During some strong cross winds the living room slide out awning blew open and snapped the stop lever on the outside. I had to tie it down manually so I could keep driving. This has happened twice on separate trips.
Any suggestions to keep this from happening again? It is only the large living room slide out awning that has this problem. I see other travel trailers driving down the road with the same cross wind but yet not having any problems. Is there a cover plate or other mechanism that will prevent this from happening?
Unfortunately a lot of people go through the same problem you are having with your awning. Awnings have built-in brakes that are supposed to stop the awning from opening up while going down the road. These brakes do not always work or they get worn out over time. Once the air catches a corner of the awning with a weak brake; the awning fabric starts to billow up and catch the wind. Now the awning has basically turned into a giant sail and can exert enough pressure on the awning hardware to cause it to fail. If the problem is not caught in time the awning can rip itself and it’s mounting hardware right off of the RV. This can cause severe damage to your RV and other vehicles on the road.
There are locks available to prevent the awning from opening up while going down the road. Pictured is the Coil n’ Wrap RV Awning Lock. This lock is easy to install and works on most RV awnings. The Coil n’ Wrap Awning Lock will prevent both the canopy from unrolling and the arms from coming open as you travel down the road. The #1 cause of insurance claims on RV’s is awning damage. This is caused by the failure of the awning roller tube locking mechanism. Often this is due to vibration, wind or operator error. According to most sources I have come across, wind will always win out over the friction lock that awnings employ. (This is true in most cases with Mother Nature.) The lock is composed of two parts, the Lock Assembly and the Roller Tube Stop. This superior made Awning Lock is simple to install and simple to use. Using an awning lock will give you added peace of mind as you travel safely down the road. The package comes complete with full instructions and all parts including two drill bits, a metal center punch, screws and the necessary parts to install the Awning Lock. You open and close the lock using your awning wand. There is a groove in the rod and a spring-loaded plunger in the metal block. When the lock is closed the plunger drops into the groove preventing the lock from opening while you are traveling down the road. Only one lock is required for an awning. The lock fits Carefree and A&E awnings, with the exception of the A&E 2 Step. I would also suggest you get some Camco RV Awning Straps. The awning straps are used to secure the arms on the awnings while traveling. Even though the awning arms have locks on them, the straps act as a fail safe to prevent the arms from coming loose and damaging your RV. Hopefully once you start using these items, or items like them, you won’t have to worry about looking in your side view mirror and seeing your RV awning billowing in the wind. This problem does not seem to affect the power awnings as much as the older style manual awnings.
As I have stated before I usually do not like to recommend on part over another. However I do like to pass along useful RVing Tips and information that fellow RVers can use. Regardless if you use an awning lock or not, or just plain old Velcro tie ups. Common sense and just some good preventative maintenance can make your RVing experience easier and more enjoyable.
Safe Travels and Happy RVing!