|The winter months can draw on and if you have not ensured your van is ready for the frost and months of idleness then you could be facing big problems and even expensive repair bills. We have listed a few simple pointers to help your winter pass as trouble free as possible.
There are two sections to this article. Below is part one - 16 tips for Internal Winter preparations and you can find part two - External Winter Preparation tips here
Sixteen Tips for Internal Winter Preparations
- 1. The Water System – completely drain the hot and cold water system in
the van, you can do this by ensuring all the taps are open and removing the
drain plug, normally on the outside of the van (see owners handbook). This
process can take up to an hour so please be patient. A good time to drain the system is before you leave your last outing of the year, the journey home should ensure all water is drained. Once back ensure
that the bung is replaced in the drain plugs but leave the taps open, to stop
the build up of pressure in the system.
- 2. If your van has a water filter fitted either fully
remove it or leave a note to replace it next season. If you fit the new one
before the winter period it could get damp and damaged by the frost.
- 3. Drain all water carriers completely and leave the plugs
off to avoid unwanted smells.
- 4. The Toilet – Completely drain the water holding tank
into the cassette and remove the cassette for draining and cleaning.
Once the cassette is fully cleaned out and rinsed use Thetford’s
Maintenance Spray or similar to coat the cassette seal and blade. This will help
avoid corrosion over the winter months (this is available from your local
dealers). Using alternative chemicals may result in permanent damage to the
seals. Leave the blade open to avoid sticking, this also helps prevent the
cassette from being stolen.
- 5. Plug all water inlets and waste outlets to avoid smell
and creepy crawlies coming in.
- 6. To take care of your upholstery, remove all cushions, pillows and bedding and if possible, store
them in your home. If not remove the seats and back cushions and place them, end
on end in the centre walkway of the caravan.
- 7. Open all internal doors and cupboards to allow the air to circulate.
- 8. Thoroughly clean out all cupboards and ensure that no crumbs, opened packets remain in the van.
Storing tinned foods and non-perishable items should be OK over winter.
- 9. Thoroughly clean the fridge/freezer with bicarb of soda or anti-bacterial liquid.
Leave the door propped open to avoid pressure build up and a stagnant smell.
- 10. Ensure all windows and vents are locked shut and unobstructed and are secure from mice,
spiders etc. Close all blinds/curtains for extra security.
- 11. Remove your leisure battery if you can and keep the charge topped up every 5-6 weeks, please
note if you van has an alarm these normally are run off their own separate
batteries, so removal of the leisure battery should not affect the security,
(you will need to check out your own van to ensure this is the case)
- 12. If you can remove all gas cylinders do so and store in an adequately ventilated location.
If not ensure that all cylinders are fully turned off and the gas
compartment is locked. Remember when storing Butane gas, it begins to freeze at
temperatures below 4 degrees C. Propane does not.
- 13. Multi-pin plug sockets should be protected from the
weather, but not fully sealed as this can encourage condensation. Some moisture
repellent sprays, such as WD 40 can damage plastics so we suggest a Tri-Flo
product or Vaseline applied around the sockets.
- 14. If the radio is of the removable type, take it out over
winter and store in the house.
- 15. Carry out periodic inspections of your van over winter
to ensure that no damp is in the van and to ensure it is holding out against the
- 16. Suggestion by another UKCampsite.co.uk member: I've had a static van for around 40 years and do most of what you suggest for a tourer. Another essential thing that helps very much is to leave bowls of salt throughout the Van. Sometimes if the winter has been really bad the bowls have water over the top of the salt level but mostly its just damp. Very inexpensive way to keep the van dry and everyone I've told this to now swears by it. Never had a damp van yet.
Following these guide lines will help in the safe and happy storage of your
van over the winter period. Please note UKCampsite.co.uk cannot be held
responsible for any advice given - if in doubt please consult an expert.
This article has the following linked sections
||Winterising Your Caravan - External Guidelines|
If you’re not planning to use your caravan through the winter, be prepared by following these simple guidelines to protect your caravan from snow, ice, and cold weather, whilst in winter storage, or out of use. - part two: External Pre-Winter Guide-lines
||Handy tips for Winter Touring|
Caravanning through the winter months can provide some of the best trips away. Here are some handy care tips if you have decided not to layup the van, and are instead planning on some winter touring.