Perform these pre-winter maintenance tasks and inspections before the motorhome is used or stored in cold weather.
By Gary Bunzer
There are a few areas of concern on the motorhome that are applicable regardless of whether the vehicle is stored or utilized over the course of a cold winter. Consider the following:
- Check the strength of the coolant in the radiator. Is it time to flush the cooling system and add a stronger antifreeze solution? Be sure the coach is protected for the expected climate.
- Be sure all the liquid levels in the motorhome are at the correct operating levels. Besides the radiator coolant, check the following: engine oil, transmission fluid, differential gear oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, slideout/levelers reservoir, windshield washer, fuel tanks. Topping off the fuel tanks will reduce the space for moisture to accumulate. Add a fuel stabilizer if recommended by the engine maker. Drain or replace all fuel filters in the system. Remember, filters trap moisture, which subsequently may freeze if old filters are left in place over a harsh winter.
- Diesel owners, refer to the specific chassis owner’s manual for the necessary precautions. Unfortunately, they are too detailed to list here.
- Likewise, follow the cold climate usage recommendations provided by the generator manufacturer.
- Check the sealants around each door, window, and all storage compartments. Now is the time to reseal if necessary. Inspect the roof area very carefully as well. Check the sealant around every component attached to the roof. Melting snow, just like rainwater, will find the tiniest of cracks. Pay special attention along the edges and across the front and rear caps. Reseal, if necessary, before final storage or heading out. Moisture intrusion is to be avoided at all costs.
- Clean and treat all rubber seals on the slideouts. Carefully inspect all exposed slideout mechanism components. Be sure they are clean and free from dirt, grit, and road grime. Lightly lube all metallic portions with a lubricant approved by the manufacturer. Avoid using lubricants that have a predisposition to attract dirt and dust.
- Inspect all components attached underneath the slideouts, such as electrical harnesses, LP-gas hoses, or cable raceways. Secure any loose or hanging items.
- Also, be aware that winter travel or storage may expose the undercarriage of the motorhome to salt products used on roadways. The steel and aluminum components of the RV may require specific cleaning and rinsing precautions to thwart salt corrosion. Check with the manufacturer for specific instructions.
- Be sure to read the fine print in the owners manual for your specific motorhome. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, no matter what you may read or hear elsewhere.