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Caravan Maintenance Tips For Winter Storage

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  • 18-01-2023
Caravan Maintenance Tips For Winter Storage

Are you looking for caravan maintenance tips for winter storage? We look at winterizing your caravan and why it's important to properly prepare your caravan for winter.

We offer caravan storage in West Lothian, Scotland. Find out more about our winter storage tips.

Winterizing Your Caravan

Preparing your caravan for winter storage is essential to practical caravan ownership. Even if you plan to use your caravan or motorhome throughout the year, ensuring it can handle the cold weather will help it remain comfortable and operational.

Some of the easiest ways to properly prepare your caravan for the colder winter months include:

  1. Draining all fluid from your water systems and internal water tanks using a compressor or foot pump. Before you put your caravan away for winter storage, ensure the yellow toggle that allows water to leave your water heater, drain valves or drainage plugs is in the open position. With it facing upwards (meaning it is open), turn on all the taps and shower heads in your caravan as you drive. The motion of travelling will help to drain water from your water systems. Remember, it is illegal to discharge water on a public carriageway, so ensure you only do this on private roads or private land.
  2. Removing the top of your Aquaroll before placing your motorhome into a storage yard or remote storage compound.
  3. Continuing to charge your leisure batteries every few weeks to keep them in good condition with adequate storage capacity.
  4. Diluting your toilet chemicals regularly. Doing this can prevent your toilet cassettes from freezing when the temperature drops too low. Also, remember to drain your toilet flush tank and waste tank before storage.
  5. Ensuring adequate air circulation and using moisture traps while your caravan is in storage can also reduce the likelihood of green or black mould.
  6. Turn off all your gas bottles or gas cylinders and unplug all electrical contacts. You also want to store cylinders in a safe location away from fire hazards.
  7. Replacing batteries for battery-operated clocks, smoke detectors and radio units and replacing old water filters.
  8. Keeping your fridge door and freezer door ajar.
  9. Ensuring your tyres are inflated correctly to avoid flat spots. You should also check the manufacture date on your tyres. You'll find this on the side wall, represented by four digits (month - year). Also, check your spare wheel carrier.

Why It's Important To Prepare The Caravan For Winter Properly

There are two reasons why preparing your caravan for the winter is so important. The first is practical, and the second is mental. Naturally, you don't want any water in your heating or plumbing systems to freeze and break your plumbing.

But equally as important is having a shiny, showroom-quality caravan to return to in the spring. Preparing your caravan for storage in the winter puts you in the best position to head straight out again when the spring rolls around. 

Caravan Winter Storage Tips

After everyone has returned from their summer getaways and the winter months gradually start to approach, caravan owners, in particular, should start thinking about preparing their caravans or motorhomes for winter storage.

Therefore, for those new to caravanning, or even those who have some experience but are unsure of how to prepare their caravans for the winter properly, here are some of our top tips. After all, when you return to it in the spring, you want your caravan in the best condition possible.

Therefore, with careful and considered preparation, you can make your caravan ready for action when the ice thaws out.

Some of the key areas our tips cover include preventing issues with your tyres, safeguarding your battery and looking after your water systems, all of which aim to prevent your caravan from becoming damaged through under-preparation.

 Leave The Caravan Handbrake Off

This one may sound counterintuitive since you need your handbrake firmly in place for all other maintenance tasks, but for winter storage, you should definitely leave your caravan handbrake off. 

The main reason is that when it comes around to spring again, if you've left your handbrake engaged, you may struggle to free it again. Naturally, you want to use wheel chocks for the wheels altogether and prevent your caravan from rolling from a central position on level ground while the handbrake is off.

Since winter is both wet and freezing cold here in the UK, any water that makes its way into your handbrake system can cause corrosion and lead to a build-up of rust on any unprotected metal surfaces.

If this becomes too significant, the corrosion on your handbrake while under tension can essentially lock it in place. You'll therefore struggle to release your handbrake when you come to drive your caravan or motorhome again.

 Caravan Toilet Cassette

One of the main areas you want to attend to carefully when conducting your winter storage preparations is the seal for your caravan's cassette toilet. There are fantastic products out there, such as seal lubricant from Thetfords, which can help keep your toilet seal in good condition through the winter.

We've found that alternatives, such as olive oil, will also work. Again, it's the freezing temperatures of the winter months that you're trying to guard against by applying these protective coatings and materials.

Rubber denatures over time, which is when it becomes stiff and brittle. Low temperatures can speed up this process, meaning your rubber toilet seals could become faulty if left unprotected during the winter. Applying lubricant or olive oil keeps the rubber malleable.

 Drain The Caravan Water System

This is one of the most important caravan winter preparations (hence why we're repeating it). You must drain both your caravan's hot and cold water systems before your store your caravan away for the winter.

This means opening all the water and mixer taps, getting every last drop of water out of your caravan, and then leaving the taps open. Leaving them open allows any residual water in your system to escape and prevents your water system from expanding during the cold winter months, which could potentially lead to cracks and breaks in your water pipes.

 Toilet Flush Pump

Alongside removing all the water from your caravan's water pipes, it is also prudent to remove the toilet flush pump. This is an area that holds onto water even if you've opened all your taps. 

Countless caravan owners have fallen foul of this mistake, leaving the flush pump in their caravan over the winter full of stagnant or freezing water, only to return and find it has frozen, expanded, split and burst everywhere.

Therefore, it is best to remove it entirely from the caravan while it is in storage facilities to prevent any disasters.

 Cleaning Your Caravan

Giving your caravan a thorough cleaning both inside and out is another great idea before putting it into winter storage. This is what we mean when discussing the mental side of caravan winter preparation.

There is nothing more disheartening than it coming to springtime, and all you want to do is hit the road in your caravan, only to find that it's as filthy as when you left it months earlier. By storing a clean caravan in the first place, you allow yourself the freedom to head out as soon as the weather becomes more inviting.

There are several types of cleaning fluid on the market, but we advise not using anything too harsh, as it can strip the paintwork from the outside of your caravan walls.

There are, however, fantastic overwintering products you can use to protect your caravan interior during the colder months. It is also worthwhile washing your soft furnishings, covers, old cotton sheets and breathable materials for fixed beds.

 Caravan Winter Covers

Alongside protective wintering products, winter caravan covers are an excellent idea. However, be careful when choosing the right size. Winter covers are ideal for protecting your caravan from flying debris, bird droppings and those cold winter gales, but if they are loose, they can cause more damage than they prevent.

In most cases, it is often best to find a custom, fitted caravan cover that conforms to your specific model of caravan, as this prevents the cover from blowing in high winds and scratching your caravan body paintwork and exterior bodywork.

 Protecting Caravan Tyres

It may be surprising to know you can potentially cause more damage to your caravan's tyres when it is stationary in storage for long periods than when driving on the roads. Most people think of tyres in the context of their cars, which most of us use every day.

Therefore, tyre wear through driving is the main concern we usually think of. However, most caravans only have a single axle with two tyres, meaning all of the caravan's weight is distributed through these two rather than the more stable four that most cars have.

So if you consider all of this weight pushing down on a single spot on the tyres for months on end in storage, you can imagine the damage it can do. Therefore, one of the best ways to protect your caravan's tyres while it is in storage is to rotate them regularly to prevent degradation. Tyre savers are a fantastic way to preserve them as well.

This prevents just one spot on your tyres from having to handle all the weight, preventing any significant damage. To do this, you should familiarise yourself with how to jack up a caravan safely with your caravan handbook. Do not use corner steadies, rotating screws, or other non-standard jacking devices. You might also want to get your caravan serviced before heading out onto the roads again.

 Maintaining The Battery 

It's possibly one of the most common issues caravan owners encounter when they come to use their beloved vehicles. After months of storage, they go to use their leisure battery, only to find it flat. That's why you need to ensure it remains topped up through the winter so that it is ready when spring arrives.

Essentially, you want to ensure it remains above 12V to keep it healthy. Hooking your caravan up to your house is one of the easiest ways to ensure your leisure battery doesn't fall flat during winter storage. Your onboard charger will also help to keep your batteries topped up through the winter when you aren't using them.

 Caravan Security Devices

Once you've protected and cleaned everything there is to protect and clean in your caravan, the last thing to do before putting it away for winter is to fit your security devices.

From hitch locks to wheel clamps, leg locks (if applicable) to your caravan alarm system, ensure everything is secure, so you can leave it in peace for a few months. After all, why waste all that time cleaning and preparing only to leave it vulnerable to thieves? You want a caravan to return to in the spring, so make sure it's secure. 

Are you looking for caravan and motorhome storage in East Lothian or Scotland? We offer secure storage facilities with 24 hour CCTV security with 7 day access. Follow the link below for Scottish caravan storage.