Skip to main content

How To: Winterize Your RV and Get It Ready For Storage

Storing Your RV Properly Will Save You Thousands In Repair Cost & Provide Peace of Mind

Winterizing and properly storing your RV for the winter is extremely important. All RVs are susceptible to leaking and rotting issues if they aren't properly maintained, winterized and stored.

Rotting issues may cause major damages. When left un-repaired, the damage to your RV can be financially devastating.

Don't Be Overwhelmed.

Here is a Free downloadable PDF guide on how to properly store your RV for the winter.

winterizing and properly storing your rv for the winter, picture of a pdf download on how to properly winterize your rv and how to store it in the winter, tips on how to store your rv in the winter

Winterizing & Storing Your RV In The Winter.

A properly winterized RV will save you thousands in repair costs and countless headaches. You'll be able to minimize leaks, avoid ruptured water lines and hot-water tanks, and keep your RV lasting for years to come. Therefore, we’re providing some solid ideas on how to approach winterizing your RV.

1. Inspect Your Entire RV

how to winterize your rv and get it ready for storage, picture of a damage rv roof that has been rotted out by water damage
  • Inspect Your Roof and Side Wall Seams to make sure that there are no cracks or possible causes of leaks. If you find cracked seams make sure you repair them.
    • Fix Cracked Seals by digging out the cracked seal with a putty knife, then clean the area with thinner, and re-seal the seams.
    • Rubber RV Roofs require a special sealer that is usually only available at RV dealers. If you need Rubber RV roof sealer contact our parts department.
    • Use The Proper Sealer Using the wrong sealer on your RV roof is a bad idea, and could cause more trouble down the road.
how to winterize your rv and get it ready for storage, picture of a motorhome that has alot of delamination happening on the fiberglass exterior, rv delamination
  • Look Over Fiberglass Exterior to ensure that you do not have soft spots or delamination happening to your exterior.
    • Use The End Of A Butter Knife to search for soft spots. Hit the handle end of your butter knife onto the exterior of your RV, if you hear a "thunk" sound you know that there is water in the wall at that location.
    • Visibly Search For Delamination by thoroughly looking over your exterior, if you see any spots that look bumpy, raised or unusual it's possible that you have delamination.
    • If You Find Delamination by hitting a soft spot, or visibly seeing it on the exterior of your RV you want to re-seal everything within 5 feet of the soft spot/delamination.
how to winterize your rv and get it ready for storage, picture of the underneath black plastic wrapping of a travel trailer, plastic floor wrapping underneath a rv
  • Plastic Floor Wrapping is underneath most trailers. This black sheet plastic helps keep water out of your RV. By checking this floor wrapping regularly you can prevent your floor from rotting away due to water damage.
    • To See If Water Is In Your RV Floor just cut a two-square-inch hole in the plastic floor at each corner. Once you cut the hole, reach in and pull out the insulation.
      • Wet Insulation means that you have water in your floor, and you need to repair it.
      • Dry Insulation indicates that your floor is leak free, and water free.
    • If Your Insulation Was Dry just cover the holes with a small piece of screen held in place by duct tape. By covering these holes in this way you will prevent future damage by
      • Ventilating your RV floor
      • Keeping the critters out of your floor
    • If Your Insulation Was Wet slit the plastic under floor as needed to pull out all of the wet insulation. Once the wet insulation is pulled out, repair the slits with screen and duct tape as explained above.
how to winterize your rv and get it ready for storage, picture of a guy with a blue glove on paint a rubber rv coating onto his damaged rv roof
  • Inspect Your Rubber Roof so you can get the most out of it. Many rubber roofs will last on your RV for 10-15 years. By maintaining your rubber roof you can save around $3,000 - $5,000 by not having to repair it.
    • When Your RV Roof Shows Signs Of Aging it's a great idea to invest in one of the new paint-on coatings for rubber rv roofs. *Use Only Specific Coating For Rubber RV Roofs*
      • The Paint-On Coating Allows You to fix your rubber RV roof without taking it to a RV dealership.
      • Add 5 Years To Your RV Roof life by simply painting this specialized RV coating onto your RV roof.

2. Winterizing Your RV Water System

how to winterize your rv and get it ready for storage, picture of how you should winterize your rv water system
  • Using Compressed Air
    1. Drain Your Fresh Water Tank then close the drain and pour one gallon of non toxic RV antifreeze.
    2. Run Your Water Pump for one minute while keeping one faucet open.
    3. Screw A Blow Out Plug into the city water inlet and pressurize the system to 40 psi.
    4. One At A Time Open Each Faucet and blow air through the hot and cold side until no more water sprays out, do the same with the shower/toilet.
    5. Re-pressurize The Water System as many times is needed.
    6. Pour 1 Cup RV Antifreeze into the traps of the kitchen sink, lavatory and shower.
how to winterize your rv and get it ready for storage, picture of a rv water heater bypass
  • Using Water Heater By-Pass
    1. Drain The Fresh Water Tank and Water Heater until no more water is left, then close the drains.
    2. While Draining Your Water Heater open a hot water faucet to let air back into the water heater.
    3. By-Pass The Water Heater by following the instructions on the kit.
    4. If Possible Disconnect The Inlet side of your water pump and use a hose to pump antifreeze directly out of the jug. *Installing A Pump By-Pass Makes This Easy*
    5. Pour 2 or 3 Gallons of non toxic antifreeze into the water tank.
    6. Turn The Pump On and open each faucet one at a time until pink antifreeze runs out. Do the same with your shower and toilet.
    7. Turn Off Your Pump and run one faucet until the flow almost stops, then remove the screen from the city water connection and push the eraser end of a pencil into the city water connection. This will trip the check valve and allow antifreeze to run out.
    8. Check Your Owners Manuel for other things that you can do before winter.

3. Properly Storing Your RV For The Winter

how to winterize your rv and get it ready for storage, picture of a rv that is covered with a RV cover being stored for the winter months to come
  • All RVs Should Be Stored Before November 15 and earlier then that if the temperatures consitently drop below freezing temperature.
    • RVs Should Be Winterized before you store your RV in the winter.
    • Place Rodent and Ant Killer inside of your RV in hidden spots to prevent mouse and ant damage.
    • Put Moth Balls in your heater door to discourage spiders and wasps from making it their home.
    • Fully Inflate your RV tires and cover or coat them with UV protector to prevent sun rot.
    • Spray Rubber Surfaces with silicone spray in order to keep them flexible.
    • Wax The Exterior of your RV to prevent sun fade, use a UV protecting was for fiberglass RVs.
    • Remove Rust From LP Tanks and repaint them with a light colored, rust proof paint.
    • Make Sure Air Can Circulate through your RV and prop your refrigerator open to prevent mildew from forming.
    • Cover Your RV with a proper RV cover, if you don't have a proper RV cover DO NOT cover your RV. *Covering a RV with materials that are not made for the job will cause moisture problems and actually encourage water damage.*
    • Check Your RV Every Other Month to ensure that the freezeing and thawing that happens during the winter has not created any leaks.
    • Run Your Generator Engine for a half hour to ensure they work correctly.
    • Run Your Engine Of Motor-homes and make sure to move them even if only a couple feet each month.
    • Keep Your Batteries Charged to prevent freeze damage and keep your battery life lasting longer.

Remember, these tips are time-tested suggestions and are not the cure all. Completing these steps will help prevent most problems we commonly see and they will help keep your RV from succumbing to water damage and looking good for years to come. We hope this helps. Feel free to share it with your friends!