1. Things Needed
- 3 gallons of RV antifreeze. Do not use the common car antifreeze.
- An air compressor.
- A water heater by-pass valve.
- Essential hardware tools.
You can easily purchase all of the above to your local RV supply store. If you are not sure of the specifications, refer to the user’s manual for additional details.
2. Water System
Extreme weather conditions and low temperatures can lead to broken water lines and pipes due to water freeze. To prevent water turning into ice and destroying your RV’s plumbing system you need to drain both the fresh water tank and waste water tank. Open all faucets and shower and release pressure until there is no water running inside pipes. Use the air compressor to completely drain water out of the toilet, sinks and shower.
Once you are done, by-pass the water heater and apply RV antifreeze inside the pipes and water lines. If neglecting to by-pass the water heater, the antifreeze will accumulate inside it leaving the rest of your draining system unprotected. Open up the faucets until you see the antifreeze solution running from them. Only then you will be sure that the antifreeze is indeed inside the water system. If so, finish by pouring half a gallon of antifreeze into the drains.
Important tip: do not drain the water heater tank if there is any hot water left inside it. It may cause serious injuries. Moreover, do not forget to reinstall all drain plugs after you are done.
2. Check the Engine
Check the engine and wiring connections for any signs of wear or leaks. Take a dry soft cloth and gently wipe the engine to make sure there are no oil or fluid leaks. Thoroughly inspect the heater and radiator hoses, fuel lines, steering and brake pipes. Ensure that they are firmly closed. If not, notify your mechanic and ask for their replacement.
Apply a 50-50 mixture of distilled water and car antifreeze inside the coolant system. The antifreeze will prevent water from turning into ice inside the radiator. To do so, drain the coolant system and replace with the antifreeze mixture.
3. Check the Battery
Extreme weather conditions can significantly reduce the battery’s capacity. Check for any cracks, unscrewed caps or leaks. Moreover, gently unscrew the battery caps to make sure that there is enough battery fluid inside. If not, replace with refined water until the designated level. During the process, it is highly recommended to wear gloves and eyewear as the battery’s electrolytes may seriously hurt you.
Important tip: do not neglect to check the battery as a discharged battery may freeze and crack due to low temperatures. If possible, remove and store the battery to a warm place away from moisture and dirt. Cover the battery with insulation and recharge once a month.
It is highly recommended to unplug the refrigerator since you will not be using your RV for quite a while. Remove all foods and thoroughly clean the interior with a 50-50 mixture of plain water and white vinegar. The white vinegar mixture will remove smells and stains leaving your refrigerator like brand new. Do not forget to leave the refrigerator door wide open.
5. Food Storage
Clean the shelves and store cans and jars. Avoid storing liquids as they may break due to low temperatures. Additionally, avoid storing food in plastic bags as they may attract insects and rodents.
6. Prevent Moisture and Mold
Moisture, especially in winter, is a common problem for the RV owners. To prevent moisture from accumulating inside your RV you can purchase a specifically designed RV chemical absorbent kit from your local RV supply store. The most popular products are the Do not forget to replenish the kits regularly to maximize protection.
7. Keep Animals Out
Rodents, pests and small animals will find your RV a perfect shelter for the winter. Keep them out by closing all windows and applying insulation filters even to the smallest holes or cracks. Use a flashlight and thoroughly investigate your RV for the smallest holes.
8. Clean the RV both Inside and Outside
Carefully clean the interior and exterior of your RV. Removing mold and dirt will keep it clean and safe from corrosion and rust. Use products specifically for RV usage as otherwise, you risk damaging its shell.
9. Choose where to Park it
Choose the best possible place to park your RV. Will it be your garage or a place in your backyard? No matter which one will it be, you need to make sure that it will be on an even ground. Furthermore, it is best to cover your RV with a plastic wrap. This will keep it protected from rain and snow during the winter days.
Properly winterizing your RV will keep your investment safe and in a good working order the next season. Just follow the above steps and do not forget to check up on it for cracks, moisture or leaks.