Winter is just around the corner, or depending on where you stay it is already here! If, like most people you aren’t packing off on a winter emigration we have collected a few hints and tips about how to look after your ‘van when its parked up during the winter.
It is hugely important vehicles are ‘winterised’ through the colder months to avoid any unnecessary and sometimes very expensive damage being caused. Pipework, appliances and furniture are all venerable when lying up, unused for several weeks. So...
Make sure that the vehicle is completely empty - Draining all water from the appliances, pipework and containers is essential. Leave all taps open and drain the fresh water tank. This should be left for approximately 20-30mins to allow all water to drain before shutting off the drain valve or replacing the drain plug. Remember to leave all taps open to avoid any potential pressure build up. Also drain any water carriers/containers inside the van. Leave the lid off to limit any bacterial build up or bad smells.
Talking of bad smells, leave your fridge door open! - Firstly, make sure you empty and clean your fridge, again to avoid any bacterial build up and bad odours. You will need to turn your fridge off and make sure it does not come on when/if you plug your ‘van into 240v mains. Most modern fridges have a ‘winter lock position’ which allows the door to stay slightly ajar and air to move freely.
Remove all food - Food left in your vehicle believe it or not, will attract little visitors. Whether its insects, spiders or mice they will find a way! Also, out of date food found lying up a couple of weeks is rarely a pleasant discovery!
Guard against vermin – Although your vehicle might not look too inviting sitting outside covered in snow, it will look particularly homely to our little furry friends. Bear this in mind, because once they are in they can cause all sorts of damage Ensure all vents are protected – but not air tight, some of these will be gas drop vents and cannot be sealed off.
Remove upholstery and open all cupboards and doors – It is important that the air circulates. If you can, take all cushions etc. out of the ‘van and open every door, bedbox, and locker possible.
Limit unwanted attention – remove all fancy goods; sat-navs, TV’s, stereos, games consoles etc. Check that all your windows, lockers and entry points into the vehicle are locked…double check! Fit internal reflective cab screens not only to reduce condensation but to stop people getting a look into what’s inside. Also close all your curtains and if necessary, close your blinds.
Limit internal dampness – Every little helps in this case. Place moisture traps (or bowls of salt) to trap the moisture that’s in the air (check daily to see if the salt/crystals need replaced). If your vehicle is plugged into mains electrics, use a dehumidifier or an oil-filled radiator to decrease atmospheric moisture levels. This only needs to be on a few hours a day on a low setting, but make sure your cupboard doors are open!
Leisure power – If you cannot connect to mains electrics, disconnect your leisure battery to and charge every so often to make sure that its healthy and ready to go for the following year!
Fridge and water heater vent covers – available from ourselves, these panels sit inside the external fridge vents and stop wind, rain, frost and little pests from getting inside your van. Depending on water heater manufacturer, winter covers simply clip onto the external vent.
Take your motorhome for a spin once in a while – It’s a good idea to take your vehicle for a short run to keep the batteries topped up. A short half an hour blast down the motorway would suffice. This is also a good idea because it keeps the mechanics of the engine, brakes and suspension in working order.
Leave your parking brake off – If it’s a motorhome, leave it in gear. If it’s a caravan, lower your corner steadies and chock the wheel. If possible, remove your wheels altogether – this increases the life of the tyre as the cold temperatures along with lack of rotation is not good for the rubber. Note that it is always wise to get your tyres professionally checked after winter, especially before any long journeys.
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