Dewinterizing Your Towable RV

May 31, 2019 | Maintenance & Mods

Dewinterizing Your Towable RV

By Togo RV

Prepare your trailer and tow vehicle for camping season with these 5 tips.
Ready yourself for adventure with Togo RV’s 5 pointers for dewinterizing your towable RV. We’ll help you prep the water system, tires, and batteries so you can get hitched and on your way that much sooner.

A family canoeing with an RV in the background

Spring forward.

You know what they say: when the snow finally melts, adventure can’t be far away. But before you hit the highway in your towable RV, you’ve got to make sure it’s road ready. You don’t want to waste a minute fixing a flat or repairing a leak (and those things never take just a minute).

Whether you drive an Airstream Classic, a Jayco Hummingbird, or a Dutchmen Atlas, the dewinterization process will be largely the same. What differs mostly depends on what you’ve got inside.

When you dewinterize is up to you, just give yourself plenty of time to check everything before you take off on that cross-country jaunt.

Royal flush

One critical aspect of dewinterizing your travel trailer is restoring your water system. This involves removing RV antifreeze from your pipes and sanitizing the system so you’re all set for spring travel.

First, the antifreeze part.

Removing antifreeze

Close your faucets, and then reconnect any water lines you might have disconnected. Leave your water heater in “bypass mode” and put a water hose in the city water inlet. Turn on the water. See or hear any leaks?

Good. Now flush out the antifreeze by turning on the water pump and then the first faucet. Start with hot water, then cold water, until the water runs clear. Repeat this at each faucet, then at the shower and toilet. Finish with the toilet and low point drain.

When the water runs clear at each one, turn off the supply and disconnect the hose; then, fill up your fresh water tank with enough water to flush each one again. Turn on the pump and flush each faucet one more time.

All nice and sanitary

Water being flushed out of faucet

Sanitizing is critical in making sure you don’t get sick. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Close your drains and install the drain plugs.
  2. Take a quarter cup of household bleach for every 15 gallons your fresh water tank holds. Mix the bleach with water in a one-gallon container and pour the mixture into your tank.
  3. Run water at each faucet until you smell the bleach mixture.
  4. After 8 to 12 hours, drain the tank and fill it with fresh water.
  5. Run each faucet until you can’t smell the bleach.
  6. Drain the remaining water. If you still smell bleach, refill the tank and repeat the process until you can’t.
  7. Install any water filters and turn off the water heater bypass.

Charge ahead

RV battery being tested

Dead batteries are no good – especially when you’re on the road less traveled. Make sure your RV batteries are fully charged when it’s go time. Disconnect them from shore power and turn off your RV power, ensuring the main switch is “off.” Grab some latex gloves and safety glasses.

Check your batteries for cracks and replace any cracked batteries. Clean around the terminals with hot water and baking soda if you see any corrosion.

Now for the charge. Don’t be surprised if it takes a few hours – or longer – depending on the size of your batteries and how you chose to winterize them. (A battery can lose about 10% of its charge each month it’s in storage.) Charge them overnight if your vehicle has more than four.

But don’t just sit there! Move on to your tires while those suckers are charging.

Under pressure

Low tires can bring your fun to a screeching halt. Literally. Adequate tire pressure means less chance of rapid tread wear, uneven handling, or a blowout.

Check each tire, and your spare, for any cracks along the treads and sidewall. Check the pressure with a tire inflation gauge; inflate them to the pressure listed in the manufacturer guidelines.

Get hitched

RV getting hitched

Hitching your trailer correctly is critical. Do it wrong, and you could damage your trailer and even injure yourself (or at the very least, your ego).

If you’re not used to hitching up, watch our How to Hitch a Bumper Pull RV or How to Hitch a Fifth-Wheel RV videos, depending on what type of trailer you have.

You’ll also want to reference your owners’ manual for any considerations specific to your model. It’s important to be thorough and focus on the work at hand. Dewinterizing is about tending to the details; don’t rush your way through it.

Once you’re all hitched up (and you’ve double checked that your linch pin is completely secure), fire up your tow vehicle and drive around the block. Check your brakes and turn signals. Listen for any strange noises that need to get checked out. You’re not ready to hit the road until you’re sure everything is in fully working order.

We’ve covered a lot of ground here, but not everything. Check out our Dewinterizing Your RV guide to learn about inspecting the interior and exterior of your RV, testing your appliances, flushing your black tank, and more.


Togo RV

Pronounced [toh-goh], and rhymes with logo, Togo RV makes RVing easy so you can spend more time doing what you love. Want more miles, less trials? Run with Togo.

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