How To: Winterize Your RV

winterize rvBelieve it or not, in most parts of the country it’s getting to be the time of year to prep your recreational vehicles for winter storage. While we’ve previously covered tips on winterizing your classic cars, RVs require a slightly different approach. Because RVs act as small modular homes on wheels, there are significantly more steps needed to ensure that plumbing systems and other components survive the winter chill.

Top Off Fluids
Make sure you have appropriate levels of antifreeze, motor oil, transmission fluid, and other lubricating fluids before shutting your RV for the season. The dry winter air can reek havoc on any vehicles moisture. Topping off any low fluids will help ensure that your RV’s systems aren’t damaged in the off season.

Drain the Plumbing
Many RVs have much more extensive plumbing systems than a simple weekend camper. Because water expands as it freezes you must properly drain the water from the system to avoid significantly damaging your vehicle’s plumbing. Be sure to drain and clean both the black and grey water tanks, in addition to any water heaters, showers or filters. You’ll also want to locate the lowest point of your plumbing system and remove its drainage plug to completely remove water from the entire plumbing system.

Charge or Remove Batteries
Cold winter months can cause problems for even vehicle batteries that get regular use, but sitting idle for months on end will test the durability of any batter. Make sure that your engine battery has a full charge, and that any additional batteries are either removed and stored safely or fully charged as well.

Stretch Your RVs Legs
Just as with any vehicle in storage, it’s not a terrible idea to start it any let it run for a while every now and again. Running the engine for 30 minutes or so can help ensure that fluids are evenly distributed and pushed through all parts of the motor, and can help avoid any potential lock-ups that can come from inactivity.

While the tips above are great starting points for winterizing your RV you should definitely consult your owners manual for any additional requirements. If it’s your first time winterizing your RV you may want to ask around to friends and family who have winterized vehicles before and can lend a hand. Creating a simple checklist for your specific vehicle to complete at the end of each camping season can also help to ensure that you don’t miss any items from year to year.

For more information about RVs and car care see our posts on winterizing your classic car, motorhomes vs. travel trailers, and tips for buying a used RV.



  1. […] time to start planning to winterize your motorcycle. We’ve previously touched on tips for winterizing your RV and winterizing classic cars, but motorcycles have their own unique steps that vary slightly from […]

  2. Good tips! Indeed make sure your batteries are fully charged and stored at a place with reasonable temperature. It is even better to keep them connected to a charger. This keeps them in a good condition.

  3. I’ve heard about putting antifreeze in the lines. Any recommendations on that?

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