The long Canadian winter is nearly over and that means it’s time to bring your RV out of storage and prepare for a full season of adventure on the open road. Proper RV storage is essential for those who aren’t traveling in the colder months, and if you’ve already followed our RV winter maintenance checklist, you should be on the right track for a successful spring season. Ready to break your RV out of winter storage? Follow our simple guide to make sure your trailer is in perfect working order before planning your first big trip.
1. Restoring Power
The first place you should start in your RV spring awakening checklist is to inspect your battery and battery connections. When storing your RV away for an extended period, you need to remove the battery and set it to charge. If you find your battery with full power, double-check the fluid levels and add distilled water if needed. If your battery hasn’t maintained a proper charge, now is the time to try to give it some more juice. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the integrity of the battery could have been compromised over the winter break and it may need to be replaced. You should also check the battery connections and look for corrosion along the terminals.
For those with a generator, you’ll also need to look for any debris or nests in the air filter. If you find it difficult to get the generator started, there could be a lack of fuel in the lines. In this case, prime your generator until the indicator light for the fuel pump turns on. Then run the pump for around 20 seconds to give the fuel a chance to reach the carburetor. Lastly, test all your appliances on the electric setting.
Before testing your propane lines, it’s important to make sure that all the propane appliances have been turned off. Take the time to closely inspect the water heater as well and remove any debris from the burner tube. Insects also like to make homes inside the intake and exhaust tubes, so be sure to inspect them closely as well. If you don’t find any cracks or damage in the seals and hoses, you can open the valve on the tanks. Use a soapy water solution to look for possible leaks around the valves. If you see bubbles forming, they’ll need to be replaced.
3. Check Tires
While in storage, it’s common for RV tires to lose about 2 to 3 psi of air pressure each month. If you stored your RV outside or in a non-heated storage facility, there’s a good chance that your tires will be even more deflated. Driving with under-inflated tires can be very dangerous and result in poor handling, uneven wear, and blowouts. To check your tires, break out the tire pressure gauge and re-inflate all tires to the manufacturer’s recommendations based on load—including the spare tire. This is also a great time to inspect your tires for any signs of wear, like worn treads or sidewall cracks. Luckily, the beginning of spring is typically a great time to score a deal on new tires if yours need to be replaced.
4. Flush the Water System
De-winterizing the water system is one of the most essential steps of bringing your RV out of winter storage. To withstand the freezing Canadian temperatures all winter, you probably added antifreeze to the water system to keep the pipes from freezing over. Now, the antifreeze needs to be flushed from the plumbing so that you’ll have safe water to drink and clean with all season long.
If you added antifreeze directly to the tank, it needs to be drained completely. Start by turning the pump on. Next, open all the water faucets and allow fresh water from a garden hose to run through the system for several minutes. With the pump running, flush the toilet a few times and once the water comes out clear, turn everything off. Finally, take the water heater off bypass mode, replace your filter cartridges, and safely dispose of your gray and black water holding tanks at a designated site.
5. Complete an Exterior Inspection
Before hitting the road, you’ll also need to complete an exterior walk-around of the RV to look for any signs of damage. Take a close look at the weather stripping around all the windows and doors, replace any cracked or peeling sealant, and apply new seals as needed. You’ll also need to check for signs of water damage, especially if you store your camper outside during the winter.
Once you’ve completed a few simple maintenance steps, your RV should be ready for the active spring and summer seasons. Be sure to check out our blog to find more easy DIY maintenance tips for RVs and contact us to review your RV insurance policy.