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How to Winterize Your Camper or RV

We’ve reached the time of the year of rainy days and strong winds. Whether or not you enjoy this kind of weather, this can make spending time in an RV quite uncomfortable if you don’t properly prepare for winter RV living. It’s important to educate yourself on how to winterize a camper so you don’t spend all your time cleaning out your flood camper, freezing in your jacket, or struggling with a frozen plumbing system. Luckily, everything you need to winterize RVs can be found in almost any RV parts store.

During the coldest season, the campers plumbing system and the engine can freeze up, so antifreeze is a necessary component to winter RV camping. Alcohol-based antifreeze is the cheapest form available, however, it is unpopular in the RV community, as it leaves a bad aftertaste in the water system and dries it out. The best RV antifreeze would be a Propylene Glycol antifreeze. They are non-toxic, non-flammable, and will not damage the plumbing system.

Other than stocking up on antifreeze, in order to fully winterize RVs, you’ll also need to prepare the interior and exterior for winter RV living. For the interior, keep the mold away by placing some form of moisture absorber in the open air. This will prevent the RV from developing a musty odor, mold, or other forms of moisturize damage. Both Arm & Hammer and DampRid are great for that job.

As for the exterior, give the camper a thorough cleaning to prevent the paint from fading and drying out during winter RV camping. Close all the vents to shut out rain water and, depending on where you are, snow. We also recommend lubricating all the hinges and metal parts of the RV because they too tend to dry out and even rust.

If a camper is going to be placed in storage for the season, there are additional steps required to winterize the RV for long-term storage. Make sure to clear out any leftover food as it will prevent rodents from breaking into the RV and chewing through wires and building nests. Emptying out all standing water, as these attract bugs as well and can make the RV smell over time. This list goes over some of the more detailed steps to take before putting the vehicle in storage.

If you don’t prepare for winter RV camping, you could end up with some heavy repair costs and maybe even some frostbite (if you don’t close those vents.) There are many different types of RVs (Fifth Wheels, Travel Trailers, Toy Haulers etc.) so educate yourself on how to winterize an RV at least a few weeks before the cold hits full force. As long as you cross your T’s and dot your I’s, your RV will survive the coldest season of the year.

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