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RV Winter Storage: 9 Essential Tips to Protect Your Investment

rv parked in snow

Being an RV owner can be the most rewarding experience there is. Your RV gives you a lot of joy through your adventures, and that's why it's important to take care of it when winter arrives.

You might stop traveling during wintertime, so you need proper RV winter storage during this time. This will protect your RV from harsh weather conditions and prevent damage that can occur from exposure to cold temperatures, snow, ice, and moisture.

Whether you're storing your RV outdoors or indoors, you can take several important steps to ensure that your investment stays safe and secure until the warmer weather returns.

In this article, we will explore essential tips for RV winter storage, including preparation, maintenance, and best practices to keep your RV in top condition throughout the winter season.

1. Clean and Inspect Your RV

Start by washing the exterior of the RV to remove dirt, grime, and road salt that can cause corrosion and damage to the paint and finish. Pay special attention to the roof, windows, and seams. Use a mild detergent and a soft brush to avoid scratching the surface.

Next, inspect the interior of the RV, including the cabinets, appliances, upholstery, and flooring. Ensure that everything is clean, dry, and free from any signs of mold, mildew, or pests.

Remove any food items, liquids, and perishable goods to prevent spoilage and attract insects or rodents. Check for any leaks, water damage, or moisture intrusion. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage during storage.

You will want to take at least a full day to do all these tasks, so you don't rush through them and miss something important.

2. Perform Maintenance and Repairs

Service the engine, generator, and other mechanical components to prevent corrosion, rust, and damage from sitting idle for an extended period. Change the oil, filters, and fluids. Add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank to prevent fuel degradation and carburetor issues.

Inspect the RV tires for signs of wear, damage, or dry rot. Inflate them to the manufacturer's recommended pressure.

Consider using tire covers to protect the tires from UV damage and prevent flat spots from forming during storage. Check the brakes, suspension, and steering components for any signs of wear or damage. Lubricate moving parts as needed to prevent corrosion and ensure smooth operation.

Speak to your mechanic about your winter storage plans so they know what to do to protect your RV. They have dealt with this before and will know exactly how to set up your RV for a safe winter hibernation period.

3. Protect Against Moisture and Mold

To protect your RV against moisture damage, it's essential to take proactive steps to minimize condensation and humidity levels inside the vehicle. Start by thoroughly drying out the interior of the RV after cleaning and inspecting it.

Pay special attention to areas prone to moisture buildup, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and storage compartments.

Consider using moisture-absorbing products such as silica gel packets, desiccants, or dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture from the air and prevent mold and mildew growth. You can leave the dehumidifier running for a couple of days so there's absolutely no moisture left behind in your RV.

Open windows and vents periodically to allow for air circulation and ventilation.

Use RV vent covers to protect against rain and snow infiltration while still allowing for airflow. Insulate pipes and plumbing fixtures to prevent freezing and bursting. Add insulation or thermal curtains to windows and doors to retain heat and minimize heat loss during storage.

4. Choose the Right Storage Location

Opt for indoor storage in a climate-controlled facility to protect your RV from extreme temperatures, moisture, and pests. This is the most ideal way to store your RV during the wintertime.

This is because indoor storage provides the highest level of protection against the elements, especially if you live in a place where wintertime can be a harsh time to be outdoors. It also minimizes the risk of damage from snow, ice, and freezing temperatures.

If indoor storage is not available or practical, consider outdoor storage options such as RV storage lots, storage yards, or your own property. When selecting an outdoor storage location, look for facilities that offer:

  • Paved or gravel parking surfaces

  • Security features: gated access, surveillance cameras, perimeter fencing

  • Amenities: on-site management, RV washing stations, dump stations

Choose a location that is well-drained and elevated to prevent flooding and water accumulation, and consider investing in an RV cover or tarp to protect your RV from UV damage, snow, and debris.

5. Prepare RV Exterior

Start by thoroughly cleaning and waxing the exterior to create a protective barrier against dirt, debris, and UV rays. Pay special attention to seams, seals, and gaskets, and apply a silicone-based sealant or rubber roof coating to prevent leaks and water intrusion.

Inspect the RV's exterior for any signs of damage or wear, such as cracks, chips, or delamination. Repair any issues promptly to prevent further damage during storage.

Remove any accessories or attachments such as awnings, satellite dishes, or antennas. They could get damaged by high winds or heavy snow loads. Make sure to store them indoors or in a secure location.

6. Implement Rodent and Pest Prevention Measures

During the winter months, rodents and pests may seek shelter and warmth inside your RV, potentially causing damage to wiring, upholstery, and insulation. To prevent infestation and protect your RV from pests, implement rodent and pest prevention measures before storing it for the winter.

Seal any openings or gaps where pests can enter the RV, such as around plumbing lines, vents, and access points.

Consider placing rodent traps or repellent inside the RV. Avoid storing food or attractants that could attract pests. Additionally, inspect the RV regularly during storage to check for signs of pest activity and address any issues promptly.

This last point is especially important. Don't think you can stow your RV away and not think about it for a few months. It's crucial to check up on your RV wherever it's stored, at least once every few weeks.

7. Disconnect and Store Batteries

To prevent RV battery drain and extend the life of your RV's batteries during winter storage, it's important to disconnect and store them properly. Start by disconnecting the batteries from the RV's electrical system to prevent parasitic loads from draining the batteries over time.

Clean the battery terminals and cables with a wire brush and terminal cleaner to remove any corrosion or buildup. Apply a thin layer of dielectric grease to prevent future corrosion.

Store the batteries in a cool, dry location away from extreme temperatures and direct sunlight. Consider using a battery maintainer or trickle charger to keep them charged and maintained during storage.

8. Perform RV Winterization

Depending on your location and climate, it may be necessary to winterize your RV before storing it for the winter to protect it from freezing temperatures and potential damage from ice and snow. The RV plumbing system can be winterized by:

  • Draining water lines, tanks, and plumbing fixtures

  • Adding antifreeze to the water system

  • Protecting awnings, slide-outs, and tires from cold weather damage

Consult your RV owner's manual or a professional RV service technician for guidance on winterizing your specific RV model and components, and take appropriate steps to prepare your RV for winter storage to avoid costly repairs and damage.

9. Maintain Proper Insurance Coverage

Before storing your RV for the winter, review your insurance coverage to ensure that you have adequate protection in place in case of theft, vandalism, or damage during storage. Consider updating your policy to include comprehensive coverage. This will protect against non-collision-related incidents such as fire, theft, and storm damage.

Call your insurance provider to verify that your insurance policy covers your RV during storage and that it provides coverage for a specific storage location and duration.

If necessary, notify your insurance provider of your plans to store your RV for the winter. Update your policy accordingly to avoid any gaps or limitations in coverage. By maintaining proper insurance coverage, you can have peace of mind knowing that your RV is protected against unforeseen events and potential losses during winter storage.

Even if you have chosen the best RV storage option out there, you never know what extenuating circumstances might happen. Life happens no matter how many precautions you take and that's why insurance exists in the first place.

RV Winter Storage Requires a Bit of Prepwork

If you are a diligent RV owner, then you will want to make sure your RV winter storage plans are made well in advance of the approaching wintertime.

Don't believe that RVs being machines can be left to their own devices. This will only result in a headache for you when you remove your RV from storage and notice it needs repairs or has other issues.

Looking for indoor winter storage for an RV in Sunbury, OH? Hill's Self Storage is here to secure your RV and give you that peace of mind you seek. Contact us to learn more.


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