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How to winterise your caravan: protecting your motorhome for winter

  • Get your caravan ready for winter
  • Choose to store or prepare it for all-year use
  • Avoid frozen pipes and damp with Parkers’ top tips

Written by Seth Walton Published: 19 December 2022 Updated: 8 August 2023

Caravans are great for spontaneous summer getaways, but they can take a beating during the colder months if not properly looked after. With winter approaching, it’s worth taking a few precautions to ensure your mobile home remains in top condition.

Whether you’re winterising your caravan for all-year use, or preparing to store it away over the colder months, there are a few tasks worth doing to avoid expensive service, maintenance and repair costs come the springtime.

How to protect your caravan this winter


It’s important to keep your caravan’s battery healthy throughout the year, as naturally the battery will be less efficient in the winter. This means keeping it topped up to avoid getting caught out with a heavily depleted or dead battery the next time you go away.

A campervan with a bike on the roof tows a caravan into a pretty pastel sky on the motorway
Prepare for the winter with a few precautions.

How long should a caravan battery last?

Caravan batteries last about five years. If they’re well-looked after, you’re more likely to see this longevity. But if you plan to store your caravan for the winter, it could be worth removing the battery and storing it separately in a warmer environment. Batteries aren’t fans of extreme cold as the internal chemistry can degrade in harsh conditions. Keep your battery in warm ambient temperature to ensure it’s ready to go the following season. 


If food debris like crumbs or spillages is left in the caravan over an extended period of time, it will start to fester. Leave it long enough and the caravan could become a bacterial hazard zone of rancid odours. A thorough anti-bac valet to leave it sparkling clean should do the trick. Whether you’re storing it or using it, you’ll be grateful of your diligence the next time you go away.

What’s the best way to clean a caravan’s exterior?

Cleaning your caravan can be a bit awkward. For the best results, jet-wash the vehicle (on a gentler setting) or get a long-handled mop or brush to reach a caravan’s external height, then continue on with a sponge – just like you would when cleaning a car.

A man handles the salad drawer of the caravan fridge
Give your fridge a proper clean before shutting down for the winter.

Whether you’re storing or not, a caravan cover is a smart choice too. After scrubbing the outside clean and decontaminating it from the road dirt, throw a cover over to protect it from the elements – don’t forget to cover the hitch to avoid it rusting.

What to do with a caravan fridge when not in use

A caravan compressor fridge is a bit different to your home fridge. Designed to work efficiently from a 12V power supply and to keep things cold in hotter climates, caravan fridges require more specialist engineering but they’re not cheap.

Make sure the doors of the refrigerator and freezer are left ajar. This stops any bad smells or stale air from festering. Some also say a small dish of freeze-dried coffee will absorb any residual moisture and neutralise any odours. Just remember to remove before you move the caravan again.


A 6kg propane or butane gas cylinder can weigh as much as 17kg when full, so always handle them with care to avoid injury. Any gas bottles or cylinders stowed away inside could pose a health risk to always keep them in a well ventilated area or outside if possible. Be sure to tightly close any bottle before stowing them away to avoid any leaking fumes.  

A close up of two orange Calor gas cylinders connected to a static caravan
Top up your gas bottles over winter.

How much is a Calor gas bottle in the UK?

If you’re storing your caravan for winter, it’s an ideal time to remove your gas cylinder and prepare to get a top-up in the spring before you start using it again.

Depending on their size and the type of gas used, gas bottles can cost anything from £70 up to £105, with top-ups co . Top-ups could be as much as £30, depending on how much you need, but prices will change and be affected by the current energy crisis.


Your caravan is going to be useless if someone steals it, or worse still, starts living in it. Just like parking on your driveway, such a trespass is a civil offence so while the police would sympathise, there’s no crime being committed. Avoid any heartache while your caravan is stored by securing it thoroughly. If you plan on locking your caravan away in a garage, consider investing in some new garage security measures for peace of mind.

What’s the best way to secure a caravan?

There are a few steps you can take to make sure no one nabs your mobile home over the winter. Start by picking up a wheel clamp to stop it from rolling away. Be advised that you’ll need to pick up a model that can fit caravan wheels so be sure to check the specifications first. If it’s a motorhome you want to keep parked up, invest in a steering wheel lock to prevent anyone from driving away in it.

Soft Furnishings

Like the battery, remove any bedding or pillows into more ambient rooms in the house, if you can. Soft furnishings left in harsh environments. May start to smell or even decay. Keep everything fresh and perhaps wash again before next use.

If not, pull any bedding, cushions or mattresses slightly away from the walls, in order to encourage airflow. For privacy, while it’s stored, it’s better if you can pull curtains, rather than use the blinds. If left for longer periods, the blind mechanism may weaken. 

How do I prevent damp in my caravan over winter?

If left stationary for long periods of time, damp can be hard to avoid – especially if the ambient air is moist. To reduce the chances of damp build-ups in the caravan over the winter, keep a few dehumidifiers onboard to absorb the moisture.

Caravan with cover over top, over wheels and over hitch
Consider putting your caravan on winter wheels for more stationary support.

If they require regeneration, you may need to dry them out a few times over the winter, though this can take as little as 24 hours. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did the work when you next want to use it.  


Regularly checking the tyres on any vehicle is very important. Correctly inflated tyres on your caravan can prevent uneven wear and give you the best fuel economy. Under-inflated tyres mean the car has to work harder to tow and with a full load, that can be even more of a struggle. Having a tyre gauge and tyre compressor at home can make this job less of a chore.

Should I remove my caravan wheels over winter?

These are far more adept at handling long stationary periods without losing their form, something regular tyres won’t do as well. Storing the normal wheels might be a bit awkward but it needn’t be prohibitive if you don’t have a garage. Cover them appropriately and place under the caravan to keep them out of the way.


Water is essential for enjoying any holiday and that’s why so many caravanners invest in aftermarket products like jerry cans and Aquarolls. Doing the dishes, keeping the place clean, flushing the loo…all done without being entirely ‘on tap’. But to stop pipes from freezing and being damaged in the colder weather, all of it needs draining after each trip.

How do I stop my caravan pipes freezing in winter?

Undoing the water toggle to the heater before any final journey helps shift the water, then once at a suitable location (it’s illegal to empty grey water in an undesignated area), open the drain valve of the waste tank. 

Similarly, if you have a water filter, remove it as it could be susceptible to damage if it freezes.

Speaking of water containers, take the tops off and store them empty, but with the ability to let the air in between excursions. 

Man in shorts carries a toilet cassette from a caravan
Dispose of your waste responsibly.

Don’t forget about the loo flush. While the diluted chemicals used in the toilet can prevent loo cassettes from freezing, the flush can be missed. If you’re prepping to store your caravan for a long period, it’s also worth using a bit of cooking oil around the toilet blade (the black plate) to prevent it from sticking to the rubber seal.