Ruth and Geoff Bass vote for hibernation, but Caroline Mills says use your motorhome for winter holidays – so whose advice will you take?

After reading Diamond Dave's top tips for winter, we asked our regular writers for their thoughts on the pros and cons of the winter lay-up versus winter holidays. Here are their responses, starting with the argument for hibernation, from Ruth and Geoff Bass.

Do lay your 'van up for winter!

It makes sense to preserve your motorhome and protect your investment. We do this by taking our 'van off the road and laying it up for the winter. Here's how we do it.

On our last outing of the year, we make a list of motorhome repairs and maintenance jobs while they are still fresh in our minds. (See how to mend a motorhome water filler and filter here, for instance.) It’s also a good time to plan for the inevitable deep clean before the 'van is laid-up. 

First, we'll wash the 'van using one of the best motorhome cleaning products, another task will be to clean the water tanks, so we start that on our drive home by dissolving two or three dishwasher tablets in warm water and pouring it down the sinks and shower. It’s best if the waste-water tank is a quarter- to a half-full when you do this. The drive home will agitate the solution nicely. 

At home, we drain the waste-water tanks, and add Milton Sterilising Fluid, at the manufacturer’s recommended concentration, to about 50 litres of water in the fresh water tank (around half the tank’s capacity). This also benefits from a drive around. We finish by running all the taps to take the solution through to the waste tank. We let it sit for a few hours before draining.  

We prepare the ’van for its lay-up with these steps. First, we leave all the 'van's domestic taps open and the pump switched off. Then we drain the wet-heating boiler.

Next, we check the antifreeze in the engine and wet-heating system with an antifreeze/coolant tester (sold by car accessory shops) and adjust as necessary. We space the wiper blades from the windscreen by inserting a wine cork under the wiper arm. Then we drain the washer fluid or fill with strong winter formula.

We check tyre pressures to avoid damage to tyres that sit for a long time at low pressure.

Finally, we make provision to keep leisure batteries fully charged. We have solar panels and store our motorhome on the driveway, which we find is sufficient to keep the batteries topped up.

Ruth and Geoff Bass

Don't lay your 'van up for winter!

My advice for laying-up your ’van in the winter would be – don’t! Unused motorhomes, especially during the colder months, are more likely to develop problems through lack of use. And if your ’van is rated with a Grade III Thermal Insulation and Heating classification, it’s considered good-to-go throughout the winter anyway. So get out there and learn to love the low season

Winter is a fabulous time for touring, whether you’re heading to warmer climes in southern Europe, going on skiing holidays or enjoying top tourist destinations without the crowds. 

There are masses of UK campsites open all year round, including many that are run by the two main clubs. What’s more, you’ll often find discounted rates or special offers for staying out of season. 

Sites that are open over Christmas and New Year usually put on special events. 

And don’t forget that most of the friendly locations in the Practical Motorhome Nightstops Scheme stay open all year. So I'm not planning to hibernate at all – this a great time to keep the motorhome up and running and enjoy plenty of winter breaks! 

Caroline Mills

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