Updated: May 10, 2022
Fall is the time of year you need to decide whether your camping season is over. Parking your RV for the winter requires some preventive measures so it will be ready to use next spring. You will be glad you winterized your RV when you turn the ignition next spring and hear your engine roar to life (and when you’re not saddled with costly RV repair bills due to the damaging results of winter).
Now the questions are how to winterize your RV and who will tackle the task? If you’re like me and enjoy performing routine maintenance on your RV, the “who” part is answered. As for the “what” part, I have made all you RV-DIYers a comprehensive winterizing checklist packed with absolutes – things you definitely have to do – to help you with the task of winterizing your RV.
The ABSOLUTES Winterizing Checklist
This checklist outlines all the things you absolutely must do to your RV to get it ready for winter. After you’ve performed all these tasks, your vehicle will be ready to ride out the season and stay in great shape.
RV Winterizing Task #1: Look for Water Entry Points
Check ALL seams and penetrations on the roof, such as vents, skylights, sewer vents, and front seam and rear seam. Spot seal as necessary. Doing this helps keep water out of your RV, where it can seep into important components, lead to mold and mildew growth, and ruin parts.
RV Winterizing Task #2: Get Your Tires Ready
Check tire pressure and adjust as needed. You’ll also need to check your tire pressure periodically throughout the winter, because cold weather affects tire inflation. Low temperatures cause low tire pressure; that’s because air molecules move slower and stick together when it gets cold outside. Even if you’re storing your RV in a climate-controlled area, you should check the tire pressure a few times over the winter, just to be on the safe side.
RV Winterizing Task #3: Empty Holding Tanks
Drain all holding tanks, then fill black and gray holding tanks again with fresh water and drain a second time. Leave the valves open and the termination cap off to allow the tanks to dry fully. This thoroughly rinses the tanks and helps eradicate any residue that could be left over; the last thing you want is for your holding tanks to become science experiments over the winter.
RV Winterizing Task #4: Switch Off Propane and Drain the Water Heater
Turn off the propane, drain the water heater (leave the drain plug in the sink of the RV), and by-pass the water heater. If the water in your water heater freezes, ice can cause cracks in the tank – and that’s not a cheap fix. Depending on the extent of the damage a frozen water heater causes, it can become pretty costly.
RV Winterizing Task #5: Say “No” to Frozen Pipes
Pump Freeze Ban to all faucets, toilets, ice makers, washing machines, and showers. You'll know you're finished when you see the pink solution at all the aforementioned outlets. This helps prevent pipes from becoming damaged in the cold weather (just like you protect the pipes in your home). If you’ve ever dealt with a burst pipe, you understand how important this is.
Note: RV water lines can freeze when temperatures fall below 30 degrees F for as little as two to three hours.
RV Winterizing Task #6: Prep Your Batteries
Check the electrolyte level in the batteries (if applicable), and fill with distilled water as necessary. Charge all the batteries to a full state of charge unless you can leave your RV plugged into 120 VAC. It’s no fun to hop in your RV and find a dead battery!
RV Winterizing Task #7: Empty the Fridge and Cabinets
Remove ALL food from the RV that is not in a can or vacuum-sealed glass container. Turn off the refrigerator and leave the doors open to prevent mold.
Bonus Tips for Winterizing Your RV
Check out these extra tips for winterizing your RV this year:
Lubricate the hinges and locks
Thoroughly clean the interior and exterior
Unplug all your electric appliances
Add natural dehumidifiers to the interior
Ensure all your RV’s doors and windows are sealed shut
Why Winterize Your RV?
Winterizing your RV is essential – and its main purpose is to protect your pipes, tanks, tires and batteries. It’s extremely important to take these preventive measures if your RV will be stored in temperatures at or below freezing, as well as when it’s going to be exposed to cold weather. Remember, keeping your RV plugged in isn’t good enough; that doesn’t provide any protection against cold weather. You should even take steps to winterize your RV if you’re going to use it periodically; that way, you can protect it between trips.
What if You’re Not Sure About Winterizing Your RV on Your Own?
If you’re not comfortable doing these procedures to winterize your RV yourself, set up an appointment with us. Or if you just need a little help, we’ll walk you through the process for a small charge, even over a live video if necessary. So just give us a call, we are here to help!
Your Friend in the RV Biz,
Rod-rod th’ Motorhome Gawd
Blue Moon RV