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How do I...Prepare my RV for winter?

With ongoing travel restrictions and continually changing requirements for distancing and protective measures, a lot of folks have chosen to buy a camper trailer or motorhome.
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With ongoing travel restrictions and continually changing requirements for distancing and protective measures, a lot of folks have chosen to buy a camper trailer or motorhome. Even with the occasional challenge of competing with so many additional campers for sites, it really is a great way to experience this province and (with a little extra ambition) this country.

As the cooler weather of autumn signals the end of most campers’ season, there are a lot of first-time RV owners that are facing their first winter storage period. It can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. The most difficult part will likely be finding suitable storage.

If your RV is a motorhome, the same procedures and precautions for storing a normal car or truck apply; adding fuel stabilizer (unless it’s diesel), airing the tires up and/or supporting the vehicle on stands, and putting the battery on a maintenance charger (whether in the vehicle or removed and in a safe storage location).

Winterizing the living space is much the same for both trailers and motorhomes. Be sure to remove all foodstuffs and block any potential entrance points (such as external vents for appliances and heaters) to reduce the likelihood of having unwanted guests. It’s a good idea to prop the door of the fridge open to prevent mould.

Propane tanks should be shut off, of course.

Any water left in pipes or tanks can result in catastrophic damage when it freezes, so lines should be flushed and filled to their outlets with non-toxic plumbing antifreeze or purged with compressed air. Don’t forget the low-point drains and outdoor shower and kitchen, if equipped. Water heaters and fresh-water tanks should be drained, and a small quantity of plumbing antifreeze poured into the (already emptied) grey and black tanks.

Most RVs have one or more coach batteries to run the interior lights, propane/CO alarm, fridge, and other 12-volt accessories. These are separate from the main battery for the engine in a motorhome. If they can’t be left on a maintenance charger, they should be removed and stored, or at the very minimum disconnected, as the propane alarm alone will quickly drain them.

Whether you cover your RV is a matter of personal preference; any covering used should be secured to prevent flapping, which can badly damage finishes.

The final challenge? Waiting for spring!

Brian Early is a longtime Wheels contributor and a Red Seal automotive technician with over 25 years experience.

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