Most of us spend a lot of money on our motorhomes and wish to look after them the best we can. Many people use their motorhome throughout the year or drive to the warm south to Spain or Portugal for the winter. But for many others who perhaps are not retired or full-timing, they need to put them to bed for the winter. Which ever your preference the following list is a good starting point to protecting your motorhome from the harm winter can bring.


Covering your van in hay is one option, but for those who prefer a cleaner, less strawy method then read on…

Not everything on the list will pertain to everyone. Many German built motorhomes have a higher level of insulation than UK built vans so understanding the construction of your motorhome will help you chose how to protect it. If I have missed anything please use the comment section at the end to make a suggestion.


  1. Empty fresh water tank and ensure tank is as dry as possible.
  2. Empty grey waste tank and flush with fresh water.
  3. Pump out as much water from pipework as possible. If possible you may wish disconnect the water pipe from the fresh tank and blow any excess water out of the taps. It can also be a good idea to drive around for a few miles with the dump valves open which may shift any remaining water from the pipes.
  4. Some motorhomes have a water trap on the sinks and these are difficult to empty. If you have traps then make up a strong salt solution or mix up some windscreen washer anti-freeze and pour down just enough to fill the trap.
  5. Keep all taps open and in the mid position (between hot and cold positions) – ensuring water pump is switched off.
  6. Empty boiler tank. There is normally a dump valve to do this with.
  7. Remove shower head and lay end of the shower hose in shower tray.
  8. Ensure there is no water left in the water pump or filter. The pump filter can be unscrewed and this can be a good time to give it a clean.
  9. Empty the toilet flush tank or cistern if you have one and the pipework to the toilet flush.
  10. Empty toilet and clean.
  11. Empty windscreen washer bottle or add a high concentration of anti-freeze washer fluid.
  12. Check engine coolant level and add anti-freeze if needed.
  13. Ensure ventilation – top vent above kitchen and vent under fridge if you have them. Having air movement around the van will reduce damp and mould growth.
  14. Use dehumidifier gel boxes. This will help reduce the dampness in the motorhome over the winter. Check it regularly to ensure it is not full and replace gel if required. You will be amazed how much water these draw from the air. Alternatives to the gel boxes are cat litter and trays of salt but the gel boxes are cheap (see pound shops) and work very well.
  15. Plug any drain holes in sinks – will stop any smells coming up but also stop any moisture coming up from tanks.
  16. Close window blinds to keep light off the upholstery, but open and close again every week to ensure the tensioners or springs don’t deteriorate
  17. Put up windscreen silver covers to keep out light and frost.
  18. Remove all bedding, towels, clothing, cushions, etc.
  19. Remove foam seats and covers and place in home (or warm area if possible) – Avoids mould growth. If you do not have space in your home for the cushions then remove from their normal position and try to stand them on end and away from side walls to ensure maximum air circulation.
  20. Clean fridge and leave fridge door open and freezer door too.
  21. Cover exterior fridge vents with winter covers to stop rain and snow getting in.
  22. Close windscreen demister vents and set the controls to recirculate.
  23. If you leave waste vents or pipework open to the elements then wrap some nylon stocking type material over the exposed vents to stop spiders or vermin from getting inside.
  24. Cover the heater exhaust vent or flue if you have one – stops rain water or snow from getting in.
  25. Ensure your wind-out awning is completely dry before storing for the winter. Moisture trapped between the rolls will become mouldy and can stain the material.
  26. Open all internal lockers, cupboards, wardrobes and storage so air can circulate and leave open.
  27. Leave all interior doors such as bathroom, toilet, and shower open to allow maximum air flow
  28. Remove the leisure battery and keep charged over winter – Frost can damage the battery so do not leave it in extreme cold or on an exposed concrete floor. Some motorhome/campervan electronics have a procedure for “electronically” powering down the control panel prior to battery removal so ensure you check with your control panel/charger controller manual before battery removal. If you cannot remove the battery then ensure you plug in the charger / EHU every couple of weeks  for one full day to keep the battery fully charged.
  29. If possible leave the parking or hand brake off and use wheel chocks to steady the van.
  30. Put the stabilisers down if you have them.
  31. Ensure tyres are inflated to required pressure.
  32. Cover tyres if they are exposed to direct sun to reduce deterioration from UV rays.
  33. Check van once per week and open exterior lockers to get a change of air.
  34. Sometimes condensation can form on metal work inside of lockers. This is due to temperature differences and if left for long periods can form into puddles of water and cause damp. Check for this every week or so and dry this off. You may wish to consider the damp/moisture traps mentioned earlier inside lockers.
  35. Check exterior lockers for any rain water ingress – perhaps place newspaper under doors and check periodically for any dampness or staining on the paper.
  36. Start engine and drive at least a few hundred meters every week (or when time allows). Try and get the engine into all gears, especially 5th and above – some older Fiat vans had 5th gear problems with lack of gear box oil, but ensure engine is warm before trying 5th gear.
  37. If you have aircon on the cab or hab area, test it. Even if it seems too cold to test, you will at least keep the compressor motor occasionally moving and reduce problems when the summer comes.
  38. Ensure wheels are moved to different positions to minimise tyre deterioration and flat spots so the wheels is not sitting in the same place all the time. Some people will chalk a mark on the tyres to ensure they are not returned to the same position.
  39. Ensure diesel tank is full of fuel to minimise risk of water condensation forming in the tank.
  40. Remove smoke alarm and/or CO2 alarm battery and clock batteries, etc
  41. Ventilate the van once per week, especially if a sunny day, get a change of air in the van.
  42. Consider a small oil filled electric heater for really cold spells and put on frost setting to keep the frost out. Heaters can encourage condensation so watch for this and stop using if this appears to happen.
  43. Consider a whole or half cover for the motorhome. Ensure they are breathable so air can circulate.
  44. Remove all food items even if they are non-perishable.
  45. Damp can rise up from the ground if parked for long periods on long grass so be aware of where you park.
  46. Clean the motorhome exterior and put on at least one coat of polish to help protect the bodywork over the winter. There are some dedicated winter coatings available which help protect the exterior.
  47. Turn gas bottles off. Store them in a well ventilated area.
  48. At your weekly checks look for any evidence of mice getting inside the van. Some people leave a biscuit on the floor and check if is gone. Typical entry points may be around floor or fridge vents.
  49. Check engine bay for any signs of mice living under the bonnet. Mice and other rodents can chew and damage wiring.
  50. Remove any covers or front panels from radios or disconnect them to stop the radio from draining the starter battery (ensure you have any radio security codes). Also alarm systems can drain starter batteries so consider those too.
  51. If you have an A-class motorhome with a drop down bed, leave the bed in the down position so air can circulate around the bed structure and drapes. Move the bed up and down so the struts do not sit in the same position for too long.
  52. If you have an island bed where the bed flips up, prop up the bed to allow air circulation.
  53. Remove any window curtains or drapes to stop any mould growth.
  54. Spray some silicone oil on electrical contacts such as exposed EHU sockets to stop any corrosion.
  55. Lubricate window, skylight and door rubber seals with a tiny amount of silicone oil to stop the seals sticking to the plastic and possibly tearing when opened next season.
  56. If you wish you can SORN your vehicle off the road for a few months and get some TAX back, but be aware that your vehicle MUST be store off the public road and never driven on the public road. Ensure your insurance covers your van if it is on a SORN.
  57. If you are parked in a position where rain water may pool in a particular part of the roof then you may wish to put the van on your levelling blocks to ensure water runs off the roof quicker.
  58. Check for and clean off any bird droppings on the bodywork. Bird mess can be very acidic and damage paint work if left on for long periods.

(The photo at the top is from a non-motorhome holiday at the Ice Hotel in northern Sweden where all the rooms are made from snow and ice – don’t let your motorhome turn into an ice palace!)