'Round The Campfire

How to Prepare Your RV for Long Term Storage

More from Outdoor Living Newsletter November Outdoor Living Newsletter
F350 pick up truck with a Fifth Wheel RV trailer parked on a home driveway
Storing your RV and preparing it for long term storage will extend its life and prevent it from damage.

Not all RV owners are full-time RVers. Some of us still have regular jobs to go to and small kids to take care of, and thus cannot assume the RV lifestyle full time just yet. We get to use our RVs only for a few weeks in a year.

If you are not a full-time RVer how do you store your RV? RVs are very expensive investments, and it is absolutely important to protect this investment. It may be tempting to just leave your RV parked in an open space near your house when you're not using it, but when you do that, you risk your RV to permanent damage. You could be putting your investment to waste.

If you don't use your RV for several months, then you should store it properly. More importantly, you should prepare your RV for long term storage. Here is a step-by-step guide on how it should be done.

1.  Find a Good Storage Space for Your RV

Your RV must be protected from the elements when you're not using it. In addition, it should be safe from thieves, vandals, vermin and insects. To accomplish these, you need to find a good storage space for your RV.

There are two general types of RV storage space: enclosed and open. Enclosed storage spaces are, as the name suggests, closed off and often resembling compartmentalized warehouses. Your RV will have a roof, four walls and a secure door around it. Open storage spaces more often than not will only provide a roof over your RV and sometimes not even that. The rent for enclosed storage spaces is typically more expensive than that for open spaces but they are generally more secure. If you can't afford the rent for an enclosed space, you can opt to park your RV in an open space as long as you check out the reliability and the security measures implemented by the company running it.

2.  Invest in a Good RV Cover

Whether you park your RV in an enclosed or open space, you will want to invest in a good RV cover as well. An RV cover is like a huge blanket for your RV. RV covers come in many sizes and colors; make sure that the one you get fits your vehicle snuggly. Also, you should get an RV cover made of breathable materials. This kind of RV cover will allow the air to circulate freely in your RV. It will prevent mold and mildew from forming on the surfaces of your vehicle. In addition, your RV will not smell stale when you use it again.

3.  Clean Your Storage Space Before You Park Your RV In It.

Before you store your RV in your rented space, make sure that you clean the space first. You'll never know what kind of dirt or vermin the previous renter left there. You certainly won't want these pests to affect your RV. So, set some time for cleaning the storage space. Make sure that it is free of dirt and dust as well as any pests that can harm your vehicle.

4.  Clean Your RV Thoroughly Inside and Out.

After you have finished cleaning your RV's storage space, the next thing you need to do is to clean your RV thoroughly inside and out. Wash the outside of your vehicle and polish it from top to bottom. Take care of whatever dents or scratches you find on the surface as much as possible. Pay attention to your tires as well and grease them to prevent the rubber from cracking during storage. You also need to wash your RV's holding tanks.

Inside, you should vacuum the floors, polish the windows and dust the surfaces. You also need to launder the curtains, the blankets and bedding, and all the other linens you use in the RV. You can keep these linens in your house if you want, but if you are going to put it back in your RV before storage, you should make sure that these linens are completely dry. Otherwise, you risk getting mold in your RV.

Perhaps the most important detail that you have to take care of in cleaning your RV for storage is to empty the cabinets, drawers and other places where you keep your food supplies during your road trips. Food will attract rodents and insects to your RV; if you don't remove your food from your vehicle, even the canned and bottled ones, you risk finding your RV turned into a rat's or a cockroach nest when you take your vehicle out of storage. Make sure to clean out any leftovers or bits of food left on the floor or in corners as well.

5.  Protect Your RV from Possible Damage.

Aside from cleaning your RV and its storage space thoroughly, there are other measures that you must observe to keep your RV in tip-top shape. One of these is to remove your RV's batteries and store them in your own garage. In this way, you can keep an eye on the batteries and prevent them from freezing and from leaking acid on your RV's engine.

Another task you need to accomplish before storing your RV is to inspect it for tears, cracks and holes. Repair the tears in all the fabrics, including the awnings. Seal the cracks and the holes so that water will not get into the RV. This will prevent rust and other related problems from occurring.

You should also unplug all the appliances and turn off the main circuit breaker. Doing so will prevent electrical mishaps from happening while your RV is in storage. Defrost and clean out your fridge. Leave its doors open and sprinkle baking soda on its interior surfaces to keep unpleasant odors away. You also have to clean the filters in your air conditioner and put anti-freeze in the water heater (especially if you're storing it over the winter).

Yet another thing you should do is to check all your RV's locks and hinges. Make sure that the locks are secure. To keep them from rusting, you may want to apply graphite spray lubricant on them. You should also lubricate the hinges on doors, cabinets and drawers with WD40.

Lastly, remove the drawers and leave the cabinet doors open to keep them from smelling musty. Shut the windows and close the curtains or the blinds before you leave your RV for storage. This will prevent sunlight from coming in and causing your carpet and furniture to fade.

RVs are expensive investments. If you only use your RV for a short time every year, you should take good care of it and store it where it is safe and secure. Most of all, you need to prepare it for long term storage before you put it away. This will keep your RV in great shape and ready for when you use it on your next road trip.

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