By Garret Stembridge at Extra Space Storage
Unless you’re a full-timer, you’re going to face the question of how to store your RV during the off-season. As an RV is capable of fitting your needs just like a small house, storage preparation is a bit more involved compared to storing a car, or say, a box of toys! But the good news is that RV storage can be done well with a little effort. After all, I can happily report that many RV owners reap the benefits of proper RV storage each year. While preparing your RV for storage is an important process that can’t be rushed, you’ll first need to find a storage spot that works for you.
Questions to Ask Before Renting RV Storage
If you don’t have room at home, or you’re facing parking restrictions in your neighborhood, a storage facility can be the answer for RV storage. Plus, storage facilities may offer covered RV parking and RV hookups for added protection and convenience. Before renting RV storage, ask some important questions.
- What security measures are in place to help prevent vandalism or theft? (Some examples may include personalized gate entry, fencing and security cameras. If you’re in doubt about the safety of an area, check local crime reports.)
- Is there an on-site manager? (An on-site manager lives at the facility and enhances security.)
- When can I access my stored RV? (Note the differences between storage office hours and storage gate hours.)
- What is the best available rate, and are there any additional costs to move in? (Don’t forget that you’ll need to continue insurance coverage for stored RVs.)
- Do you offer RV hookups? (If this is important to you, and the facility doesn’t offer it, keep looking!)
- Do you have covered RV storage? (Outdoor covered RV parking can help protect your RV from the elements.)
Prep Your RV Before Storage
So, you’ve found that spot your RV will call home for a few months, and now you’re ready to roll up your sleeves (or hire someone to do it!). Sadly, if you neglect to prepare your RV before storage, you could face costly and headache-inducing repairs at the very time you should be enjoying your RV. But you won’t do that! Let’s get to work.
- Inspect seams and windows. Prevent water damage by repairing cracks around seams and windows.
- Close it up. Make sure all windows and vents are closed. Depending on your type of roof vent, you may be advised to leave it open. Check your RV manual.
- Check the underside for gaps or holes. Rodents are the enemy, so keep them out by using silicone or expanding foam to fill in any gaps around wiring or plumbing.
- Inflate and cover tires. Avoid flat spots by keeping tires inflated to recommended pressure, and moving the RV after three months. Cover tires to protect them from sun exposure.
- Clean the exterior, including awnings. Make sure your awnings have dried completely before you store them.
- Get the water system ready for cold weather. Your dealer can winterize the water system in your RV, or you can refer to your owner’s manual for specific instructions for your model. (Lost it? In this connected age, it’s great that you can probably find the owner’s manual online at the manufacturer’s website!)
- Disconnect the gas. Turn off gas supply valves and breakers. This is another good time to refer to the owner’s manual.
- Give the engine some love. Change the oil, and maintain all operating fluids. Add a fuel stabilizer.
- Help the battery. Remove the battery and store it in a dry area that’s not subject to freezing. Test the battery periodically, charging if needed. If leaving the battery, you can hook the RV up to 50-amp service as needed, and crank the motorhome or generator for at least 30 minutes once every three weeks. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions.
- Put the appliances to sleep. Turn off and unplug all appliances.
- Clean the refrigerator. Remove all food, defrost the freezer, and clean everything. Insert a box of baking soda, and leave the door ajar.
- Empty the cabinets. Don’t leave any food behind.
- Scrub and vacuum the interior. Remember, food crumbs attract pests.
- Close the blinds. Sun exposure is rough on interiors, but closing the blinds helps, especially if you’re not using an RV cover. If you want to make sure you block all of the light, tape dark garbage bags over windows from the inside.
- Cover the RV. If you’re storing your RV outdoors without shelter, use a cover made of breathable material for protection from snow and UV rays. If you’ll need occasional access during storage, consider how easy the cover will be to remove and replace.
When you’re ready to get your RV on the road again, don’t forget about safety. In addition to tire and engine inspections and maintenance, also check batteries in the fire detector and carbon monoxide detector, and inspect the fire extinguisher. Happy RVing!