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When Should I Dewinterize My RV?

It can be exciting when it’s finally time to dewinterize your RV.

You begin to picture the upcoming adventures and the memories you’ll make. However, before you can use your rig again, you want to ensure it’s ready.

So when should you dewinterize your RV? Today, we’ll share some critical information to help you decide and offer a few tips.

Let’s dive in!

Why Is it Important to Winterize and Dewinterize Your RV?

Winterizing and dewinterizing your camper are two essential steps for maintaining your RV. Don’t skip these crucial steps if you want your camper to last for years.

Winterizing your rig helps to protect it from potential damage from freezing temperatures. It can cause burst water lines and cracked fittings if you don’t do it. This isn’t how you want to start the camping season.

During the dewinterizing process, you’re preparing your trailer for the upcoming travels. This allows you to inspect appliances and equipment for any potential issues. You can address them at this point and perform any scheduled maintenance.

If you need help with either, read the documentation that came with your motorhome. It protects your investment and ensures you can enjoy your RV for years. 

Pro Tip: Don’t want to winterize your RV? This is What Happens If You Don’t Winterize Your Camper.

When Is the Best Time to Dewinterize Your RV?

As we mentioned, this can be a tricky question. The best time to winterize your rig will depend on your location, your area’s climate, and your camping schedule. People living at higher elevations or colder climates may need to wait until late spring to start dewinterizing.

We recommend getting started a few weeks before your first planned trip. This gives you ample time to ensure everything is in good working order. Additionally, you can address any issues discovered during the process. You may need to replace or upgrade systems and components. You don’t want these items to delay any future trips.

RV parked in snow
When you choose to dewinterize your RV will depend on your location and RV travel plans.

What Interior Items Should Be Checked When Dewinterizing?

Your RV has several spots that need attention before you’re ready for spring. One of the most important steps is flushing the plumbing system with clean water. Not only does this remove any antifreeze left in your water lines, but it allows you to check for leaks.

Don’t forget to turn on your water heater and watch for cracks or signs of corrosion. Unless you have a tankless water heater, it can take 10 to 15 minutes to t up the water in your tank. If you overlook this step, you could face cold showers during your first trip.

While inspecting your water heater, it’s also a good time to look at your water pump. You want to ensure you have enough pressure and that there aren’t any leaks. Not only should you do a visual assessment, but you should leave it turned on while completing the dewinterizing process. If you hear it randomly cycling, it could signal a leak in your system.

Another step is to inspect the windows and seals on your rig. It’s a good idea to apply lubricant to the windows to make them easy to open and close. If not, you could end up with windows that stick or annoyingly squeak when you open and close them.

Finally, you need to test all of your appliances and safety equipment. Check the batteries in your smoke detector, ensure your carbon monoxide detector is working, and tell all your devices.

This is also a great chance to let your refrigerator cool to ensure everything works as it should. However, it can take several hours for a refrigerator to cool completely. Give yourself plenty of time to thoroughly cover all the systems.

Important Exterior RV Checks When Dewinterizing

In addition to the interior, you should perform several key exterior checks when dewinterizing your camper. Your tires are one of the first things you should cover. Look for any signs of uneven wear in the tread. There may also be signs of sidewall damage, like bumps and dents.

Another critical step is to examine the exterior seals. This can be a time-consuming task, but it’s essential. Look for any signs of failure. Remove the faulty sealant and replace it with a fresh coat. While on the roof, check for any signs of damage to the membrane.

If your rig has slideouts, test them out and perform any maintenance. Clean any dirt and debris on the gears and various moving parts. Spray the various moving parts with lubricant before extending and retracting your slides multiple times. This helps ensure everything operates smoothly and efficiently.

You can’t overlook two essential items: your battery bank and propane tanks. If you properly winterized your battery, you disconnected it and kept it fully charged throughout the winter. Additionally, you want to ensure your propane tanks are topped off and ready for the season.

Don’t forget to test your generator and test out your motor. Perform oil changes or any necessary maintenance. Let them run for several minutes and listen for any potential noises indicating an issue. You don’t want surprises when you finally head out for an adventure.

RV in snow
As the snow and cold disappear, it will be time to dewinterize your RV from the inside out.

Should You Sanitize Your RV Water Tank When You Dewinterize?

Sanitizing the water tank is one task that many RVers overlook while dewinterizing their rig. However, it’s possible to experience severe health conditions if you don’t keep this tank clean. Mold and other bacteria can grow in this tank, especially when it’s been in storage for several months.

The entire sanitation process can take 12 to 16 hours, so give yourself plenty of time. You can use a bleach-water solution in your freshwater tank, water lines, and fixtures. Your plumbing system will be out of commission for this, so have a plan for accessing a bathroom.

After letting the mixture sit overnight, you’ll want to drain the entire system. You’ll then need to refill your freshwater tank with clean water and run it through each fixture until you no longer smell the bleach solution.

Since this can take a tremendous amount of water and require you to dump your tanks, you want to get everything connected. It may be worth booking a campsite to complete this process and perform other tests during the dewinterizing process.

Pro Tip: Use these tips on How to Clean Your RV Fresh Water Tank to ensure it is ready for use in the spring.

How Long Does It Take To Dewinterize Your RV?

The time you spend to dewinterize your RV can vary depending on several factors. The size of your rig, how many systems you need to check, and how thorough of a job you do will factor into how long it takes. This is an important job and one that you shouldn’t rush.

Excluding sanitizing your fresh water system, you should complete most tasks in three to six hours. We recommend canceling your plans for a day or weekend to complete the process. While it won’t likely take this long, it helps to ensure you give your rig the attention it deserves.

Additionally, you never know what issues you might run into or discover. You want to make sure you have a chance to address them. If you need to make any repairs, you want to have time to fix them before the start of the camping season.

Don’t Rush The Process

Dewinterizing your RV is an important step in preparing it for use after sitting in storage for months. While most people choose to dewinterize their vehicles in the spring, the best time for you could be much later in the year.

Slow down and get your camper ready properly to help ensure it’s safe and functional when you’re ready to hit the road. This way, you’ll enjoy a comfortable and enjoyable camping experience for the whole season.

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