In the last few installments I have been encouraging readers to continue enjoying their RV through the fall and winter as there are many activities to enjoy and a properly prepared RV is the best way to enjoy them. However, I realize I won’t convince everyone to get out there and camp over the colder months.
Most RVers know to winterize their RV before freezing weather arrives to prevent pipes and fixtures from freezing, but that is only half the battle of preparing your RV to be stored over the winter.
Here are some winter storage tips you can use to make sure your RV is nearly ready to go when spring arrives:
1. Inflate the tires to the manufacturer’s recommended cold tire pressure. If possible place a protective barrier between the tires and the ground. While not a problem in the Pacific Northwest, those reading this in sunnier climates may want to cover / shade the tires to protect them from destructive ultraviolet rays.
2. Wash the exterior of the unit to remove stuck on bugs and grime. It will be that much harder to remove these items in the spring if you wait.
3. Thoroughly clean the interior. Crumbs left on the floor or cupboards from the last camping trip are an invitation for rodents.
4. If your choice of RV is a tent trailer, make sure the canvas side panels are clean and dry before storing otherwise you could be facing a moldy mess in the spring.
5. Roll out your awning and give it a good scrubbing. Make sure it is totally dry before rolling it back up for winter storage.
6. Lubricate all exterior locks and hinges, to prevent them from becoming corroded over the winter.
Lubricate all exterior locks & hinges
7. Inspect sealants around the roof vents, windows, doors and exterior lights and reseal as needed. Water can enter through the smallest of cracks and if you are not using your RV to encounter these leaks, the damage could be extensive by the time you find them in the spring.
Check for breaks in sealants and reseal as needed
8. Make sure all gas appliances are turned off and close the LPG valve(s) at the tank.
The fuse for the LB detector will normally be located in the cabinet behind it.
9. Make sure your batteries are kept charged to prevent them from freezing or remove them and put them in your garage or other area not subject to freezing temperatures. If you leave the battery in your RV remove the fuse from the LP gas detector to prevent the batteries from being drained over the winter. Don’t forget to reinstall the fuse in the spring before using your RV.
10. Completely inspect the underbelly of your RV for holes or tears where rodents can enter and seal as necessary.
11. Remove perishable foods and any item that can be damaged by freezing. Soda cans are notorious mess makers when they freeze and split open.
12. Clean the refrigerator with hot soapy water and leave the doors slightly open. If your refrigerator has an issue with odors, place some open baking soda to absorb them.
Leave the refrigerator doors cracked open - the manufacturer normally provides a mechanism for this
13. Leave interior doors, drawers and cabinets open to allow air circulation and discourage mildew.
14. If possible, store your RV under cover or in a garage. If covered parking is not available, avoid parking under trees where needles, leaves or sap may drop onto the RV.
15. Avoid placing a tarp tightly over / around your RV which traps moisture and prevents it from breathing. If you must cover your unit, purchase a breathable cover which is designed for RVs.
16. Leave your RV parked at an angle from front to rear or vice versa which will allow the rain to run off the roof carrying fallen debris with it.
If you follow these tips along with properly winterizing your RV, little effort will be required in the spring to have your RV ready for its first camping adventure.