If you’ve never heard the word ‘winterise’ before, you could probably take a guess at what it means and you’d probably be about right, however, what’s involved and how you do it might not be quite as obvious.
As you’ve probably gathered, winterisation is the process by which you prepare your motorhome for a period of inactivity over winter. While many hardcore campers take advantage of their motorhome throughout the winter months, others prefer to give their pride and joy the winter off. If your motorhome si going to spend some time hibernating, then finding how to winterise your motorhome will help keep it in pristine condition over the winter so you won’t have any nasty surprised in Spring.
Why should you winterise your motorhome?
Vehicles left for extended periods will eventually start to deteriorate. Engines need to turn in order to distribute oil around the mechanism. Wheels which don’t move can start to seize up. Rubber seals left unwashed and exposed to the elements can begin to perish and a number of other subtle ways lack of use can cause any vehicle to deteriorate faster. Motorhomes are no exception, but if you spend a little while preparing your motorhome for the winter, many of these issues can be avoided, leaving you with a motorhome you can break out of hibernation and enjoy more or less straight away once the worst of the winter is behind you.
How do I winterise my motorhome?
Winter and water
In an unused motorhome, water is often the enemy. Windscreen wash should be more concentrated for the winter months so it doesn’t freeze in the tank or the pipes when the temperature drops, but what do you do about other water storage?
First and foremost, don’t leave fresh water in your watertank. It won’t stay fresh for long and even if the tank itself doesn’t freeze, the water lines it feeds just might, leaving you with ruptured lines and leaks. Draining the tank entirely might be an option, but any trace of moisture left in the tank or the lines might allow mould to grow. Instead, fill your water tank with some non-toxic antifreeze (being sure to run your taps so the water pipes are purged of water), which you can safely drain away when the weather improves. Similarly, your grey water and cassette should also be treated.
Moisture in the air is also your enemy. Condensation can form on the inside of your motorhome which can then run off causing water damage and allowing mould to grow. This can be prevented by leaving dehumidfiers, cheaply available in many supermarkets inside your motorhome to take the moisture out of the air and keep the interior of your motorhome dry. On warmer or dryer days, it’s worthwhile opening up some of the doors and windows to let air circulate, just don’t forget to close them again.
Finally, water from the outside should also be kept outside. Check the door seals and window seals are free from damage in order to keep rain and snow out of your motorhome.
Take care of the outside
If you’re preparing your motorhome for the winter, it makes sense to give it a good wash before parking it up for the duration. Any dirt mud or grime can keep moisture stuck to the bodywork for longer, making your motorhome more susceptible to rust. Bird droppings can be surprisingly corrosive, so these should definitely be cleaned off before winter and any salt thrown up from treated roads will naturally corrode any bare metal it touches if left for long enough.
Consider a cover for your motorhome. As well as keeping the elements and bird droppings at bay, it will also provide some protection from falling leaves and branches as well as keeping the upholstery from fading in direct sunlight. Ideally, upholstery and other soft furnishings should be removed and stored indoors where possible.
If you can use tyre stands, then do so and check your tyres regularly to make sure they stay inflated. Flat tyres can be irreparably damaged by being left flat with the weight of a motorhome pressed down on them for extended periods.
Looking after your motorhome is mostly common sense
If you’re the proud owner of one of our ex-rental motorhomes, we’ll happily give ou advice on the best ways to look after your pride and joy over the winter, but for the most part, with these simple steps, you can winterise your motorhome yourself in only a few hours and help keep it in peak condition for many happy years to come.