Once the fall arrives, your camping days are numbered. If you have an RV, you want to ensure you are storing it the right way this winter. Here we provide 18 tips to keep your RV safe and in tip-top shape for when the summer arrives.
1. Find a storage space
If your property is not large enough to park your RV on for the winter, finding storage space is your first step. You want a storage company that offers excellent security, so you know your RV is not at risk of theft or vandalism. Ideally, you should choose an indoor facility to provide the most protection from the severe Alberta winters.
2. Clean and wax your RV
If your vehicle will be stored outdoors, a good cleaning and waxing is a must. Even in the winter, the sun is strong enough to damage your paint job. Any rubber or vinyl features on your exterior can dry and crack. A good wash and coat of wax will help protect against the damages of winter and constant sun exposure.
3. Check for tears, cracks, or openings
Even the smallest crack can lead to water damage. The changing weather between snow, thaws, rain, sleet and more can lead to water damage that will create mildew and mould. Make sure you do a thorough check to spot tears, cracks or openings that could allow water to seep in. As well, ensure that the proper repairs to seal off the damaged areas to make sure your RV is completely sealed.
4. Slightly open rooftop vents
This might seem counter-intuitive based on number tip #3. However, if you don’t leave your vents open, you will allow a musty odour to build up. The vents are designed to keep the wet out but also allow your RV to breathe. This keeps odours that can be impossible to get rid of out of your RV.
5. Cover vents and pipes
This is the best way to keep pests from finding a cozy place to spend their winter. Flyscreens work well and can be applied to your air vents, appliance vents, and openings under your RV.
6. Check your locks
This is especially important if you are storing your RV in an open area. Specialty locks are an excellent way to keep thieves away. They are designed to protect your RV from break-ins, as they are difficult to penetrate. It will also help discourage thieves who look for quick entry.
7. Inflate tires to the recommended maximum pressure
Over time, air will be lost from your tires, reducing the pressure. To prevent too much loss, inflate your tyres to the recommended maximum pressure. Wash your tires down thoroughly to clean build-up and then cover them to protect them from the sun.
If possible, you should raise your vehicle so the full weight is not focused on the tires. However, only do this if you have the proper lift jacks to avoid potential accidents.
8. Cover it up
Use a breathable cover to add a layer of protection from the elements.
9. Wash your interior
This is the biggest job you’ll have to do, but worth the effort. Washing the interior makes it easier to jump in your RV at the first signs of warm weather. It also reduces the number of pests attracted to a summer’s worth of crumbs.
Remove anything that might contribute to unpleasant odour build-up. Check every single cupboard, closet, and drawer to remove any valuables or edibles. Also, make sure you dry every surface to avoid moisture that can lead to mould and mildew.
10. Draw the window shades
Protect your interior fabrics from the sun by pulling down your window shades. This isn’t necessary if your RV is under a cover or if it is stored indoors. Daylight shades are best as it provides enough light to reduce the risk of mould growth.
11. Leave cabinets and closets open
To prevent moisture build-up, open all your cabinet, fridge, and closet doors. You can also place a box of baking soda in your fridge to reduce odours.
12. Remove liquids
When cleaning, make sure you take any liquids like drinks home with you. If they freeze and burst, it can create a sticky mess, which attracts pests and could lead to mould growth. Don’t forget to remove any liquid cleaners and soaps too.
13. Remove paper products
Pests can make a nest out of just about anything. But paper — including toilet paper and paper towels — is a temptation they can’t resist. Along with any food, remove all paper products and linens from the RV.
14. Use antifreeze
Run some antifreeze through your motorhome’s pipes, valves and drain traps to avoid damage from freezing if your storage space isn’t climate controlled.
15. Turn off the LP-gas supply valve
Everything should be turned off, including your appliances, gas supply valve, and your gas leak detector so that any fuses don’t drain your battery.
16. Remove your RV’s batteries
You know how much damage a winter can have on batteries. The best way to avoid battery freeze in your RV is to disconnect them. Store them above ground in a dry, heated space. Not only will you keep them healthy, but you’ll also avoid them consuming power.
Other items to check include battery operated clocks and radios. Batteries can lead to corrosion while your RV is in storage.
17. Visit your RV regularly
To be safe, make a trip to your storage facility once a month to keep an eye on your RV. Check inside and out to make sure nothing is going on, including:
- Checking for signs of pests such as droppings and chewing
- Slow tire leaks
- Storm damage
- Any water inside the vehicle
18. Get proper RV insurance
Make sure your RV insurance covers damage during storage. This would include theft, fire and vandalism that occurs at the facility.
Coverage is subject to policy wording, terms, conditions, and deductibles. Protection is limited to the perils, coverage, exclusions, and limits shown on the policy.