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September 21, 2023 at 1:54 PM

What You Need To Do To Prepare Your Van For Autumn

As the days get shorter and the temperatures start to drop, it's time to start thinking about getting your van ready for the colder months ahead. With Autumn just around the corner, there are several things van lifers need to do to make sure their home on wheels is prepped for the changing seasons. 

In this article, we'll go over the key steps you should take and the preparations you need to make to winterize your van and make sure you stay warm, safe, and comfortable once autumn arrives. Whether you need to insulate your van, stock up on cold weather gear, or make modifications for wet weather driving, this guide will outline everything you need to do before the leaves start changing so you can continue living and travelling comfortably in your van all season long.

How to Insulate Your Van for Cooler Temperatures

Proper insulation is essential for van lifers, especially during the colder months, as it helps to keep the interior warm and comfortable

1. Understand the Importance of Insulation:

Before you dive into the insulation process, it's crucial to know why it matters. Good insulation will not only help to keep the cold out but also maintain a steady interior temperature. This can save on energy costs if you're using heaters and make your van life experience much more comfortable.

2. Choose the Right Insulation Material:

There are several insulation materials available for van conversions:

  • Reflectix: This is a radiant barrier and is often used in conjunction with other insulations. It works by reflecting radiant heat.
  • Fiberglass: This traditional insulation is effective, but it can retain moisture, which might lead to mold issues.
  • Spray Foam: This is an excellent option for filling small gaps because it expands as it dries.
  • Thinsulate: This synthetic material is moisture-resistant and offers good thermal retention.
  • Wool: Natural and sustainable, wool is moisture-wicking and provides good insulation.

3. Insulate the Walls and Ceiling:

Start with the big areas:

  • Clean the surfaces of the van's walls and ceiling.
  • Cut your chosen insulation material to fit the van's contours.
  • Attach the insulation using adhesive, spray foam, or mechanical fasteners, depending on the material. Ensure there are no gaps or spaces left uncovered.

4. Floor Insulation:

The floor can be a significant source of cold, especially if you're parked on a cold surface.

  • Choose a dense insulation material for the floor, as it'll need to handle more wear and tear.
  • Lay down a vapor barrier to prevent moisture buildup.
  • Install your insulation material, and then cover it with plywood or your chosen flooring material.

5. Window Insulation:

Windows can be a significant source of heat loss:

  • Use insulated window covers or curtains to provide a barrier against the cold. Reflectix can also be cut to size and used as a window shade to reflect cold and heat.
  • Consider double-glazing if you're willing to make a more significant modification.

6. Door Insulation:

Van doors can get extremely cold:

  • Use similar insulation techniques as you did with the walls. Ensure no gaps are left, especially around the edges.
  • Add weather stripping to any door edges to prevent drafts.

7. Ventilation Considerations:

While insulating, don't forget about ventilation. Good airflow is essential to prevent condensation, which can dampen your insulation and lead to mold.

  • Install roof vents to allow for proper airflow. Ensure they're insulated or have covers for colder nights.

Routine Maintenance and Checks for the Changing Seasons

Routine maintenance and checks are paramount for ensuring the smooth operation of your van, particularly during the transition from one season to another. As temperatures drop and weather conditions change in the Autumn, it's essential to address specific areas of your van to ensure safety and reliability. 


  Battery Check and Maintenance:

Cold temperatures can strain your vehicle's battery. Test the battery to ensure it has a full charge and is in good condition.

Clean off any corrosion from the battery terminals and connections.

Consider replacing the battery if it's nearing the end of its expected lifespan.


  Tire Examination:

Check tire tread depth to ensure safe driving in wet conditions.

Ensure tires are inflated to the recommended pressure.

Consider switching to winter tires if you'll be encountering snow or icy conditions. Even all-weather tires can be beneficial for colder temperatures.


  Fluids and Lubricants:

Change the engine oil to a winter-weight oil if you're in a region with particularly cold temperatures.

Check and top up brake fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, and windshield washer fluid.

Ensure your antifreeze/coolant mix is appropriate for cold weather. A 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze is typically recommended, but consult your vehicle's manual.


  Heating and Defrosting Systems:

Check the van's heating system to ensure it's functioning properly.

Ensure the defrosting system is working, as this is crucial for visibility during colder months.


  Windshield Wipers and Lights:

Replace worn-out windshield wipers. Consider getting winter-specific wipers that can handle snow and ice.

Ensure all lights (headlights, tail lights, brake lights, indicators) are functioning correctly.

Clean the lights and consider using anti-fog solutions on headlights.


  Check Brakes:

Brakes should be inspected for wear and replaced if needed. This is especially crucial when roads can be wet or icy.


  Examine Belts and Hoses:

Cold temperatures can make belts and hoses brittle. Check them for signs of wear, cracks, or leaks, and replace as necessary.


  Seal Gaps and Check Door Seals:

Ensure all doors, windows, and other openings seal correctly. This will help in maintaining temperature inside the van and keeping out cold drafts.

Weather stripping might need replacement if it's worn out or damaged.



Ensure roof vents or other ventilation systems are functioning well to prevent condensation buildup inside the van.

Check for blockages or debris that might inhibit airflow.


  Emergency Kit Update:

Ensure you have an emergency kit tailored for cold weather. This should include items like a flashlight, blankets, extra food and water, jumper cables, a shovel, sand or cat litter (for traction on icy surfaces), and other essentials.


Where to Buy a Used Van in Wiltshire?

As the winter months approach, it might be the perfect time to consider an upgrade. While routine maintenance and checks can ensure your current van is ready for the cold, upgrading to a newer model can offer enhanced features, better insulation, improved fuel efficiency, and the peace of mind that comes with more recent safety technologies. Not to mention, a newer van can provide a fresh start, rejuvenating your road adventures and van life experiences. If you're contemplating a change, why not explore the vast collection of quality used vans at Big Van World? We ensure every vehicle meets the highest standards, giving you reliability and comfort for every winter journey ahead. Discover your next adventure companion at Big Van World today!

Category: Blog