The snow has just started to fall in Michigan for the winter season, and it’s beautiful! It clings to tree branches, dusts rooftops, and forms pillowy drifts next to houses. We love watching the snow fall from the warmth of our living room, and we also love heading out with our RV in search of winter wonderlands to explore. But we’ve learned that winter RVing is a different animal than summertime RVing, with one big difference being that before we can head out for fun, we have to brush off any snow that’s accumulated on our RV so we can travel safely. Whether our RV has sat uncovered for months next to our house or we’re leaving one snowy destination for another, there’s usually some build up of snow that has to be removed before we can go anywhere. Over the years we’ve perfected how to properly remove snow from our RV, thus saving us lots of time spent climbing around the outside of our RV in below-freezing temps. If you’re wondering how to do the same, read on! Here’s how we do it!
Start On Top!
While your RV’s roof is the hardest part of your RV to reach, it should be Numero Uno on your list of Parts of My RV That Need Snow Removal. While snow can stick to windows and cover your windshield, it won’t do much damage there. But snow build-up on your RV’s roof can cause serious damage! Piled-up snow is heavy and has the potential to turn to water when temps rise above freezing even just a little. Let’s address the weight of snow first. Did you know that snow weighs roughly 12 pounds per square inch? If your entire roof gets covered in just a few inches of snow overnight, all of a sudden you have a weighty problem overhead! This added weight can cause cracks in the roof and bowing on the interior ceiling. Unsightly and dangerous! In addition to the added weight, snow on your roof can also cause serious water damage. If temps rise above 32º, or if the heat from the inside of your RV melts snow overhead, the snow-turned-water can seep into roof cracks or cracks around your vents or seals and soak your RV’s insulation. For many reasons (mold, dry rot, delamination), this is not good!
To remove snow from your roof, you should grab a ladder and head up to your RV’s roof with a rake, right? Wrong! With your roof covered in slippery snow and possibly ice, this is the last place you should be sending yourself! Instead, you should remove snow and ice from the ground (or a short ladder if absolutely necessary). You’re probably thinking, But my arms aren’t that long! That’s why you should invest in a roof rake that features a telescoping handle for plenty of reach. This Sno Brum Snow Removal Tool extends to 46” to help you reach the middle of your RV’s roof. Its soft construction won’t scrape or damage your roof as you clear it. Brush gently around your RV’s vents, A/C, skylights, and solar panels just to be careful. Once you have cleared the roof, you can move on to the sides of your RV.
Do a Once-Around
One bonus of starting with the roof is that as some of the heavy snow falls from the roof as you push it, it might take some of the snow plastered to the windows with it. But if it doesn’t, then you’ll want to walk around your camper and swipe the snow off the windows using either your soft roof rake (with handle retracted) or a car snowbrush. Don’t forget to clear your license plate of snow, too, to avoid getting pulled over and given a ticket. Yes, it’s against the law to drive with a plate that isn’t visible. And while you’re back there, give your taillights a once over with the brush so they’re clearly visible from those traveling behind you. Traveling with an RV in tow is hard enough without having traffic behind you unaware that you’re turning or stopping because your lights are buried under plastered-on snow.
You Can See For Miles and Miles
If you’re traveling with a motorhome, then you’ll have to contend with a large windshield that’s likely covered with a blanket of snow after a snowfall. You obviously can’t go anywhere until this is fully uncovered, so get your snowbrush and ice scraper out and clean it off as best you can. Your long-handled roof rake could come in handy for the middle part of the windshield if you can’t reach it with just a brush. Before you start brushing and scraping, fire up your rig and turn your windshield defrost on full blast so that any ice hidden underneath the snow starts to melt. When you brush the snow off the windshield, don’t brush it onto the hood of your RV (if you have one). It’ll just blow back at you once you start off down the road. I’ve learned this from experience. Brush it right off onto the ground and leave it in your dust! And don’t forget about your snowy side mirrors. Like your side windows, they’re probably covered too! If your RV has side mirror heaters, turn them on! If not, clean them off manually so you’ll have full view of the sides of your RV and any traffic that’s around you.
The Wheels Go Round and Round
One last thing to do before heading out onto snow-covered roads is to take a look at your RV’s tires and wheel wells and clear them of any snow that has built up over the long haul. Wet snow loves to cling to the inside of wheel wells and get packed in there so tightly that there’s almost no room for your wheels to spin. Don’t wait until you hear a strange rubbing sound coming from your wheel wells as you slowly navigate your way over slippery roads to chip away at the snowy/slushy build up near your wheels. I normally use the end of my snow scraper (or my boot if I need to let off some steam!) to jab at it until chunks start to fall off. Then I kick them out of the way so I don’t drive over them (and give them a chance to end up in my wheel wells again). Once your RV’s wheel wells are all clear, it should be smooth sailing on to your next destination.
Do you have any RV snow removal advice you’d like to share with us? Any snow-related stories that could have been avoided if you’d taken a few precautionary measures before hitching up and heading out? We’d love to hear from you! And safe travels this winter!