Essential RV Winter Storage Tips
Hitting the road in an RV can be a great experience during the warmer months of the year, but properly prepping it for storage before the colder season sets in can be a big undertaking. In order to make sure your RV is clean, comfortable and road-ready for next season, take a look at these essential storage tips, which cover your vehicle from top to bottom, inside and out.
Cleaning and prepping inside the RV
When preparing your RV for winter storage, think of it like packing up a vacation home: you'll want to make sure nothing is left unchecked and that no problems are able to develop in the time while you're away from it. Here are a few very essential steps every RV owner needs to take in order to confidently shut the door to their vehicle's interior for the duration of winter:
- Make sure all appliances are disconnected and that your fridge and freezer are fully defrosted. You'll also need to prop the fridge and freezer open to prevent stale odors from forming.
- Because winter storage is several months long, it's imperative that your RV isn't connected to any electrical sources. Stem the flow of power by flipping off the main breaker on the distribution panel. Also, in this same vein, it's a good idea to turn off the LP-gas supply valve, located on the LP tank.
- Give your cabin and upholstery a thorough cleaning to avoid any microbial buildups. Also, open the vents to allow free circulation, so you're not greeted with a blast of stale air when you open your RV in spring.
- Winterize your plumbing and tanks by flushing them thoroughly with cleaning solution.
- Unload everything from your RV's interior to reduce the overall weight of the vehicle itself - this will help to reduce pressure on the tires.
Tending to your RV's exterior
Making sure the exterior of your RV is properly prepped and carefully addressed before winter storage is just as important as tending to its interior. Whether you'll be storing your RV under the protective roof of a garage or it'll be completely covered and tied down in your driveway, make sure you're taking into account these exterior tasks:
- First and foremost, make sure your RV is getting a full wash and wax before it goes into hibernation this winter. A thorough wash and wax will remove any buildups from your months of travel that might do damage to your vehicle's clear coat and paint if left to fester over the winter months.
- Check all of your seals and caulking to make sure your RV is still airtight. If you notice damage to a seal, have it repaired—this can let moisture and bacteria in during the winter months, leading to any number of costly damages.
- Investing in an RV cover is essential to maintaining the integrity of your RV throughout the winter months. DiscountRamps.com offers a wide selection of motorhome and RV covers that will do everything from keeping rodents and pests out of your cabin, to preventing moisture from entering through your vents, to eliminating the threat of UV fading on your upholstery. A good cover will bear the brunt of the elements, so that your expensive RV investment doesn't have to.
Parking and wheel care
One of the final tasks in ensuring your RV is safe and sound all winter long is choosing where and how to park it. Follow these essential steps to avoid any long-term issues when parking your motorhome for months at a time:
- Make sure you're always parking on flat, level cement. Parking on a surface that can expand, contract or shift with changing temperatures - such as dirt or asphalt - will subject your RV to movements that can shift weight distribution around. And, if you park on a slope you run the risk of the vehicle moving, as well as improper weight distribution, which could put strain on the tires or the chassis.
- Chock your wheels to prevent any movement or shifting! Remember, your RV weighs several tons - if it starts in motion, you're going to have a hard time stopping it and the damage is sure to be catastrophic. RV wheel chocks from DiscountRamps.com are inexpensive and extremely effective in keeping your RV stationary at all times.
- Always, always be sure to apply the parking brake before you seal up your cabin and cover the RV for the winter.
Now, for the tires themselves, you'll want to take a few simple precautions to combat pressure loss, malformed rims and other critical troubles:
- Try to keep the tires themselves covered or at least out of direct sunlight. UV rays can degrade the rubber and lessen the resilience of your tires if constantly exposed.
- Inflate your RV's tires to about 125 percent of their recommended PSI, but be sure not to exceed the rim manufacturer's inflation capacity. While in storage the cold temperatures will cause the air in your tires to contract, bringing them down to around 100 percent PSI for the duration of the storage time.
A few final tips
Once you've got the main things out of the way, your RV should be good to go for proper winter storage, however there are always a few extra things that can be done - especially if your RV is getting on in years or you're planning to store the vehicle for longer than the winter months. Here are a few final tips you should investigate:
- If you're putting your RV in storage with a full tank of gas, adding fuel stabilizer is a good idea.
- Change your RV's engine oil before prepping it for storage and, if you live in an area that has harsher winters, you might consider engine antifreeze as well.
- Remove your RV's batteries before storage and give them a good cleaning with a 50/50 mixture of baking soda and water. Be sure to store your batteries in a cool, dry place where they're not going to freeze.
If you take the time to be thorough in prepping your RV for storage, you're going to welcome the sight of it next year when the time comes to hit the road again. Remember, an RV is a costly investment that requires the maintenance of both a home and a vehicle - do your part in making sure it gets the attention it needs before it's put away this winter.
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