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Get Ready for Spring: RV Dewinterizing Tips from a Pro

| Updated Apr 2, 2023

Is your RV ready for a new season of camping? In Episode 440 of the RV Podcast, we have insider RV dewinterizing tips from one of the most respected pros in the industry. 

Chris Dougherty is our special guest and Chris really knows his stuff. He presents very popular RV maintenance seminars at the country’s biggest RV shows and has been an RV industry consultant for years.

You can watch the video version on our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel by clicking the player below.

If you'd rather listen to an audio only version, you can download the RV Podcast on your favorite podcast app or click the audio player below.

RV Lifestyle Audience Feedback

We had a lot of feedback from last week’s article on the danger of developing blood clots from sitting too long in an RV. In that podcast, we interviewed a widow whose husband died of a blood clot after they pulled into a campground after a day of driving. In the interview, she shared how her membership in the FMCA greatly helped her during her time of need.

We received this note from Angela about our story last week:

This is something I think about often and we have traveled long distances without stops as well. NO MORE! We will definitely be stopping more often after hearing about this tragedy. We joined FMCA a year ago and I let our membership lapse in January. After realizing this last month, I immediately called and paid that $50 to get our membership up to date. After hearing your story, I am so glad I did. That $50 is nothing compared to what they do in these situations and such a peace of mind. God bless you. – Angela

We also heard from nurses and doctors who underscored the advice we presented in the podcast about taking frequent exercise break when doing RV travel.

We also had a lot of audience feedback about our RV Lifestyle blog story about the sudden shutdown of RVillage now that it has been acquired by a company owned by Thor Industries, the largest RV corporation in the world. Here’s a representative one:

I was a gold member of RVillage and sad to see it go. I enjoyed going to 2 of their rallies. I learned a lot about RV stuff there and got to meet several YouTube RVers we follow at the last one we went to.
I will also miss knowing when a fellow RVillager comes to our area, I have met some nice people through their app and these notifications. I will be sad to see this end. Big corporations always mess things up.-

Thanks to everyone for all the feedback. How about you? If you have a comment or question for us, just email us by clicking here:

Interview of the Week – Dewinterizing Tips from a Pro

Chris Daugherty gives Rv dewinterizng tips
Chris Dougherty gives Rv dewinterizng tips

As the weather starts to warm up, it's time to start thinking about getting your RV back on the road. 

However, if your RV has been in storage for the winter, there are a few important steps you'll need to take to get it ready for spring. 

Luckily, we've got you covered with insider RV dewinterizing tips from a pro. 

In this interview, we'll walk you through the process of preparing your RV for the upcoming season, so you can hit the road with confidence. 

From checking the battery to flushing the water system, RV tech expert Chris Dougherty’s advice will ensure that your RV is in top condition and ready for all your spring adventures.

Chris spent years learning the ropes as an RV technician and lifelong RVer, and for 20 years, has been bringing that knowledge to his training programs and seminars around North America. Chris trains both new and experienced RV technicians as well as new and seasoned RVers on how to care for their RVs.

Click the players above to see or hear this week's interview.

Next week. We’ll continue our discussion of getting your RV ready for use with a look at how to wake up your RV’s electrical system after its long winter nap.

RV Tip of the Week – RV Spring Checklist

Brenda of Queen Bee RV gives us an RV Spring checklist
Brenda of Queen Bee RV gives us an RV Spring checklist

Time now for a brand new segment of the podcast – the RV Tip of the week from certified RV Inspector Brenda of Queen Bee RV

Besides a thriving RV inspection business, Brenda’s focus is on educating RVers on how to care for their RVs – especially women RVers – and we’ve invited her to be a regular contributor to the podcast, sharing her expertise with our entire audience.

Here’s Brenda.. The RV Queen Bee… with this week's RV Tip on having an RV spring checklist..

Get-ready-for-spring RVing checklist to hit the road with peace of mind

Whether you have stored your RV away for the winter or even if you are a full-timer and use your RV year round, there is nothing like a good spring “get-ready” list to start the warm weather camping season off right!  Here are the steps I do when prepping for the new season:

  • I start by washing the exterior, awning, and roof – remember to allow the awning to dry completely before retracting.
  • Once it’s clean, I check all of the sealant on my roof, windows, cargo doors and inspect all over for possible water intrusion.
  • Now it’s time for de-winterizing and sanitizing the entire water system including my freshwater holding tank – and this is the time I also check for plumbing leaks.
  • Next, I send some water and tank treatment into the black and gray tanks and assess if it’s time for new sewer accessories.
  • I also sanitize the water heater, replace the anode rod with a new one, fill it with water and check for proper operation, once I have the propane system back in order.
  • For the propane system, I suggest getting a professional leak drop test performed or at the very least, swab all propane connections with some dish soap and do your own bubble test.  And, if they are not already full, I will take the propane tanks to the dispenser for topping off.
  • I will check my tire pressure, and the tread, plus sidewall condition on all tires including the spare.
  • If you have a motorized, consider having the engine serviced and all fluids checked.
  • Towables can inspect their hitch assembly components.
  • Now, I can connect my 7-pin to confirm the DOT lights, turn signals, and brake lights on the exterior and check my breakaway switch and electric wheel brakes for proper operation.
  • Time for some electrical:  I take a look at my coach battery condition for signs of corrosion, top off the water fill wells on my lead acid batteries with distilled water, and then continue to charge if needed.
  • Extend and retract slide rooms and don’t forget to lube the seals.
  • Safety essentials are my favorite items to bring peace of mind, so I test my emergency exit windows, all of the detectors and make sure my fire extinguisher is charged.  
  • This is a great time to get that air conditioner serviced, clean the furnace return area and check the fridge for proper operation.
  • And finally, I will scrub down the interior.
  • If this sounds overwhelming, hire a Certified mobile technician or inspector to knock out over half of this list!

Brenda the RV Queen Bee will be back with more RV tips on our next episode.

RV App of the Week

Time now for our RV App of the week, drawn from the pages of our sister blog that celebrates the many ways technology enhances the travel experience. 

This week's app came from a recent NewTravelTech story on staying organized on the road. It is:

Todoist – an awesome to-do list and task manager that will help you be organized and focused. It’s great for travelers of all types, as well as remote workers. It has a delightful simple interface that works across all your different devices and platforms, from laptops to smartphones to tablets… even web browsers on your desktop.

This app has been around for 16 years now and has tens of millions is users, including us. It’s constantly tweaked and updated, and of all the organizers we’ve tried, it’s the one we keep returning to. Todoist – Get ‘er done!

RV News of the Week

Get Ready for Spring: RV Dewinterizing Tips from a Pro 1

Smokeless campsites? Some Michigan residents are requesting this, and the state is considering ways to make it happen

Ever find yourself at a crowded campground where every single site seemed to be having a fire, filling the air with so much smoke it was hard to breath?

Apparently this can be tough for a lot of people, so much so the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is considering finding a way to offer smokeless campsites after this request dominated a recent discussion on the importance of campfires on the camping experience.

Some people with health issues like asthma can't tolerate all the campfire smoke. The department has stressed it does not plan to eliminate campfires from state campgrounds but rather seek a way to offer smokeless campsites in addition. Here is a copy of the story and we will keep you posted on how this all plays out.

Michigan is a wonderful state for camping. To see our 7 Day Adventure Guides that could help you plan a Michigan camping adventure, click here.

New Hampshire campground under state investigation for contaminated water causing Legionnaires' disease

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is warning campers of an on-going Legionnaires' disease investigation at the state's Meredith Woods and Clearwater Campground.

Five people have required hospitalization after catching Legionnaires' disease from the campground between early Fall 2021 and January 2023, according to the state health department. All campers did recover.

This disease is caused by Legionella bacteria. People can get sick from it by inhaling water droplets in showers, hot tubs or faucets. It is usually not spread person-to-person, or by swimming or drinking, according to a story we found here

The health department said most people exposed to this bacteria do not get sick, but for some, it can cause pneumonia, respiratory problems, and even death.  

Start up luxury Fifth Wheel maker Brinkley RV moves into 175,000-square-foot manufacturing plant

Brinkley RV officially has moved into its new Goshen, Indiana, plant having a local pastor bless the new plant on its 250-acre campus. 

Brinkley is a new mid-sized luxury Fifth Wheel start up founded by some veteran RV executives dedicated to making quality RVs. We reviewed the Brinkly fifth wheels during the recent Tampa RV Supershow and came away very impressed with their quality.

The new company says it is dedicated to making the industry better and is doing some things differently, like eliminating exterior sealants and using rivets rather than screws and more.

For more see this story in RVBusiness; or watch our review of the Brinkley, which we included in our Tampa RV Show video, click here.

Elvis Presley's private jet arrives in Florida, YouTube star to transform it into RV

Elvis Presley's abandoned private jet has relocated to Florida where a popular YouTube star hopes to transform the once-opulent aircraft into a RV. 

The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s 1962 Lockheed JetStar made the journey from Roswell, New Mexico, to Florida, traveling more than 1,600 miles after it sat abandoned in the desert for 40 years. It is now being stored in Plant City, Florida, where James Webb of “Jimmy’s World” on YouTube has already begun re-envisioning the piece of history. 

Webb bought the battered jet for $234,000 at an auction at the Roswell International Air Center in New Mexico on Jan 8 — which would have been Presley’s 88th birthday.

Webb’s plan is to take the next year to transform the plane into a RV before he takes off to tour the country and raise funds for charities.

RV Questions of the Week

Here’s a question from Mandy

Question: We travel with two Australian Shepherds and were looking to buy a good dog fence to let them be outside our camper and still be constrained. But I’m hearing that some RV parks don't allow portable fences. Is this true? – Mandy

Answer: Yes it is true. Not most, of course, but more than a few now.
We saw an interesting notice issued by the Indiana State Parks last week telling campers with pets that portable dog fences are not allowed in campsites. Instead, all dogs need to be on a six-foot leash or caged.

The reason is dogs have apparently been routinely hoping the fence and running free, and children have reached over the fence to pet the dogs and were bit. So now all campers have been notified that only leashes are permitted.

We know other campgrounds, mostly private, have done similar bans because of dogs that were able to jump out of the fences or dogs that barked too much and brought a lot of complaints. So it appears to be a trend on the rise.

Here’s a newbie question from Pam:

Question: You had a recent blog story about a vehicle pulled by an RV and you called it a “toad.” What's a toad? – Pam

Answer: Think about it. Another word for pulling that vehicle is towing it…or having towed… which sounds exactly like the reptile called a toad.

To send us your questions and comments, click here.

Get Ready for Spring: RV Dewinterizing Tips from a Pro 2

Get the Home Study Course today and worry about the road, not the repairs!
Every time you move your RV it's like driving through a hurricane during an earthquake. Parts break and many items need to be maintained, this program will show you how you can save time and money by gaining the confidence to take on the majority of the issues you’ll come across. Don’t get caught with your RV in the shop! Learn how you can maintain and repair your RV at your own pace and at the most convenient time for you! This course is produced by the National RV Training Academy.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-03-29

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

One Response to “Get Ready for Spring: RV Dewinterizing Tips from a Pro”

March 29, 2023at9:22 am, Bill Azzarello said:

I listened to Chris about dewinterizing and I didn’t hear him say anything about draining the antifreeze before filling the tanks with water and bleach to sanitize. Did I miss something or do you just fill the tanks with bleach water with the antifreeze still in them? Thanks for all of your informational podcasts!


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