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washing rv after winter

As the last of the snow melts, there’s hardly anything we look forward to more than spring camping trips. But before you can bring your RV out of hibernation, you have to do a little “spring cleaning” and maintenance. This is also known as “dewinterizing” an RV.

Why is dewinterizing an RV so important? Because you don’t want to cut your adventures short thanks to a broken hitch or leaky pipes. Ultimately, camping is more enjoyable when your RV is safe to use and in the best shape possible.

Want to know how to dewinterize an RV the right way? Start with this RV dewinterizing checklist! It can help you in getting your camper ready to roll.

How to Dewinterize an RV

Dewinterizing an RV involves reversing the steps that you took last fall or winter to winterize it for cold weather. For example, you might need to flush out the anti-freeze from the RV water system and recharge your RV batteries. In addition, you should inspect the RVs interior and exterior for any damage and make sure your tires are in good condition. We’ll outline these steps and more below.

Inspect and Clean the Interior and Exterior

cleaning dewinterizing rv

First, check the outside of your RV for damage. Look for water damage on the roof, cracked sealant, and rust on the hitch. Be sure to inspect the windows and doors for deterioration as well. Replace any broken parts, and apply new sealant if needed. Then give your RV a refreshing spring bath with the hose, starting from the top and working your way to the bottom.

After that, turn your attention to the interior. It’s time to scrub those screens, replace linens, and vacuum the floors. Wash the windows and wipe any fans or air conditioners with soapy water. We’re crossing our fingers you don’t find any, but check all nooks and crannies for any critters or bugs that may have made your RV their home during the cold winter.

Inspect RV Safety Items

A crucial part of dewinterizing an RV is making sure it’s as safe as can be. Make sure these safety items are in working order and haven’t expired:

  • Fire extinguisher
  • Smoke alarm
  • Carbon monoxide detector
  • LP detector
  • First aid kit (restock if needed)
  • Emergency RV repair tools (make sure you have pliers, screwdriver, extra oil/coolant, etc.)
  • Spare tires

Dewinterizing an RV Water System

When you winterize your RV, you probably put antifreeze in the plumbing system. Now you’ll need to clean and disinfect your pipes to make the water safe to use and drink.

To dewinterize an RV water system, you’ll need to run fresh water through it. You can do this either by adding water to the holding tank, or by connecting a hose to the city water connector on the RV.

How to dewinterize an RV water system:

  1. Open all the faucets and showers and let the water run for a few minutes.
  2. Flush the toilets several times as well. This will push all the antifreeze out of the system and into your black water tank.
  3. Dump the black water tank at an approved site.
  4. If you didn’t put your water heater in bypass mode for the winter, you’ll also need to clean the antifreeze from your water heater tank.

How to sanitize your RV water system:

The last step to dewinterizing an RV water system is to sanitize it. Use a bleach solution to get rid of mold and bacteria. Add a quarter-cup of household bleach for every fifteen gallons of water your fresh water tank holds. Run this solution through the water system until you can smell the bleach at each tap. Then turn off the water, and let it sit for 12 hours. Finally, run fresh water through the system again until it no longer smells like bleach.

Check Engine & Tires

Is your RV road ready? Inspect your tires and RV engine to make sure you don’t get stuck on the highway halfway through your trip. Look for worn out tire treads and cracks. Check the air pressure and inflate your tires if needed.

Check to make sure engine fluid levels are adequate and all controls and lights are working great. Start the engine and check the readings on all gauges. If any service lights come on, be sure to take your RV to a mechanic.

rv in spring

Dewinterizing RV Batteries

Batteries can lose their charge when stored away for the winter. Lead acid batteries discharge at a rate of about 10% per month, while the rate for lithium batteries is just 2%.

Here’s how to dewinterize an RV battery bank. If you have lead acid batteries, check them for leaks and damage. Charge them fully, and add distilled water as needed.

Lithium batteries require much less maintenance. They’re sealed and don’t contain electrolytes, so you don’t need to add water. If you have a smart lithium battery, you can check the remaining charge on your smartphone via Bluetooth. Recharging a LiFePO4 lithium battery takes just a few hours!

No matter what type of RV batteries you have, make sure you reinstall them correctly. If you see damage on your battery or aren’t sure if it’s connected properly, contact an RV repair service or a lithium battery expert. If you find that your batteries are weak or damaged, replace them before planning a trip.

Dewinterizing an RV for a new season? Now’s the perfect time to try new batteries. Check out the advantages of lithium RV batteries here.