How to De-Winterize Your Travel Trailer

By | May 25, 2023

Now that the weather is starting to get warmer, many of us RV-ers are getting the itch to hit the road. If you aren’t a full-time RV-er, you probably have your trailer parked or in storage and are needing to do some maintenance before your trailer is ready for the season again. Canada experiences some of the worst extreme colds in the world, which can be detrimental to the health of your recreational vehicle over the course of the few months it’s left in storage. Before you head out and hit the open road, you’ll want to first “de-winterize” your travel trailer.  

RV Direct Insurance is here with a quick guide on how to do just that. 

Step 1: Do a tire inspection 

During wintertime, your trailer tires may lose their overall air pressure.  Poor tire pressure may result in uneven wear, a potential blowout, and bad handling. Check your trailer tire pressure gauge and reinflate accordingly. If you need to assess the correct pressure, check the owner’s manual.  

During this time, inspect your tires for any cracks, excessive wear, and other issues.  

Step 2: Reinstall and charge batteries

Batteries will lose their potency when left in the cold for months on end, so you need to know how to maintain your RV batteries. If you aren’t recharging and checking them during the winter, they’ll need to be charged and reinstalled before your first trailer trip of the year. You can check the percentage by using a voltmeter. If the voltmeter reads below 12 volts, it’s time for a recharge and a reinstallation. 

Step 3: Do a once-over of the exterior

Especially if your trailer was stored outdoors during the winter, you may want to do a rather thorough inspection of its exterior. Check for any cracks, or leaks, and see if the sealant around the doors and windows needs to be replaced. Apply new seals if necessary.  Essentially, you’re looking for any damage or wear to the exterior so you can fix it now before it becomes a bigger problem. 

Step 4: Flush and sanitize your water system. 

Before you head out, a crucial step to de-winterizing your travel trailer is to flush out the water system. You’ll want to turn your water pump back on, check all your open faucets, allow water to run through, and allow the pump to run while you flush the toilet a few times. Once the water coming out is clear, close all the faucets and turn off the pump. Take the water heater out of its bypass mode and replace all water filter cartridges. Be sure to dump wastewater into an official site, not into a larger body of water.  

During this time that you are preparing your trailer’s water system for the coming season, be sure to check your plumbing system for any possible leaks. Cold weather can result in the water inside your pipes (even small remaining amounts) freezing and expanding, potentially causing breakage. Look for leaks under sinks, and around toilets, and do a thorough inspection if anything smells moldy or seems damp. 

Step 5: Examine propane appliances

Assuming your trailer uses propane, you may want to replace your propane tanks with their mounts and connect the hose. You can check to see if the hose is on currently by turning on the propane valve a small amount and applying soapy water to the connectors. If bubbles form, there may be a leak. 

Once your propane tanks are re-installed, you’ll want to check to see if all your propane appliances are working correctly. Open the gas line and assess each appliance. If something seems faulty or isn’t working, be sure to schedule a check-in with a certified trailer maintenance professional. 

Step 6: Test your generators. 

If your trailer has a generator onboard, check the oil levels. Check for damages and do a thorough inspection at this time, and have your generator replaced if it surges or refuses to start.  

Step 7: Change filters and check ventilation. 

Air filters may collect a lot of dust and debris over the winter, especially if they were left in indoor storage or if you had a busy camping season. Change the filters in your air conditioner and water systems. You may also want to open all your air vents/windows to ensure that there is proper airflow through your trailer in order to air it out.  

Step 8: Restock emergency supplies. 

Restock your trailer first-aid kit and emergency supplies, check expiration dates, and get rid of anything expired. Replace your kit with fresh bottled water and ensure that you have an adequate supply of tools for emergency trailer repairs.  

Get insured with RV Direct Insurance. 

As a last note, trailers might not need travel trailer insurance depending on where you live but having a policy in place is imperative to protecting your beloved recreational vehicle. This is true even if you don’t live in your RV in Canada full-time – your trailer may still be at risk while in storage, and it certainly may be exposed to perils such as theft, vandalism, wind damage, etc. while you’re out and about. RV Direct Insurance is here to help with any insurance-related needs!