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Winterising your Motorhome to Avoid Costly Damage

The best way to look after your motorhome in the winter is to use it. But very often this is just impossible and we might have to lay the vehicle up for a couple of months. Winterising your motorhome is even more important as winters getting harsher. There is a lot you can do to protect your investment and ensure that you don't face any big bills in the spring. When we say big we mean it too! If frost damages a boiler or breaks taps and pipework then the resulting replacements and fixes are very costly. Follow this short list and ensure you can make a quick getaway in the van when spring breaks.

Winterising Your Motorhome

Wash the Motorhome.
Then apply a good coat or two of wax. Even those motorhomes stored inside will benefit from this.

Completely drain the water system.
Some have taps or bungs outside. Older motorhomes should be emptied by the pump and some modern ones have a simple switch or lever to completely drain the tank. Don't forget to drain your waste tank.

Drain your water heater.
You may need to read your handbook for this as there are many different types. It is important that it is completely empty. Its important to leave all taps in the ”on” position

Remove any inline water filters.
Wet filters can freeze and may damage your system, start the new season with a new filter.

Empty the toilet.
A used cassette that had been fermenting for three months will not be pleasant to return to. Wash it, put some olive oil on the blade of the cassette and then leave it in place with the blade open. If you have a separate rinse water tank, don't forget to ensure this is drained too.

Fully charge batteries.
Better still remove it to somewhere warm and dry hooked up to an intelligent battery conditioner. Check the electrolyte levels in lead-acid batteries and top up if necessary.

Turn gas bottles off.
Better still remove the bottle and store it somewhere safe. Turn all of the gas control valves off

Keep the refrigerator door open.
It does not have to be open much, but do not leave it closed or the smell and growth that occurs in three months will astound you!

Thoroughly clean Food Cupboards.
Motorhomes get laid up at about the same time that mice come in from the fields looking for somewhere warm and cosy. It’s difficult to stop them getting in, but do not invite them to stay by leaving them a food source such as a bag of pasta, rice or cornflakes will encourage them to stay for the winter!

Chocolate Biscuit Test.
Leave a tiny piece of chocolate biscuit on the floor, if it's still there in the spring the mice and rats have stayed away!

Check the roll out awnings
Ensuring that they are fully dry before leaving them rolled up for the winter.

Check Tyre Pressures
Pump tyres to the maximum pressure rating as stated in your handbook or on the tyre wall. Consider covering the tyres to keep out the harmful UV rays.

Cover all outside vents
Some vents like fridges may have specially made covers so use these, other vents might benefit from a bit of polythene and tape to secure them from leaves, insects and weather.

Dry Cell Batteries.
Remove batteries from wall clocks, smoke alarms and detectors etc

Waterproof the Electrics in the Engine bay
Storing inside or out, it's worth giving all your exposed electrical connection a light spray of WD40, this should keep the winter moisture out and prevent any rust forming that might then give you problems in the spring.

Periodic Checks throughout the winter.
At least once a month have a quick check of tyre pressures and all the levels such as brake and clutch fluid along with the engine coolant, if all is well, start the engine, and let it come up to temperature. Ideally, take it for a spin, if not, try and move it a little so that it is not sat all winter on the same bit of tyre rubber.

Winterising your motorhome for Skiing

The above notes are for when you are laying the van up for winter. If you are going to be using it in a cold place, like the thousands who take their motorhomes skiing the "winterising your motorhome" takes on a whole different meaning. See this thread for starters. Fully Winterising your Motorhome
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About author
Jim is a long time motorhome enthusiast travelling extensively in the UK and Europe. He has owned many motorhomes both British and Continental. His present motorhome is a 27ft C class RV. Jim is married to Siân, has three kids and a dog and lives at the seaside in sunny Sutton On Sea.


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