Getting Your RV Ready for the Season

Your RV has been in storage for winter, time to get it ready for the season.

We’ve known more than a few campers over the years that spend the entire week before the Victoria Day long weekend scrambling to get their unit ready. For many, it’s the first camping trip of the season. The fact that they secured a site for the long weekend shows they planned that much, but they took for granted that the old RV could be made ready in a jiffy. You don’t need to talk to an RV parts store and/or service centre to know it is their busiest, and perhaps most stressful week of the year.

One camper we knew seemed to miss that major freeze every fall, so hadn’t winterized in time and had to deal with leaks in the water line every spring. And even knowing it needed doing, it was always the week before the long weekend, going back and forth getting parts, and advice. Wherever that trailer is today, the water lines are probably 10 years newer than the trailer.

Here’s a quick list of to-do’s to get ready for this season. Start now. Keep a list of things that need attention so you can plan any work and plan your trip to the part store. General items you will likely need are batteries for smoke/carbon monoxide detector, clocks, remotes and flashlights. You should also have spare fuses on hand.

Check the exterior – do a complete walk around your RV. Depending on where your unit is stored over winter, you may have sustained damage; scrapes or dents caused by a careless driver or vandalism. You may also have hail damage which occurred last summer but wasn’t noticed at the time. Check your propane bottles. Have they expired?  Propane bottles are good for 10 years and it’s never pleasant to discover they need to be replaced when you take them for refilling. If they are still good, check the amount of propane you have. Remember, you can have them refilled here at Riverbend. Knowing this is required ahead of time is a good plan. You want to avoid running out when you’re cooking or when it’s cold and you need your furnace to run. Next, check the condition of your 12 volt battery/batteries. Lift them into place and reconnect.

During your walk-around check windows, doors storage bins, and the condition of slides and weather stripping if your unit has these. Check the roof area. Look for cracks or damage to the roof and to vent covers and air conditioning unit housing.

Check hoses, for both your fresh water and your tank dumping. Roll out your awning. Check the condition of the fabric. Are there any holes or tears? Does the awning function properly? If the awning spring mechanism needs adjusting, have this done by a professional RV technician. This is one task you should not attempt on your own.

Check your tires. Are they properly inflated? What is the condition of the tread? Are there cracks or damage to the sidewalls? If the unit has been sitting for a long period of time, the tire surface that is in contact with the ground will be a flat spot. Keep this in mind when towing and start slowly giving the tires a bit of time to warm up and regain proper shape.

Inside – First begin with a check to see if you have had mice. If you take precautions in the fall you minimize the risk but if your RV is stored at a rural storage location you are more likely to experience this. We have also found, the more sever the winter the more likely mice are to seek refuge out of the elements. The most obvious sign is dropping which will be found in corners of storage bins and closets. If they are present you will need to take care when cleaning to avoid being exposed to Hantavirus. This is rare, but is a concern. Check online for tips on dealing with this problem. If you have had mice, check electrical wires that run through the cabinets for damage.

When your electrical is connected check lights and the operation of your slides. If you are doing this on the street at home use extreme caution that you are not interfering with pedestrian or vehicle traffic. With water connected and lines pressurized do a quick check in areas that water lines are visible to see if you have any leaks. With your tank drains closed start running water through the lines to flush out the antifreeze. As this will drain into your gray and black holding tanks, plan to dump this in at an approved RV waste disposal station before adding chemical for normal use.

Replace the drain plug in the water heater, and adjust the values from by-pass to normal operation to refill the tank in this appliance. You may need to keep a hot water tap open to allow air to escape the tank as it fills. Do not attempt to light the hot water tank until you are confident that it has refilled.

Check your appliances – we generally start with the stove. Your propane has been off over the winter, and the gas has escaped from the lines. You will need a little time for the gas to refill the lines from the bottle to the appliances. With your propane turned on and burner lighter at the ready, turn on a burner. Hold the flame of the lighter in place. As the air is force from the line it will blow the flame gently. It might take several minutes for the gas to work its way to the point of ignition. Once you have propane in the line you should be able to fire up the furnace and other propane appliances.

We hope your unit has come through the winter is good shape and you are ready for another season. We look forward to each and every trip you take to Riverbend and hope to see you soon.