Last month I discussed how to winterize your RV. While winterization is the standard rite of passage before our coaches are tucked away for the winter, there are other important tasks that should be undertaken at this time. This month I will examine some of these. Note that these are some of the key areas only, and you may have other tasks you wish to perform.

Batteries

If your RV is plugged into shore power during storage, it is imperative that you check the electrolyte level in the batteries every month. Many converter/chargers are only single or dual stage. This means they do not engage a suitable long-term float charge to keep your batteries from boiling over time. Check the batteries and connections monthly. Make sure the connections remain clean and tight. Clean off any battery acid with a mixture of water and baking soda. Use an old toothbrush to clean off the acid. You may choose to remove the cables from the posts (do it one at a time so you don’t mix up the connections) in order to thoroughly clean. Dry the cables and posts and re-tighten the connections. It is a good idea to spray the connections with battery terminal protectant, available from your local auto parts store. Remove the caps and make sure the electrolyte level is full. If not, fill them up with distilled water. Check this every month.

If your RV is without shore power, a little extra work is recommended. Remove the batteries from the coach and store them in a cool, dry place such as your garage. Do not store them in any living areas. It is important to fully charge the batteries before you store them, as fully charged batteries freeze at -40 degrees, whereas dead ones freeze at around 32 degrees. Clean the batteries and terminals so they are clean and dry when you want to re-install them. If you do choose to leave your batteries installed in your unit, make sure they are fully charged. Bear in mind that there may be parasitic loads that will drain the batteries over time, such as LP detectors, radio memory power, and the like. Even the battery disconnect switch will not necessarily remove all the loads. You may elect to remove a battery lead to prevent discharge.

Tires

Always be aware of the manufacture date of your tires. They are stamped on the sidewall, and since 2000 bear a 4-digit code with the week number and last two digits of the year. For Recreational Vehicles, tires should be replaced every 7-10 years, and will generally age out before they wear out.

To prevent excessive weathering during storage, inflate the tires to operating pressure, install tire covers, and park on a solid surface if possible, such as concrete or wood. If your unit has levelling jacks, it is a good idea to extend the jacks to take the weight off the tires. This will prevent flat spots from forming.

Inspect your tires for any signs of damage, cracking, deep scuffing, etc. If there is doubt, consult with a tire dealer.


Check the tires

Food

Remove any dry and non-perishable goods or move them to areas where rodents can’t get to them. Prop open the fridge and freezer doors to prevent mold and mildew.


Dometic Refrigerator

Humidity

To minimize condensation, mold, etc., put electronic or chemical dehumidifiers inside your unit. Crack open a window or roof vent (only if you have vent covers) to allow better airflow and the moisture to exit the vehicle.

Seals

It is recommended that exterior seals be inspected every three months. This is especially true of the roof seals. If the weather is good and you are able, go on the roof of your RV and thoroughly inspect every roof seal. Be extremely careful and do not go on the roof if you are not comfortable. You may choose to employ somebody else to assist you. If you find any cracks or otherwise open seals, clean the area with de-natured alcohol and re-seal the affected areas. If you are unsure of the quality of a sealed area, re-seal it. Refer to your manufacturer or local RV service center and be sure to use the proper sealant for each area. For instance, only self-levelling lap sealant should be used on a rubber membrane roof. Be sure to inspect the roof perimeter seals, vent seals, skylight, antennas, clearance lights, etc. Do the same with the body seals.

Snow clearing

If safe to do so, keep snow from accumulating on the roof of your RV. Clear it from the ground using a roof rake if possible. It is not so much the weight of the snow that is the problem (although this can be an issue in rare cases), but rather the freezing and thawing cycle that occurs as the weather changes. If snow on the roof melts, runs into a gap in the sealant, then re-freezes, the expansion of the ice can open the joint in the roof or sidewall, causing serious damage. Again, be extremely careful, and avoid going on the roof. Use a snow-clearing contractor if needs be.


Keep snow from accumulating - Photo courtesy of Shari & Hutch

Wash, clean and tidy the outside and inside of the unit so it is ready for your spring shake-down.

As mentioned earlier, you may identify other areas of concern for your RV that requires attention while your unit is in storage. This may include routine maintenance or even repairs that are best performed while the RV is idle and unused.

Steve Froese
Author: Steve FroeseEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Steve Froese is a Licensed Professional Engineer in British Columbia, as well as an Interprovincial Red Seal RV Technician, which is equivalent to a Master Certified RV Technician in the USA. Steve was a personal friend and colleague of the late Gary Bunzer (“the RV Doctor”), and works closely with FMCA as the monthly “Tech Talk” columnist, as well as being a member of the Technical Advisory and Education Committees. Steve and his family are lifelong and avid RVers, mostly in the Pacific Northwest.

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

More share buttons