If you've procrastinated on winterizing your RV, don't wait any longer! If you live in a cold climate, you need to take several steps to prepare your RV for the winter months. The biggest task is winterizing your RV plumbing. This involves draining all the water, blowing it out with compressed air, and filling the plumbing system with RV antifreeze.

I've broken the winterization process down into 10 steps. You need to do them all (or take your RV to a dealer and pay them to do it). NOTE: Every RV is different. For detailed directions beyond the highlights you can learn more by reading your Winnebago owner's manual to find the locations, parts, and procedures you'll need to winterize.

1. Winterize your RV plumbing

(A) You need to drain the holding tanks first. Connect the macerator hose to a drain in the garage floor. You must get ALL the water out of these tanks before winterizing. Otherwise, the tanks will freeze and be damaged.

(B) Next, drain the fresh water tank in the same way.

(C) Now it's time to drain the water heater. To start, remove the cover of the water heater. IMPORTANT SAFETY WARNING: First, pull the pressure release valve to ensure that all the pressure is out of the tank. Then drain the tank. Some RVs (those with steel tanks) will have an anode rod. You loosen this to drain the tank.

(D) Use an air compressor to blow out the plumbing. Don't go over 30 PSI or you could damage your plumbing. Use a pressure adapter to attach the incoming water hookup to the air compressor. Blow out all the remaining water in the water heater.

(E) Next you need to bypass the water heater. The water heater location may vary depending on your model. Most water heaters have a bypass loop which you can activate by turning on the bypass valve and turning off the input and output valves to the heater.

(F) Now you'll need to go around and, one by one, open every faucet inside the RV and leave it open until nothing but air comes out. You should only open one faucet at a time, so that all the air pressure is directed to clearing that water line. Note that hot and cold need to be drained separately, even if the sink has only one faucet handle. If it has only one handle, you need to rock it all the way to left until all the water is gone, then do the same thing all the way to the right.

For the toilet, hold the flush button lever just a little until nothing but air comes out. You will need to clear the outside shower this way, too. Once you have blown out all the faucets, you can disconnect the air compressor from the city water intake.

(G) Now it's time to put RV antifreeze into your plumbing.

IMPORTANT SAFETY WARNING: Do NOT use automotive antifreeze. It is highly toxic. It will kill you when you use your RV plumbing again in the spring, even if you think you've rinsed out all the antifreeze.

RV antifreeze is pink. It isn't toxic. You can safely put it in your RV plumbing system.

Here's how to do it. Consult your RV owner's manual to figure out where the water pump is on your model. Most recent Winnebago products have an antifreeze bypass that draws antifreeze into the plumbing, but not the main water tank. Refer to your owners manual or search online videos to see how to pump antifreeze into the plumbing system.

When you're ready to pump RV antifreeze from it's jug, then go one by one, to each faucet and run hot and cold separately until they show a flow of pink. Do the same thing with the toilet and outside shower.

(H) Now it's time to replace the cap or anode rod on the water heater. Seal the threads with Teflon tape or pipe dope before screwing it in. Close up all water tanks as well.

(I) Pour some antifreeze down every drain in the RV. That's it--you're done with the plumbing part.

2. Remove food and personal items

Use common sense and good hygiene here. Any type of food left in the RV will attract mice and bugs, so clean out every food storage area completely. Take all cold food out of the fridge and freezer. Even dry goods in cans, bags, and plastic containers have to go. The cans could freeze and explode, and mice can chew through plastic. If there is any food left in your RV, mice WILL find a way in, even if you take all the sealing precautions mentioned below (Step 5).

Take out all laundry and cloth products as well. If these have any type of food residue on them, they will attract pests even if you've removed all your food.

Lastly, remove any valuables, just to be on the safe side.

3. Clean the inside of your RV thoroughly

Wipe down every surface, especially those that might have food residues on them. Vacuum as necessary.

Thaw your freezer completely and let it dry out with the door open. Leave the freezer and fridge doors open and block them open so they don't close. Put a fresh, open box of baking soda in each place where food is stored to keep everything odor-free for spring.

4. Turn off electrical systems

You need to turn off your RV's water pump, water heater, and other electrical appliances. Throw the main circuit breaker to the OFF position. Remove all batteries from small appliances.

5. Cover all vents and openings

Block the exhaust pipe with steel wool. Rodents love to crawl in here. You should also cover all vents and openings with screening. Close all roof vents and make sure the roof is in good repair. Check window seals for caulking failures and repair them as necessary.

Basically, you need to seal the RV so that mice and insects can't get in. You don't want to find a surprise in the spring.

6. Take weight off tires

If you leave your RV parked on its tires all winter, the tires could develop flat spots. If they are under-inflated, or if they lose some air over the course of several months, the sidewalls could begin to crack, which will make the tires unsafe to ride on in the spring.

Basically, you need to take some weight off your RV tires while the vehicle is parked for the winter. You need to park it on a hard, level concrete pad. Do NOT park on asphalt. Roger M, a blogger over at RV Tire Safety, warns that this can cause damage to the rubber. He suggests parking your tires on 2x8 planks.

Also, don't park the RV on bare ground, mud, grass, or gravel. If your RV has leveling jacks, you can use these to raise your rig off the ground. Follow your owner's manual. If you RV doesn't have leveling jacks, you can use external jacks, as long as they are heavy duty and you're parked on hard, level concrete.

The goal is to lift some pressure off the tires. However, you don't want your tires hanging in the air! They should still be in contact with the ground. Set the parking brake and block all four wheels in the front and the back.

Note: You CANNOT use stabilizing jacks to park your RV for the winter.

If you don't have any jacks you can use, you will need to move your RV occasionally. The goal

is to rotate the tires about one half rotation. Just start the RV, put it in drive or reverse, and let it creep forward or backward about 3 feet. You can do this 2-3 times during the winter, and your RV will be fine.

You should always creep forward in the same direction. If you creep forward for the first rotation, then creep backward the same distance for the second rotation, you could end up with the tires in the same position as when you started, which would cancel out what you just did.

7. Cover your tires

You'll want to cover your tires with white RV tire covers. Along with taking the weight off the tires, covering them will help prevent cracking and dry rotting.

8. Cover your RV with a breathable RV cover

You need to keep your RV covered, but make sure you use a breathable cover. You don't want mold and mildew forming under there when the temperature is above freezing. Cover your RV and tie down the corners of the cover. This will protect your RV all winter.

9. Keep the roof clear of snow

Unlike the roof on your house, your RV roof can't hold the weight of snow. Any time you get fresh snow, you should clean the roof off as soon as possible. This will be easier before the snow has a chance to compress under new snow or, even worse, before it partially melts and freezes solid again. Use a short step ladder and a shovel, and be careful.

10. Fix things now so they will be spring ready

Don't put it off. Buy any replacement RV parts you need and do repairs before you winterize.

The Bottom Line

While every RV is different, you can follow these basic steps (modified to fit your model), and you'll be in good shape for winter. Stay safe, and here's to camping again in the spring!


Comments on this post are moderated, so they will not appear instantly. All relevant questions and helpful notes are welcome! If you have a service inquiry or question related to your RV, please reach out to the customer care team directly using the phone numbers or contact form on this page .

User commented on October 18, 2021 12:21 PM
User commented on October 18, 2021 12:21 PM
User commented on October 24, 2021 2:02 PM
I bought a used 2016 Minnie Winnie this past July from a private owner. I'm the third owner. The previous owner did not have the owners manual and any other books on the RV. Could you please let me know where I can get a manual.
User commented on October 25, 2021 12:12 PM
Hello! You can find the 2016 Winnebago Operator Manuals here https://www.winnebago.com/owners/owner-resources/manuals-and-diagrams/operator-manuals/2016. Thank you!
User commented on November 20, 2022 4:56 PM
Hmm. Nice general instructions. For a 2022 Winnebago Micro Minnie Flex- 1. Hot water heater: Drain the hot water heater. Open the hot water heater exterior door (non-entry side of the RV near the rear). When cool, release the pressure using the pressure release lever (similar to your house hot water heater pressure release lever). Pull down the large yellow lever. Your hot water filter will eject (save it for next year) and the hot water heater will drain. Now remove the interior bottom wood panel next to your toilet. Close the cock that allows the cold water to enter the heater ( blue water line). Close the cock that allow hot water to exit the hot water heater (red water line). Your have now bypassed the heater for when the antifreeze is entered into the system…this is how it should be. 2.Drain the fresh water tank. The drain is just in front of the wheels under the trailer on the door side. 3. Drain the cold and hot water from the pipes. Remove the inside panel under your sink in the bathroom. There are two black, vertical structure about 3” high, one attached to the blue and one attached to the red water lines. Pull the tops up. This will drain the cold and hot water lines AFTER you open all the cold and hot water spigots. 4. Take up fhe interior floor panel under the kitchen sink. You may have to remove the lower door access hinge. This is your water pump. Close the cock that pulls water from the fresh water tank (the line is white). Open the cock that attaches to a black pipe that enters the pump but the other end of the pipe attaches to nothing. FINAL- put the black pipe that attaches to nothing into the antifreeze jug. Close all hot and cold water spikots. Turn on the water pump. It will pump antifreeze from the container into the pipes of the RV…however, you need to open each cold and hot spikot one at a time until pink antifreeze exits and then close it. Don’t forget the external shower hot and cold faucets. Now pour antifreeze into each drain (shower, sinks). That is pretty much it. Replace your panels or let them sit until you de-antifreeze the unit another day.
User commented on December 11, 2022 9:41 AM
We are looking at this model to buy ( used at this point) What temperatures can an Intent model still be usable? What temperatures should it be winterized. I noticed the tanks are in a heated compartment based on spec. ( that i assume if you have it powered. ) is any model more safe in colder weather. We live in Virginals Beach but plan on retiring and traveling .want to make sure what extremes we can go or not go in temperature and when setting still connected and then winterized .
User commented on June 7, 2023 7:26 PM
I just purchased a new 2022 Micro Minnie FLX (closeout) and am frustrated to not find any manuals online. Does one come with this when I pick it up or do I just fend for myself only to find I've voided the warranty?
User commented on June 8, 2023 12:59 PM
Manuals should come with your RV when you pick it up. However, here is a general Winnebago towables manual that may be helpful: https://www.winnebago.com/Admin/Public/Download.aspx?file=Files/Files/Winnebago/Resources/OperatorManuals/Operator2020/20TOWABLES_US.pdf You can also reach out to the Winnebago Customer Care towables team for additional product questions: (574) 825-8052.
User commented on October 1, 2023 10:46 PM
Voyage 2427rb need to get access to waterheater by pass doesn't have access panel