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It’s the saddest time of the year for those of us that love the outdoors like the team at NXTSTOR. It’s time to get your RV’s, campers, and pop-ups ready for the winter. Here’s a step by step guide to preparing your favorite summer home for the cold winter months. 

Step 1: Clean Everything! 

It’s extremely important to make sure that nothing funky starts growing over the course of the winter. That means cleaning both the inside and the outside of your vehicle.  

Outside 

On the outside, make sure you’re washing the RV with soft bristles and warm water. Start by sealing all the doors and hatches, then beginning with a rinse from top to bottom, paying special attention to the bottom where dirt accumulates. After that use a soap, like one of the ones on the list here, and a brush to soap up the vehicle. Once soapy, rinse from top-down and dry with a soft towel. If your vehicle has holes in the exterior, patch them with appropriate materials as recommended in this guide. 

Bonus: If your RV has an awning clean it with soap and water and let it dry before winterizing your RV. 

Inside 

We love seeing animals in the wild when we’re using our outdoor vehicles, but small critters can wreak havoc on the vehicle during the winter.  

On the inside, you can clean the vehicle with the same materials you generally would use to clean your house. Disinfect all surfaces and scrub any residue left in the kitchen area and restroom. Be careful to remove all perishable items and carefully clean out the fridge to avoid any critters coming in. Scrubbing the inside clean make sure you cover and holes to avoid any animals getting in. You may also want to put animal traps around the vehicle in the winter, so no animals enter it. Another thing to consider is covering the propane lines and making sure there is no propane smell to avoid some insects that are drawn to it. 

We also recommend taking out all bedding and valuables you may have left in the vehicle during your trips. 

If your vehicle has any holes in the drawers or areas of the inside, fill them with silicone or foam spray.  

Step 2: Begin the Winterization Process 

Winterizing your vehicle properly is an extremely important part of the end of the year. Ensuring these steps are completed will allow you to enjoy your vehicle for years to come and help you avoid the pain of having to fix your RV in the spring. Make sure you can enjoy those first few weeks of spring and do this part carefully.

Plumbing 

Frozen water is the most dangerous threat to the RV over the course of a winter. The first step to any winterization process should be draining the water. There are two ways to do this the first of which is to fill the system with RV antifreeze, the other is to blow out all the water from the system using a blow out plug. 

Antifreeze Method

Antifreeze is considered the more reliable option but it can be a bit more costly. Here is a guide to some of the types of antifreeze and their usage. To use antifreeze in your RV you’ll need either a hand pump or a bypass kit on your RV’s internal water pump. From a guide by Insurmatch, “If you’re using a hand pump, attach the pump’s intake siphon to the antifreeze bottle and connect the output hose on the pump to the city water inlet. Close all faucets and drain valves and open the hot side of the highest faucet first, pumping the antifreeze into the system until it comes out the faucet bright pink in color. Close the hot side and repeat it with the cold side. Do this for all the faucets. 

If you’re using your RV’s internal water pump, the water pump bypass valve will be used to draw antifreeze into the pump and throughout the water system, according to reserveamerica.com.” 

Blowout Method

To blow all the water out of the system you’ll want to first drain all the faucets then flush the toilet. You’ll then connect your blow out plug to the city water inlet and to the air compressor which should be at 30psi. Let the water blow until it is completely flushed from the faucets. Next, you’ll flush out the black and gray water tanks, completely empty the freshwater tank and close all of your drain valves. You’ll also want to pour a quart of antifreeze into the gray and black tanks. You should also pour it through all the drains, and add roughly a pint to the toilet bowl. Finally, empty the water heater and leave the plug open until spring. 

IMPORTANT: Check your owner’s manual to make sure you’re winterizing the vehicle properly. 

Tires 

Inflate your tires to the desired air pressure and keep them out of the sun to avoid damage. You should also park the vehicle on top of something like cardboard to keep the tires off the frozen ground. 

Interior 

To make sure the interior is protected close the blinds to keep out sunlight which can crack and damage the paint. Utilize moisture absorbing material like Damprid to keep the interior of the RV dry during the winter and early spring. 

Batteries 

To keep your batteries in good shape, disconnect them from your vehicle and keep them in a warm dry place. You should also plug them into a trickle charger for 8 hours twice monthly while they’re in storage to ensure they’re fully charged.  

Covering

Make sure you cover your vehicle in a great tarp or cover that is extremely protective and breathable. Moisture that gets trapped under the tarp can damage the vehicle or create an unhealthy mold. A traditional blue tarp is not breathable enough for your RV. Here is a great guide for figuring out the best way to cover your RV or trailer.  

Step 3: Storage 

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Where you keep your RV can make all the difference. If you are keeping it at home, make sure it is in a well-protected space with a roof over it. Avoid leaving it out in the grass or under trees. For those that don’t have a space for our vehicles, make sure you find the perfect space indoors or outdoors on NXTSTOR. The NXTSTOR app will allow you to find a cheap space with the features you need close to home hosted by your community members that love the outdoors as much as you do.

Storing your vehicles is a huge step for new owners-  make sure you’re lifting things carefully and wearing a mask this year if you’re around other people. For questions, comments, or help with anything, please reach out to support@nxtstor.com, it’s really me (Brandon) in disguise.