By Guest Contributor Patrick Alicki of EmpireCovers.com.
For many, fall marks the end of the camping season, so now is a great time to start thinking about storing your RV over the winter.
Inexperience in preparing your RV for the cold can lead to a list of expensive repairs when spring comes around, so we’ve got five tips focused on proper maintenance and preventative measures that’ll protect your investment and have you ready to hit the road next season.
Drain the Plumbing:
The most crucial step for winterizing your RV is to clear out the plumbing. Any water left in the pipes or tanks will freeze which can cause cracks to form, resulting in costly repairs. There are several tanks and pipes that need to be drained depending on the complexity of your RVs
The main sources of water you need to drain are:
- Black Water Tank
- Grey Water Tank
- Water Heater
- Water Lines
Black and Grey Tank:
In addition to the danger of freezing, you also do not want your wastewater sitting over a long period of time. You should first drain your black water tank and then your grey water tank. Once both have been drained, do a black tank flush to avoid any bacteria growth.
Water Heater and Water Lines:
To drain your water heater, first make sure the heater is turned off and has cooled down. Once cooled and free of pressure build-up, you can remove the drain plug and open the pressure relief valve to drain the water. Open all faucets in your RV (both hot and cold water) to drain the rest of the water lines. Close all faucets once water is drained.
After you have drained all the water, the next step is to add non-toxic antifreeze into your lines. First, check that your RV has a bypass installed so that no antifreeze ends up in your water heater. If you do not have a bypass, you will need to either get one installed or manually set up a bypass. Next, make sure your faucets are closed, and then pump the non-toxic antifreeze through your lines using the water pump. When it has pressurized, you can open your faucets one at a time until you see the antifreeze running through Finally, turn off the water pump and re-open all faucets. Additional antifreeze can be poured down each drain. Once you’ve completed the black and grey tank steps along with the water heater and water lines, your RV’s plumbing will be winterized.
Add Fuel Stabilizer:
Own a Class A, B or C? Then you’re going to want stablize your fuel. Gas begins to oxidize and deteriorate when left sitting for several weeks, forming resin deposits. These deposits can damage your RV’s engine, so it is important to add a fuel stabilizer to prevent any issues with your gas lines. First, fill your tank with gas and add the fuel stabilizer. Then, run the engine and generator long enough for the stabilizer to run through the entire fuel system, the length of time can often be found on the directions of the fuel stabilizer. You should also change your oil and oil filter to prevent acids in the engine oil from causing corrosion.
Keep Out Unwanted ‘Guests’:
It is common for mice and squirrels to make themselves at home in your RV during the winter. They can chew through the wiring and other plastic and rubber components, which can be a pain to repair. To prevent any rodents from entering your RV, you want to inspect it for any small gaps or holes. Begin by checking the underside and then move on to check for other
exposed entry points. You can fill any gaps found with silicone or expanding foam. Make sure your RV’s auxiliary power cable is unplugged, and that the cable hatch is closed. This will stop any rodents from climbing the power cord and entering your RV through the wall the cable goes
through. Additionally, you should clean your fridge, cupboards, countertops, and floors so that there isn’t any food lying about that would attract unwanted ‘guests’.
Cover it Up
If your RV is stored outdoors, the winter weather can cause rust, chipping, or even more significant damage. Snow and ice can pool on the roof, and collect even more debris like pine needles and leaves, which are a hassle to clean. Damaging UV rays from the sun are also a concern in the winter due to sunlight reflecting off the snow. Constant exposure to the sun can wear down the roofing material, dry out seals, and cause fading or discoloration. Use an RV cover, like the ones from EmpireCovers.com, to protect your vehicle from these harsh winter elements. A fully waterproof and UV resistant cover will offer the best protection, as well as keep debris off your RV.
When choosing a cover, make sure you pick one with a strap system so that it can be securely fastened to your RV even if there is wind
Protect Your Tires:
When your RV won’t be receiving much use during the winter off season, it is important to protect and maintain your RV’s tires. Make sure that your RV is being stored on level ground so that the weight is being distributed evenly between the tires. Inflate your tires to the pressure indicated on the sidewall. The tires may lose pressure during the storage period, so make sure you know where to find proper tire pressure info for your RV, and fill prior to taking your RV out on the road again. Even though winter is not known for being sunny, UV light from the sun is just as damaging during the winter. While RV covers protect your RV from UV light and other harsh conditions, not all covers provide full coverage for the tires as well. You can get RV tire covers to ensure that your tires are fully protected.
Although winterizing your RV may seem like an arduous task, it is a vital step in ensuring that you have a smooth transition when it’s time to take your RV out on the road again. The time put in now to prepare your RV for winter can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Want more RV tips for keeping your rig in tip top shape no matter what season? Sign-up for our free weekly our Newsletter!