by Steven Fletcher
I’m personally not convinced RV Wind deflectors for travel trailers and fifth wheels, are truly worthwhile. I’m not saying they don’t help but just not enough good to be worth the initial purchase price and all the hassles etc.
I am not an expert on aerodynamics but here’s what I think…
First, all the advertising you see shows a side profile with the air flowing nicely over the top of the rig. Usually a fifth wheel. But take a look at your rig from the front. There’s a lot of trailer hanging out the sides of the pickup and that’s a lot of drag. Now picture a wind deflector on top the cab. It is difficult to see how one can make much of a difference as small as they are by comparison.
Now think of that same wind deflector as a big air dam when you are not pulling the RV. Unless it is removable, it seems to me it will wipe out any fuel economy gained while pulling your trailer. Removing it may be an option but if you full time, or you are on vacation, where do you leave it when not in use?
Big Rigs (18 wheelers) probably get real benefit from a wind deflector for two reasons.
The tractor is as wide as the trailer and the wind deflector is as wide (or nearly so) as the trailer and as tall as the trailer.
Big rigs are almost always pulling a trailer.
If wind deflectors really worked on RVs I think we would see more of them being used.
Comment by Dan Deising:
I have purchased a wind deflector (cheap one for about $175.00) , I have use it all last year and have noticed a difference on real windy days. My wife and I always go camping with another couple. I have an old 1996 Chevy 1500 and I pull a 30′ 5th wheel, The couple we go with has a 2005 GMC 4 dr pulling a 28′ TT. On windy days, when we get to the camp sites he always makes a comment on how windy it was.
When the wind is gusting it wants to push the truck over, now using the wind deflector, I don’t notice it much anymore. Before I had one, I was very sceptical. It’s not as high or as wide, but, the front of my 5th wheel isn’t flat or square it’s round, so I think that’s why it helps.
You may also want to read: RV Air Deflectors for Travel Trailer and Fifth Wheel RV Tow Vehicles that Work – Installing and Using an RV Air Deflector