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Getting Your Motorhome Winter-Ready: A Comprehensive Guide

Getting Your Motorhome Winter-Ready: A Comprehensive Guide

 

It's time to shift our focus from summer adventures to preparing for the winter months.

If you're a proud motorhome owner and you're not planning any winter trips, ensuring your vehicle is well-prepared for the colder weather is essential to avoid potential issues and ensure a smooth start come spring.

 

In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the steps to properly prepare your motorhome for the winter months.

Clean and Inspect: Begin your winterisation process by giving your motorhome a thorough cleaning both inside and out. Remove any debris, dirt, or leftover food that might attract pests during the cold months. A clean motorhome not only prevents pest problems but also preserves its overall condition.

 Man jet washing a RV.

 

While cleaning, take the opportunity to inspect the exterior for any signs of damage. Check for cracks in the windows, worn seals, and any openings that might allow water or cold air to seep in. Addressing these issues early will save you from potential leaks and discomfort during winter. Try to clean or wash awnings, wheels, wheel wells, windows and door seals. If you use a cover, make sure your motorhome is completely dry before putting this on.

 

A person's hand cleaning a kitchen surface.

 

Fluid management: Properly managing the fluids in your motorhome is crucial for winter readiness. Start by draining and flushing the freshwater and wastewater tanks, use a drain down kit to remove all the water and any bacteria and biological impurities from your caravan's water system. Used regularly during the summer months, to keep your system clean and water tasting fresh and to completely drain down the water system during winter. Use RV-friendly antifreeze to protect your plumbing system from freezing, ensuring you follow the manufacturer's guidelines for the right antifreeze to use and the proper procedure. 

 

Man changing a portable toilet tank of a RV

 

For your engine, make sure you're using the appropriate antifreeze mixture to prevent freezing. Consult your motorhome's manual or a mechanic to determine the right coolant ratio for your specific vehicle. Replace old oils.

Battery care: Cold temperatures can take a toll on your motorhome's batteries. If you're storing your vehicle for an extended period, it's advisable to remove the batteries and store them in a cool, dry place. If you're keeping them in the motorhome, invest in a quality battery maintainer or trickle charger to prevent the batteries from discharging over time.

 

A person checking a battery car.

 

Tyre maintenance: Maintaining proper tyre pressure is crucial for safety and vehicle performance. Check your motorhome's tyre pressure before winter sets in and consider raising the pressure slightly to compensate for potential pressure loss during cold weather. If you're storing your motorhome for the winter, use tyre covers to protect them from UV rays and reduce the risk of cracking.

 

A person checking a vehicle tyre.

 

Interior preparations: Inside your motorhome, take steps to prevent moisture buildup. Consider using moisture-absorbing products or placing bowls of rice in various areas to help combat excess humidity. Leave all cupboards and drawers slightly open and cushions in an upright position to promote air circulation and prevent musty odours.

Cover or store: If possible, store your motorhome indoors during the winter months. Indoor storage protects your vehicle from the harsh elements and reduces the risk of damage. If indoor storage isn't an option, invest in a quality RV cover that provides protection against snow, ice, and UV rays.

Regular check-ups: Even though your motorhome might be in storage, it's essential to perform regular checkups throughout the winter. Visiting your storage location periodically allows you to ensure everything is in order and address any issues before they escalate.

 

Where to store

You have the option on where to store your RV over the winter months. Your choices tend to be between home or a remote storage compound such as a campsite, specialist storage site or similar.

Wherever you decide to store your vehicle, you need to make sure it provides security and safety. If you decide to go for a storage site, the CaSSOA has large number of approved secure storage sites across the UK.

 

Storing at home. Make sure to park away from trees as leaves and birds dropping could damage the paint of your roof. Even if you’re using a cover, debris can accumulate and rot if left unattended for long periods of time. Park in a flat surface or use levellers. Make sure to park your caravan or motorhome in a fenced space or out of sight space if possible, and if this is not, reinforce your security measures by adding CCTV, steering wheel locks and/or wheel clamps, install bollards, and invest in an audible alarm and/or tracker. Are these measures a bit excessive? It might look like it is, but remember, even though your motorhome will be hibernating, thieves won’t be. The more deterrence you add, the less chance for a thief to get into your precious vehicle.

Storing at a RV storage facility: When storing your vehicle far away from home, take your time to visit and compare cost, distance and security features. Observe things like security when entering, CCTV, perimeter security, lighting, storage pitch and above all, check the site has all the legal obligations to ensure that your RV will be fully protected and insured. Do the storage facility allow you leave your gas cylinders connected?

 

 Touring Park with motorhome parked

 

Whether you decide to store your motor vehicle at home or at a remote facility, double check or update your caravan or motorhome insurance.  

When you are ready to store your vehicle, use wheel chocks to keep your vehicle in place. Do not use the hand brake as it might cause the hand brake cable to freeze or rust, immobilising your motorhome when you need to use it in the spring/summer. Leave the clutch in neutral, avoiding possible damage to the gears.

 

Preparing your motorhome for the winter months demands a bit of time and effort, but the benefits are well worth it.

By following these comprehensive steps, you're not only safeguarding your investment but also setting the stage for a hassle-free start to your next road-tripping season. Remember, proper winterization now leads to smoother travels later. 

 

Quick Check-list

  • Water system drained
  • Waste and fresh water tanks emptied
  • Toilet cassette emptied and cleaned
  • Flush water tank drained (if installed)
  • Taps left opened
  • Food and drinks removed
  • Interior cleaned
  • Exterior washed
  • Cupboards and fridge cleaned and doors left slightly opened
  • Batteries charged and arrangements made for periodical monitoring
  • Anti-freeze added
  • Storage and security setting adequate
  • Fuel tank full and fuel stabiliser added
  • Vehicle wheels chocked, handbrake off and in neutral
  • Tyre pressures increased
  • Accessories cleaned and prepared for storage
  • Gas cylinders isolated and removed if necessary
  • Security alarm, tracker and other security systems activated
  • Insurance up to date

 

Download the printable checklist here

Checklist for getting your RV winter-ready

 

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