Winterisation – Getting Out In Your Motorhome During Winter

We’ve all had our travels limited by the pandemic over the last 18 months, so many people will be looking to make use of their motorhomes over the winter.

For those who usually pack their motorhome away when the mercury drops, this can be a daunting prospect.

It needn’t be, however, as long as you are prepared and your motorhome is up to the task.

You probably won’t be enjoying a barbecue in your flipflops as you might in the summer, but there are several advantages of winter travels, including fewer cars on the road and more space at campsites.

Here are some tips for maximising comfort during the winter:

Choose quality

Our friends on the continent are well-versed in year-round travel. For that reason, European motorhomes are significantly better at dealing with cold temperatures in comparison to UK vehicles.

Take HYMER motorhomes, for example. The brand’s motorhomes have to pass vigorous testing to be classed as ‘winterproof’. To qualify, the central point of a vehicle, one metre above the interior floor in the middle of the living area, must heat up to a comfortable 20°C within two hours – and the temperature difference at five other measuring points inside the vehicle must not exceed 7°C.

To be fully winterised, it’s the same procedure but the starting temperature is -15℃ and after two hours the plumbing should all be working normally.

German vehicles, including Carado, Dethleffs, HYMER and Niesmann+Bischoff tend to have double floors with radiators running through them, which makes a huge difference to the temperature of the interior.

For those particularly cold nights, a small electric heater can be used, but they do use a fair amount of electricity.

All premium German motorhomes are primarily made with aluminium sides rather than fibreglass, which also makes a noticeable difference.

Speak to our experts if you are looking for a fully winterised motorhome.

Tanks and pipes

For winter travels, you ideally want your freshwater tank to be located inside the vehicle. The biggest danger of travelling in the winter is that your water supply will freeze. Having an indoor tank reduces this risk significantly.

Also think about your wastewater tank. If that is externally located, make sure it is suitably insulated with a jacket, as well as covering the pipes and connectors with insulation. Low-power internal and external heaters can be purchased to protect your wastewater tank.

Some high-end motorhomes will have heated elements as standard to prevent wastewater tank freezing.

A winterised motorhome will have high grade insulation on all pipes. Motorhomes with double floors don’t need pipe insulation. On other vehicles, concentrate your efforts on the pipes which are flush with the exterior walls as these will get coldest.

When it comes to gas, use propane in cold weather, as propane has a higher boiling point than butane and gives you a higher gas efficiency.

Lubricants, Fluids and Tyres

It’s worth spending a little bit more on high quality oils and anti-freeze as they perform much better in the cold. Check the freezing point of your screen wash to ensure it will be sufficient in the conditions expected.

It’s possible for locks to freeze when it’s very cold, so make sure you keep them lubricated, particularly the entrance door.

Winter tyres are an absolute must and invest in a grip mat to help you pull the motorhome away off-site if the ground becomes sodden or, worse, snow-covered.

Extra measures

Don’t forget those extra winter warmers – a good quality duvet, an external thermal insulation screen and bonnet cover and a rubber door mat will make all the difference.

A thick curtain pulled around the cab can help as a lot of heat is lost through the windscreen. Also, silver screen should also be applied to the windows.

Keep the de-icer, windscreen scraper and shovel handy.

Most importantly, take extra caution and drive safely.

If you follow these relatively simple steps, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t enjoy motorhoming throughout the whole year, making full use of your vehicle rather than have it sit dormant for periods of time.

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