Camping in an RV is one of the best ways for you and your family to explore the country as they offer convenience and comfort. You get to enjoy your vacation at your own pace, stopping where ever and whenever you choose. You don’t need to set up tents, roll out sleeping bags or even fetch water. You get to sleep in a dry, comfortable bed without having to worry about snakes, bugs and mosquitoes. And you get to enjoy the nature around you to boot.
But even avid travelers take breaks. And once the vacation ends and home life resumes, you’ll need to consider storage options for your RV.
Because RVs are so big, there’s seemingly no convenient place to park them. And the longer they’re kept in storage, the more you’ll need to think about.
This article will assume that during the warmer months of the year you’re out enjoying your RV. So let’s consider common challenges for the winter months as most RV owners aren’t traveling then due to the risk of inclement weather.
7 Considerations for Winterizing Your RV for Storage
To “winterize” means to prepare an automobile against the harsh conditions of an oncoming winter. Winterizing your RV is not just about putting in anti-freeze or preparing the RV’s water system for the cold weather. There are several important considerations that involve the chassis, plumbing, exterior and interior of the RV.
- It’s important to store your RV in a place with ample coverage, and I’m not talking about a few trees or an outside roof. The RV should be fully covered but with enough ventilation so as to prevent mildew and mold.
- Your tires can be better protected if you inflate them before covering them. When an RV stays in one place for a long time, the tires will eventually deflate.
- Protect the furniture from the harmful rays of the sun by covering it and blocking the sun via the windows. The covers will also offer a layer of protection against rodents and other animals that may want to make your furniture their winter homes.
- Make sure to cover any vents or holes that may allow bugs to crawl through.
- Turn off the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) supply valve.
- Defrost your fridge, remove all perishables and clean it. Don’t forget to put in a box of baking soda so it won’t smell. Also, leave the fridge door slightly open so it can air out while in storage.
- Open all cabinets and drawers to prevent mold or mildew from growing.
10 Considerations for Preparing the RV Interior for Storage
You may know this by now; rodents like squirrels and mice make themselves comfortable in your RVs when they are stored, which can be really pesky. Rodents chew through rubber, plastic components and vehicle wiring, and you know how that can be a big headache when you come back.
Preventing this from happening can be quite a challenge. An RV vehicle can have a lot of small openings through which small animals can crawl. So here are some tips and things you can do to make sure that the interior of your RV is protected from rodents.
- Inspect the underside of the RV for any holes, gaps or cracks. Fill these with an expanding foam or silicone.
- Open cabinet doors and drawers.
- Fill in the gaps where wiring and plumbing enter the RV and find other crevices then fill with foam or silicone.
- Food attracts animals, so remove all traces of food from the RV, even the smallest leftover.
- Defrost the freezer and make sure that the entire refrigerator is clean.
- Put a box of baking soda to absorb odors.
- Turn off the main breaker.
- Make sure that the AC filters are clean.
- Allow a bit of ventilation by leaving the vent covers cracked slightly open.
- Remove all batteries from clocks, alarms, etc.
10 Considerations for Preparing the RV Chassis for Storage
Here are some tips to consider to ensure that the RV chassis will be ready for use when you return.
- Remove the batteries. Don’t forget to remove the negative terminal first. Before storing the batteries, clean them with water and baking soda. Make sure they are placed in an area where they won’t freeze. They will lose their charge so check the batteries regularly and charge them when they go below 80% charge.
- Inflate the tires and cover them with a sunlight protecting material.
- Place a rock or a piece of wood between the tires and the ground.
- Chock the front and rear wheels.
- Angle the tongue of pop up downward to help in water run-off and snow.
- Fill the fuel tank before storing the RV at home and add a fuel stabilizer.
- Ensure that the stabilizer gets through the fuel system by running the generator and engine long enough.
- Change the oil and oil filter.
- Exercise the generator for 2 hours every month.
- Make sure that the radiator contains antifreeze.
Questions You Should Know Prior to Storage
Below is a checklist to follow before you store your RV for any period of time:
- How long will you be away? If you’re going away for just a few days, you need minimal preparation for the RV. But if you intend to store it for 2 to 6 months, then the listed preparations above should be completed.
- What’s the climate going to be like? The preparations are different for winterizing an RV or for leaving it behind during temperate climate. Also check if the incoming months will bring heavy rains, winds or storms.
- Can someone check it for me? If you can’t check on the RV for the months it’s in storage, have someone check it for you.
- The legalities? Check if it is legal in your state to store an RV on your property. Many homeowners associations do not allow RVs to be parked on the property. Taking preparations ahead of time will save your RV from being towed.
- Will my RV be truly protected? Consider that the weather can damage your RV and be costly to repair. Weight the costs of an indoor facility and repairs common to the make and model of your RV.
- How will my neighbors react? Consider your neighbors. Would they be amenable to a big RV parked in your yard? If they consider your RV a nuisance, they could file a complaint against you, which could result in it being towed.
If you’ve taken the precautions listed above for your RV storage, you’re in great shape and won’t likely experience troubles when the spring resumes. RVs are a lot of fun but they also require planning and due diligence to ensure they’re safe and available when we’re ready to hit the road again.
Happy and safe travels.
Did I miss any aspects of RV storage? Do you have an interesting story to tell? I’d love to read about it in the comments below.