Maybe you just retired and bought your very first RV this past season. Maybe you’ve had an RV for years, and you’ve done a decent job of winterizing it each year. Whatever your RV experience is, you’ve resolved to step things up this winter. At Stor-It, we’re here to help. Read these 12 important tips from our experts to properly store your RV over the winter.
Store Your RV in a Covered Facility
There is no better way to keep your RV safe during the winter than storing it in a covered facility — even better, a climate-controlled facility. This will ensure that your RV is 100% removed from weather that may cause abrasion of freezing. If you can’t find a facility that can regulate the interior temperature of their storage facility, at least be sure to keep your RV inside 4 walls and underneath a roof to keep it away from inclement weather.
If You Can’t Find a Storage Facility, Get an Exterior RV Cover
Many of the exterior and interior issues you run into with storing your RV outside over the winter can be mitigated with an RV cover. A cover is nowhere near as effective as covered storage, but it is still a fairly good method for keeping Mother Nature out. Yes, RV covers are tough to put on and take off, but you will be happy you covered up your mobile castle when your RV colors stay vibrant, as well as when your plastic, fiberglass, rubber, and vinyl all keep their original integrity for years to come.
Cover All Vents and Places that Insects Could Possibly Crawl Into
There are few things worse than stepping into your RV for the first time in months to find scores of dead insects (and maybe scores of live ones!) littering every nook and cranny of your once-pristine RV interior. To stop this from happening, cover any vents that insects could possibly crawl into. Do a quick check to make sure your vents are closed so no outside dust or dirt can make its way into your RV during the off-season.
Remove All Perishables (and Non-Perishables!) and Open Up All Cabinets
If you’re like most RV travelers, you probably have a stellar RV pantry for when you are out on the road. Guess what: that stellar pantry becomes a major issue during the winter. Food decay, pest presence, and general odor can all become problems for RV owners who neglect to dispose of their RV food before the end of the winter. Start by taking what will perish out of your cabinets. But don’t stop there. Anything that may be adversely affected by cold weather should be removed from your RV. Blankets, pillows, Tupperware containers, toilet paper — you name it. Adopt a better-safe-than-sorry approach to clearing out your RV. When you have finished clearing everything out, open up your cabinet doors to increase airflow and reduce the chances of anything growing in your RV.
Cover All Furniture
To keep your RV furniture in great condition, keep it covered in the off-season. Quality covers will help your furniture stay the same color while preventing dust and other particles from sinking into the upholstery. Also, on the off-chance that you do have unwanted animal invaders (such as mice, rats, or raccoons), your furniture covers will ward off potential paw prints, gnawing, and animal excrement.
Prepare Your Fridge and Freezer for the Coming Winter
Just like your cabinets, your fridge and freezer need attention. First thing’s first, clear them out. Bring food items back to your home or to a local food bank. Unplug your fridge, open the doors, and allow both fridge and freezer to defrost completely. After both have been completely defrosted, wipe down the insides with a non-toxic all-purpose cleaner. Leave the doors open throughout the winter season and a box of baking soda inside of the fridge.
Keep Out the Rodents
As we’ve alluded to above, rodents are going to be one of your biggest issues when storing your RV. This is another great reason why an indoor storage facility is the best choice for you (provided you have room in your budget). It is very hard for rodents to infiltrate a sealed-off metal box. But if you don’t have that luxury, take these of steps to stave off rodents and other unwanted animal invaders.
- Get rid of all food. Rodents find food wherever it’s hiding. Don’t hide it in your RV.
- Set out a few bowls of mothballs. Yes, mothballs stink. But that’s the whole point! Rodents hate the smell of mothballs and will stay away. Just make sure that you buy some air fresheners come springtime.
- Use steel wool and/or spray foam. Use steel wool or spray foam to seal off any access point is in the underbelly of your RV.
- Seal up your firewalls. A piece of scrap metal works for great for covering up any firewalls you have in your RV.
- Seal up access holes around hoses and tubes. Rodents love climbing into tubes and exploring new places. Don’t let them do it. Seal up any tubes and hoses that you have in and around your RV.
Drain Your RV of All Fluids
In the winter, fluids lead to freezing. Freezing leads to cracked pipes when things warm up. Drain your RV of all the fluids in both the plumbing system and water heater tank. If you live in an area that isn’t Southern California or South Florida, you are going to want to add antifreeze to your various systems such as the waste tanks, piping, and valves (after you have drained the systems, of course).
Keep Your Tires in Tip Top Shape
Nothing will ruin your yearly springtime maiden RV voyage quicker than a blown tire before you even leave your home state. Clean your tires and keep them out of direct sunlight throughout the winter. If you have the means, put your RV on levering blocks to avoid unnecessary pressure on part of your tire for the months that it is in storage.
Remove Your Battery for the Winter
It may sound crazy, but removing your battery from your RV during the winter is an excellent way to ensure that your battery will last as long as possible. If you don’t know how to do this properly (always take off the negative end first!), consult a mechanic or a gearhead friend before going under the hood. That goes for any of the items on the list that involve the inner workings of the RV’s various systems. If you don’t, all your care and concern may end up hurting the RV more than you are helping it. Open the hood and check your battery every couple of months throughout the winter to make sure that it is as close to fully charged as possible. This will help ensure that the battery doesn’t freeze.
Add Fuel Stabilizer to Your RV During the Winter Months
To keep your fuel in good shape, add a fuel stabilizer to your fuel. Don’t just add fuel stabilizer on its own. Be sure to add the fuel then add the stabilizer and run the engine so that the fuel-stabilized fuel can circulate throughout the system. You are going to need to start your engine every 2 months and have it run on idle for at least two hours (not in an enclosed space!) in order to ensure that the engine doesn’t sit around for too long.
Change Your Oil Before Storing Your RV for the Winter
You don’t want to have dirty oil sitting around in your radiator, barely ever being circulated throughout the long winter season. This can lead to degradation of the oil tank and issues for your entire RV once you start driving it. Clean oil is much better to be sitting around an idle RV radiator, and much better for the RV once it’s on the road. Change your oil before storing your RV for the winter. While you’re at it, be sure to put the proper amount of antifreeze in your radiator to ensure that nothing in there freezes and subsequently cracks your radiator. That’s a horrible thing to come back to after a long, cold winter.
Need RV Storage in Idaho? Look no further than with our Storage Experts at Stor-It
Of the many items on this list, few will do a better job of keeping your RV in great shape over the winter than professional storage. If you live in Idaho, there is no better place to store your RV that right here at Stor-It. We have 14 locations in the Treasure Valley and beyond, each with affordable rates, industry-leading amenities, and the knowledgeable staff ready to help you with your storage needs. We have outdoor parking and outdoor covered parking for RVs of all shapes and sizes — even the largest motor homes. Check out our Locations page to learn more about our storage facilities, and store your RV and other belongings with our team today!