Storing Your RV for the Off-Season

/ By Dave Brueckner

When the days get shorter and the air gets colder, it’s time to think about preparing and storing your recreational vehicle for the season. To help, we’ve put together some tips to make sure you get back on the road quickly once the weather warms up again.

Clean it up

Thoroughly cleaning your vehicle inside and out not only makes it look nicer but also prevents dirt and acidic materials from eating away at it and causing rust. Make sure you hit all the areas, including awnings, wheel wells, tires, and check all your seals to prevent moisture and mildew build-up. It’s also essential to ensure that you remove any garbage or food that might be left over from your travels so as not to attract bugs and cause odours.

Remove any valuables

Even if you store it on your property, don’t leave valuables inside over the winter. Not only are they attractive to thieves, but many items (like electronics) may get damaged by cold weather.

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Change the fluids

Having a full tank of gas, along with new oil and brake fluids, will help things run smoother once you take your vehicle out of storage.

Drain the tanks

To protect your RV’s water system, drain out your tanks to prevent burst pipes and broken seals. If there is any chance of freezing temperatures where you live, any water that remains in your system can freeze, expand, and damage your plumbing. You should always drain your tanks into a sewer system, rather than somewhere like your front lawn or a campground. Different models might have specific ways to do this, so check your manual before you begin.

Cover it up

The best way to prevent the winter elements from damaging your vehicle is to keep it covered, whether it’s in your garage, a local storage facility, or at someone else’s home. If you plan on keeping your vehicle outdoors, consider using a weatherproof cover.

Check tires and brakes

Inflate your tires to their maximum pressure, so they slowly deflate as the temperature drops. Check for any cracks or tears and repair them immediately. Having tire blocks or jacking the vehicle to keep the weight off them will help prevent flat spots from developing and prevent it from moving while it’s parked.

Critter-proof it

Do a full inspection outside of your vehicle for cracks, holes, or openings that an insect or animal could fit through. Many creatures can fit in holes the size of a dime, so be sure to look closely. If you find any gaps, block them with steel wool or foam insulation to keep out unwanted visitors.

Start it up and check it out

Even in storage, it’s wise to start your vehicle periodically for 10-15 minutes to get the proper oils and coolants running through it. If your vehicle has a cover on it, remove it and roll down the windows before running. If your RV is stored in a garage, ensure that the garage door is open and the windows are down for proper ventilation before starting your vehicle.

You should also be going inside and inspecting it throughout the winter, so that small problems don’t become bigger ones. The sooner you spot a problem, the easier it will be to repair it.

Most insurance policies will remain in effect on your RV when it’s in storage, covering you for things like fire, theft or vandalism.

 

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