Winter Camping

How to winter-proof your vehicle (camping)

During winter most camping vehicles are not in use. Many campers decide to stop using their motorhomes during the winter season. This also reduces tax and insurance fees when the vehicles are not registered during the winter months. It is essential to prepare for this “hibernation” period to prevent damage and to facilitate the start of the summer season later. Airy parking lots with a roof that allow the vehicle to be parked horizontally are ideal to withstand the winter season.

BE AWARE: Non-registered motorhomes and caravans may not be parked in public spaces/public parking lots. Before deregistering be sure to check the date of your vehicle inspection. If this date is set during the winter months, it is advisable to ask for a new date (before deregistration) to avoid problems when re-registering the vehicle later.

Vehicle Exterior

  • Clean the vehicle carefully. Be aware: Tires and windows should not be cleaned with high pressure water jets.
  • Fix defects in the paint work. Optionally, use car care products.
  • Check the car´s underbody. Treat parts that are liable to rust.
  • Have your car repaired, if necessary.
  • Sprays containing silicon, glycerine or talcum should be used on the rubber seals on doors and windows. Torn seals should be replaced.
  • Motorhomes: oil the clutch, break linkages and crank supports (Kurbelstütze) and cover the clutch.
  • Caravans should be jacked to take weight off the tires. If this is not an option, increase the air in the tires to the maximum pressure and remove weight from the tires by lowering the supports.
  • Manually move mobile home a quarter rotation of the wheels weekly.
  • Do not pull the hand break! Secure the vehicle with wedges.

Vehicle Interior

  • Clean the water system. Empty the water tanks (fresh and processed service/industrial water), pipes, boilers, pumps and filters. Turn off the water pump. Keep faucets set between cold and warm.
  • Clean the camping toilet’s waste-holding tank. It should be completely emptied and properly cleaned.
  • Close the gas cylinder valve, detach the gas pipes and pressure regulator and cover it with the cap.
  • Remove all food, empty the shelves.
  • Clean the interior.
  • Leave cupboards, doors and the refrigerator open.
  • Vacuum cushions, leave them in the car or preferably store them in a separate, dry space.
  • Open forced ventilation and keep it open. Tarps should not cover the ventilation openings. You might want to use tarps that are air permeable.
  • Air regularly (about every four to six weeks). Make sure the weather is dry outside. If the vehicle is parked inside, an open roof hatch allows for permanent ventilation.
  • A small bowl of salt is enough to absorb the humidity in the air.
  • Charge batteries fully and recharge regularly. Alternatively, you can remove them and store them in a rust-proof area.
  • Switch off electricity.

Motorhomes

  • Check radiator frost protection
  • Fill/use frost-proof window washing fluid
  • Change oil and filter
  • Change diesel filter or drain the water
  • Change spark plugs
  • Fill tank to prevent corrosion damage