Ready for your first trip of the season? With winter behind you, it should be safe to pull the RV out and hit the road, right? Wrong. You want to ensure your trailer is properly prepared for the road after a long winter. So, we’ll show you how to de-winterize your travel trailer.
When Should I De-winterize My RV?
It shouldn’t take more than a few hours to de-winterize your RV. So when you decide to do it it’s up to you. Just make sure that when you do it, the temperature is consistently above freezing before you do.
How to Dewinterize Your RV
Inspecting your RV takes time. There are quite a few things on the list, so make sure you have the time to take your time during this inspection.
1. Inspect the exterior
Visually inspect the exterior of the RV to check for damages, leaks, or cracks. Check the weatherstripping around the windows and doors and replace cracked or peeled sealant. Check for water damage and check the roof for heavy snow build-up. Heavy snow accumulation can lead to structural damage that can cause other problems to your RV. If your RV is towable, be sure to check the hookup for rust and damage. If the tow doesn’t hold during your trip, you could have a catastrophe on your hands.
2. Charge the battery
The battery in your RV will lose a percentage of its charge due to internal leaking. This will happen because it’s not checked regularly during the offseason. Use a voltmeter to check the charge on the battery. If it’s fully charged, the reading for a 12-volt battery will be 12.7; the reading for a 6-volt battery will be 6.3. If it’s below that for either, you will need to charge it before taking it on the road.
Also Read: Best RV Battery for Dry Camping in 2021
3. Flush and sanitize
When you put the RV away for the winter, chances are you added non-toxic RV antifreeze to the water to keep the pipes from freezing. This means the antifreeze will need to be flushed out of the plumbing system so you’ll have clean water to use and drink. Even if you didn’t put non-toxic antifreeze in the water for the winter, you still need to sanitize the water. You do this after you flush. This removes bacteria or mold that can grow while the RV is in storage.
4. Propane on board
Open the gas line to check that the LP gas-fired appliances are working properly. You do this by opening the gas line and testing each appliance. If any are not working, you will need to schedule an inspection to allow a certified inspector to handle the propane leaks or ignition to avoid any danger.
Also Read: How Much Propane Does an RV Fridge Use?
5. Check the tires
RV tires lose about two to three psi of air pressure every month the RV is sitting in storage. If your tires don’t have proper air pressure they risk a blowout, flat, or worse. So use a pressure gauge to check your tires to ensure they’re ready for the road. Your tires’ air pressure should always be at the manufacturer’s recommendation. This information can be found in your owner’s manual.
6. Check the pipes
Check the plumbing system for leaks. Do this by turning on the electric pump of the freshwater tank and allow it to pressurize the water system. If the pump does not shut off after reaching full pressure, there is a leak within the plumbing system. Repair any leaks before taking the RV on the road.
Also Read: How Often Should I Empty My RV Tanks?
Other Camper Trailer Maintenance Checks
1. Electric Appliances. Make sure your appliances are properly functioning. Inspect the water heater, fridge, and all other appliances in the kitchen and bathroom to ensure everything is road-ready.
2. Dump the Hoses. Check the sewage dump hose for any leaks or holes. If found, replace it immediately or you’ll regret it once you’re on the road.
3. Check Engine. Check the level on all engine fluids and make sure everything is operating properly.
4. Change/Clean Filters. Air filters collect a lot of dust during camping season, so start the new season off with fresh, clean filters. This will improve the efficiency of your systems and save energy.
5. Air Vents and Windows. Open all the windows and air vents to ensure they are working properly. Air vents prevent excess humidity, keep the RV cool in the summer and protect against toxic gas build-up inside the RV.
6. Check Safety Devices. Ensure the smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, fire extinguisher, and any other safety devices are working properly. Install new batteries, if needed, and test all alarms. If the fire extinguisher has an expired date, replace it with a new extinguisher. Make sure to restock first aid kits and emergency supplies.
7. Ensure papers are in order. Make sure all of your traveling papers are in order — RV registration, vehicle insurance and emissions sticker — and store them in an accessible place in the RV for when needed.
Summer’s calling and the roads are too, but you can not take your RV on the road without a proper well check. Inspect it from top to bottom, inside and out to ensure all is well and replace where needed. A well-planned road trip can be catastrophic without a well-inspected RV.