Winterizing Your RV: A Handy Guide

by on May 11th, 2014
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As much as it saddens me to say it, summer is long gone and winter is tightening its grip as we make our way through the holidays. For you RV owners this is the time of year you have to roll up your sleeves and get going on the winterizing you planned on doing while the temperate days of Fall were still pleasantly whispering in your ear that you had plenty of time left. Well the leaves are gone and it is time to get to it.

Recreational vehicles prefer to be used–it keeps them young. You let them sit without maintenance, especially through cold weather, and you’re asking for trouble. If you don’t plan on using your RV over the winter it’s good to prepare it for the cold months ahead. Here are a few tips to make sure your RV is ready to go next year without a hitch.

First, make sure to get all perishables out of the RV. It might even be a good idea to get the bottles and cans out as well, as they can freeze and burst making quite a mess. Some folks store their RVs at a storage facility and it goes without saying there’s no reason to leave valuables in the RV over winter. Better safe than sorry. The plumbing takes the hardest beating in cold weather. Here’s where you want to take your time and make sure it’s done right or you will end up costing yourself a lot in repairs come spring. Start by emptying your fresh and waste water tanks first, make sure they are as empty as you can get them. Open drains and turn on faucets just to make sure you get any residual liquid out. Next, drain the water heater making sure it too is empty. On my coach, I had a bypass switch installed that let me bypass the water heater so I would not have to fill it up with anti-freeze. After evacuating the system of liquid, add a few gallons of RV anti-freeze. Make sure it is RV anti-freeze as it is safe for your plumbing while standard engine anti-freeze is not. Turn on your water-pump and open up the faucets until you see it coming out of the faucets and shower. Make sure and let some of it sit in the drain-pipe as well. Flush the toilet until you see anti-freeze. Pouring a little more anti-freeze down the drains isn’t a bad idea, and don’t forget the shower. Keeping critters out is another thing one has to worry about while the RV is in storage. Make sure all windows are shut and vents closed. Air conditioner covers are a good idea. Walk around and make sure any potential opening for furry little creatures are sealed; a roll of duct tape can be handy for this task. Fill up your LP tank. Full tanks are better off in storage than an empty one. Make sure the tank valve is closed and all appliances are off. Batteries don’t like cold–make sure yours are fully charged before going into storage. Make sure the unit’s main breaker is off and everything is unplugged. Cover your tires and make sure they are inflated to manufacturer’s specifications. If possible move the RV a couple times during the winter so the tires move about a half revolution–you don’t want them sitting on the same spot of tread all winter. If your RV is a motorhome than you have to think about the engine as well. Make sure fuel tanks are topped off as well as any of the fluids under the hood. A fuel stabilizer is a good idea to keep that fuel fresh–Lord knows you paid enough for it!

Well there you have it. I know it’s a lot more exciting to get your rig ready for a trip than to put it away for the winter, but taking a little time to protect your investment insures you will have many miles of fun in the sun. Happy trails!


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