Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Winter Storage

After winterizing your water system to prevent damage from frozen pipes or faucets, there are other steps you should also take to prepare your rig for winter storage. Essentially there are two sets of procedures: for the coach and for the chassis.

Coach

Store your unit under a covered area if possible. If not, avoid parking under trees or in areas where grass and weeds will grow.

If you choose to buy a cover for the RV, be sure it is made of a breathable material. This will help in preventing mold and mildew.

Chock the wheels front and rear. Leave the parking brake off.

Inflate the tires to the manufacturer's recommended max cold pressure. Cover the tires to protect them from the harmful ultraviolet rays. Place something between the tires and the ground.

If you do not remove the tires for long-term storage periodically move the vehicle to prevent flat spots on the tires.

Close all of the window blinds to avoid sun exposure to the carpet, drapes and upholstery.

Wash the exterior of the unit and clean the interior thoroughly.

Make sure the awning fabric is clean and dry before storing.

Inspect all roof seams, body seams and window sealant for cracks and openings. Consult your dealer for sealants compatible with these materials.

Service all locks with a lubricant. Lubricate all hinges and moving parts with WD 40. Some locksmiths say to NEVER use graphite powder in your locks. It ends up sticking together and forming a hard substance like the "lead" in pencils, which is actually graphite. This is made worse in humid areas where it happens quicker. They all recommend using WD-40 or a similar product because it both cleans and lubricates them.

Turn all LP gas appliances off. Turn the LP gas supply valve off.

Remove the fuse for the LP gas leak detector while the unit is in storage. This will prevent the batteries from discharging. Don't forget to replace it next spring.

Insects are attracted to the odorant that is added to LP gas. To prevent mud dabbers and wasps from building nests in and around your gas appliances, cover the refrigerator vent, the furnace vent and the water heater vent.

Inspect the underside of the unit thoroughly. Look for anywhere that mice or other rodents can get it, and seal as necessary.

Strategically place mouse and ant traps in and around the unit. Avoid using mouse poison inside the RV.

Remove all perishables and anything that can freeze.

Leave doors, drawers and cabinets open.

Remove all consumables that would attract mice and other rodents.

Defrost the freezer compartment and clean the refrigerator. Leave the refrigerator doors open and place some baking soda inside to absorb odors.

Clean the air conditioner filters, and cover the air conditioner.

Turn off the main breaker and unplug all appliances.

Remove dry cell batteries in clocks, flashlights and other items.

The use of Maxx Air products will provide the airflow and ventilation required during storage while keeping the elements out.

Chassis

Check and fill the water levels in all batteries that are not maintenance free.

Charge all batteries to a full charge. A discharged battery will freeze much quicker than a fully charged battery.

Remove and clean all battery terminals and posts. Spray the terminals with terminal dressing to protect against corrosion.

If you plan to start the unit while in storage, and to periodically plug the unit into shore power leave the batteries in the unit. Plugging it into shore power once a month for about eight hours will keep the coach batteries topped off.

If you put the unit in long-term storage remove and store the batteries where they will not freeze. In either case keep the batteries charged.

During short-term storage, start the unit monthly and run it with the dash air on for at least 30 minutes.

If you don't plan on starting the unit, or won't be able to start it, buy some fogging oil from a marine supply store to protect the cylinder walls. When the unit is parked where it will be stored, spray the fogging oil into the engine intake downstream from the air filter with the engine at an idle. Complete the same steps on the generator. Follow the manufacturer's directions. DO NOT USE THIS PRODUCT IN A DIESEL ENGINE

Fill the fuel tank prior to storage and add a fuel stabilizer. Run the engine and the generator long enough for the stabilizer to get through the system. Follow the manufacturer's directions.

If the unit is not in long-term storage exercise the generator at least 2 hours each month. Run the generator at ½ rated power. Consult your generator set owners manual for rated loads.

Change the oil and oil filter on the engine and the generator prior to storage. Acids accumulate in used oil and can corrode engine bearings.

Check the engine radiator for the proper concentration of antifreeze. Consult your owner's manual for the correct type of engine antifreeze. Drain, flush and refill the system every 2 to 3 years.

Drain the windshield washer reservoir or add the appropriate antifreeze solution to prevent it from freezing.

Perform a full chassis lubrication prior to storage.

This completes the steps that are required to protect your investment when it's time to park it for the winter.

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