How To De-Winterize A Travel Trailer
With the upcoming warmer weather, you’ll have more time to indulge in a travel trailer experience. As an RVer who loves spending time traveling to your favorite spots, you need to get your travel trailer ready.
Take it out from your storage, get ready to perform its maintenance, and head out for the camping trip during the spring season.
If you don’t know how to de-winterize a travel trailer, consider the factors mentioned in this guide.
Check Your Tires
When you store the RV for a longer duration, the tires start losing their air pressure to around 2-3 psi during a month. So, if you stored them for six months, you need to refill them.
Apart from that, if you stored the RV in a cold area or an outer area, the tires might be extremely deflated when you check it out for the spring season.
If you take a risk and drive the travel trailer with underinflated tires, you might end up with uneven wear and tear, poor handling, blowout, and ultimately an accident.
Invest in a tire pressure gauge to check air pressure within RV tires plus the spare tire. Reinflate all your tires based on the recommended load. You can check the user manual for correct tire pressure. If your tires are completely worn out, you may purchase RV tires during the start of the season.
Inspect the Exterior
Before you plan to start your trip, you must also check the RV’s exterior, as it helps you find any damages, cracks, or leaks. Identify weather stripping around doors, windows, and others. Plus, replace the peeled or cracked roof sealants. Make sure to check slide-out, roof plus body seams, and then replace them with new seals.
If your RV was stored outdoors, check water damage or roof because snow accumulation can cause structural damage causing cracked seams.
If you own a towable camper, inspect hitch components to identify damage and rust. Then, replace all damaged parts, so you don’t face any bad experiences during the trip.
Charge and Reinstall your Batteries
Batteries are the essential components of RV travel trailers. You can never overlook them. Similar to RV tires, RV batteries also lose their charging because of internal leakage.
Periodic checking of the RV batteries is a must even if you store the RV and take it out during the season. If you keep your batteries charged at times of storage, this expands the RV battery’s lifespan and helps you get ready for the trip.
Before you start up with the trip, make sure to check the battery charging with a voltmeter. The RV should not be connected with any electricity as it might lead to a false reading. Usually, full battery charging shows 12 volts or above. If it’s below 12, you need to charge it before taking it out for a trip.
For charging the RV batteries, make sure to attach the RV battery to the charger while keeping it off. Then turn the battery charger on and let your battery charge completely. Based on the battery size, you need to charge it for a few days and a few hours.
Once the battery is ultimately charged, check its water level, then add the correct amount of distilled water. If you see the water below its plates, add some to reach the point before charging the battery.
When you reinstall the RV battery, make sure to connect it securely. You can also take help from a professional RV maintenance service.
Flush your Water System
When de-winterizing a travel trailer, flushing the water system is a crucial system. When traveling, you believe in using clean water for washing, cleaning, cooking, showering, or drinking.
During winters, you must have added the non-toxic antifreeze RV solution that prevents freezing of water pipes. When going out in spring, you need to flush off the antifreeze from your RV’s plumbing system making your water clean for use.
If you placed the antifreeze within the freshwater holding tank in winters, you need to drain your tank completely. Next, add potable water within the freshwater holding tank and follow these steps for flushing antifreeze.
- Make sure to turn on your water pump.
- Next, open the water faucets like showers or sinks.
- Make sure that the water runs from the entire system for a few minutes.
- When the RV pump runs, flush your toilet for some time.
- Once your water seems clean, you can turn off the pump and close all faucets.
- Make sure to switch the water heater from bypass mode. If you forgot to place your water heater in a bypass mode during winters, you need to drain antifreeze from your water heater tank, collect it for disposal.
- Replace the water filter cartridges which you removed at times of storage.
- Dump the black and gray water holding tanks on the official dumpsite.
Sanitize your Water System
Another essential step at times of de-winterizing the travel trailer, you need to sanitize the water system. Even if you avoided using antifreeze for the plumbing system, sanitize the water lines. This step is essential for getting rid of all molds and bacteria that might grow in water pipes at storage times.
To sanitize the water system, you need to follow these simple measures
- Close the drains and make sure to install durian plugs.
- Make sure to measure a 1/4th cup of bleaching agent for 15 gallons the freshwater tank holds.
- Now pour bleach in a 1-gallon container, next fill it using water.
- Now add this mixture with a freshwater holding tank.
- Fill this tank using potable water.
- Now turn on all the water faucets and pumps.
- Make sure to run the water till the time this smell is gone.
- Make sure that this solution suits for around 12 hours within the waterline and water tank.
- Drain the entire water from your RV’s system.
- Next, refill the entire freshwater tank using potable water.
- Now flush the system after turning the water pump and open all faucets.
- Make sure that the water runs till there is no bleaching smell.
Check the Engine
Now check the RV engine, check the entire engine fluid levels, and ensure the controls and lights are operational. Make sure to check fluid levels, power steering, brake fluid, engine oil, transmission, engine coolant, and windshield washer fluid. If you find any low levels, keep them on point to have an ultimate RV traveling experience.
Once you are done checking engine fluid levels, start your engine. Check readings over gauges and check the headlights, dash lights, windshield wipers, and taillights.
Apart from these steps, check leaky pipes, replace your propane tanks, check the propane appliances, test all 120-volt appliances, RV generator, replace filters, and check all safety devices, windows, and air vents. Apart from mechanical things, stock first aid, emergency supplies with updated insurance and registration.
How do you flush antifreeze out of a camper?
For flushing antifreeze out of a camper, you can turn on the water pump, open all water faucets, and water will run in the entire system. When your RV water pump is running, flush the toilet for a specific time.
Once the water is clean, turn off your pump and close the faucets. You also need to switch the water heater from bypass mode and drain antifreeze. Next, you need to replace the water filter cartridge and dump black and gray water holding tanks.
How much does it cost to winterize an RV?
Winterizing an RV travel trailer is a straightforward process where you can save a lot if you know all measures. The cost for processing varies between $10 or under.
More about winterizing an RV read here.
Can I dump RV antifreeze on the ground?
As the RV antifreeze is flammable, it’s best to avoid dumping this antifreeze in the ground. Ethanol and propylene are non-toxic, but they can result in a bad smell or taste. This can lead to drying out of the rubber plumbing seals leading to leaks. Again, these are flammable, so it’s best to avoid dumping them in the ground.
How much antifreeze do you need to winterize a travel trailer?
The amount of antifreeze varies based on the vehicle size and the waterline length. Usually, you need 2-3 gallons of propylene glycol antifreeze. However, if you don’t plan to bypass the water heater, you need six extra gallons of the antifreeze.
Can you put bleach in RV black water tank?
Bleach kills odor-causing bacteria within black water tanks, but adding extra chlorine can damage RV gaskets and seals. However, using diluted non-chlorine or chlorine bleach like hydrogen peroxide is safe in RV black water tanks.
Besides, you can add safer options for cleaning black water tanks like dishwashing detergents, enzyme formulas, yeast, and baking soda.
Once you are done following the RV travel trailer winterizing tips, you can end up coming to your favorite spot in the upcoming season.
Apart from following these tips, keep the exterior neat, check critters, clean air conditioners and fans, wash screens and windows, change all towels and linens then vacuum.
Have fun at your next travel trailer experience.
I`m a current Law Enforcement Officer working within the Counterterrorism Bureau in New York State. I have been Camping for over 20 years. My styles of camping include tent, car, truck, van, and RV travel trailer. I have a YouTube channel where I teach all types of camping with an entertaining method: https://youtube.com/@TheSmallsRVAdventures