When camping season comes to an end it’s time to park the RV for the winter, but where do you start and what do you do to make sure it is prepared properly for cold weather storage? Here is a helpful winter RV storage checklist.
- Wash the RV & clean the interior.
- Defrost the freezer and clean the refrigerator. Put baking soda in compartments and leave the doors cracked open.
- Remove all dry-cell batteries from devices like smoke alarms and clocks. Don’t forget to re-install them next spring.
- Inspect the roof seams, body seams and sealants. Reseal as needed. Use the proper sealants.
- Remove all consumables that would attract mice and other rodents, and anything that can freeze.
- Turn the LP gas off.
- Clean the awning fabric and make sure it is dry prior to storing.
- Look for anywhere that mice or other rodents can get in the RV and seal as necessary.
- Clean the air conditioner filters.
- Check and fill the water levels in all lead acid batteries.
- Charge all batteries. Keep the batteries charged during storage. A discharged battery will freeze much quicker than a fully charged battery. If the RV is in long-term storage it’s better to remove the batteries and store them where they will not freeze.
- Change the engine and generator oil and oil filter.
- Fill the fuel tank and add a fuel stabilizer. Run the engine and the generator long enough for the stabilizer to get through the fuel system.
- If you cover the RV use a cover that is breathable. Do not use a plastic tarp.
- Don’t forget to cover the tires.
- If the RV is in long-term storage, and won’t be plugged in to electricity, it’s a good idea to turn off the main breaker in the distribution panel.
- Place something like a piece of treated wood between the ground and the tires. Frozen ground and petroleum based surfaces, like asphalt, can damage tires over time. Make sure that whatever you use to block the tires is larger than the footprint of the tire. No portion of the tire should hang over the edge of the tire block; this can cause internal damage to the tire.
- Close the window blinds to avoid sun exposure to the carpet, drapes and upholstery. Leave doors drawers and cabinets open.
- For trailers, chock the wheels front and rear. If you are storing a pop-up outdoors angle the tongue downward to assist in snow and water run-off.
- If the RV has a generator, exercise the generator for at least two hours every month with a minimum of a ½ rated load on it. Consult your generator owner’s manual for load ratings.
- Ideally you should try to store your RV under a covered area and on a solid surface like pavement or concrete. If this isn’t possible avoid parking under trees and in tall grass, fields or wooded areas.
- Service all locks with a spray lubricant and lubricate all hinges.
- Insects are attracted to the odorant added to LP gas. You may want to cover LP gas appliance vents to prevent insects from making their winter home inside these vents. If you do cover the vents, remember to remove the cover next spring.
- Possibly the most important step is to protect the RV water system from potential damage caused by exposure to freezing temperatures. Frozen and damaged water lines are a major concern.
Note: For all the RV do-it-yourselfers see how it is done with our Winterizing & Storing DVD prior to tackling the job.
- If you aren’t sure about doing it yourself take the RV to an authorized RV repair facility to have the job done. The important thing is the RV is properly prepared for winter storage so it will be ready to go next spring.
This checklist is an excerpt from our best-selling Checklist’s for RVers E-book
Mark J. Polk