After your yearly vacation ends and it's time to get back to work, it's time to park your RV for an extended period of time. Storing your RV at a facility helps to free up space on your own property, and you know that the storage company can provide a space that is well-suited for storage (no long grass, trees dropping leaves, etc.).
However, as most important part as choosing the right place to store your RV is how well you prepare your RV for hibernation. An RV that is well-prepared for storage will have less risk of developing the mechanical and cosmetic problems that can sometimes come with long-term storage.
Prevent Mice and Other Rodents
Since RV storage is usually open to the outdoors, you'll want to make sure that you do everything possible to prevent mice or rats from getting into your vehicle and making a home there. Before storing, making sure you:
- Pull out all drawers and wipe them out. Crumbs can fall into the space behind drawers, so pulling out the drawers and wiping behind them helps to get an even deeper clean.
- Wash down storage cupboards with a mild solution of dish detergent and water.
- Clear out all edible food. Never leave any food stored in your RV, even if it is sealed. The smell can draw animals in.
- Remove papers like maps, books and old magazines that mice can use to build nests.
- Clear all bedding, and vacuum mattresses and couches to remove odors and stray crumbs.
- Repair any broken seals around doors and windows to prevent rodents from entering.
You also should check the underside of the RV to seal any cracks or holes leading up into the main living area. If your RV is a motorhome, make sure the engine area (which is exposed to the outside) is completely sealed off from the interior of the vehicle. Clean out the AC filter and cover any roof vents.
Prepare the Fridge and Freezer
When not properly cleaned and emptied, the fridge and freezer can start to grow mold. The spores can then spread to other areas of the RV, ruining what was once a beautiful and functional vehicle.
Defrost the freezer and remove all the food from both freezer and fridge, including condiments. Wipe them out with a solution of bleach and water to kill any lingering bacteria. Leave the doors open until the water has completely dried. Check the gasket seals on both the fridge and the freezer and wipe them out, as these can sometimes become dirty over months of frequent use.
Guard Against Sun Damage
You also want to protect your interiors from becoming sun damaged. The sun coming in through the windows and dash can fade upholstery and make wood finishes appear less attractive over time. Pull down the shades and fasten them. Snap the windshield cover into place after parking your vehicle in the storage area.
Protect the Exterior
The exterior of your motorhome is tougher than your interior, but if it sits for a very long time, it will also start to show signs of weather wear. The best thing to do for your motorhome is to wash it thoroughly from the top down and then to give it a wax to help protect the finish.
When washing, be thorough. It's a big job, but clearing dirt and debris from the small cracks and crevices will help to prepare for the wax coat and leave no area of the exterior unprotected. Check exterior rivets, seams and window seals to make sure that water won't leak inside and cause moisture trouble.
You'll also want to repair simple things like paint or glass chips. Over time, the exposure to UV light, temperature changes and rain will make these small chips turn into rust spots or cracks in the window glass.
If your storage location is not covered, you may want to get a breathable cover for your RV. If you don't get a full cover, at least get tire covers. UV exposure weakens tires, so covering them can extend their life and reduce your maintenance expenses.
Remove or Maintain the Battery
Finally, you'll need to decide what to do with the battery. If you store your RV but still use it every few months or so, you can keep the battery installed and simply plug the RV in every month or so to help it recharge. You should never let a battery deplete below 50 percent.
If your RV will be parked for a good long while — an entire season or until it sells — remove the battery and store it in a weather-safe place.
For good measure, you should also make sure your vehicle has fresh oil, antifreeze and other fluids before you put it in storage.
For more information on prepping and storing your RV, contact Sentry Mini-Storage Inc.