As the RVing and camping season ends for many in colder climates it comes time to put the RV into hibernation. It is a reminder that winter is coming and it is important to properly store your RV. Below is a short video and checklist to follow to make sure the RV will be ready to go when Spring comes around.
Clean the interior and remove any food products. Store any linens and clothing. Remove all liquid products that can freeze.
After the interior is clean, it is time to use some type of rodent repellent. Mice can do extensive damage in a very short time. First check for any cracks or holes that a mouse can enter. Fill with spray foam or silicone sealant. Use everything available at your disposal such as rodent sprays, moth balls, Fresh Cab repellent, and even electronic ultrasonic pest repellers if your coach will be plugged in during storage. Many will say use dryer sheets. I have had mice use the dryer sheets to make a nest. My theory on dryer sheets is they work if you don't have mice.
The batteries are a vital part of the RV systems and need to be properly maintained for long life. Now the easiest way to prepare for the winter is to leave the batteries connected and leave your coach plugged in during storage. Of course this requires you maintain the fluid level in your batteries and have a smart converter in your RV to properly maintain the batteries. If you use this method make sure to not engage your battery disconnect switch. The RV 12V system must be left 'on' to allow the converter to charge the batteries. The alternative method is to properly charge the batteries then disconnect the batteries negative terminal. This will prevent any parasitic loads from draining the battery which may occur if you only use the RV's battery disconnect switch. A battery tender or trickle charger should be used once a month to bring the batteries back to full charge. The final method is to completely remove the batteries and store in a safe climate controlled area.
Once outside completely wash the RV and apply at a minimum some spray wax. I use Aero Cosmetics Wash Wax All. I have found this to be a great product and have a short video titled 'Waterless WASH WAX ALL for RV Washing and Waxing' you can check out. In addition to protecting the RV for the winter it will allow you to completely check the exterior for any problems that need to be addressed before storage. The roof should be checked for any cracking or areas where water may penetrate. Most RV's use Dicor Self-Leveling Lap Sealant which is easily applied. Treat all rubber seals and gaskets on the slide-outs and storage doors. I use 303 Aerospace Protectant which is a Marine UV Protectant Spray for Vinyl, Plastic, Rubber, Fiberglass, Leather & More – Dust and Dirt Repellent. Make sure all LPG tanks have been turned off and the tanks completely covered or protected from the weather.
For motorized RVs it is important to fill the gas tank and treat the fuel with a quality fuel stabilizer. This is especially important if your RV uses an on-board generator. I use Sta-Bil Marine 360 at a rate of one ounce per five gallons of gasoline for winter storage. Make sure to run the generator for approximately one hour under load to allow treated fuel to thoroughly get into generator. It is also a good idea to run the generator at least once per month.
The tires require some care for storage. Inflate tires to the maximum PSI listed on the sidewall. Clean and treat with a tire protectant of your choice. Finally cover the tires with a quality tire cover.
One of the most important items for preparing for winter is to winterize the RV plumbing system. This is a critical step in the winter preparation of your RV. Check out my article and video on 'Winterizing an RV's Plumbing Water System - How to winterize RV & Trailer Air & Antifreeze'
The video shows the steps to take when preparing for winter storage of your RV