How to Winterize Your RV: 6 Important Steps You Need to Take

If you’re like many Americans, you probably bought your RV sometime over the past two years. Research shows that the COVID-19 pandemic brought a record boost in revenue for the RV industry, with some brands unable to keep up with their backlog of orders.

Though setting out in your new rig is always exciting, it’s crucial to know how to take good care of your investment. Before it’s time to drive your rig off to a local storage company, what do you need to know about how to winterize your RV?

If you’re gearing up to put your ride into long-term storage, here are a few considerations to keep in mind.

Know When and How to Winterize Your RV

Before we get to the details, let’s do a quick overview of some winterization basics.

Knowing When to Winterize an RV

Because most people who have an RV are often driving it around, it’s not always easy to tell when it’s time to winterize.

Make sure to consider both the season and your destination. If you’re storing your ride during the winter in sunny Florida, for example, the temperatures might not dip low enough to warrant winterization! On the other hand, if you’re headed into the mountains of Colorado, you may need to winterize even in the warmer months.

In addition, you should always winterize your RV before you store it for a long period. Even if it’s not winter at the time you stow your rig, low temperatures can creep up on you. If you’ve invested in the best RV storage, such as Kingston Ideal Storage, your rig will be free from the elements, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare it for a cold snap.

The Basics of How to Winterize an RV

Before we get too far into the “how” of winterizing your RV below, make sure to start this job at the source: by checking your owner’s manual. Because every RV is different, your owner’s manual is the best place to look for information on your rig’s specifics, from its AC to its water system.

Beyond this, let’s take a look at some general steps for winterizing.

1. Drain and Flush Your Water System

It’s a bad idea to leave your water system untouched if you’re putting your RV in storage, so make sure to check the tanks, drains, and water heater before you do so.

Winterize Your Water Heater

First, make sure you’ve turned your water heater off. Check the temperature and pressure to make sure that neither is high, and then drain the heater to flush out lingering sediment.

Protect Your System With Antifreeze

Turn on your faucets and drain all of your pipes. You’ll then want to line all of the faucets, toilet valves, and showers in your system with antifreeze.

Winterize Your Water Tanks

Drain all wastewater from your black and grey water tanks. Clean both of these tanks as well. If your RV has any appliances that use water, such as a dishwasher or washing machine, check your user manual for specific steps to drain and clean their systems.

2. Store Your Batteries

To start winterizing your batteries, turn off your RV’s breaker switch. Take out each battery by removing the negative cable first.

If you own a small RV, you may be dealing with just one battery. If you own a large RV, you may have to locate and remove multiple batteries, so check your user manual for more information. In some cases, your RV manufacturer may indicate that it’s better to leave certain small batteries in place.

Once you’ve removed any batteries, be sure to store them in a safe and dry place.

3. Protect Your RV’s Exterior

Even if you’re putting your rig into local RV storage, now is a good time to do some seasonal maintenance and protection of the exterior.

Start by removing the awning to clean and dry it. This ensures that the fabric won’t mildew while your rig is stored, as long as you ensure you’ve stored it away.

You should also redo your rig’s protective wax coating. Clean your rig’s exterior, patching up any cracks with sealant, and then wax your ride.

4. Clear the Air

It’s important to make sure the air of your RV is clean before you’ve put it in storage, as humid air can lead to a buildup of mold and mildew.

Start by replacing or cleaning your AC filters, which removes any bacteria and mold from this area of your ride. To deal with any lingering humidity, consider running a dehumidifier to keep the air dry.

5. Prepare the Inside of Your RV

You’ll also want to prepare your RV’s interior for storage with a few basic steps. This can help you avoid any unwanted surprises when you come back to your rig in the spring.

Clean and sanitize all surfaces, remove leftover food and beverages from your cabinets, and remove sheets and bedding. Clean and wipe down the fridge, and consider putting mouse and pest traps in case any uninvited guests entered the RV.

6. Cover Your Wheels and Exterior

Last, but not least, cover your wheels and exterior if you’ll be storing an RV outside in the open. Sun, wind, rain, and even snow can damage your rig if you aren’t careful. You can find specialized wheel and RV covers online, or you can fashion your own from a tarp.

Note that if you’ve opted for undercover RV storage, you won’t need to worry about this step.

Take Good Care of Your Investment

RVs can be fantastic investments, but that’s only true as long as you take good care of them. Knowing how to winterize your RV can ensure that your ride stays protected in the coldest months. With due diligence, you can ensure that your rig is ready to go as soon as spring weather hits!

Want more insights on taking care of your investments? Check out our other posts for additional tips and tricks.

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