Waking your RV from Winter Hibernation Checklist

March 23, 2018

Waking your RV from Winter Hibernation Checklist

It's Almost That Time of the Year Again

As Lou Rawls once said, “It's Spring again. I can hear the birds sing again. See the flowers start to bud,
See young people fall in love.” It’s almost that time of year again, to get your RV’s ready for the season again…  That last sentence wasn’t part of the song, but a good reminder.

After months of not being on the road, it’s a great idea to give your motorhome or travel trailer a good ole fashioned check-up before heading out on the trail. It will take a little of your time, but could save you money and frustration down the road.

Before You Get Started

Be sure to keep a list of things you discover that need attention. Also, you will likely need batteries for smoke/carbon monoxide detector, clocks, remotes and flashlights before you even think about making that first trip of the season.

Check the Exterior of your RV ✔

First thing you should do is check the exterior of your RV by doing a complete walk around. Depending on where your unit is stored during winter, you may have sustained damage; scrapes or dents caused by the harsh winter weather. You may also have hail damage which occurred last summer but wasn’t noticed at the time.  Next, check your propane bottles. Have they expired?  Propane bottles are good for 10 years but it is 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 and consider refilling before your first trip. You want to avoid runninSpg out when you’re cooking or when you need your furnace to keep your unit warm. Next, check the condition of your 12 volt battery/batteries. Lift them into place and reconnect them. During your walk-around, check all windows, doors, storage bins, and the condition of any slides and weather stripping per the owner’s manual.  Check the roof area. Look for cracks or damage to the roof, vent covers and air conditioning unit housing. Connect your unit to shore power if possible to run necessary tests of your gauges and systems when inspecting the inside the unit.

Check Your Shore Power Outlet and Cord ✔

Make sure your cord it is not frayed and there is no metal wires exposed on the cord itself. Check hoses for the fresh water, grey and black tanks. 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 tires may be partially deflated or completely flat. Keep this in mind when towing and start slowly giving the tires a bit of time to warm up and regain proper shape. Add air to tires as needed and inflate to the recommended PSI. You can find the PSI information on the sidewall of the tire.

Now It’s Time to Head Inside

First, look for signs of rodents or pests that might have gotten into your unit during the winter months. If you take precautions in the fall, you minimize the risks of this, but if your RV is stored at a rural storage location you could experience pests. If there are signs of pests in your space, start by removing any nests and debris. This is a good time to see if you can find where the pests came in and seal these areas from the outside. Do a thorough cleaning of the RV, including inside and under cabinets, windows and so on.

Check and Clean the Operation of All Appliances ✔

If you have a gas range, lift the top to check for pest debris, and clean thoroughly.  Make sure the refrigerator is clean and mildew-free. Clorox and similar commercial wipes are great for this. Power up the refrigerator and let it run for a day or two, switching power-source modes to make certain they function properly. If you have a residential refrigerator, there’s nothing special to do; just clean it and turn it on.

Check the Trailer’s Safety Systems ✔

Also check the LP-gas, carbon-monoxide and smoke detectors for expiration dates. Battery-powered detectors must get new batteries at the beginning of each season. Make sure the emergency exits operate properly. Look at each fire extinguisher to make sure there is no damage, invert it for a few seconds, and test the valve by pushing in the small pressure-test plunger, if so equipped, or checking the gauge for proper pressure (follow the extinguisher’s instructions).

Check the Interior Lights and Various Onboard Gadgets ✔

When your electrical is connected, check the interior lights and test the various onboard gadgets. Check 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 if you used it to winterize your unit. Since this antifreeze will drain into your gray and black holding tanks, plan to dump this in an approved RV waste disposal station.

Replace the drain plug in the water heater, and adjust the valves from by-pass to normal operation so the tank will refill.  You may need to keep a hot water tap open to allow air to escape the tank as it fills.

Check Your Propane Lines ✔

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. Light the pilot live on your stove as directed by your owner’s manual. 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 in good shape and you are ready to experience another exciting camping season!  We look forward to each and every trip you take in one of our Jayco products and hope to see you creating generations of family fun. We encourage you to share your adventures with us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #LetsJayco

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