It’s that time of year when many campers prepare to store their RV for the winter months. If you are planning to do so you will need to winterize your RV so it’s ready for your next season of camping. Winterizing your RV will also help you avoid surprises and costly repairs when its time to take the RV out of storage.
One of the most important aspects of winterizing your RV is taking care of the water system to avoid freezing and ice damage resulting in split pipes, ruptured tanks and failed pumps. You must completely drain your system, use compressed air to rid the pipes of any remaining water and pump RV antifreeze throughout your system.
If you don’t winterize your RV and water freezes in the system causing damage you may find yourself with repairs in excess of $1,000. Non-toxic RV antifreeze is best to use, as well as a water heater by-pass kit, if not already installed. You will also likely need a wand to clean out holding tanks, a water pump converter kit, or tubing to connect to the inlet side of the water pump and basic hand tools to remove drain plugs.
For more specific information and detailed instructions on winterizing your RV water system, visit Mark Polk of RV Education 101’s article on KOA.com here.
Once you’ve taken care of your water system, you can focus on other winterizing tasks, such as cleaning. Make sure you remove any food that will spoil or attract mice and other rodents. Take all refrigerated food out and clean out the fridge and freezer leaving the doors open while it’s stored. Also leave open cabinet and closet doors during storage for better circulation and humidity control. You’ll also want to clean storage areas, the oven, the range and around the dinette. Clean and store your sewer hose.
Give your RV a once over, examining seals around exterior doors and windows, caulking where needed. Check the roof for small leaks or other damage. Make repairs if necessary. Check your plumbing vents, roof vents and air conditioner shroud. Make sure to shut off the propane at the tank and lubricate all joints, pivot points and gears on your steps and stabilizer jacks.
Before storing your RV for the winter take the chance to wash and wax it, as well as clean the awning. Do not use dish detergent to clean the awning. They contain de-greasers, which can cause an awning to dry out and crack.
When it comes time to actually store your RV, park it with the emergency brake on and use wheel chocks. Stabilize the RV and make sure it doesn’t rock when you walk through it.
If possible, keep your RV out of direct sunlight to prevent the exterior from experiencing harsh winter conditions and to prevent exterior graphics from fading or cracking. This includes making sure tires are properly inflated, clean and covered to protect them from UV rays as well. Sun and air pollutants can cause deterioration of the rubber compound, causing dry rot in a tire.
If you take the above steps to winterize your RV, getting it ready to hit the road and head to your favorite campground next spring should be a snap.