15 Mistakes To Avoid When Winterizing Your RV
Winter can pose challenges for RV owners who are unprepared. Failure to properly winterize your RV can result in expensive repairs. As the cold months approach, it is crucial to be aware of potential threats that can damage your RV. Here are 15 pitfalls to steer clear of and keep your RV in excellent condition.
1. Not winterizing your RV plumbing
The most notorious issue with RVs in winter is water freezing inside the plumbing. As the water turns into ice, it expands, leading to burst pipes, broken fixtures, and damage to the water heater. Winterizing your RV’s plumbing system by draining it and using RV antifreeze can prevent these issues.
2. Forgetting to check seals and seams
Gaps or deteriorated seals can be gateways for moisture. Winter exacerbates these problems as the water can freeze and expand, causing further damage. Ensure all windows, doors, and other seams are correctly sealed before winter arrives.
3. Neglecting the RV roof
Accumulated snow or ice on your RV roof can lead to water damage if left unchecked. It can also add extra weight that could strain the roof’s structure. Regularly clear off any build-up and inspect for potential weak spots or leaks.
4. Overlooking tire care
Cold temperatures can cause tire pressure to drop. Maintaining proper tire pressure ensures even tire wear and prevents sidewall cracking. Also, consider using tire covers to protect them from the elements.
5. Not maintaining RV batteries
Cold weather can deplete battery life quickly. If your RV remains stationary during winter, disconnect the batteries, and store them in a cool, dry place. Periodically charge them to ensure they maintain their lifespan.
6. Being unprepared for pests
Mice and other pests view your RV as a cozy winter retreat. Ensure all entry points are sealed and consider using repellents or traps to keep unwanted guests at bay.
7. Leaving the fridge unattended
Your fridge can harbor mold and mildew if not properly cleaned and aired out. Before winter, clean the fridge, prop the doors open, and use baking soda to absorb any residual odors.
8. Forgetting to maintain ventilation
While it might be tempting to keep your RV completely sealed, lack of ventilation can lead to moisture accumulation, mold, and mildew. Use vent covers to allow airflow while keeping out snow and rain.
9. Not using RV covers
General-purpose tarps aren’t enough to shield your RV from winter’s fury. Invest in a quality RV cover designed for your vehicle type. This not only protects against snow and rain but also prevents UV damage.
10. Not managing humidity
Avoid storing wet items inside your RV. Damp environments inside closed spaces are breeding grounds for mold and mildew. Use desiccants or dehumidifiers to maintain a dry interior.
11. Not using diesel fuel additives
If your RV runs on diesel, cold temperatures can cause the fuel to gel. Use winter additives to prevent fuel gelling, ensuring a smooth start-up come spring.
12. Using the wrong antifreeze
Automotive antifreeze is toxic and should never be used in RV plumbing systems. Always opt for non-toxic RV antifreeze to prevent contamination.
13. Not maintaining RV slide-outs
If your RV has slide-outs, it’s crucial to retract them during winter storage. This prevents ice and snow accumulation, which can damage the slide-out mechanisms. Don’t forget to clean and lubricate the seals as well.
14. Forgetting to check insurance coverage
Not all insurance policies provide coverage for winter-related damages. Ensure you’re protected by checking your policy’s details or consulting with your insurance provider.
15. Not storing your RV correctly
Where you store your RV matters. Avoid areas with overhanging branches, which could break under snow weight. Also, keep your RV off grassy surfaces, which can lead to moisture wicking up underneath.
Track your RV maintenance
Protecting your RV from winter’s potential devastation requires forethought and proactive measures. By understanding the risks and addressing them before winter hits, you can ensure your RV remains in excellent condition, ready to hit the road when warmer days return. Avoid the pitfalls, respect the elements, and your RV will provide you with many more years of adventure and exploration.
Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all of your documents in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due to help you avoid costly repairs and potentially serious accidents.
At RV LIFE, we build tools that make camping simple. We run a network of websites and services that help RVers get the most out of their adventures.