Tips on Winterizing Your RV or Trailer

As summer begins to wind down and we move into cooler weather, it’s time to start thinking about prepping your RV, trailer, or camper for winter storage. Winterizing should take place before temperatures fall below zero degrees Celsius. This process is essential to preserving both your unit’s inner system and its exterior to make sure nothing gets damaged.

If you’re going to store your unit somewhere warm and sheltered, you don’t have to winterize it. But since Canadian weather can be unpredictable, it’s a good idea to give it this extra layer of protection regardless of where it hibernates.

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Empty the Water System

If you’ve got an RV, trailer, or camper with its own plumbing, the first thing to do is remove all the water from inside the unit. This is the most important part of the winterizing process.

Start by turning off the water heater, and then drain the freshwater tank and flush out all the pipes. Open the faucets to make sure everything gets out. Next, pour antifreeze down the drains and into the water tank. Run the antifreeze through the pipes until you can see it coming out the faucets.

Follow your owner’s manual for specific instructions on how to winterize your unit’s water system. If you have multiple appliances in your RV, trailer, or camper, for example, this process will involve a few extra steps. Even a little leftover water can be at risk of freezing, expanding, and severely damaging the plumbing in your unit, so triple-check that you’ve cleared everything out before storing it away for winter.

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Remove the Batteries

Before putting your trailer into storage, charge its batteries up to full power. Then, turn off the battery disconnect and breaker switches and remove the batteries, removing the negative cable first. Store the batteries in a warm, dry location. Do not leave them on a concrete floor, as this can slowly drain them.

For some RVs, it’ll make more sense to leave the batteries inside the unit but still disconnect the negative battery cable. In these cases, check the battery level occasionally throughout the winter and give it some extra charge so that it’s not completely dead when you bring the unit out the following spring.

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Give It a Deep Clean

The next step in winterizing your RV, trailer, or camper is to clean it inside and out. This will make it easier to clean next time you take it out. Begin with a pre-wash treatment on the outside of the unit and follow up with a mixture of soap and water. Use a multi-purpose cleaner on any remaining stains and on the inside of the unit.

Use a sealant to close up any cracks you notice on the exterior. Finish by applying a layer of wax or protectant to the outside. This step is especially important if you’re going to be storing your unit outside, because it’ll protect the exterior from cracking or peeling.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can add a tire and headlight check to your routine. If you won’t be using your unit in the winter, these steps aren’t necessary, but they can help you identify any damage that’ll need to be taken care of before the next camping season.

You’ll notice that pre-winter cleaning is very similar to spring cleaning. One of the main differences is that you may decide to take certain items out of the trailer to protect them from the cold instead of adding things in.

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Have Your Locks Serviced

Wrap up your winter routine by lubricating all the locks and hinges on your unit to prevent jams and breaks when you roll it out next spring. A little product goes a long way, so you won’t need much to get this job done.

Your owner’s manual will have more details on how to prepare your unit for winter. If you can’t locate your manual, look up your unit’s specifications online to find any information you need.

After winterizing your RV, trailer, or camper, you can still use it for camping, but you won’t be able to use the water systems. If you plan to tow your trailer during winter, follow these towing tips.

Don’t forget, your car also needs to be prepped for winter. Check out this article on how to winterize your vehicle. When spring comes around, follow this maintenance routine to get your mobile home ready for the road again and this one for spring cleaning your vehicle.

If you have any questions about winterizing your RV, trailer, or camper, stop by your local NAPA Auto Parts store to speak with an expert. For more automotive tips and DIY guides, check out .

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