Long-Term RV Storage Tips: How to Prepare Your RV for Winter Storage

As winter approaches, it's time to start thinking about storing your RV for the season. But before you lock the doors and walk away, it's important to take some necessary steps to ensure that your RV stays in good condition while it's in storage. In this post, we'll provide you with a checklist of essential tasks to prepare your RV for long-term storage, both indoor and outdoor.
Choosing a Storage Location
Choosing the right storage location is essential for protecting your car while it's in storage.
Indoor vs Outdoor Storage
There are two main types of storage options for RVs: indoor and outdoor storage. Indoor storage provides the most protection, as the RV is stored in a climate-controlled environment. Outdoor storage is less expensive but provides less protection from the elements.
It's important to choose a storage facility that is secure and has measures in place to prevent theft or vandalism. Look for a facility that has security cameras, gated access, and a staff that monitors the facility.
Climate Control
If you opt for indoor storage, make sure the facility has climate control. Extreme temperatures can cause damage to your car, so it's important to store it in a temperature-controlled environment.
Preparing Your RV for Storage
Before storing your RV for an extended period of time, there are a few important steps you should take to ensure it is properly prepared.
Thoroughly Clean Your RV
Before storing your RV, it's crucial to thoroughly clean both the interior and exterior. This includes vacuuming all floors and seat cushions, as well as washing and cleaning the rubber roof, awning, and sides of the RV. The cleaner your RV is, the less likely you are to encounter problems when you take it out of storage in the spring.
Remove Items That May Encourage Pests
Another essential step is to remove any items that may encourage pests to take up residence in your RV. This includes anything that resembles food, such as crumbs and spills. It's also important to clean cooking surfaces thoroughly to remove any residue, especially cooking grease, which can attract pests.
Drain Your Water Systems
One of the most important steps in preparing your RV for long-term storage is to drain your water systems. This includes draining the gray and black water tanks of all remaining water and pumping anti-freeze into the water system. Be sure to open sink valves until the anti-freeze flows smoothly out of the faucets and run enough RV anti-freeze through the faucets to replace any water in the sink traps and drain plumbing. Finally, pull the flush valve in the toilet to ensure that the insides of the toilet get filled with RV anti-freeze.
Protect Your Tires
When storing your RV, it's important to protect your tires to prevent them from developing flat spots or dry rot. One way to do this is to use a tire stopper, which will help distribute the weight of the RV evenly across the tires. You should also apply tire cleaner and sealer to the exterior sidewalls of all tires and check the tires for proper air pressure.
Change the Oil
Old oil can become acidic and cause damage to your engine if left in the RV for an extended period of time. To avoid this, it's important to change the oil and oil filter before storing your RV. This will help ensure that your engine is properly lubricated and protected.
Fill Up the Gas Tank
Before storing your RV, it's a good idea to fill up the gas tank. This will help prevent moisture from accumulating inside the tank and fuel lines. Additionally, it's a good idea to add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank. This will help prevent the gasoline from breaking down and becoming stale while in storage.
Maintain Your RV's Battery
Your RV's battery is another critical component that requires attention during long-term storage. If left unattended, your battery can lose its charge and even freeze in extremely cold temperatures. To prevent this, disconnect the battery and remove it from your RV, storing it in a cool, dry place. You can also use a battery tender or trickle charger to maintain your battery's charge throughout the winter months.
Remove Items That Can Be Damaged By Severe Cold
Before storing your RV, it's essential to remove any items that could be damaged by severe cold, such as electronics and bottles containing liquids. This will help prevent damage to your RV and ensure that everything is in good condition when you're ready to hit the road again in the spring.
Use an RV Cover
Covering your RV is an essential step in protecting it from the elements during long-term storage. A high-quality RV cover will shield your RV from harmful UV rays, wind, rain, and snow, and will prevent dirt, debris, and critters from making their way inside. Look for a cover made from breathable material to prevent moisture buildup and mold growth. Be sure to choose a cover that is specifically designed for your RV's make and model to ensure a proper fit.
Use a Tire Stopper
It's important to use a tire stopper to prevent your RV from moving or rolling. This is especially crucial if you're storing your RV on an incline or decline. A tire stopper will ensure that your RV stays in place and doesn't roll away, causing damage to both your RV and any nearby vehicles or structures.
Check on Your RV Regularly
Even if you've taken all the necessary steps to prepare your RV for long-term storage, it's still important to check on it regularly. Plan to visit your RV every few weeks to inspect it for any signs of damage, leaks, or pests. Check the cover for tears or holes, and make any necessary repairs. Look for signs of rodent activity, such as droppings or chewed wires, and take action to prevent further damage. By checking on your RV regularly, you can catch any issues early and prevent them from becoming more serious problems.
Other Miscellaneous To-Do’s
  • Remove the 12V battery and store the battery in your garage unless your RV is self-contained and needs this for operation.
  • Oil and lube all stabilizer jacks and slide units to reduce the likelihood of the metal rusting.
  • If possible, wax the exterior of your fiberglass RV. This will provide a good protective coat.

Properly preparing your RV for long-term storage is essential to keeping it in good condition and ready for your next adventure. From winterizing the water system to protecting your tires and battery, there are many steps you can take to ensure that your RV is safe and secure during the off-season. By following these tips and conducting regular check-ups, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your RV is ready to hit the road when you are.
The advice on this website is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only.
Additional Resources:
These resources provide additional information and tips for RV winterization and may be helpful for readers looking for more comprehensive guides.