As the temps get a little cooler and we are heading into fall, we wanted to share some tips to prepare your RV for the cold, winter months ahead. Cold temps, snow, wind and rain can wreak havoc on your RV. We want to help you protect your investment so you can enjoy it for many years to come.
Here’s a list of the most important things you can do to winterize your RV:
Drain Water and Sewer Lines
When temperatures get below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit) water can freeze in the drains, plumbing and fittings and cause damage. This damage could be costly to repair. It is recommended to do a flush of the plumbing system to make sure all water is removed. You should read the owner’s manual for your RV for instructions. Depending on the complexity of your system, this could be something you do yourself, or you can take it to a qualified professional.
Avoid Rodents and Critters
Some rodents and small animals will try to find a warm place to live in the winter months. To avoid having damage and a mess in the spring, make sure to find any holes from the exterior to interior. At night, walk around the outside of the RV with a flashlight. Shine the flashlight around openings, cracks and seams. If you can clearly see the light from the inside of the RV, this may be a spot you will want to insulate or seal. Check with your RV manufacturer to make sure you use a sealant that is approved for your RV type.
Another way you can avoid unwanted critters is to make sure all the food has been removed or is in thick airtight packaging. Things like syrup, pancake mix and boxed meals can easily be chewed through. Canned food and food in storage bins are typically ok.
Disconnect and remove the batteries and store them in a cool (not cold), dry place. A cool battery will maintain its charge for longer. Check the batteries periodically and make sure they are fully charged. A partially charged battery will freeze faster than a fully charged battery. Try to keep the batteries at a steady temperature. This will help extend the life of the battery.
Check/Change Oil and Gas Stabilizer
Change the oil and oil filter in the RV and any generators before storage. This will prevent unnecessary erosion. Gas can cause resin deposits and damage to the engine if left for long periods of time.
Select a Safe Location
When choosing where to store your RV, think of protecting it from wind, sun, water, snow and theft. A covered space or enclosed garage is ideal, but if those are not available, consider a portable canopy or a custom cover. You can usually find a custom RV cover for your specific RV online. A custom cover should be waterproof, adjusted to fit tight on each corner and possibly cover the tires as well. Check on your RV often to make sure you don’t have leaks, broken lines or weather damage.
You will also want to choose a location that is out of the way of traffic, not parked on a main road, as well as not easily accessible from the street. If possible, behind a locked gate is best. Check with your local city or government for storage and vehicle requirements.
Make sure to lock your RV. Not only the doors, but check the storage compartments and windows as well. Close all blinds and curtains to avoid curiosity from thieves.
Make sure you have inflated the tires to the correct pressure. Tires may lose pressure with the varying temperatures. Cover the tires and wheels to avoid exposure to the sun, wind, rain and snow. Some RV covers include tire covers, but you can also purchase them separately.
Take Advantage of Low Interest Rates
Now might be a great time to check on your RV loan while you’re at it. You may consider a refinance with the current interest rates. Refinancing can help you do several things:
- Pay off your loan quicker
- Reduce your monthly payment
- Reduce the amount of interest you will pay over the life of the loan
- More convenient payment options
If you would like to see if a refinance could benefit you, please contact us.