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How to Lubricate an RV Antenna

When becoming an RV owner, there are many maintenance points that you’ll want to go over to make sure your rolling home works effectively when you try to use it. Among these little items of maintenance is your RV antenna.

Since you’ve probably never lubricated a home antenna – or maybe did it once on an older car, you might not know how – or why!

Lubricating your RV antenna is as easy as locating the antenna and spraying a solution that will keep it rotating well. We generally recommend silicone spray and will explain why below.

Why would I need to lubricate the antenna?

The antenna located on the roof of your RV can carry the signal for your TV, and in some cases, for your radio. 

Many RVs will have a rotating plate somewhere in the living room for the RV where one can reach up and turn a crank that in turns rotates the antenna on the roof.

The gears within this antenna hopefully came lubricated, but can dry out in hot weather and over time. Dry gears can make turning the antenna difficult or loud – and potentially damage plastic and even metal gears.

You’ll know when it’s time to lubricate because the gear will be more difficult to turn. You shouldn’t have to put a lot of elbow grease into turning the gear – and especially not whole arm grease.

How do I find the antenna gears?

The first thing we suggest doing is checking your manual. The manual could more readily tell you where to lubricate, in addition to any specifications about what to use.

Most generally, you can access the antenna gears from the roof of the RV. The easiest way to expose the gears is to first attempt to rotate the antenna from inside – including potentially raising the antenna itself – so you can see a black plug that covers the gear.

Remove the black plug. There might be a screw in there that keeps it on, otherwise it might be removable by hand.

Once the black plug is removed, the gear should be exposed.

From the inside

It’s also possible, but not as likely that you can see the gears by attempting to remove the rotating dial on your ceiling. This isn’t the case for all RVs, and in some ways the roof might be better when you can spray downward instead of up.

I find the antenna gear, now how do I lubricate the antenna?

We do have to start the process by telling you a bit about lubrications.

Many RV owners report using WD-40 as a lubricant on many of the hinges, joints, and gears within their RV. WD-40 actually does a good job of lubricating gears and such, but it has one issue:

It’s water soluble. This means that if any moisture gets into the gears, be it rain or humidity – or if the cap leaks, it’ll be washed away. To be fair, WD-40 will work very well temporarily, but you’ll likely need to reapply more often. 

Note that WD40 is actually a rust remover, though yes, it is so slippery that it can be used to lubricate too.

So, instead, welcome to silicone spray! Silicone spray repels water and maintains lubrication. One of the many uses of silicone spray is to keep windows from freezing shut. When spraying silicone spray on a visible surface, you’ll actually see water run around the area instead of into it and freezing.

You could actually use either spray, especially if you have WD-40 handy. Anyway, here’s how.

Using the recommendations on the bottle, spray the WD-40 or silicone spray from a small distance away. 

Inside the RV, have a partner turn the gears for the antenna as you spray to see if it’s having an effect. In some cases, this is also helpful because the gears aren’t completely exposed.

Both silicone spray and WD40 are “runny” enough that you won’t have to manually spread much of anything. Just give it a good coating.

Two kinds of WD-40

To be clear on lubricant types, especially for those who don’t frequent the hardware store. WD-40 isn’t limited to one type. The company that makes WD-40 also makes a teflon liquid spray that works better and lasts longer than regular WD-40 for the purpose of lubricating antenna. The can could say PTFE.

Finishing up lubricating your antenna

Now that you are lubed up, test the gear again to see if it improved more. If the gear is very worn or otherwise has some serious problems, simply lubricating the gear won’t fix it. If it still doesn’t turn well, consider replacing the gear.

You can now put the cap back on and rotate the antenna back to where you want it.

When should I lubricate my RV antenna?

It’s entirely up to you, but we have suggestions:

  • When the antenna becomes hard to turn by hand
  • When it’s warm and dry out. Would you rather learn that the TV antenna is getting dry when it’s cold and wet? Probably not! That’s why we suggest planning it for any time but the winter.

Any safety precautions for lubing my RV antenna?

  • Wear goggles when spraying lubricant in general, you don’t want it in your eyes.
  • You are probably going to have to use your RV ladder when climbing up. Be sure you are physically able to handle this situation
  • Remove the cap from the gear slowly as to not jar any shaft attached to it.

Conclusion

Lubricating your antenna gear is a simple process that you should do maybe once a year. When using silicone spray you might have to do it less often because it does better with moisture.

Be prepared and locate the gears for the antenna and you’ll be on your way to an easy to use antenna crank.

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