Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Winterizing an RV–a checklist…

Taos 1980Recently I thought what would we need to do to make sure we didn’t have problems in our future RV when a cold spell comes upon us and we wake up to freezing temperatures.  I came across a loads and loads of suggestions and tips on making sure the RV is ready for the winter.  So I created this list below which is a list of items that I will want to get into the habit of monitoring and checking each and every winter.

  • The RV exterior doesn’t necessarily need winterizing however, keeping it cleaned and waxed will protect the paint and the seals as well as prevent the seams from getting degraded over time.
  • The roof should be at least inspected 3-4 times per year for any areas where the sealant has deteriorated. Since water is the #1 enemy to RV's make sure to check around all vents, A/C' s, antennas and any other place where a  seal was necessary to prevent water infiltration.
  • Slide seals should be treated with a UV protection lubricant such as Dicor at least twice a year. This will keep the seals from drying out and cracking and prevent drafts in the wintertime.
  • The A/C unit should be checked at least twice a year as well. Four times a year inspect the filters (if it has them) and replace as needed. If we are sitting in winter for a long time we might want to cover our A/C unit to prevents UV damage to the cover.  This also keeps debris out of the unit and weathering of the seals around it.
  • House Batteries should be checked frequently to make sure the water level in the cells is good. This will prolong the life of our batteries and insures that a good charge is present when we need the cold cranking amps!
  • Water Heater Tanks have an Anode Rod that by design will break down and disintegrate over time. So many people out there suggest we inspect the Anode Rod twice a year and replace it when needed. This not only extends the life of the tank but will ensure that we are getting timely hot water. Also, it is wise to flush the hot water tank once or twice a year and to clean out the gas piping on the hot water heater as well.
  • Water fittings is another area of concern.  Check all the water fittings as they tend to  loosen over time. Tightening these and monitoring for leaks will help prevent a disaster. Also,if installed, change the water filters if we have not done so recently.
  • The refrigerator and its exterior compartments need to be periodically checked and kept clean and free of debris for safe and efficient operation, as well as to prevent fires.
  • Winter is a good time to check our generator’s log book and see how many hours it's been since we last performed an oil and filter change. Also a good time to check for loose bolts and nuts to be sure they are tight.
  • Tires, tires, tires!... They need to be checked at least monthly for proper tire pressure. Tread can look brand new but the tires may not be trustworthy so use tire covers to help prevent damage from the ultraviolet rays. Good time to check the lug nuts for proper torque.
  • Other items to check are lubricating all the miscellaneous items that require it, such as awning rollers and stabilizers as well as squirting graphite into our locks to ensure good working order. If we have a washer/dryer winter is a good time to clean the lint out of the dryer vent. Changing smoke detector and carbon monoxide batteries is good to do as is to check our fire extinguisher gauges.

Now I don’t even own a motorhome yet so I am sure this list is not exhaustive – however, this will provide me a starting point from which to work with when I do own one… and it may serve as a reminder to those of you who do own one that now is the time to start thinking about the upcoming colder weather…


  1. Check on the forums about Eternabond. It will keep your vents sealed better than Dicor..at least in my opinion.

  2. Copied, and saved in my RV tips file ...

    Thanks for the posting.

  3. Thanks for sharing all of this info. We are full-timing, but still need to be on top of all you mentioned.

  4. Hey, Duke, I thought you were going to fulltime. As such, won't you follow the weather like the rest of us? What's with this winter stuff?

  5. Karen I read about the wonders of eternabond... great stuff apparently

    Barb and Ron - what the heck was I thinking :)