When people hear the word “winterize,” it may immediately make them shiver and think of preparing their house or vehicle for the cold winter months ahead. Preparations, of course, include draining pipes that may freeze, preparing windows and doors to keep the cold out, ensuring the heater is performing optimally and replacing antifreeze. Oddly enough, all of these apply to your motorhome since it is both your house and your vehicle! When the brisk days of fall begin to make you consider ending your camping or traveling season and you are preparing your RV to sit, idly, until spring arrives again, it is time to have your RV winterized. It is important to note that even if you live somewhere that it does not regularly drop below freezing over winter, if you are storing your RV for several months before your next anticipated use, you should consider winterizing your RV for storage.
RV Winterization Checklist
To prepare your RV for winter or storage, there are multiple steps and systems you must consider. Always consult your owner’s manual for vehicle specifics. For expert RV winterization services, trust the experienced RV service professionals at Mericle RV’s service shop.
Winterize Your RV Plumbing System
Drain, flush, clean, and rinse all plumbing lines with RV antifreeze, including outside showers and low point lines.
RV Tire Winterization
To protect your RV’s tires, park on a paved concrete surface and lift your motorhome with leveling jacks to relieve the pressure of the weight. Do not rely on your stabilizing jacks for this!
Lower stabilizing jacks onto blocks of wood to prevent them from freezing to the ground, but allowing you to safely walk around your RV during storage.
RV Engine Winterization
Completely fill the fuel tank and add fuel stabilizer. Fill radiator with auto antifreeze. Check all other fluids — oil, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid — and top off as needed.
RV Battery Storage Maintenance
Batteries should be fully charged. In environments that fall below freezing, batteries should be removed and stored in warm, dry areas or, at a minimum, disconnected.
Electrical System Protection
Turn off the circuit breaker and disconnect from shore power. Block exhaust pipe.
Remove and store propane tanks in a shelter — not inside your RV! Cover the tank connection fittings to keep insects from taking up shelter inside.
RV Roof Winterization
Close all roof vents. Examine roof for damage or cracks and have them repaired so that freezing temperatures do not cause them to spread.
Clean and seal all entries. Ensure seals around windows and doors are effective, re-caulk where needed. Remove dirt and debris before storage.
Other non-mechanical things you may want to consider doing to ensure that your RV is protected during storage and ready to go the following spring are emptying and cleaning the interior and using an RV cover.
RV Winterization in North Denver/Fort Lupton
Whether you have a Class A, B or C motorhome, fifth wheel, or a travel trailer, the experts at Mericle RV offer winterization packages** to fit your needs. For more information or to schedule your service, contact us today!
**please note, not all winterizing packages include all the listed service. Contact the service professional for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions About RV Winterization
When should I winterize my RV?
Before the first freeze or snowfall. Here in Denver, the first snowfall typically occurs in mid-October, with overnight temperatures beginning to dip to near freezing at the end of September, early October. The best bet is to just take care of winterization after your last scheduled trip for the year, to decrease any worry or potential for damage if temperatures plummet early.
Do I really need to winterize my RV?
Do you store your RV for the winter in a heated storage facility? Or, do you have your RV parked in a climate where the temperature does not drop below freezing? Or, do you use your RV all year round? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” it is strongly recommended that you winterize your vehicle and if you do not, you are risking significant damage.
If the answer to any of the questions is “yes,” then perhaps you may be able to get away with skipping winterizing, but it is important to make sure that you use your RV regularly to flush lines and identify potential issues before they become problems. If you do not plan to use your RV regularly, even if your rig is equipped with a winter package, it is a good idea to winterize to prevent damage.
Can I drive my RV in the snowy, cold winter?
Don’t let the cold winter slow or stop your adventures! If you plan to be out in the cold winter months, you can modify your winterization with a winter package. A typical winter package includes an enclosed underbelly, heated holding tanks, thicker insulation, high-output furnaces, ducted heating, heated valves, and winter driving tires. You will need to make sure that you drive your RV regularly if you do not winterize it, even if it does have a winter package. If your rig is not equipped with a winter package, call us to get you prepared for a winter on the road!
What about when winter ends, do I de-winterize?
The de-winterization process is basically the winterization process in reverse. You’ll need to sterilize and set up the plumbing and gas lines, as well as check the interior and exterior for damage caused by freezing. You’ll need to replace the batteries you removed, fully charged and ready to go. Then, check the tire pressure for proper inflation.
For all of your RV winterization and de-winterization needs, contact us at Mericle RV today!
Why Winterize Your Motorhome?
Colorado natives already know how cold winter can be and while the snow may be fun for us to enjoy our favorite winter hobbies in, our RVs do not share the same sentiment. If you plan to continue your motorhome traveling adventures through the winter, you may get away with not winterizing it, but you’ll have to be sure to run it regularly to prevent freezing water lines and other issues. If your adventure season has come to an end and your motorhome will be parked for the season, it is important to take the time to get it winterized so that you are not disappointed when you take it out of hibernation come spring.
The most important reason you should winterize your motorhome is to prevent permanent damage to your rig. Unlike your home irrigation system, a simple blow-out of your RV plumbing is not efficient at preventing damage to your pipes and tanks. RV anti-freeze treatment is essential to maintaining a healthy RV plumbing system. Additionally, shielding the exterior of your RV can help prevent ice and snow from causing damage to your motorhome’s roof and slide-out.
In the cold winter months, you are not the only one seeking refuge from the cold. Insects and rodents are also looking for shelter from the snow and may take up residence in your motorhome if it is not properly winterized. Removing living items such as food and toothpaste will help cut down on the presence of critters, as will winterizing your rig’s refrigerator and kitchen appliances. Checking seals and repairing the damage will eliminate access points for creatures. Additionally, winterizing your RV can help reduce the occurrence of moisture build-up causing mold when ice and snow melt in the spring.
Keep Your Motorhome Running
Part of RV winterization includes duel stabilizer and radiator antifreeze that helps protect your rig’s engine to help ensure it will run after the spring thaw. RV batteries should be removed to prevent freezing. The electrical system should also be prepared for the winter to ensure you can restore power in the spring.
Sure, RV winterization costs money (and, at Mericle RV, we are proud to boast that it is a nominal fee!) but, in the long run, it will save you hundreds to thousands of dollars. Skipping motorhome winterization can lead to costly repairs and preventable RV services. Save your hard-earned money and spend it on traveling adventures rather than RV repairs when you invest in RV winterization services.
You have invested the time and money in purchasing an RV, winterization is an essential step in RV ownership, especially for Colorado adventurers. For all of your motorhome winterization needs, contact the RV service professionals at Mericle RV; schedule your winterization today!
What to Do With your RV in the Winter
Once your rig has been winterized and you have retired the RV season until spring arrives, you’ll have to store your motorhome for the winter. If you are fortunate enough to have an RV garage or you rent RV space in an indoor parking lot, you’ve got nothing to worry about. But, if you are like the vast majority of motorhome owners, you have got to park it for the winter. To minimize damage and ensure your RV is ready for exploring come summer, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind when storing your RV for the winter.
Fully winterize your RV before parking it.
It is critical to the health of your RV that you do not skimp or skip the winterization process. This can damage the entire RV and render it deadlined without a major overhaul to all the major components. For winterization tips and service, see the first section on this page. To have all the winterization completed for you at a very affordable rate, schedule your service at Mericle RV.
Cover your RV.
Part of winterization should include a thorough washing of both the inside and the outside of your RV to prevent damage to the paint and roof with debris stuck on. Once the bath is complete, your RV should be well-protected from the elements. If you have an RV carport, this is ideal to protect the motorhome from wind, rain, bird droppings, tree branches, and snow. If you use a tarp or RV cover, be sure that it is one made for your RV and of good quality that won’t cause further damage. Be sure not to have the cover on to tight, there should be “breathing room” to prevent mold growth.
If you are unable to cover your RV and you live in an area that sees snow, consider skirting your RV to prevent ice and snow from getting underneath your rig. This also helps you avoid shoveling beneath the RV and ice or excess moisture from getting in your motorhome.
Protect the tires.
When it comes to protecting your RV tires, there are several things you can do. First, start with inflating your tires to the recommended pressure on the tires and do not fill them over the winter. You’ll want to cover your RV tires to protect them from harmful UV rays and prevent scrapes and dings. Some people suggest that you raise your RV so the weight is not resting on the tires, although this is not recommended for all rigs. If you are unsure what is best practice for yours, contact the service department at Mericle RV, the motorhome experts will be happy to answer all of your questions.
Bring your battery inside.
It is recommended that you disconnect your RV battery and store it in a cool, dry place. Freezing can damage or destroy the battery.
Keep the rodents out.
Your RV is the perfect hiding place and winter home for the furry critters looking to escape the cold. Even though your RV may not be warm inside, it is dry and there is no breeze. Do what you can to prevent rodents from entering your RV and certainly don’t leave anything inside for them to eat. Seal all holes and cracks prior to parking it for the winter. We recommend placing mousetraps in your rig to catch any critters that make their way in.
Check up on your RV.
Don’t just set it and forget it, check up on your RV every few weeks — at least once a month. Make sure that there is no new damage, mold growth, or rodents. You can use this time to readjust any protective measures and identify minor issues before they become big problems.
For all of your RV winterization and to get your rig ready for adventure season at the end of winter, contact the service department at Mericle RV to schedule your service.
De-winterize Your RV For Spring
Along with our full-service winterization that prepares and keeps your rig safe during the cold months, when the Colorado snow thaws and you’re ready to hit the road again, we also offer full RV de-winterization services. Some of the things we can do for you include:
- Test or replace your RV battery
- Perform an end-to-end inspection of the exterior and mechanical components
- Brake inspection
- RV fluid replacement
- RV air conditioner and water heater service
- Tire inspection, rotation, and repair
- RV plumbing service
- RV appliance repair
- Slide-out repair
Before you hit the great wide-open, some things you’ll want to consider include:
- Checking for pests
- Inspecting seals
- Cleaning and plugging in appliances
- Cleaning and replacing all linens
- Sterilizing and flushing all black water and freshwater lines
- Cleaning the entire interior
- Clean all windows
- Inspect your roof
- Test AC and heating and blow out all vents
- Test all electrical components
- Inspect tow hitch
- Fill tires
- Fill fuel and propane tanks
Before you hit the road for the first time in the season, it is a good idea to prepare your rig as though you are headed cross-country. This ensures you won’t run into any minor problems, that hundreds of miles from home suddenly seem like catastrophes. If you are in the Denver or Fort Lupton area, the RV maintenance team at Mericle RV would love to handle all your RV repair and de-winterization services for you. Contact us to schedule your service today.