We’re planning for full-time RV living, but even full-time RVers need to store their rigs occasionally. It’s important to find a secure storage option that prevents damage to your home on wheels.
The following tips will help you to select a safe storage location and take preventative measures that ensure you return to a rig that’s ready to hit the road.
Try to store your RV under a covered area and on a solid surface like pavement or concrete. If this isn’t possible, avoid parking under trees and in tall grass, fields or wooded areas.
Selecting a location with onsite security is even better. Additional security tips are listed farther down the page.
WASH & WAX
Give your rig a good wash and wax before storing it. The wax will protect your RV from sun damage, keep dirt build up to a minimum, and make cleanup after storage much easier.
CAULKING & SEALING
While you’re washing and waxing your RV, check the seams, caulking and rubber seals for cracks and repair them if necessary. Water damage that occurs during storage can be very expensive.
Moisture leads to mold growth and musty smells when you retrieve your RV from storage.
You can reduce moisture by doing the following:
- If your roof vents are designed to prevent rain from getting inside, leave them open during storage.
- Leave interior cabinets, drawers and closets open.
- Defrost and clean your refrigerator, put baking soda in its compartments, and leave its doors cracked.
- Cover your RV and tires with breathable covers – NOT a plastic tarp.
BLINDS & CURTAINS
Keep your daytime shades drawn to prevent sun damage, but keep nighttime shades open to combat moisture that can lead to mold growth.
Lubricate and retract all slides when storing your RV to make sure mechanical parts, slide toppers and rubber seals aren’t exposed to the elements and operate properly when you return.
BUGS & RODENTS
Ensure that all external openings are blocked off or screened. You can purchase made-to-fit screening for most openings in your rig, like RV furnace insect screens.
The worst pests are rats and mice, as they chew electrical wiring and poop everywhere. Prevent them from making your RV their happy home by removing all possible food sources and nesting materials. Even things you wouldn’t think of, like paper towels and toothpaste, attract these nasty vermin.
When you leave your RV in storage, fully charge your batteries, check and fill water levels in lead-acid batteries, and turn off all electrical. Remove dry-cell batteries from devices like smoke alarms and clocks.
If your rig will be stored for an extended period during fall or winter, remove the batteries and store them where they won’t freeze.
PLUMBING & TANKS
How you prepare your RV plumbing and tanks for storage depends greatly upon the temperature and the length of time your rig will be in storage.
If there is no chance of freezing and your RV will only be stored for a few weeks, flush out the waste tanks and then add about ¼ tank of water to keep them from drying out. For the fresh water, fill the tank, add a ½ cup of bleach, and then run it through all pipes. This will disinfect the water supply plumbing as it sits and prevent mold.
When there is any chance of below freezing weather, remove all water from the plumbing system, including the water heater tank. Then, add antifreeze into the piping, valves and drain “P” traps. Refer to the Winterizing RV Checklist by Drive to RV.
The best thing you can do to ensure your RV’s security is leave it in a location that has onsite security. Motorhomes are somewhat harder to break into and steal than fifth wheels, travel trailers and campers. If your RV isn’t a motorhome, you can attach a special hitch lock to the king pin, chain the wheels or use a wheel lock.
Another thing you can do to make your rig more secure is install new storage bay locks. The majority of RVs use the same key and criminals know this!
“Storage Only” coverage is fairly inexpensive and worth the investment. Don’t trust a storage location to cover any losses that may occur.
Dangerous tire blow outs can be caused by improper storage. Leaving a motorhome or trailer parked in the same spot for extended periods weakens the tire and may lead to sudden failure.
Here are some tire storage tips that I found in the Goodyear Recreational Vehicle Tire and Care Guide:
- Keep your vehicle in a cool, dry storage area that’s out of direct sunlight.
- Unload your vehicle as much as possible to lighten the load on its tires.
- Inflate your tires to the recommended operation pressure plus 25%, but don’t exceed the rim manufacturer’s inflation capacity.
- Clean your tires with soap and water before storing them to remove any oil.
- Move your vehicle at least every three months to help prevent cracking and flat-spotting, with the exception of cold weather months.
- Place your vehicle on blocks to remove weight from the tires. If the vehicle can’t be put on blocks, ensure the storage surface is firm, clean, well-drained and level. (I’ve also read on several RV blogs that it’s best to park your RV with its tires on wood planks instead of the ground.)
Checking on and maintaining your RV on a monthly basis can nip problems the bud before they go from minor to major and more expensive issues.
Things to do during your monthly inspections are:
- Look for signs of rodent droppings and moisture intrusion and fix any problem areas.
- Exercise your generator for at least two hours with a minimum of a ½ rated load on it. (Consult your generator’s manual for load ratings.)
Do you have any tips for RV storage? Please comment below.
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