Winterizing Your RV or Camper Trailer

October 27, 2014

Soon…here on Vancouver Island the monsoons will return. In other parts of British Columbia “real” winter will sink its clutches into the mountainous landscape and people will “hunker down” for a spell. Part of our preparedness for the impending season is winterizing our RVs and camper trailers. With a bit of knowledge and know-how, most RVs and camper trailers will emerge from hibernation rejuvinated and refreshed.

Winterizing your RV is not difficult and should not take longer than a few hours. For many, the most pressing consideration may be long-term parking. If parking your RV at home, is the vehicle sitting in the sightlines of your neighbours? In other words, by spring are your neighbours still going to be talking to you? For a reasonable rate, there are numerous places that offer RV and marine storage – check the yellow pages, consult the web, or ask your local RV dealer.

The following list will allow you to store your RV or camper trailer and prevent potential damage:

  • Remove all foodstuff – anything that might attract rodents or pesky critters
  • If you feel that vermin are going to be a problem, consider installing traps or other deterrents – it is imperative that these are checked weekly if installed to remove carcasses
  • Consider putting mothballs in with sleeping bags, umbrellas, lifejackets or any other cloth items that may be stored in the unit for the winter – remove any items that are precious and store in a climate-controlled area such as your house
  • Disconnect the battery(ies)
  • Drain all the tanks – water and septic – put in the manufacturer recommended amount of RV friendly anit-freeze available from RV outlet
  • Cover the tires to protect these from ultraviolet damage
  • Put desiccant in the storage compartments to absorb moisture (excess moisture causes fungus and bacteria)
  • Install a 40 watt light bulb or low wattage heater (available from most RV or marine stores)Shut off all propane tanks
  • Leave a vent open slightly
  • Leave refrigerator/freezer slightly ajar to prevent mold on the seal
  • If parking under trees where leaves and bird droppings are a problem, consider covering the unit with a tarp or custom cover

If you are unsure about any of these steps, consult RV professionals who can offer friendly and professional advice and service. A bit of time and effort in the fall can protect your investment and prevent surprises at the start of your next camping season.


(Photo by Julia ManzerovaCC BY)