If you typically travel in your RV during the warm months, it is essential to know how to store it properly for the winter. Failure to prepare your RV for storage can result in serious damage and costly repairs. However, if you’re meticulous and follow a few key bits of advice, you can be sure that your RV will be in working order when the time comes to get it out of storage in the spring.
The first thing to do is to clean and prepare the interior of your RV for storage. Here are the steps to take:
- Remove all food from the refrigerator and cabinets. Clean thoroughly to make sure that there are no crumbs or spilled food remaining. This step will ensure that no rodents make a home in your RV.
- Open all of the drawers and cabinet doors. If you can see daylight, it means that rodents might be able to get in. Plug up any holes you find using silicone or expanding foam.
- Defrost the freezer, dry it out and clean it, and then put boxes of baking soda in to absorb odors. You should leave the doors open to prevent mildew from forming.
- If the RV won’t be plugged in to a source of electricity, turn off the main breaker in the distribution panel and turn off the LP gas supply valve.
- Clean the air conditioning filters and leave the vents open a crack to allow for ventilation.
- Leave all doors, cabinets, and drawers open.
- Close all blinds and curtains to prevent sun damage.
Once you have completed the interior, it’s time to move to the exterior.
It is just as important to prepare the outside of your RV for storage as it is the inside.
- Wash the entire RV, including the roof, and rinse it thoroughly.
- As you wash, inspect the RV looking for cracks that might lead to water damage. Seal them as needed.
- Apply wax to the exterior of the RV to preserve the finish.
- Clean awnings and allow the fabric to dry completely before storing them.
- If you can, store your RV in a garage or under a covered surface. If you can’t, invest in a breathable RV cover to protect it from the elements. A concrete surface is best, but at the very least avoid parking it in tall grass.
- Cover LP gas appliance vents to prevent insects from getting in and nesting there.
- Inflate the tires to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. When you park the RV, you should use lumber or something else to separate the tires from the ground. If you can, cover them to protect the tires from UV damage. (Note: if possible, it’s best to remove the tires for long-term storage.)
- Fully charge the batteries. If you plan to put the RV in long-term storage, then it’s best to remove the batteries after charging them. If not, plan on plugging them into a shore charger once a month for about eight hours to ensure that they stay fully charged. You should also flip the battery disconnect switches to prevent draining the batteries if you’re leaving them in the RV.
- Change the oil in both the engine and the generator. You should also fill up all necessary fluids, including the gas tank, and then add a fuel stabilizer. Make sure to run the engine for a long enough time to let the stabilizer move throughout the engine – you can check your manual for the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you aren’t able to remove the tires, you should plan on moving the RV once a month or so to prevent flat tires. As long as you follow these instructions – and don’t gloss over the details – your RV will be ready to go the next time you’re ready to head out on a camping trip.