How to Winterize an RV Safely: Tips and Tricks for the Cold Season

Sep 5, 2023 | RV

The winter season is almost here, and if you’re an avid RV owner, you know what that means – it’s time to winterize your prized possession! Winterizing your RV is an essential step to prevent damage to the plumbing, appliances, and overall structure of your vehicle. However, if done improperly, winterizing can also be hazardous to your health and safety. With that said, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide on how to winterize an RV safely, including tips, tricks, and everything you need to know. Let’s get started.

Step 1: Drain the Water System

The first step to winterizing your RV is to drain the entire water system. This includes the black and gray tanks, fresh water tank, hot water heater, low point drains, hot and cold faucets and valves. To do this, start by turning off the water supply and opening all the faucets to let the water drain out completely. Next, remove the drain plug to empty out the hot water heater. Always remember to turn off the water heater tank before draining it. Lastly, flush out the black and grey water tanks.

Step 2: Add Antifreeze

Once you’ve drained the system, it’s time to add antifreeze. This step prevents any water left in the RV’s plumbing from freezing and possibly bursting the pipes. You can choose to pump antifreeze between using a hand pump, which is a manual option, or you can use a pump kit that can be attached to the water system. Some suggest using an air compressor is a more effective way to do this step in the process.

Either way, make sure you use RV antifreeze and never use automotive antifreeze as it is toxic to humans and animals. Turn the water heater bypass valve so antifreeze will not go into the water heater. Most RV’S come with a water heater bypass kit installed. Remember to add antifreeze to every valve, including the freshwater tank, and all the faucets.

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Step 3: Protect the Exterior

Another crucial step to winterizing your RV is to protect its exterior. Start by cleaning the RV thoroughly using an RV-safe soap and water. This will remove any dirt or grime that can cause damage over time. Once the RV is clean, coat the exterior surfaces with a protective wax or sealant to prevent rust and corrosion. Remember to cover any exposed areas, including the tires, mirrors, and antennas, with a quality RV cover.

Step 4: Store Battery Properly

The winter season can be harsh to your vehicle’s battery, resulting in it losing its charge and possibly getting ruined. To prevent this, remove the battery from your RV and store it indoors in a dry, cool place. Always check the battery periodically to ensure it’s charging properly and not leaking.

Step 5: Check for Leaks

Lastly, check your RV for any leaks, including the roof, windows, doors, and storage compartments. A leak can cause severe damage to your interior, including mold and mildew, which can be hazardous. Repair any leaks promptly before storing your RV for the winter season.

Multiple RVS

The Benefits of Winterizing Your RV: How to Protect Your Investment

Winterizing your RV might seem like a daunting task, but it’s essential if you want to protect your investment. Winter can be brutal on your RV, causing costly damage that can be easily avoided with a little bit of preparation. Below, we’re going to explore the benefits of winterizing your RV and provide some helpful tips to help you get started.

Protect Your RV’s Plumbing System:

One of the most important reasons to winterize your RV is to protect your plumbing system. Water left in your pipes can freeze and expand, causing your pipes to burst. This can be a costly repair that is easily avoided by winterizing your RV. To do this, you can use RV antifreeze to flush out your plumbing system, ensuring all the water is removed before storing your RV for the winter.

Prevent Damaged Engine Components:

Winterizing your RV also protects your engine components. When you store your RV for the winter, it’s important to ensure that all fluids are topped off, including fuel stabilizer to prevent moisture buildup inside your gas tank and lines. Removing the battery and storing it in a safe location can also help prevent damage to your engine components.

Maintain Your RV’s Paint and Exterior:

Protecting your RV’s exterior is just as important as the internal components. Freezing temperatures can cause damage to your RV’s paint, rubber seals, and exterior surfaces. Washing and waxing your RV before storing it for winter can help protect your RV from the harsh elements.

Keep Pests Out of Your RV:

Winterizing your RV also helps keep rodents and other pests from invading your RV. These critters can cause significant damage to your RV’s interior, and it’s important to take steps to prevent them from getting inside. Using mothballs, peppermint oil, or other repelling solutions can help keep pests at bay.

Save Money on Repairs:

Finally, winterizing your RV can save you a lot of money on repairs in the long run. Damage from frozen pipes, water lines, engine components, and exterior surfaces isn’t cheap to repair. By taking the time to winterize your RV, you’ll save money on costly repairs in the spring.

Winterizing your RV might seem like a daunting task, but it’s essential if you want to protect your investment from the harsh winter elements. By protecting your plumbing system, engine components, exterior surfaces, and keeping pests out, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and money on costly repairs in the spring. Don’t wait until it’s too late, start winterizing your RV today and enjoy the benefits of a well-protected RV all winter long!

RV with lady and dog outside

The Importance of Winterizing Your RV and What Can Happen if You Don’t

As the winter months approach and the temperatures start to drop, it’s crucial that RV owners know how to winterize their vehicle. Winterizing your RV means preparing it for the cold weather by protecting it from the harsh elements that could cause significant damage. Not winterizing your RV could lead to costly repairs, or even worse, it could be dangerous for you and your family. Lastly, we will be discussing the dangers of not winterizing your RV and the consequences that come with neglecting this important task.

Water Damage:

One of the dangers of not winterizing your RV is water damage. When water freezes inside your RV’s water system, it expands and can crack pipes, hoses, and fittings. When the ice thaws, the water can seep out, causing leaks, and damaging your RV. This can be a costly repair and can also lead to mold and mildew growth, which can be harmful to your health. Your plumbing system and water pump should be drained completely and filled with antifreeze to prevent water damage during winter.

Battery Damage:

Batteries can freeze when they are not maintained during the winter. When batteries freeze, they can crack and be unusable. Cold weather can also cause electrical systems to fail, leaving you without power when you need it the most. To avoid this, it’s important to keep your RV’s battery warm, either by storing your RV in a heated garage or by using a battery warmer.

Engine Damage:

When your RV is not winterized, the engine can be affected by the cold weather. One of the most common issues is the freezing of the engine coolant, which can cause damage to the engine if it’s not addressed quickly. When you winterize your RV, you need to check the engine coolant and make sure it’s at the right concentration to withstand the cold temperatures. Additionally, it’s important to keep your gas tank full during the winter to prevent any moisture from entering and damaging your engine.

Tire Damage:

Cold weather can also cause tire pressure to decrease, leading to tire damage. Tires left underinflated for prolonged periods can develop flat spots, which can result in an expensive replacement. To prevent tire damage, check the tire pressure regularly and inflate them to the recommended psi. Additionally, ensure your RV is parked in a dry area to prevent moisture from corroding your tires.

Pest Infestations:

Without proper winterization, your RV can become a cozy home for unwanted guests, including rodents, insects, and other pests. They can cause significant damage by chewing wires, insulation, and other materials. To prevent pest infestations, make sure your RV is clean and free of any food or spills. Seal any entry points and use pest repellents to keep them away.

Winterizing your RV is an integral part of vehicle maintenance, especially for those who enjoy camping and traveling during the summer months. The consequences of neglecting this important task can lead to costly repairs, or worse, it can be dangerous for you and your family. By following proper winterization procedures, you can lower the risk of damage and ensure a pleasant experience when it’s time to hit the road again. Don’t let winter weather damage your RV, plan ahead, and take the necessary steps to protect your investment. Stay safe, and let this season be a time of relaxation and joy.


Winterizing your RV is one of the essential steps to protect it during cold winters. However, it’s crucial to do it safely to prevent any damage to your vehicle and ensure your health and safety. By following these simple steps, you can winterize your RV like a pro. Make sure you drain the water system, add antifreeze, protect the exterior, store the battery correctly, and check for leaks. With these tips and tricks, you’re all set to enjoy a safe and comfortable winter season with your RV.

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