When the road-tripping season comes to an end — safely ahead of snow and ice building up on the roadways — you can ensure that you’ll be ready to get back out there with the spring crockets by following a few RV storage tips when you pull your summer home in for the winter.
Even if a rapidly approaching winter isn’t the reason you’re taking a break from being behind the wheel, it’s important to properly store the vehicle to protect your investment and ensure you can get back on the road with minimal costs and time when the right moment comes.
These tips particularly come in handy with a number of people living on the road in their RVs more and more now. If you're one that is considering an RV as alternative housing and a lifestyle on the open road, check out this great resource for more information: Everything you wanted to know about alternative housing: Q&A with the Experts, RV Edition (porch.com)
Where Are You Putting Your RV?
The most important part of storing your RV is deciding where to store it.
The ideal solution is a climate-controlled storage facility that will protect your vehicle from all the elements. An RV storage facility will provide security, climate control, and is big enough to actually house your vehicle.
The next best thing will be storing your RV anywhere that provides a roof to keep snow and ice off the vehicle. Many self-storage facilities also provide RV and boat parking, which will provide increased security to your vehicle, as well as protect it from the weather.
In fact, RV storage is one of the fastest growing segments of the storage market in the US. This is mostly due to the fact that more Americans are turning to RVs as a form of transportation and the RVing lifestyle is becoming increasingly popular.
However, such storage options are not possible for many RV owners, for a variety of reasons. If you find yourself unable to locate a storage facility that will meet your needs, you will need to follow a couple of RV storage tips to make it to next season.
First, don’t park the RV close enough to any trees or electrical poles that it could be crushed beneath them in the event of a serious storm.
Second, check out your local city code — unless you have room in your driveway for your RV. The parking regulations for RVs and other mobile homes on the street vary from place to place. You will want to make sure you are in compliance.
For Your RV’s Sake — Please Cover Up
If you are going to be leaving your RV exposed to the elements, at the very least, you’ll want to invest in an RV cover.
An RV cover will not only protect your vehicle from ultraviolet rays that can damage the exterior, but it will also protect it from tree sap, wind damage, and rodents.
Now, don’t confuse a cover with a plastic tarp, as the tarp will trap moisture and will be impossible to secure as well as a universal or custom-designed cover for your model of RV. Additionally, covers have zippers that can make it even easier to access your RV while it’s in storage.
If you’re not sure how to best put on the cover, just follow the manufacturer's directions.
Check-In On Your RV
Ideally, you’ll be able to get your RV out on the road every couple of months to roll the tires and keep everything limber, so to speak. However, if you’ve fully winterized your RV, that might not be a practical option.
In such cases, it’s still a good idea to do a quick inspection of your RV about once a month. It’s a good time to check for water penetration, unwelcome odors, and exterior damage. By doing this, you’ll be able to quickly identify any issues with how you’re storing your vehicle and get both the symptoms — a bad smell, let’s say — and the underlying issues taken care of before either one becomes a serious problem.
Being Brilliant with Your RV Battery
If maintained properly, your deep-cycle RV batteries will last up to five years. And, given the costs of the batteries, you really want to get the most out of them. This means taking the time to disconnect them and properly store them when it comes time to winterization or otherwise shutting down your RV operations for an extended period of time.
You will want to store your batteries in a dry, cool (not cold) place. While in storage, you’ll want to check up on your batteries every six to eight weeks by testing them with a voltmeter. If the batteries’ charge is starting to dip, top them back up.
To keep your batteries in optimal shape and to avoid the hassle of regularly checking on them, you’ll want to set up a trickle charger to keep your batteries topped up while they are taking a break.
Liquid Solutions to RV Storage
There are two primary liquids you need to be thinking about when storing your RV. The first is all the water in your systems; the other is your fuel.
Draining water from your system when you winterize your RV is essential. Failing to do so can lead to busted fittings and lines in your plumbing system, which can be costly to fix and cause additional water damage to the vehicle. You might also consider installing a tankless water heater to minimize the amount of water in your systems and thus less to worry about when storing your RV for lengths of time.
Depending on your RV, this could be an easy DIY project, or it could be a situation where you want a professional to come in and just take care of it.
When it comes to your fuel, don’t forget that gas can go bad. Thankfully, unlike water in your system, you don’t have to drain your RV’s gas. Instead, you can just add stabilizer and follow the directions on the bottle.
Pest Proof Your RV
Just as your RV makes a wonderful home for you, it’s just as capable of being a lovely place for mice, squirrels, and other vermin looking to bed down for the winter. Before you get too sympathetic to their plight, figuring they can stay while you’re not there, remember that they have the habit of chewing through plastic and rubber components, as well as wiring.
The first step to preventing vermin from moving in is removing all food items in your RV — getting rid of anything that might draw them in. This means scrubbing down the entire interior as part of your cleaning process before storing your RV.
You can also have your RV dealer take a peek underneath your rig and seal up any holes or other possible entryways these critters can use to get inside while the vehicle is in storage.
RV Storage Tips to Keep Your Mobile Home in Top Shape, Year Round
By following just a few basic RV storage tips, you’ll be able to quickly get back out on the road after months away from all the pleasures that come with the RV life. Additionally, everything from keeping rodents out to draining your water systems will help you protect your investment and get the most out of it.
Have more questions about how best to store your RV? Contact the experts to see what options are available in your area.