We want to make sure your vehicle is stored correctly, so we’ve provided you with these
comprehensive storage tips!
If you need advice on storing something you don’t see in our tips, don’t hesitate to call or email
Taking the proper precautions is very important if you want your RV or boat to be ready to use
when Spring comes. Failure to winterize your vehicle can cause significant damage such as
cracks, leaks, corrosion, and frozen pipes. Freezing, dormancy, moisture, and corrosion can lead
to large repair bills. In order to avoid costly repairs in the Spring, it is important to take the
proper precautions in the Fall.
Here are some necessary steps to take when winterizing your boat or RV.
Be sure to give your boat or RV a thorough cleaning inside and out. This will also let you
discover anything that might need repair before putting these items away until the spring. It
will let you take care of any spills or messes that you may not have been aware of, and thus let
you avoid having to uncover any mysterious odors in the spring. Clean your boat and apply a
rust inhibitor on the steering and control cables and on the metal hardware.
It is best to handle anything that is broken, worn, or damaged now. You also don’t want to
leave something like a crack sitting all winter long, as damage could become worse.
All electronics should be removed and stored in a safe, dry, and warm place.
Things such as cushions, curtains, sails, personal flotation devices and fire extinguishers should
also be stored. Lockers and drawers should be propped open to air out, and the refrigerator
should be emptied out. To avoid mildew, keep the moisture inside your boat in suspension and
on the move. A dehumidifier can help increase the interior air temperature and prevent
moisture, as it keeps the air circulating inside the boat. Be sure to place boxes of baking soda
throughout your boat to absorb moisture.
Drain the fluid from the manifolds and engine blocks, water pumps, and coolers. Be sure to
drain and fill the gear case with gear case lubricants. Drain the port-a-potty, fresh water tank,
and hot water heater. Add non-toxic antifreeze to the water tank, hot water heater and port-a-
Fuel and antifreeze
Fill the gas tank to prevent condensation, oxidation, and gas spoilage. Be sure to add stabilizer
to preserve the gas and prevent damage to the fuel system. Run the engine for about 15
minutes to make sure the stabilizer reaches the gas in your fuel lines. Put antifreeze into the
cooling system and into the supply lines for the water faucets and shower.
Run the engine to warm it up and change the oil while it is warm. Dirty engine oil can thicken
after long-term storage and make it difficult to start the boat when you are done storing it. Be
sure to change the oil filter, too.
Prepare the engine
You’ll also want to change the transmission fluid, remove spark plugs, and use “fogging oil” on
each cylinder. Spray a towel with fogging oil or WD-40 and wipe down the engine.
Sand the bottom of the boat and repaint it to prevent rust.
Prepare the battery
Disconnect the battery cables and remove the battery. Clean the terminal ends, wash the
battery with a solution of water and baking soda, and rinse it with distilled water. Apply a light
coating of grease to the terminal ends of the battery and cables. Be sure to use a trickle charger
to keep the battery charged. Store it in a dry, safe place and off of concrete.
Inspect the stern drive
Thoroughly inspect the stern drive and remove any plants or barnacles from the lower unit. For
stern drives with rubber boots, be sure to check for cracks or holes. Make sure you grease all
fittings and check your fluid levels.
Bilges should be clean and dry. Use soap, hot water, and a stiff brush to clean up any spills from
oil. Once the bilges are clean, spray them with a moisture-displacing lubricant and add
antifreeze to prevent water from freezing.
Choose a proper cover
Be sure to cover your boat tightly before storing it, even if it is being stored indoors. Make sure
that whatever cover you choose has good ventilation. Also be certain there are no tears or
damages to the cover.
Most insurance policies don’t cover damage caused by lack of maintenance, so winterizing is
very important. The best way to winterize your boat is to check the owner’s manual; every boat
is different. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help and ask lots of questions if you have never
winterized before. It’s better to be safe than sorry.