5 EXPERT RV STORAGE TIPS
You have experienced many camping adventures with your RV throughout the spring, summer and fall. Once winter approaches, it might be time to leave your RV for the season. Before you store it, though, you should take some preventive measures to ensure your RV is ready for the next camping season.
Learn how to prepare your RV or fifth wheel for storage in the winter.
WHY TAKE PROPER STORAGE MEASURES?
Following thorough storage measures ensures your RV has the maximum protection to get it through the winter without issues. Whether you live in a climate with snow or it just gets cool at night, the proper storage procedures can help keep your RV safe from the elements.
5 RV STORAGE TIPS
Before storing your RV at home or in an outdoor or indoor storage facility, you can keep your RV safe during winter by having a solid process to get it ready to sit for a while. Here are several tips to help you maximize your RV’s protection.
1. PROTECT AGAINST PESTS
When you put your RV away for the winter, you probably will make limited visits or not go inside it again until you start prepping for the next camping season. While you may not go inside your RV often during the winter, other creatures can if you do not prepare your RV right.
Protect your RV from wasps, mice, beetles and other pests by inspecting every place they could gain access and blocking them. Check the roof and appliance vents and cover them once you shut off the gas. It would be best if you also covered the air conditioner filters after changing them.
Another vital step to protecting your RV from pests is thoroughly examining your vehicle’s underside. Ensure there are no gaps or loose panels where rodents or bugs can sneak in.
2. PREP THE INTERIOR FOR STORAGE
By preparing the interior, you can simultaneously prevent pests from entering and ensure your RV is ready for spring. Take out all food, trash, linens and other items rodents and insects might like. Once everything is gone, the next step is to clean everything and unhook your appliances.
From the living area to the bathroom and kitchen, clean your cabinets, refrigerator, freezer, shelves, tabletops and appliances thoroughly with disinfectant and all-purpose cleaners. Leave the doors of your cabinets, fridge and freezer slightly open when you finish cleaning for ventilation. Ensure you also vacuum and mop the floors.
If your RV has slide-outs, ensure the floors are clean so the slide-out can move in easily once you need to close it. Putting your RV in storage requires the slide-outs to stay in during winter. Depending on how many items you can keep in your RV during the off-season, you can use your RV’s tables for storage. Pack some of your boxes or camping supplies on top of the table so you know where they are.
3. DRAIN THE WATER SYSTEM
Draining the water system is one of the most critical steps for getting your camper ready for winter. Ensuring no water remains helps prevent your RV’s plumbing system from freezing and cracking from the cold. Drain your camper’s water tanks and toilet, then seal the faucets. You can use your water pump to get the water out fast.
Once the water is gone, you can take further precautions for the cold by adding nontoxic antifreeze to your camper’s drains, water tanks and toilets. The antifreeze will keep the pipes from freezing. Prevent antifreeze from accessing your water heater by using a bypass kit.
Once you finish taking care of the water system, ensure the water pump and drain lines are off.
4. SAVE YOUR BATTERIES AND ENGINE
Keep your energy source safe for your first camping trip in the new season by disconnecting your batteries and stabilizing your fuel. Take the batteries out and store them in a cool and dry place. While batteries typically lose some charge in storage, the cool temperatures slow the decline. Check the batteries monthly to ensure they stay appropriately charged, lessening the chance of them freezing or getting damaged.
Protect your engine by stabilizing the gas left in your camper. Over time, gas can go bad and turn into sticky resin deposits, damaging engines. You can use a fuel stabilizer to prevent the deposits from forming. Add the stabilizer according to the product’s directions and fill the rest of the tank with gas. Once that is complete, start the engine and generator, letting it run for several minutes so the stabilizer can get through the entire fuel system.
Another preventive measure to keep your RV running is changing the oil and oil filter for the engine and generator before officially storing your RV.
5. PREP THE EXTERIOR
Prepping your camper’s exterior will help it endure natural wear and tear and ensure each part will be ready for the spring. Inspect the sidewalls, roof, windows, doors, seams and access panels. Reseal or caulk any cracks or holes you find to prevent water from entering and causing moisture damage. Before caulking and sealing, ensure you use the correct type for your RV and climate.
As part of your inspection, check your tires to ensure there are no holes. Once your tires look good, inflate them to the manufacturer’s maximum pressure, so you do not have to worry about a deflated tire come spring. Wherever you are parking your RV for the winter, consider using plywood blocks under each tire to keep the rubber off the ground. You should also set tire chocks to prevent the wheels from rolling and use tire covers to prevent any UV damage.
If you have RV undercarriage storage, ensure you empty and clean it to prevent bacteria and mold growth. Once you finish prepping your RV, it is ready for storage. Whether you park your RV in a garage or keep it outside, having your RV under a cover in storage can further protect it from damage.