The snow has melted, the days are getting longer and the temps are getting warmer – all signs that spring is finally here! And if your RV has been in storage for five months, it’s time to dust it off and get it ready for a season of adventures ahead. De-winterizing your RV isn’t too hard, but you should probably devote an entire afternoon to it. Once you’re done, however, you’ll get an entire season of fun out of it!
How to De-winterize an RV
Remove any covers that you put on your RV – if you don’t start with this step, you’re going to have a hard time with the rest of your RV dewinterization process! Make sure you remove ALL of the covers, including the ones on the refrigerator and furnace vents.
Replace the batteries – if you removed your batteries, put them back into your RV, paying special attention to the positive and negative ends. This is also a great time to top off the battery water level and to make sure they are fully charged.
Check the tires - while the batteries are charging, you can check the tires for proper inflation. You can probably also take this time to hose your rig off and prepare for the rest of the de-winterization.
Examine the inside of your rig – pull out the steps (adding lubrication if you need to) and check out the inside of the rig. Open up the windows to air out your RV and keep a lookout for any signs of damage, including discolored ceilings or paneling near windows and vents that could indicate any problems that developed over the winter.
Make sure the sealant is in good condition – cracked or dry sealant around the windows and doors can create air leaks and drafts that could cause you some problems during the season. If you find any, seal them up now.
Check for any unwanted visitors – open the cupboard and storage areas in your RV and make sure there are no mice, bugs, spiders or other critters making a home in your rig. If there are, get them out. Don’t forget to check your water heater and refrigerator compartment drawers, as critters tend to favor those spots as well.
Check for gas leaks – to do this, make sure there are no open flames or possible ignition sources in range and open the propane tank. Then spray a bit of soapy water at every single propane fitting. If any bubbles form, this indicates that you have a propane leak that you’ll need to fix right away.
Visually inspect the outside of your rig – check the whole thing up and down to make sure everything is in place and in good condition.
If you have a motor home – check all the fluid levels and look under the hood and under the rig for any animal nests or cobwebs. When you’re ready, fire up the engine and see how it runs! Test the headlights, brake lights, turn signals and running lights to make sure they work. While you’re at it, take it for a spin around the block and keep an ear out for any strange noises.
If you have a towable – take a close look at all the hitch components, looking out for rust, wear and damage. If any items look questionable, replace them now – it’s much easier to take care of these types of problems early than when you’re at the campsite! Hitch the trailer to your towing vehicle and test all the lights. Before you set off on a test drive, make sure you manually test the rig’s brakes. If the brakes grab hard at first, don’t worry – this is just because they’re getting warmed up (of course, if this persists you’ll need to get that checked out).
Set up the plumbing – if you don’t have access to fresh water where your rig is stored, you’ll need to move to a place where you do. You’ll need to flush out your RV’s plumbing system, especially if you used RV antifreeze. This isn’t that hard – just fill up your fresh water tank with water, turn your water pump on and open every faucet in your rig one at a time, allowing them to run for about a minute or until the color and odor of antifreeze is gone. Don’t forget to run the toilet and shower, and make sure you open the gray water tank! Turn off your water pump and run a little more water through the system to get that last bit of antifreeze out.
Sterilize your fresh water & black water tank and plumbing – make sure you use the proper chemicals when cleaning your water tanks, talk to a knowledgeable Beckley’s parts representative to find what is right for your tanks. Turn on the pump and run each faucet. Add Chemicals and let it sit for a few hours. When you think it’s ready, drain the fresh water tank and refill it with clean water. Flush the cleaning chemical by running clean water through each faucet again. Use enough water to fully flush the chemicals out. When cleaning your black water tank be sure to open your release valve in a sewer dump area.
Set up your water heater – reset all the valves on your water heater and make sure the drain plug is closed. Run the water pump and open a hot water faucet. Once the water heater tank is full, close all the faucets and make sure the pump shuts off. Listen to make sure the pump doesn’t come back – if it does, this may indicate a leak somewhere in your system. If you suspect you have a leak, visually inspect the plumbing under your sinks to see if you can find any drip spots and patch up the leak.
Once you’ve done all this, test out your electrical appliances to see if they work. Congratulations! You’re ready for an exciting season of camping.
For more tips on how to make this season a great one for camping, call Beckley’s Camping Center today!