Ready for Spring: Top Tips for Tucking Your RV in for a Long Winter’s Nap

by Julie on July 19, 2016

Your RV isn’t ready yet. But, if you don’t prep it, you won’t have it come spring. Here’s what you need to do to winterize it and get it ready for next year.

Find A Place To Stash It

If you are in the market for a new vehicle, you should check out St. Louis RV.  If you already have a vehicle, you need a place to put your RV. Most people either pay a professional garage for storage or put it in their own garage or a carport large enough to house it. Once you’ve figured out where you’re going to put it, it’s time to winterize it. This practice is done to help protect and preserve it during the winter. While it’s slightly more involved for vehicles facing cold weather climates, it’s basically the same for anyone owning an RV.

Get Everything Out Of There

If you’re looking for easy ways to winterize your RV, the first step is to remove everything, even on-perishable items. You want to get it all out. Why? Well, for starters, the inside of a closed-up RV can get really hot or cold, depending on which season we’re in, and even non-perishable items may spoil. Remove clothes, blankets, linens, pillows, soda pop, crackers, canned foods, and everything else. Unless the vehicle remains on your property, you don’t need to leave any valuables in there. Because dirt and debris only gets worse over the years, you should give it a good cleaning before you put it up for storage.

Plumbing Issues

Stagnant water turns nasty and pollutes the holding tanks. So, flush the system out. Any remaining liquids may freeze and burst the pipes in frigid temperatures. The end result is unnecessary costs that eat up your budget in the spring when all you want to do is party and relax in your RV. You’ll instead be spending time cleaning up and fixing your ride.

Empty the fresh and wastewater tanks and dump them. You won’t get out every last drop, but you should at least do this. You can let whatever’s left air dry. Unlatch the tank drains and purge any remaining water. Turn on the faucets and the shower to get the lines clear. Don’t forget water in the toilet and water heater. You don’t want these molding and rusting your tank.

Holding tanks need a thorough scrub-down. Close up any opened faucets and drain plugs before you start. A water wand is probably necessary too. Gray and fresh water tanks need a different approach. There’s usually not an easy way to access them like most black water models.

Be careful with cleaning agents. Most RV supply stores are full of cleaners, but it’s just as easy to fill up emptied tanks with fresh water and then add baking soda or bleach. This should help clean the tanks. Drive down a bumpy road, and all that sloshing will coat the inside of the tanks (especially with bleach). It will kill almost anything. Empty the tanks, and let everything air out. You may not be able to get everything out of the pipes and this is where anti-freeze comes into play.

Anti-Freezing

Blow out any collected water using compressed air, which can be had relatively cheaply. RV supply stores sell lots of the stuff. RV antifreeze isn’t lethal (make sure you get it specifically for RVs). Pour in a few gallons of the stuff, and activate the water pump. Open up faucets and let it work its magic. Anti-freeze isn’t going to get cold and freeze up on you.

LP Gas

Propane tanks need to be topped off before storage. A fuller tank is easier to maintain and weathers dissipation better than half-empty or mostly empty tanks. Removable tanks should be removed, covered, and stored in a safe place. Don’t put them in the RV which is a major danger (think leaks).

Emptying The Fridge

People forget about the fridge all the time. Empty it out. Everything must go. Clean and sanitize it.

Battery Storage

The 12-volt battery system is safe in storage, and a fully charged battery should be fine. You can ensure that the battery doesn’t die by removing the battery from the RV and storing it in a dry and warm environment. Keep it out of any living spaces due to off-gassing of the battery. Turn off the RV’s main breaker panel. All electrical appliances should be unplugged and dry cell batteries should also be removed as they can corrode over time.

Final Touches

Put the RV up on jack stands or blocks under the axles. Take off the tires and keep them in storage. Clean up the engine bay and cover the whole RV with a weather-resistant cover.


Jodie Knowles always loved to travel, but it wasn’t until she settled down with a growing family that she discovered the joys of RVing! She shares practical RV tips as well as photos from her vacations online.

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