How to Winterize a Camper

The winter is the perfect time to prepare for the camping season. Winterizing a camper ensures that it’s in top condition and ready to go when spring arrives. This article will walk you through every step of winterizing your camper so you can be prepared for all the fun that awaits.

Give your camper a good cleaning inside and out

This will remove any dirt, dust, or debris that could cause problems later on.

To clean the inside of a camper van, start by sweeping or vacuuming all of the surfaces. Next, wipe down all of the surfaces with a damp cloth to remove any fingerprints or dust. Finally, spray a disinfectant on all of the surfaces.

Let the disinfectant dry and then repeat. To keep your van smelling fresh, hang up an air freshener or insert some fragranced vent sticks into the air conditioning unit.

Once finished, cover all furniture and appliances with plastic sheeting. This will protect them from the elements and help them last longer.

Related: Should You Bring a Solar Setup For Camping?

man cleaning camper van window

Washing the outside of your camper is a great way to keep it looking good for the long term. It’s important to clean your vehicle before winterizing, as this will help protect the paintwork from the cold weather.

To wash the outside of your camper van, you’ll need some basic supplies, including a bucket, sponge, and some soap. You can use a pressure washer to make the job easier, but be careful not to damage the camper’s finish.

Once you’ve got your supplies ready, just follow these simple steps:

  • Fill a bucket with warm water and add some soap.
  • Use a sponge to scrub down the outside of the camper, paying special attention to any particularly dirty areas.
  • Rinse the soap off with clean water.
  • Dry the camper van with a clean towel or let it air dry.
  • Once the camper is clean, you can apply a protectant to help keep it looking new.
  • As the last step, cover your camper with a tarp or a custom-made sheet. This will protect it from the elements and help it last longer.

Inspect your camper for any signs of damage

Repair any cracks, holes, or other damage to prevent further deterioration.

This includes checking the roof, windows, and body of the vehicle for any cracks or holes. If you find any damage, be sure to fix it before getting back on the road.

Some common damages to watch out for include:

Torn or missing caulking

The main cause of caulking issues is water infiltration. If water gets into the seams between the camper and the trailer, it can cause the caulking to deteriorate and pull away from the trailer. This leaves a gap where water can get in, leading to water damage inside the camper. To help keep out critters and cold air, seal any cracks or openings in your RV with caulk or weatherstripping.

Holes in the roof

If you have a wet or sagging ceiling in your camper, you likely have a hole in the roof. This presents a major problem in the winter, as the cold air and moisture will seep into the camper and cause damage to your belongings. Don’t forget to check for dampness regularly, especially if you live in a rainy climate or close to water. The sooner you can deal with any unwanted water the better.

man repairing camper van roof

Damaged windows

Window damage can be caused by many things, but the most common cause is debris from the road and other vehicles or the weather. Over time, stones and cold weather can cause your windows to chip or crack. This can let moisture and air in, which can damage the interior of the camper. It’s important to fix any chips or cracks in the windows as soon as possible to prevent any long-term damage.

Tire issues

Always check your RV’s tires before hitting the road. This is especially important if you’re going to be driving in cold weather. Look for any cracks, cuts, or bulges on the tires. If you find any damage, get the tire repaired or replaced before your next trip.

If you’re not sure how to fix any of the damages mentioned, ask a professional for help. There are some fantastic motorhome maintenance companies out there that can advise further. A simple search for ‘camper winterizing near me’ can help you to plan your next steps.

Winterize your RV’s plumbing

One of the most important things to do when winterizing your RV is to make sure the plumbing is properly winterized. This includes draining all the water from the lines, as well as adding non-toxic RV antifreeze. Draining the water lines is simple enough – just turn on the water, open all the faucets and flush all the toilets until the water runs dry. You will also need to drain the water heater. Flushing out your water system can take a long time, so be prepared to wait.

To add RV antifreeze, you’ll need to locate the inlet fitting for your fresh water tanks. This is usually located on the side of the RV, near the bottom. Once you’ve located it, open the valve and add enough antifreeze to fill all the lines. You can then do the same for your water heater tank. Be sure to run the water from all the faucets until you can see there is no water left and antifreeze is coming out. This will help ensure that all the lines are properly protected from freezing temperatures.

Bonus tip

To winterize your camper, you’ll need at least 2 to 3 gallons of antifreeze depending on the size of your vehicle. Larger vehicles with multiple WC facilities or water holding tanks will require more.

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Disconnect and drain your RV’s battery

If you’re storing your RV for an extended period, it’s important to disconnect and remove the battery. You should then store it in a safe, warm, and dry location.

This will help prevent it from being damaged by freezing temperatures. To do this, first, disconnect the negative terminal of the battery. Then simply, remove the battery from its compartment and bring it indoors.

Is your camper ready for winter yet?

Above all, maintaining your camper van is important to ensure that it’s in good condition for future trips. By following some of the steps mentioned above, and following the recommendations in your owner’s manual you can winterize your camper so it’s ready for all the adventures that await in the spring. Get in touch and let us know your tips for wintering an RV in the comments below.