Unless you’re a full-time RVer, there will likely come a time when you need close up shop on your RV for a time. Maybe you live up north and put your RV away for the winter, or you store your RV down south in the summertime so it’s ready for you to adventure in warmer weather when the temperatures drop at your sticks-and-bricks home. Regardless, RV storage is often a necessary part of RV ownership in both warm and cold weather, and navigating the process of protecting it from the elements in storage can be difficult. While we’d love to never need a break from the road, sometimes life just doesn’t work that way! We’re here to help when those situations arise, so we’ve made a list of the things you’ll need to check before locking up your rig.
First and foremost, you want to take thorough care of the inside of your RV. Remove all valuables and items you may need in the interim before you can make your way back to hitting the road again. In fact, the more you are able to unload, the better. The less weight inside your vehicle, the less pressure is being put on the tires during storage, which keeps them in better condition for when you return. You’ll also want to remove any trace of food and even cleaning and personal care products to eliminate all food sources for pests looking to set up shop in your rig while you’re away. Turn off the fridge and freezer and leave them open.
Wash and Wax
The more preventative work you do when sending your rig to storage, the better shape you’ll be in when it’s time to break it back out again. Washing and waxing your RV before storing it knocks off chemicals that could eat away at the exterior of your rig, and waxing it provides an extra layer of protection while it awaits your return. Just be sure it is absolutely 100% dry before you move on to the next steps. As you’ll read in our guide, moisture protection is probably the most important key to successful RV storage.
Check and Repair Seals
This step is easy to skip but it is crucial when it comes to protecting your rig in storage. If you have any broken seals, moisture can seep in, which is the last thing you want to happen in storage. You invested a lot of money in purchasing your RV, so it’s worth doing a few small repairs that could cost you big time if they aren’t taken care of. Unattended moisture inside your RV can lead to mold and mildew growth – while the musty smell you’ll return to is quite unpleasant, the health effects of mold infestation are even more damaging.
It can be difficult to reverse the effects of a mold-infected living space, so preventative measures are the best thing you can do to avoid a costly mess on the other side of storage. Inspect every place where leaks could occur, and repair wherever is necessary. Don’t cut corners on this step.
Protect Against the Sun
Another thing you’ll want to guard against is sun protection. You don’t want the sun’s rays to damage or discolor your furniture or exterior, but allowing no sunlight in at all can foster a dark, damp environment for mold to grow, which you don’t want either. A happy medium is to close the day shades rather than the night shades. You may also want to invest in a full-rig cover to protect the exterior of your vehicle from sun discoloration.
Choose the Right RV Storage Location
Then there’s the question of where you will store your RV. If you or a family member or a friend have the space, you can always store your RV on private property. However, you’ll obviously need permission from the homeowner (or the other members of your own household) and in some cases, even the law. Before choosing this option, check local ordinances to see if RV storage on private property is even allowed in your area.
If this isn’t an option for you, there are countless RV storage lots these days that offer a variety of ways to store your RV for a monthly fee. It can be as simple as a grassy lot, or as advanced as an indoor, heated warehouse with 24-hour security. Obviously, the more bells and whistles to storage, the more expensive it will be. We recommend choosing a place with security and security cameras, and choosing covered storage if possible, even if it’s covered outdoors. If you’re parking in an open lot, choose a spot that is difficult to access should anyone come attempting to steal a rig.
Consider the Weather
This step is different for everyone depending on where you are storing your RV. If you’re storing it where the weather could fall below freezing or anywhere close, you’ll need to winterize your rig. Read up on how to do so using our guide to RV winterization, which includes adding antifreeze to all of your pipes. If you’re storing your vehicle in humid weather, you’ll need to guard against moisture once again. Allowing ventilation is important in these types of climates, so you may want to leave your vents open along with a vent cover to keep pests from being able to get inside.
Battery, Fuel and Oil Care
Since these are the things that make your RV run, you’ll need to pay special attention to them in storage. Remove your battery and store it as well, keeping it close to fully charged at all times. You’ll want to change your oil before storage so old oil doesn’t sit stale in your vehicle while you’re away. And finally add fuel stabilizer to your fuel tank before storing it and let the engine run for a bit so the fuel circulates through the system.
You’ll likely want to cover your tires before saying goodbye to your RV as the elements can cause the rubber to dry and crack. It’s also smart to move your RV a few feet every so often during storage so the pressure is being distributed to different parts of the tire during its time away. Better yet, put the rig up on blocks if possible so the weight of the entire vehicle isn’t sitting on the tires during its whole time in storage.
Lock It Up
This one is obvious but still deserves mention. Check and double check that you’ve locked all the doors and sealed off all crevices where pests could enter. Try stuffing steel wool in small places in the undercarriage where pests can crawl around. If you have a fifth wheel or trailer, invest in a heavy duty lock that will be difficult for thieves to disassemble.
What You Need to Know About RV Storage
You have put a lot of money into your RV lifestyle, so don’t skimp when it comes to taking good care of it when you’re away. The more you do beforehand, the less you’ll have to do when you come to pick it back up again. And the less unexpected expenses you’ll encounter! If you can, check on your RV periodically while it’s in storage. It’s better to catch leaks or pests when the first begin than to let them run their course the entire time you’re away. RV storage can involve a lot of work and costs, but you’ll be glad you made the investment when it comes time to rev the RV back up again and you can hit the road with ease!