Essential Tips to Winterize your Motorhome, Campervan or RV

Winterizing your motorhome is crucial to protect it from the potential damage that cold temperatures and freezing conditions can cause. Cruicially, most warrantees and insurers will not accept liability for cold weather damage. So efforts to do this correctly will reap benefits and keep your motorhome or RV in great shape for more adventures over many years.

Essential steps to winterize your motorhome:

Drain and Flush Water Systems:

Empty all water tanks, including fresh water, gray water, and black water tanks.
Use amotorhome and RV-safe antifreeze to flush the plumbing system, preventing water from freezing and causing damage.

Bypass the Water Heater:

Turn off the water heater and bypass it to prevent antifreeze from entering it.
Add Antifreeze to the Plumbing System:

Pour Motorhome/RV antifreeze into all drains, toilet, and shower to prevent any remaining water from freezing and causing damage to the pipes. Check your manual or manufacturer’s documentation for advice.

Prepare the Water Pump:

Run antifreeze through the water pump to ensure it’s protected.

Seal Exterior Gaps and Openings:

Use silicone or RV sealant to seal any gaps, cracks, or openings in the exterior to prevent drafts and keep the cold air out.

Protect the Battery:

Remove the liesure battery and store it in a cool, dry place. Alternatively, keep it connected to a trickle charger to maintain its charge. I recommend visiting the vehicle regularly while it is laid up. Starting the engine and running if for a period can help prolong battery life. You can also take these opportunities to move the vehicle a small amount to avoid flattening or ‘ovaling’ your tires. Starting the engine also allows you to run the heating for a while, which can help combat damp and condensation.

Store Properly:

If possible, store the motorhome in a sheltered area, like a garage or covered storage, to protect it from the elements. You could consider getting a bespoke motorhome cover, but be aware of some risks. The motorhome must be thoroughly cleaned before you put the cover on, to avoid dirt and grit being ground into the surfaces as the cover moves with wind and weather. It’s important to make sure the cover fits and is secure against wind from any direction.

Inspect and Maintain:

Check the roof, seals, and seams for any signs of damage or leaks. Repair as needed. You could do this in conjunction with an annual habitation check – this is often an insurance condition, so you can kill two birds with one stone here!

Empty and Clean Appliances:

Come on – you know this, right?? Empty the refrigerator and freezer, and clean them thoroughly to prevent odors and mold growth. Otherwise, the first days out next season are gonna be ugly! I’d also seriously recommend fitting refrigerator blanking plates/covers to stop ingress of water or pesky critters from nesting in there.

Tyre (Tire) Maintenance:

Inflate tires to the recommended pressure to prevent flat spots and damage during storage. Consider using tire covers to protect them from UV rays and harsh weather. Move the vehicle on a regular basis to change the area where the ground is in contact with the tyre.

Check Propane Tanks:

Turn off propane appliances and close the propane valve. Store tanks in a safe, upright position. I always recommend storing propane tanks away from the vehicle. If you’re going to use the stove/heating when checking in on your pride and joy during the off-season, that’s fine, just isolate from the system before you leave each time.

Extra precautions you can consider.

Rodent and Pest Control:

Place rodent traps or deterrents inside the motorhome to prevent pests from causing damage.

Prepare for Long-Term Storage:

If storing for an extended period, consider using stabilizer additives in the fuel to prevent degradation.
Cover the motorhome with a breathable, waterproof cover to protect it from dirt, dust, and moisture.

Documentation and Inventory:

Take photos and document the condition of your motorhome before storing it for the winter for insurance and reference purposes.
By following these essential steps, you can effectively winterize your motorhome and ensure it’s protected during the colder months.