We are back with another instalment of our DIY Series of Tips and Tricks to help you get the most out of your RV experience. As we stare out the windows of our showroom and see the snow falling – it is definitely time to start thinking about getting your RV ready for storage over the winter months. In this entry, we are tackling the unenviable task of Preparing your RV for Winter Storage.
So lets dive in! Remember the order in which you complete these tasks isn’t as important as simply completing them all.
Step 1: Empty and Throughly Clean Your RV
Starting at the top, it is crucial that you remove potential dangerous items from your coach. Food, crumbs, clothes and extra blankets are all items that can attract insects and rodents looking for a warm stay through the cold months. Check out our last blog post about Pest & Rodent Control to learn so tricks to keep those pesky critters out. Emptying, cleaning and defrosting the fridge/freezer is also an important step in the cleaning process. Once you have completed it, prop the fridge and freezer doors open to avoid mold and mildew developing with in storage. Your awnings should also be cleaned and dried during this step. You want to ensure that all debris is removed and the material is completely dry prior to rolling them up.
Step 2: Coach Inspection
Before you put your RV to bed for the winter, it is a perfect opportunity to do a through inspection. You will want to inspect your roof, slide seals, and the entire coach for any holes, cracks or small openings that could allow moisture or vermin into your coach. Inspections of the tires should also be down. Ensure there are now cracks or bulges and fill them to the manufacturer specified PSI rating. You might also want to take your rig for one last spin as well, listening for any engine problems, knocks and pings. If no problems are found, fill the tank (to prevent condensation forming in the tank) and introduce a diesel fuel stabilizer according to manufacturer specifications. For gas powered units, its good practice to change the oil and oil filters prior to sitting for months at a time.
Step 3: Batteries and Generators
Batteries can freeze at oºC (32F), so being that we live in areas that get much colder than that it is important to prep them for the winter as well. If you can remove the batteries from the RV, do so and store on a maintenance charger in a dry cool place. In cases where your batteries cannot be removed, charge your batteries completely, then disconnect the negative charge cable from the battery. Because batteries can lose their charge over time – it is a good idea to check your batteries every month or so. You will want to remove all dry-cell batteries (clocks, smoke detector, etc.) as well, as the colder temperatures can cause them to crack or leak. If your unit is equipped with a generator or solar panels it is best practice to consult the owner’s manual for storing information.
Step 4: Winterize
Winterizing your motorhome involves removing all the water from the systems to avoid freezing and cracking within the plumbing. It is a relatively simple procedure that we have outlined previously in our DIY: Winterization video. If you don’t feel comfortable tackling this process by yourself our service department would be happy to help you out! You can give them a call and book your winterization appointment today. 403-887-0911.
Step 5: Covering it Up
After you have throughly inspect your coach, cleaned out the interior and winterized the water lines – it is time to cover it up. Ensure all windows closed and close/draw all the blinds. This will protect your fabrics and upholstery from harmful UV rays that cause fading. There are two things we suggest covering on the exterior of any motorhome:
- A. It is extremely important to clean and cover your A/C vents on your motorhome. This protects your RV from moisture, stops birds from nesting and prevents leaves and branches from clogging up the vents.
- We also recommend that you cover your tires to prevent weather damage. There are a number of great tire covers available. Just ensure that the material is breathable and durable.
If you so chose, you can also buy a full RV cover for any size motorhome as well. Again, the major points of concern amongst the different products is to ensure the material is breathable and durable.
6. Choosing a Storage Spot
The final decision that should be made is where to store your RV. The best place would be on a covered and level cement (or gravel) pad. This will do the best job in protecting your unit from Mother Nature. However, we do understand that this isn’t always possible. So here are some things to check and remove prior to storing your RV somewhere else:
- Not too close to any trees – bird droppings, branches, insects are all problems that parking too close to trees can cause.
- If in a rural area – cut all the grass/weeds that will surround your RV prior to you parking it
- Level – it isn’t always possible to find a perfect level spot. Leveling blocks can be a great tool to use.
After that you should be all set. If you take all the precautions prior to storing your unit, when spring time rolls around it will be must easier to get your rig ready to go….and alot less frustrating.