How to Winterize Your Travel Trailer, Toy Hauler or Fifth Wheel

Before the cold weather hits you need to winterize your RVs, utility trailers, camping trailers, toy haulers and fifth wheels. That said, if you don't want to bring it down to the service department at Sunridge RV or it's just too far of a jaunt to drop it off, you'll just have to do it yourself. So here are a few RV tips to put your mind at ease until the next spring thaw comes about.

There really isn't all that much to do if you have the time and resources. In fact all you need is a check list to follow and possibly a few instructions.

Moisture Control

Although we see people cover their RV's, travel trailers, fifth wheels and toy haulers with tarps, it's not recommended. When we use a tarp to cover RV s it may keep water and snow off, but moisture still gets trapped under it and can't evaporate, which creates the perfect environment for mold or mildew to grow.

To protect your camping trailer from excess moisture, place a chemical absorbent inside the RV, travel trailer, toy hauler or fifth wheel to absorb the moisture. Most of these chemicals come in a plastic container, and you simply open it and set it inside the camper. It will work similar to silica gel, and absorb the moisture from the air. Ask the Sunridge RV service department for the best available product.

The Plumbing

The biggest fear all RV owners have is water freezing and busting the lines. To prevent this from happening you need to do more than just drain the lines, as small amounts of water are guaranteed to get trapped in the most unlikely places such as: pumps, faucet's, drains, traps, and last but not least holding tanks and either you get all of the water out or you treat each area so that they can't freeze.

Since clearing all the water is unlikely you'll need to stop by the dealership and pick up some non-toxic anti-freeze, and probably a pump system to force it throughout your travel trailer, fifth wheel or RV s system. If you don't have a winterizing valve you'll need to hook up a siphon tube from the anti-freeze to the onboard water pump to pull it in. NOTE* - disconnect the water line to your refrigerator's ice maker or close the water supply valve, to avoid getting RV antifreeze in the ice maker. Open the valve 90 degrees to allow the anti freeze to be pulled into the water pump. Then disconnect the water lines from the water supply and open a faucet so that the pressure in the system can bleed out. Turn on the water pump.

NOTE* Non-toxic anti-freeze is pink in color. Start at the furthest point away from the winterizing valve. Open your camping trailer faucets until you see the anti-freeze fluid drip out and then turn it off. Once you're sure every piece of tubing has been treated you're pretty much done. Drain the water heater, and if possible, by-pass it, otherwise it will take 6 to 10 gallons of anti-freeze to fill it where if bypassed you'll only need 2 to 3 gallons. Dump about 4 to 5 ounces in each trap. Dump about 20 ounces in the black water tank to protect the black water valve. The gray tank should be OK after the all the previous procedures.

Of course you could just fill up your water tank and pump antifreeze through the system, but this method isn't recommended and should only be done if you have no other options.

Tires & Suspension

It's not really necessary to take off your tires or jack up you travel trailers, fifth wheels or toy haulers over the winter. The key is to park your RV trailer on a paved or concrete driveway or at the very least concrete blocks.

Spray the bushings on your camper's suspension with WD-40 and if it has rubber body mount bushings, spray them too as the WD-40 helps keep the rubber soft and supple, and helps to prevent dry rotting.

Rodent Control

The most common rodent problem any RV trailer owner faces is mice.

A mouse only needs a tiny opening to get into your camper. Once the head is in the body will follow. You really need to carefully check the underside of your RV. If you find any openings the size of your baby finger or larger you need to seal them up. Having a can of "Great Stuff" will do the job nicely.

Squirrels are also a concern for owners of camping trailers. This is no joke - one little squirrel or mouse will not only chew on the wood inside your RV s but they'll chew up the curtains, seat cushions and even the wiring.


If you take off the propane tanks from your RV camping trailer, you'll need to find a threaded fitting or cap to close any opening or orifice to prevent spiders from building their nests in these openings. It's also a good idea to wrap the burners of the stove with plastic, and closing it around the line with tape. NOTE* take care to remove anything that might obstruct pilot lights in the spring when you unwrap them.

Common Sense

Make sure your travel trailer, toy hauler or fifth wheel has been completely cleaned out of food or anything else that may attract rodents and insects. That includes: spices, sugar, and even toiletries. The best thing to do, is leave your travel trailer in the same spotless condition that you found it when you picked it up at Sunridge RV.

Sunridge RV where it all happens under the bright yellow roof next to highway #2 in Airdrie.

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