It’s just about the end of the 2014 spring-through-fall camping season, and a lot of RVers in the northern half of the U.S. are getting ready to put their RVs away for the winter. Getting your RV winterized for storage at the end of the camping season is a must any place where temperatures are regularly going to drop below freezing, and that includes western Oregon. Although we’re famous for our rain and temperate climate here in Lane County, last winter we had a long freezing spell in December and again in January, with many days in a row of temperatures below 32°F, and even a few that were below 0°F. The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting that the winter of 2014 – 2015 is also going to be chilly and wet in the Pacific Northwest, so you’ll need to prepare your RV for both the possibility of freezing temperatures and a lot of moisture. The falling leaves are letting us know that winter is just around the corner, so read on for some things to consider as you wind down the camping season and prepare your RV for a winter’s rest.
Winterizing: A Basic Checklist
Check All Your Seams: Check the seals on your roof, windows and any other exterior seams. As you’ve used your RV over the course of the last months, the stress of moving and weather may have caused seams to crack or lift away from the surface. Caulk any seams with visible issues, such as cracking, lifting or peeling, with a sealant for RVs and replace any that are cracked or no longer fitting as they should.
Clean and Treat Your RV Roof: Remove any tree sap, mold spotting, etc. These will only get worse in a damp Oregon winter, so giving your roof a good cleaning before you park it for the winter is a good idea. If you intend to park your RV under trees or out in the weather, you should also consider covering it with an RV cover or a good tarp to protect it further.
Protect Your Slide-Outs: If you have a slide-out on your RV, make sure that it is all the way in and the rubber gasket is sealed tight against the coach before you store it. Water can find its way into small cracks or openings and do damage to the slide-out walls or floor as they sit unused, so make sure everything is as tight as you can get it.
Don’t Encourage Rodents or Bugs: It’s important to clean all the food out of your RV before you store it, in order to discourage rodents. An RV is a tempting spot for small critters to overwinter if they can find a way in, so also make sure that there are no open windows or doors, and cover any open vents with tinfoil or other metal (they’ll chew through cardboard). On this front, also cover your air conditioner because air conditioners are a handy route inside for mice.
Remove Your Batteries or Monitor Them Throughout the Winter: Unlike the battery in your car, a lot of RV batteries aren’t sealed. They are going to serve you best next year if you take them off your RV, top off their fluids and store them somewhere cool and dry, but not where they can freeze. Here’s a good how-to video on RV battery maintenance and storage. If you don’t want to do this, then watch the temperatures outside and top off their fluid levels as necessary if we reach freezing temperatures.
Protect Your Trailer Connector and other connectors: If you can’t store these safely out of the weather, tie a plastic bag over them to protect connectors from excessive moisture. This is also a good time to lubricate connectors to avoid corrosion.
Winterize Your RV’s Plumbing System: Flush out and empty your RV’s plumbing and water system to keep it from freezing and to avoid corrosion. Even if you live in an area that never gets anywhere near freezing, water sitting in your tanks all winter will shorten their lifespan and could cause costly repairs later. There are two different ways of performing this process: the compressed air method ( here’s a how-to video) and the RV antifreeze method (here are step-by-step directions). You can also find good directions in this blog from Jayco. As you’ll see, this is a labor intensive process, and a lot of people are more comfortable having an RV professional do this task for them. Make an appointment with the Guaranty RV Service department, and we’ll be glad to winterize your RV for you.
For those of you who would like to get an expert overview on winterizing your RV and some good tips on winter storage, visit us in Junction City on Saturday, November 8 for our free Winterizing and General Storage Tips seminar. Seating is limited, so make sure you sign up early.
Going Into the Future: Use Our RV Owner App
If you have an Android phone, download the RV Owner app from the Google Play Store. This handy app will keep track of the regular maintenance you need to do on your RV to keep it in the best shape. You can set it with your RV brand’s service plan, along with your mileage, and it will alert you going into the future about your service schedule. You can personalize the plan by checking off services that have been completed, or opt out of some steps by removing them entirely. You can also add services that make the most sense for where you live and for your lifestyle. RV Owner will send you reminders at exactly the right time. Just set it and forget it. And for those of you in Oregon or who will be travelling through on vacation, you can schedule a service appointment with the Guaranty RV Service center right from the app, so you’ll never have to stress about RV service again. (iPhone users, don’t despair; an iOS version is coming soon to the Apple Store.)
If you have any questions or you need help with winterizing your RV for storage, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re always glad to be of assistance in keeping your RV in the best condition possible so that it serves you and your family for years to come.