The mystery of the burning RV cover

The mystery of the burning RV cover

By Chuck Woodbury, editor
Now here’s a situation that you have likely never encountered: a brand-new RV cover, in this case a high-quality one from ADCO to cover a 37-foot travel trailer, that began to melt in an arc-shaped pattern across the cover for no apparent reason. See the damage in the photo.

This burning pattern stretched eight feet across the new trailer cover.

The next door neighbor of RV Travel reader Larry Lucas asked him if he had an idea of what might be happening. Lucas didn’t know. The men’s property is marked by a wooden fence.

The neighbor then called ADCO. They advised him to move the trailer. But “there was nowhere else he could park it,” said Lucas.

“It’s not a cheap cover by any stretch. I can’t believe this is the first time something like this has happened with ADCO with the thousands of covers they have manufactured.”

Finally, the two men solved the mystery. The sun, reflecting off Lucas’ upstairs window about 30 feet away, was causing this burn as the sun tracked across the sky. The photo illustrates how it happened.

The problem was solved, but raised a question in Lucas’ mind:

“I’m concerned as we have a ADCO cover, too. Could this happen from another RV parked next to ours or some other reflective surface nearby? Could this be a fire hazard?”

Have you ever seen something like this? If so, please leave a comment.

##RVT828

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12 thoughts on “The mystery of the burning RV cover

  1. Lisa

    This is exactly what happened to our ADCO RV Cover as well. We are using it to cover a 38 Ft Class A motorhome and started noticing burn marks that have just seemed to spread and couldn’t figure out what was going on with it. Seems to me this could be a fire hazard.

  2. Chuck M

    Campco Tire covers only withstand the sun for a few months.

  3. Wolfe

    There have been many worse cases of this, from Disney’s Concert Hall blasting neighbors, to this building that melts cars and ignites other buildings… https://www.nbcnews.com/widget/video-embed/46574659567

  4. G13Man

    why do people use tarps , and things to cover RV’s and trailers ?
    fix the roof and leaks !
    its a better short term solution and leaves ur vacation ready to go in a minute

    1. G13 Man — Because they have different needs than you, that’s why. In Seattle, for example, we cover RVs to keep them from turning green and growing moss from all the moisture. Plus a covered RV looks better after a few years than those exposed to the elements. So better resale value.

    2. Verla

      I cover mine between trips to save on the RV. My trailer is over 10 years old and it looks like new. Also it keeps it cleaner and less UV damage. Covering my camper has nothing to do with it leaking. Actually it saves on the caulk so I have less caulking repair to do.

  5. Ralph P

    Fortunately, we did not have an issue with our RV but one day we noticed, while standing in our front yard about 50 feet away from a small oval, FLAT window on our second story, that we could literally feel heat due to the Suns reflection. Solar power….WOW!!!

  6. Alpenliter

    My friend called me over to help him with a mystery. The foam pipe insulation he used to protect his hose from freezing was melted around his hose. No heat tape was involved, so he replaced the foam, only to find it melted in the same area. Finally traced it down to a neighbors mirrored window reflecting the suns rays on the foam.

  7. Marmot

    I had a “high quality” ADCO cover for my travel trailer. It was used for two years from April through October in central Texas. The fabric on the sides of the cover, which was thick and seemingly of very high quality when new, became like tissue paper and ripped completely apart. I would recommend an ADCO cover only for RVs which are stored under a roof or indoors.

  8. Mike

    I believe that the concave shape of the neighbor’s window glass (due to the vacuum between the panes) causes the reflected light to concentrate at the focal point of the curvature. moving the RV or placing a screen between it and the offending window would be the most effective solution to the problem.

  9. Tom Gutzke

    My son had a similar problem in his town house. A street light bulb was replaced and the globe was put back in a slightly different position. During winter the sun reflected off or through the prism-type globe of the street light and it reflected through his kitchen patio doors causing a burn pattern to his linoleum. It only happened a few days a year but you had to be home to see it.

  10. Glenn

    My sister-in-law had an old barber chair in her living room in Pittsburgh. It was green vinyl with stainless trim. She began to notice burn marks on the vinyl. Finally figured out that at a certain time of year the sun was reflecting off the stainless and causing the burn marks. She covered the stainless trim on the arm with a cloth throw and problem solved. I have also seen news stories of vinyl siding being melted from a neighbor’s window reflection before. Not totally uncommon.

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