Storing and Winterizing Your RV
There is nothing better than packing up your RV and loading in your family to take a drive during the spring and summer months. Whether you are going on a cross-country road trip or spending a weekend at your favorite campsite along the coast, you know that your RV needs to be in top condition. Checking the engine, power systems, interior, and exterior before you set off is essential so that you can stay safe on the road and have all of the amenities you expect when you arrive at your destination. However, how you care for your RV during the off season has as big of an impact as the miles you put on it during the rest of the year. Proper preparation for and storage during the winter, as well as installing upgrades such as a remote alarm system, ensures that your RV will be ready to go once the new season arrives.
Storing and Winterizing Your RV
Unless you live in a part of the country that allows you to use your RV all the time, you will need to have a plan to store it in the off season. In addition to preparing the RV’s engine and other systems for the winter, it is also important to consider how it is stored so that you can protect its condition while not in use. Motorhome.com notes that the winter months are perfect for saving money on your RV, since you may be able to cancel portions of your insurance while it is not on the road.
You can also save money on entertainment expenses for your RV by checking to see if your television service provider has a pay-as-you-go option or a solution for RV owners so that you aren’t paying for something you aren’t using. While insurance and entertainment are two areas to take care of when storing your RV, it is important to have a winter checklist to ensure that no detail is overlooked. Your list should include the following areas:
- Battery – Make sure to clean the battery with baking soda and water, but avoid having any of the solution get into vents or caps. Ensure that your battery is fully charged before storing it in a cool and dry area that is away from pets and children. It is important to store your batteries on maintenance chargers, because discharged batteries can freeze at a much warmer temperature than fully charged batteries. During the off season, check the status of your batteries every 1-2 months to ensure they are charged and ready for the end of winter.
- Water Lines – One of your top priorities is to protect all of your water lines and systems during the winter. This includes winterizing fresh water lines, the water heater, ice maker, and more. It is a good idea to drain and bypass your water heater so that you do not need to send antifreeze through it when you are working on the rest of your lines. For your ice maker, you’ll need to winterize the solenoid valve that is connected. Read the instructions for your particular RV to ensure that all of the lines are cleared and ready for the winter. Additionally, take the necessary steps to winterize your waste tanks, drains, and toilet to keep any standing water from freezing, as well.
- Rodent Protection – Just as you are making sure your RV is nice and warm for the winter, rodents are also looking for a safe, dry home. In addition to mice, other critters can get into your RV through various openings left unattended and cause damage to the interior. They may squeeze through water lines, so be sure to close off as many openings as possible. Also, it is smart to lay traps, just in case, to protect your remote alarm system and other electronics.
Protect your tires during the winter months, as cold and moisture can ruin them when in storage. Make sure your tires are fully inflated, and consult your owner’s guide for best practices to prevent moisture damage.
Places Still Open During the RV Off Season
Of course, if you live in a region of the country that only experiences mild changes in weather during the winter, you’ll be able to use your RV all year. For those hit harder by cold and snow, consider a winter trip south in your RV with family. Some of the top winter destinations for motorhomes are Florida, Texas, and states in the southwest. The key is to find areas of the country that have activities that interest you, as well as facilities for your RV.
The good thing about driving south or west for the winter is that campgrounds and tourist destinations are open all year. In Florida, you can experience everything from amusement parks to time spent on the Gulf Coast or along the Atlantic Ocean. Various sections of Florida have their unique local atmosphere, from food to night life to nature. Florida and other states in the Southeast can be the perfect escape for a trip during the winter.
Out west, areas in Texas, Arizona, and California offer you lessons in American history while also giving you excellent weather. Campgrounds across the southwest give you easy access to historical landmarks, National Parks, and some of the most beautiful natural land formations in the country. See the Grand Canyon and the Alamo, or continue your drive west to visit beaches along the California coast and Yosemite.
The best way to find hidden gems to visit during the traditional off season is to reach out to other RV owners in online forms or your community. They will be able to share tips on RV parks, attractions, and local amenities.
Updating/Upgrading Your RV
In addition to storing your RV for the winter or taking it on a trip to escape the cold, the off season is the perfect time to make updates and upgrades to your vehicle. Redecorate the interior, add new safety and security systems, and turn your RV into an all-new driving experience in time for spring. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your RV when you update it this year:
- Improve safety. Adding a rear view camera kit, including side cameras and monitors, helps you avoid accidents when you are out on the road. It can be difficult to maneuver your RV in some places, and a video system makes it easier on you and other motorists.
- Increase security. A remote alarm system makes it easier and more efficient to lock up your RV during the night or when you leave it parked. These systems are easy to install and affordable, giving you peace of mind, in addition to new features in your RV.
- Update the interior. RV owners love to tackle remodeling projects in the off season in order to make their vehicles feel invigorated. This can be as simple as moving items around inside and decorating with new window coverings and linens, or it can be more involved, with upgrading flooring and installing a new dinette table and seating area. You can also browse decorating ideas to give your RV a new look and theme. Tackling projects like these will help your RV feel fresh and can even give you more room inside than you had before.
As you get ready for this off season, make a list of everything you want to accomplish with your RV. Whether that means storing it for the winter, taking a trip to avoid cold temperatures, or remodeling and upgrading systems inside your RV, make a checklist and work with experts to make sure everything is done correctly. Doing so allows you to pick right back up where you left off when the snow thaws and the roads open to take you on your next adventure.