Winterizing an RV

Lead Image
  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-200
What You'll Need
Hand tools
2-4 Gallons of non-poisonous RV antifreeze
Owner’s handbook where possible
Clear tubing or water pump converter kit
Water heater bypass set

Have you made up your mind about braving the winter? The chilly season is approaching and you’ve had a fabulous summer and spring touring the country in your RV. Do you want to do it again the following year?

It’s enticing to just park your RV away under a blanket and forget about it for around six months. However, if you don’t take the appropriate steps, you’re likely to uncover your RV during spring and get it damaged.

Park and Ensure the Camper is Stable

Getting a parking space to stow your camper is the first step. Get a flat surface and make the tires stable by using flattening blocks or wheel chocks. Ensure the tires are fairly centered on the blocks with no edges hanging. Use a stabilizer or a firmly built camper jack for towable RVs to stop the vehicle from moving.

Several camper travelers go an extra step and jack their RVs off the ground—stabilizing them using concrete blocks. This prevents your tires from having flat spots caused by sitting for a long time.

Park your camper with the emergency brake engaged if it’s motorized.

rv on wheel block

Clean and Dry the Camper

If you love your camper, you should clean it before stowing it for winter. In this way, you can anticipate having a glistening clean RV. In the preventive maintenance of campers, the second step after parking is to not only clean the outer surface of the camper but also the wheel wells, tires, awnings, and any corners and fissure that may be concealing dirt.

When the camper is clean, ensure you dry it off completely. Even a little amount of dampness on the surface can lead to corrosion with time. Therefore, drying is an extremely important step.

person washing rv

Stop the Pests from Getting In

Once the outside of the RV is clean, it’s time to tidy up the inside. First, get rid of all food from the camper to stop gnawers and insects from getting in. Also, wipe the seats and counters, then sweep and clean the floor to make sure that no crumbs are left behind.

Also, it’s good to open the doors to all kitchen devices, drawers, and cupboards to ensure there are no more crumbs in them. This should be done, particularly to refrigerators which are supposed to be wiped down and then switched off for winter.

Besides, camper owners should inspect for any gaps or small holes in the RV as insects and gnawers can get in through them. They should be filled with caulk which only takes a couple of minutes and can aid in preventing infestation in the camper.

Remove all the Water

One crucial step when winterizing an RV or camper is to ensure it has no water left inside when the outside is cold. If water is left inside, it can solidify and cause havoc on the camper.

For this reason, it’s extremely important to get rid of the water from any tanks in the camper, comprising the water heater, black and gray tanks, and the fresh water tank.

Then, pour non-poisonous antifreeze in the plumbing system to stop the pipes from freezing. If your camper has a washing machine or an ice maker, reading the handbook is a great way of finding out how to winterize them.

If you have a water heater that uses electricity, switch it off before stowing the camper.

opening the drain tube for an RV

Switch off or Store Away Other RV Components

Campers consist of many parts that require switching off for the winter. For instance, take off awnings and close the valves of the gas tank. Inspect the roof for leaks and repair them if necessary. Before stowing the camper, change the oil.

Additionally, remove all batteries from the camper as they usually get drained and rendered unusable after a long storage period. Don’t stow them with the camper. Instead, store them at a place where there are no extreme temperatures. Lastly, connect the camper’s tailpipe using steel wool or a rag to keep pests away.

man taking down rv awning

Cover it up for the Winter

Covering your camper is the last step to winterizing it. First, ensure it’s totally dry; otherwise, it can lead to corrosion or rust. You can also use a breathable fabric or an ordinary RV cover. Also, ensure you cover the tires if you’ll stow the camper outside as they need to be protected from the sun.

Conclusion

Your RV/Camper is now winterized. With that, there won’t be any unpleasant, not to mention expensive, surprises coming spring when the time comes to go camping in your RV.