The 4 Categories of RV Winterizing

All recreational vehicles require preventative maintenance, especially when placed in storage for a considerable period of time.

winterizinglogoAs RVs remain parked during the long northern winter, it is important that owners understand exactly how to winterize one of their biggest investments, according to a Five Star RV news release. Otherwise you may be in for some rather unpleasant surprises next spring.

1. Winterize the Plumbing, Appliances, and Fresh Water System

Winterizing your plumbing is one of the most important components in protecting your investment. Following are the three basic steps in successfully winterizing your RV.

First, flush out the black and gray tanks. Then drain the water heater and the fresh water system.

Secondly, if your rig has any large appliances like an icemaker, dish washer, or washing machine you will need to follow the manufacturer’s recommended procedure for winterizing their systems.

Lastly is the fresh water system.

You have a choice of either using antifreeze or air pressure to protect your fresh water system. Both are effective means, but each has its pros and cons, as outlined below.


Pros: This is the most effective means to protect your fresh water system.

Cons: Be sure that the antifreeze that you are using is approved for RV use and is non-toxic. The last thing you want to do next spring is accidentally sicken your family and friends. You will also need to flush out the taste of the antifreeze before your next excursion.

winterize-pumphookupAir pressure

Pros: This is a cheaper method than antifreeze and you can avoid the extra work at the beginning of summer when you are stuck flushing out the taste of antifreeze.

Cons: With this method, it can difficult to get all the water out. Some portions of the plumbing will still require you to drain them manually. Also if enough water collects in faucets or valves, it can freeze and cause damage. To avoid this, open each faucet briefly while blowing air through the system.

2. Pest Control

During the winter months, critters like mice or squirrels will try to avoid the elements by holing up inside your rig. While some people might find these critters cute, the mess they will leave behind is far from it.

The first and most obvious precaution is to remove any foodstuff or fragrant items like shampoo or toothpaste. Clean thoroughly; you never know where those crumbs may have fallen while you were eating. It is also recommended to get some kind of deterrent. Dryer sheets like Bounce are known to work, but conventional mouse and ant traps are quite effective.

Check the entire exterior of your rig for any openings. Remember, if you can stick your finger through a hole a mouse will have no problem entering. Cover any openings you find with duct tape or fill with expanding foam.

3. Interior Preparation

It’s always better to enter a fresh, pleasant smelling RV, then one stinking of old food and mildew. To ensure this, defrost and clean the freezer as well as the refrigerator. Leave the doors propped open and place a container of baking soda inside to absorb odors. Also, use a moisture absorbent like Damp Rid or Dri-Z-Air tol deter mold and mildew taking hold.

Close all the curtains and blinds to protect the upholstery and fabrics from the sun. To complete your interior RV winterizing, remove any dead cell batteries from items like clocks or flashlights.

The wear and tear of being out in the elements can be quite destructive. Thankfully, taking the proper precautions will keep your rig looking shiny and new. The best precaution is to store your rig undercover on a concrete pad. However, this isn’t always the most cost effective method. Getting a cover made from a breathable material such as polypropylene is a relatively cheap option and will protect against the elements and prevent the growth of mold and mildew.

Likewise, getting covers for your tires is recommended, as the rubber will degrade due to the elements. Placing a board between the tire and ground is recommended, since the frozen ground and asphalt can damage the tires over time.

4. Engine Preparation

winterrvtipsKeeping your rig’s engine in good condition is an essential step in preventative maintenance. The first step is changing the oil and oil filter. Dirty oil contains acid that will eat away at the engine bearings. Check and adjust, as needed, all fluid levels: antifreeze, transmission, oil, brakes, etc.

A full gas tank and taking the time to run a fuel stabilizer through the engine and generator is a good idea. This will keep condensation from building up in the fuel tank. Disconnect the battery and make sure its water is topped off. If your rig is in long-term storage, it is often best to just remove the battery and store it somewhere it won’t freeze.


Five Star RV Center

Five Star RV Center strives to serve potential RV buyers and renters, offering exceptional professionalism in every area of expertise. Their consignment system has sold hundreds of RVs, placing private owners in position saturated with honesty, integrity, and most importantly, more cash for their sold RV.

Address: 13210 Highway 99 South Everett WA 98204

Phone: (425) 741-9600 or (866) 423-9595 (toll free)


Worth Pondering…

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.

—Peter Drucker

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