Some travelers get to their next assignment by car. Some travel by plane. And some get to their next destination by RV camper. If you’re an RV road warrior, chances are it wouldn't hurt to learn a few tips on how to make sure your camper treks forward smoothly this winter season.
3 Ways to Winterize Your Camper
Take a peek at this helpful winterizing checklist to see if you have all of your bases covered when it comes to a safely winterized camper. And because we care extra, we put this list in order of importance, starting at the top with key to do's. As you go through the list, we'd recommend you follow along with your camper's owner's manual.
The things that make the RV go vroom vroom
First thing's first, if your camper's engine and/or battery isn't working properly, then you're surely not going anywhere. And although your camper might be in storage for the winter, it's important to make sure that everything under the hood looks as bright as your future before you hit the road. Here are some tips on what to do:
- Top off the fuel tanks to avoid winter condensation
- The gas breaks down over time when unused (science!), so you can add a fuel stabilizer to be safe, not sorry. Then turn on the camper and idle the engine to work the stabilizer through the system
- Check the radiator fluid (or antifreeze), engine oil, brake fluid, and windshield wiper solution to see if they need to be topped off
- Lastly, make sure the batteries are fully charged and then remove them to store in a dry, warm place for the season
Everything (and everyone) needs a 'lil tender lovin' care every now and then, and your RV camper is no exception.
Work on the pipesAfter you've worked under the hood, it's time to get started on the camper's water pipes, and there's quite a few. If you value privacy, you'll want to make sure your toilets, sinks, and shower are all in working order when you need them. These are tips on how you can do just that:
- Remove and bypass your inline water filters
- Drain your water holding tanks
- Connect to a sewer dump and flush your black and gray holding tanks, or if a sewer dump isn't conveniently available, you can manually clean the tanks with a flushing mechanism
- Next, add WD-40 antifreeze to the termination valves
- Drain the water heater. Safety tip: DO NOT drain when water heater is hot or under pressure. For best results, turn off your hot water heater a couple hours in advance of this process
- After you've drained the water heater, turn on all hot and cold faucets, plus the toilet valve, shower faucet, and any low-point drain lines so that they drain of any water. Then recap and turn off all faucets when finished
- Now you need to bypass the water heater using your handy dandy bypass kit. If you don’t have one already installed in your camper RV, the water heater will fill up with antifreeze before it goes through the water lines, and waste 6+ gallons of antifreeze. Luckily, you can get a bypass kit installed by any local RV facility
- Install a water pump converter kit to filter antifreeze through your RV's system. Another way is to disconnect the inlet side of the water pump (aka the fresh water holding tank line) and connect tubing to the inlet side of the pump. Finish it off by putting the other end of the tube into a container of RV antifreeze. Ta da!
- Turn on the water pump to pressurize the system. Open all hot and cold faucets and shower until antifreeze runs through (you'll know it's working when you see pink antifreeze flow through). When you spot the pink, close the faucets
- Now that you've done that, flush the toilet until antifreeze runs through it
- Turn off the water pump and open a faucet to release pressure
- Pour one cup of antifreeze down each drain and don't forget the loo! Then flush the toilet so the antifreeze goes all the way into the holding tank
- If your water heater has an electric heating element, make sure to turn it off. This will protect the heater if you plug in your RV for storage
- Make sure all faucets are closed
- Thaw freezer and dry it out
- Place a fresh, opened box of baking soda in the refrigerator to help protect against icky smells inside
- Open a container of moisture absorbent and place it inside your camper because that will help prevent corrosion and mildew
The wheels on the camper go round and roundYou know that children's rhyme, "The wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round"? Oddly enough, it's the same situation for RVs! The wheels on your camper need to go 'round and 'round for you to get anywhere. Before you park that bad boy (or girl) in storage, check these tasks off your to do list:
- Use leveling jacks to store your RV for extended periods of time. This will help reduce the pressure put on the tires and keep them good as new
- Park on a paved surface to prevent your tires from sinking. It's no fun digging your vehicle out of mud
- Lastly, set the parking brake and use wheel chocks, just to make sure your camper doesn't roll somewhere you don't want it to go
Winterizing your RV can seem like a long to-do list, but it’s so worth it to keep your rig up and running, especially for you as a professional med traveler. Collect lifelong memories in your camper as you explore the wonders of the U.S.
And if you don't know where you're headed, check out all the places you could go as a Fusion traveler!