Get Ready For Spring Camping! How to De-Winterize Your RV 20799

Spring is right around the corner and your camper is calling! The beginning of camping season is the perfect time to assess the condition of each distinct part of your motorhome or trailer. So go ahead, break your RV out of storage and follow the steps outlined by our product specialist Ian Baker via the video above.

For step-by-step guidance and some additional de-winterization maintenance tasks, reference this post to ensure your rig has survived the winter and is road-ready. Ian’s tips above will be a good baseline, but for more info, keep reading.

Basic Inspection & Safety Checks

Follow this simple guide for getting your RV out of storage and ready for the road!

The first thing you should do is make sure your RV is roadworthy is to inspect the major systems:

Do this early to allow time to schedule any necessary maintenance before it’s time to embark on your first trip.

Take time to inspect your fire safety systems. Make sure the carbon monoxide detector, smoke alarm, LP detector, and fire extinguishers are all in working order.

Check Electric Power

Visually inspect all battery connections first. If the terminals are corroded, be sure the shore power is disconnected and you are wearing safety goggles and latex gloves when cleaning them off.

Next, charge the batteries and check the battery fluid levels, adding distilled water as needed. If you have a generator, check the air filter for nests and to make sure it doesn’t need to be replaced.

If you have a hard time getting the generator started, it is typically due to a lack of fuel in the lines. Prime your generator until your indicator light turns on for the fuel pump. Run the pump for about 20 seconds to deliver fuel to the carburetor. After that, the generator should start much quicker. Once you have your generator started and it’s been running a while, check the oil level.

Finally, test all appliances on the electric setting.

Portable Generators for Travel Trailers

Propane

First, make sure all your propane appliances (furnace, stove, oven, refrigerator) are turned off. Then closely inspect the water heater (exterior of RV), removing any debris from the burner tube.

Also, look for any insect nests in the intake/exhaust tubes. Visually inspect your propane system to be sure the seals and hoses aren’t cracked. If everything looks okay, open the valve on the tank(s) all the way. You can check for leaks by using a soapy water solution around the valves and looking for bubbles.

It’s also a good idea to have some refillable RV propane tanks and other accessories on-hand, such as alarms, detectors, and hoses. 

Finally, test all of your appliances using the propane settings to ensure they are working properly.

Be sure to inspect your propane appliances each spring when taking your RV out of storage.
Be sure to inspect your propane appliances and furnace each spring when taking your RV out of storage.

Tires

Check the tires (and the spare) for proper inflation. Conduct a visual inspection of each tire for cracks along the sidewall and tread depth. If your tires are in need or replacement, set up an appointment to have new ones put on.

Dewinterize and Check Your Water Systems

A great time to disinfect your RV fresh water tank is in the spring before your first camping trip of the season.

If you used non-toxic RV antifreeze to winterize your freshwater system, you’ll need to drain and flush it from the system. You can do this simply with the following steps:

  1. If removed, re-insert the low point drain plugs.
  2. Put the anode rod or a Suburban water heater or a drain plug on an Atwood water heater back in. If they weren’t checked or removed, replace them now.
  3. Change the valves on the water heater bypass to “use” mode. This means closing the bypass valve and opening the hot and cold valves.
  4. Repressurize the water system using either a hose or by filling the freshwater tank and turning on the water pump.
  5. Open faucets and the shower heads (indoor and outdoor) as well as the toilet to flush out the antifreeze in the system.
  6. Then turn off the water pressure and remove the caps from the low point drains.
  7. Turn on the pressure again to flush out any of the remaining antifreeze in the system.
  8. Then turn off the water pressure to put the drain caps back on.

While you’re at it, check both the water pump and city water hook-up. Test all valves including faucets, outside shower, and toilet.

Interior Inspection & Resupply

Give the interior a good thorough cleaning. Drain your dehumidifiers (or replace any disposables). Be sure to check inside the cabinets and under the sinks for any signs of pests or rodents.

If you discover any signs of them, find the source and take care of it now before you add any new food items to the pantry. Now is a good time to go through all of your supplies and restock the camper with the essentials.

Exterior Inspection & Wash

Proper care of your RV roof includes gentle cleaning a couple of times a year.

Walk around your RV and climb up on the roof to inspect the exterior windows, doors, roof vents, and any other seams. If you find any cracks in the caulking or missing sealant, remove the old sealant and replace it.

Finally, give your RV a thorough washing using a gentle biodegradable soap solution. Simply Green works well. Don’t forget the awnings. They are exposed to all weather conditions and rarely see sunlight on their underside, making them prone to mildew.

Use a soft bristle brush and the soap solution to clean. Be sure to rinse well and leave them out a few hours to fully dry before retracting.

All Systems Go!

Taking the time to run these checks and performing any necessary maintenance will go a long way towards making your camping season a success. Now all you need to do is pick a location and head out for an epic Spring Break RV vacation!


Any questions about the steps above? Have anything you’d add to the list? Leave a comment!

Julie and her husband Sean started traveling in their RV full-time 4 years ago after they each served 20 years in the US Air Force. Having lived in more than 10 states and 4 countries, the Chickerys decided it was time to enjoy the rest of the United States. They manage Chickery’s Travels, an educational and inspirational blog and YouTube channel aimed at helping people realize their full-time travel dreams.

1 Comment

  1. 10 mins after my hot shower i turned on the hot water in my bathroom sink and no water came out!! But i have cold flow on cold side!! We have checked the bypass valves they are closed, we have drained water heater and refilled, water enters the tank of the water heater but idk if its flowing out cuz no water will come from any faucet in the camper!! Please help its been 2 days and i really want a warm shower

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