A Quick Guide to Winterizing Your Rig

If you are not heading south to warmer weather for the winter or living in your rig full-time, then you will need to winterize your RV. For a first-timer, this can seem like an overwhelming task to complete. 

While there are numerous resources online, here is a list of basic steps you should remember to complete in order to successfully winterize your system:

Plumbing - Drain, drain, drain, drain!


  • Drain and flush the gray and black water tanks
  • Drain the fresh water tank

Water Heater

Next - drain the water heater. Begin by removing the cover of the water heater. IMPORTANT WARNING: NEVER drain a water heater when it is hot or under pressure. Some RVs (steel tanks) will have an anode rod. You will loosen this to drain the tank.

Bypass your water heater. A majority of water heaters have a bypass loop that can be activated using the bypass valve.

    Faucets, Shower, Toilet

    For an extra measure - be sure to open every faucet, one by one, and leave it open until only air comes out. Run the water to empty on your shower and toilet as well.


      SAFETY WARNING: NEVER use automotive antifreeze. 

      At this point, you can either fill your plumbing lines with RV Antifreeze, or hook up to an air compressor and blow any remaining water out of the plumbing lines.  If you decide to use air, be sure to open every faucet, one by one, and leave it open until only air comes out, including the toilets and showers.

      Ensure you use RV antifreeze, follow the instructions on the bottle and consult your owner’s manual for best practices. 

      Cleaning - Breakout Your Inner Mary Poppins!


      A little common sense and solid hygiene makes this step straightforward. Don’t forget to clean the fridge and prop doors. Make sure you leave them open to avoid smells! The folks at RVLock all like to leave an open box of baking soda where the food was stored to keep things fresh for the next season!

      Turn off Electrical Systems

      Either remove your 12v batteries or place a trickle charger on them to keep them from freezing.  Remove any batteries in your remotes and unplug all electrical devices. This includes removing the batteries from your RVLock Keyless system. While you are there, be sure to spray a shot of white lithium grease into all key cylinders and on all handles. 

      Take Some Weight Off!

      No - we do not recommend parking you rig on a teetering jenga of doom.

      However, while we are all gaining weight during the holidays - it's important to store your RV in a manner that helps relieve weight on the tires during storage. To do this, park on a hard and level concrete pad. It is possible that parking on asphalt can cause damage to the rubber. 

      Avoid parking the rig on gravel, grass, mud, and bare ground. 

      Then, use leveling jacks or heavy duty external jacks on concrete to raise your rig. Do not use stabilizing jacks for the winter.  When raising your rig, the goal is to relieve a portion of the pressure by slightly jacking the system while keeping the tires in contact with the ground. 

      Close and Cover

      Make sure you shut off your your propane tank valve and cover the RV to protect it from UV rays and the cold. 

      In a Nutshell

      Although every RV is different - these basic tasks should land you in a good place so you don’t have any surprises come the warm weather! Stay safe this winter! 

      Comments 4

      Andrew Elia on

      Why not use the leveling jacks it doesn’t make sense

      Casey Balvert on

      You forgot to put a cup of antifreeze in each p-trap.

      John Maida on

      Thank you, great article! Keep them coming!

      George Smith on

      Thanks for the tips on winterizing. Got to order my RV locks this coming 2021.

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