Q&A With Jim Pirie of OK TIRE

With the arrival of the colder weather, it’s time for most RV owners to pack it in for the season. But not so fast! Prepping your RV for storage will ensure that your vehicle is protected over the cold months and mean less work or surprise in the spring, so you can hit the road as soon as the weather warms up.

We chatted with RV expert and owner of OK Tire Woodstock, ON, Jim Pirie to learn what you need to do before storing your RV over the winter.

Why should you store your RV for the winter, what are the risks of not storing your RV?

Winterizing your RV is crucial when living in Canada as the weather can take a toll if you don’t prepare properly. Most RVs are not fit to be lived in during the coldest months, so storing your vehicle the right way is important. Failing to do so can lead to plumbing failure, mould and mildew, frozen batteries, and pest infestation along with a list of other potential problems.

Is there any way to make an RV livable for the winter months?

A very small number of RV models come with a true cold weather package and if you purchased an RV that wasn’t designed for winter in Canada it is not possible to make it function long-term as a livable option. The waterlines, body of the unit, and accessories are not equipped to handle the extreme cold and road salt. Trying to make your RV run throughout the winter will quickly depreciate its value and could pose a danger to yourself and your passengers.

When prepping your RV for winter storage does the water system need to be winterized?

All liquids should be drained and antifreeze should be run through the pipes, drain taps and valves. This becomes especially crucial if you are planning to store your vehicle outdoors where temperatures will be below zero.

Is mould or mildew a risk? If so, any tips for avoiding?

The last thing you want is to open your RV doors in the spring and be hit with the smell of mildew or even worse, mould. To prevent this, ensure all vents or pipes that are open to the outside are sealed to prevent moisture from getting in. It’s also a good idea to leave any dark, enclosed spaces like cabinets and cupboards open and to prop open your fridge to allow for airflow. You could also add desiccant packets to absorb moisture.

Should RV batteries be removed or remain in the RV for the winter?

I recommend removing all batteries to prevent freezing and to store them in a temperate, dry location. This will help remove the risk of corrosion to the battery when it’s not being used for a long stretch. If you have solar chargers, make sure you follow the manufacture recommendations to avoid battery failure in the spring.

Any tips on ensuring your RV doesn’t become a hibernation place for small critters?

Wildlife will naturally seek out warm, quiet places to hide out in the winter and while these creatures might be cute they can wreak havoc on your RV. It’s obvious that all food items should be removed but also be sure to get rid of any toilet paper, paper towels, papers, rags, sheets and bedding. These can all be used to make your RV a cozy nest for critters. It is also crucial to close off any entrances where they might be able to enter from.

Should RV tires be removed and stored for the winter season?

RV tires do not need to be removed but preparation must be done to store them properly. Tires should be protected from the sun as consistent UV light can cause damage to the rubber. Ensuring your tires are inflated to the maximum recommended pressure will help prevent weakening of the tires. Propping each tire on top of wood blocks in a good idea as sitting in moisture or on cold concrete can also harm your tires. Finally, jacking the vehicle is a great option if you want to prevent flat spots from developing and preventing your tires from sitting in moisture.

Does OK Tire offer any services to help RV owners prep their vehicles for winter storage?

If you are a first-time RV owner, you must winterize your RV before sending it off for its winter hibernation. OK Tire offers a full range of accessories for RVs such as our seasonal winter covers.

While the vast majority of RV owners winterize their trailers by themselves, OK Tire offers a specific Winterizing Package for trailer owners seeking professional assistance. The services in this package include:

  1. Flushing all the liquids from the RV, making sure all the pipes are empty.
  2. Adding antifreeze that will be run through the pipes, drain taps and valves.
  3. Unplugging and removing all the batteries.

As part of this package, OK Tire conducts a complete vehicle inspection so there are no last-minute surprises when you bring your RV out in spring. This includes:

  1. Battery check
  2. Light check
  3. Tire Check
  4. Hose and belt inspection (motor home)

In addition to these checks, OK Tire also offers rodent prevention instructions to keep your RV clean. Moving into early spring, we will also recharge the trailer’s battery to get the RV ready for our customers’ summer adventures.

About OK Tire 

OK Tire is the largest independent tire and auto service retailer in Canada and has been part of the Canadian landscape since 1953. There are over 300 independently owned and operated OK Tire locations across the country. They offer a full range of services for all applications including passenger vehicle, light truck, RVs, trailers and more. Each location is unique, tailoring its offerings to meet customers’ needs and covering everything in, around, on or behind any vehicle. Customers receive nationwide warranties on automotive services and the personal service of a local owner/manager who lives in, shops in, and supports their community.

For more information visit www.oktire.com 

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