Skip to Content

Carefree Awning Fabric Replacement: RV Soft Connect

Carefree Awning Fabric Replacement: RV Soft Connect

Today we’re talking about Carefree awning fabric replacement. But we’re referring to a very specific piece of Carefree of Colorado RV awning material.

We’re going to cover everything you need to know about replacing the Carefree awning fabric known as the Soft Connect. Not sure what a soft connect is, or if your RV even has one? Read on!

We understand that replacing any part of your RV’s patio awning (or window awnings, or slide toppers) may be an intimidating topic. Today we’ve got your back with instructions on how to replace the soft connect, multiple links to our other posts about replacing the fabric on various Carefree of Colorado awnings and slide toppers, and several videos that you can follow along with step-by-step details.

Besides all the written information here, we’re releasing a brand new YouTube video today, embedded below, to help you visualize how to do this surprisingly easy RV awning replacement job.

Let’s get to it!

What is a Soft Connect?

If you’ve got a Carefree of Colorado power patio awning on your RV, you may also have something called a “Uniguard” as well. That’s a protective piece that wraps around the awning to prevent it from billowing in the wind while you’re driving down the road.

Photo of a Uniguard, a metal piece covering a retracted Carefree of Colorado powered awning. Carefree awning fabric replacement explained.

This is a Uniguard, a metal wrap covering a retracted Carefree of Colorado powered RV patio awning.

If you’ve got a Uniguard on your RV awning, then you’ve also got a long, narrow piece of fabric that sits between the Uniguard and the side of the RV, connecting the two.  This fabric piece is the Soft Connect, which we’ll be showing how to replace today… without removing the awning!

Photo illustrating what and where the soft connect fabric between the RV and the Uniguard. Carefree awning fabric replacement.

The fabric between the RV and the Uniguard is called the Soft Connect. This piece of fabric is always exposed to the sun, so is usually the first part of an awning to fail due to UV exposure.

Replacing this piece of Carefree awning fabric is the topic of today’s post because it’s usually the first part of your Carefree RV awning to fail.

We’ll be showing how to replace your RV’s soft connect with one from our favorite supplier of high-quality RV awning and slide topper fabric: Tough Top Awnings. Not only is it easy to install, but it will be far more durable, so less likely to require replacement again for a very long time.

What You’ll Need

Here’s a list of the items most commonly required to replace your RV’s soft connect fabric:

Again, the soft connect is usually the first piece of a Carefree of Colorado RV awning to fail. A soft connect (and any replacement fabric) from Tough Top Awnings, will last longer than any other material we’ve ever seen. 

Here’s a special Tough Top Awnings discount code for RVgeeks readers:

SAVE 5%
Tough Top Awnings Logo
Tough Top Awnings 5% Discount

The original equipment fabric that comes on RV awnings and slidetoppers is... well, how do we say this?... CRAP!. It's no surprise, since the RV manufacturers are looking to cut their costs...Show More

The original equipment fabric that comes on RV awnings and slidetoppers is... well, how do we say this?... CRAP!. It's no surprise, since the RV manufacturers are looking to cut their costs. Instead of replacing it with the same stuff that failed in the first place, get high-quality replacement fabric from Tough Top Awnings, instead.

Check out our Tough Top Awnings videos here

Plus you can save 5% on your entire order from Tough Top Awnings. The coupon code is valid online or over the phone!

Show Less

On to replacing the soft connect!

Step-by-Step Carefree Awning Fabric Replacement: How to Replace Your RV’s Soft Connect With Longer Lasting Fabric 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to replacing your RV’s soft connect without removing your awning!

  1. Remove the two set screws that keep the soft connect from sliding in the track on the roof. There should be one on each end.
One of two set screws on the RV side of the awning

There should be two set screws, one on each end of the RV side of the awning. Both need to be removed.

  1. Remove the two screws that lock the soft connect into the Uniguard. Again, there should be one at each end.
One of two set screws on each end of the awning side

There are also two set screws on either end of the awning side, both of which need to be removed.

  1. Open the awning just a bit and install a large zip tie around one of the arms (you’ll see a notch behind the arm, which is the perfect place for the zip tie). Cinch it down tightly, then do the same with the other arm. There should be a bit of play in the soft connect now.
Temporarily zip-tying the arms of the awning

After opening the awning just slightly, zip-tie the arms, cinching it tightly.

  1. Slide the soft connect about halfway out one side and leave it there. This will hold the Uniguard and the awning in place as you begin to install the new heavy-duty soft connect. Sliding it out only halfway avoids the need to remove the awning!
Sliding the old soft connect just halfway down the track assists in holding everything in place

Sliding the old soft connect just halfway down the track holds everything in place while the new soft connect is being installed.

  1. File the edges of the track on the RV and on the Uniguard. This protects the new fabric from snagging during installtion. (If you’d like some extra protection, you can also use some masking tape on the corners.)
This photo illustrates where the tracks need to be filed to prevent the fabric from snagging.

These ends of the tracks should be filed to prevent the new fabric from snagging on them during the install.

  1. Spray some silicone into the Uniguard’s track, as well as the track on the RV. This will make it easier to slide the new soft connect into place.

For the next step, having a helper makes the process much easier.

  1. With the thicker bead cord on the RV side, and the thinner cord on the Uniguard side, start sliding the new soft connect into the two tracks with your helper feeding the material in from one end. Slide the fabric into the tracks until the new soft connect is close to the old one.
Feeding the new soft connect fabric into the tracks

It’s helpful to have a helper feed the new soft connect into the tracks and down the length of the awning.

  1. With the new material in place to hold the Uniguard, you can slide the old soft connect the rest of the way out the other end.
  2. To help the new material slide freely, spray silicone into both tracks as you go. Have your helper keep feeding the fabric in as you continue to pull. Keep going until the new soft connect is centered in the Uniguard’s track.
  3. Snip off any bead cord sticking out from the end.
  4. Cut off the zip tie from one arm, and reinstall the set screw into that end of the Uniguard. Then reinstall the set screw on the RV. Do the same on the other end of the soft connect.
  5. Extend your awning and admire your new and improved soft connect! You’ve just completed your own Carefree awning fabric replacement – Soft Connect edition!

Watch The Video!

For those of you who learn best visually, here’s our brand new video, so you can follow along step by step!

How Can I Do Other DIY Carefree Awning Fabric Replacement on My RV?

We’ve got several posts and videos about replacing the fabric on lots of other Carefree of Colorado awnings and slide toppers. We’ll link to them here so you can consult them as you need them.

If you have Dometic / A&E  slide-out awnings (toppers) or patio or window awnings, we’ve got you… covered… there, too!

Whether you need replacement fabric for a motorized retractable awning, a manual awning, a door awning, window awnings, or slide-out awning/canopy replacement fabric, we’ve created DIY how-to videos on many of them.

Check out our entire YouTube playlist of DIY RV Awning & Slide Topper Replacement tutorials.

Whether you’re replacing a soft connect, main patio or window awnings, or your RV’s slide toppers, Tough Top Awnings material will outlast any fabric we’ve ever seen. They offer free shipping on all RV awnings to the Lower 48, plus a special discount for RVgeeks readers.

Don’t forget to save when you order yours, factory direct. Tough Top Awnings are manufactured in the USA.

SAVE 5%
Tough Top Awnings Logo
Tough Top Awnings 5% Discount

The original equipment fabric that comes on RV awnings and slidetoppers is... well, how do we say this?... CRAP!. It's no surprise, since the RV manufacturers are looking to cut their costs...Show More

The original equipment fabric that comes on RV awnings and slidetoppers is... well, how do we say this?... CRAP!. It's no surprise, since the RV manufacturers are looking to cut their costs. Instead of replacing it with the same stuff that failed in the first place, get high-quality replacement fabric from Tough Top Awnings, instead.

Check out our Tough Top Awnings videos here

Plus you can save 5% on your entire order from Tough Top Awnings. The coupon code is valid online or over the phone!

Show Less

Geek Out with Us Every Week

Join our newsletter to learn about all things RV-related. Every week we offer free tips, tricks, product reviews, and more to our online community of RVers. So, whether this is your first time on the road or you’re a seasoned expert, we’d love for you to geek out with us!

We'd Love It If You Shared This!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

PLEASE NOTE: We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

We participate in the Amazon affiliate program, which provides a means for us to earn a small commission by linking to products there. But our opinions are our own and we only link to products we can recommend to friends with complete confidence. And using our links won't cost you an extra penny!