cover. Straighten out the tabs that insert into the vent and remove the lid…Some covers have a screw on each side of the hinge. If your cover has these screws, you will need to remove them before removing the old cover, and screw them back in place after the new cover is positioned… Add the replacement cover by reversing the procedure. Insert the tabs on the cover into the RV roof vent and replace the pins into the hinge.
Many recommend using a self-leveling sealer while installing a new roof vent. Essentially, this helps seal a new vent lid to the roof with greater strength, further preventing any rain water from seeping through. Simply use a liberal amount of the paste during installation to be sure you have a tight seam between the vent exterior and your roof. This extra seal might prevent costly water damage, so don’t be discouraged by the price of a good sealer. To remove for any reason, use a hair dryer on high to help melt the caulk and remove the lid.
If any of this feels unclear to you, or somehow doesn’t apply to your situation, there are many other online guides and YouTube videos on this very subject that might prove more helpful. Many of the product manufacturers will even offer official video instructions online to better serve their customers. Otherwise, you might rely on the packaged instructions or try speaking with someone at a local RV retailer for anything further you need clarified.