RV Storage Guide - A Complete Action-Packed Guide
Owning an RV means adventure and relaxation, whether you’re camping, traveling or hitting up every festival in your region.
When it’s time to store your RV for winter or because your vacation time is up, you might not have the option of storing it on your own property or a public street. Lack of space, homeowners’ association rules or city parking laws often mean bringing your RV to a storage facility.
But, putting your RV in self-storage doesn’t mean just parking it and letting it sit for months on end, especially if you want to maintain its great condition. Skipping certain preparations before storing the RV can compromise the exterior, interior and mechanics of your vehicle.
This RV storage guide will guide you through how to store your RV in self-storage to make sure it stays safe and in great shape while it’s there.
Choose the Right Storage Unit
The kind of storage you choose for your RV depends on its size, the climate/weather of the area and your budget. Any amount of protection from the weather and other customers will likely cost significantly more. Check out our self-storage amenties.
In general, outdoor storage (like a parking space) is going to be the most common option for your RV. In some cases, parking areas may be covered, offering protection from much of the rain, snow, and sun. The least common (and most expensive) is an enclosed, individual storage unit, which may include climate control (like our Haledon, NJ location) and electrical outlets.
You probably know the class of your RV, which indicates how large of storage space you need:
- Class A - Largest RVs; can be longer than 40 feet
- Class B - Smallest RVs; typically under 25 feet but still larger than a typical SUV
- Class C - Mid-size RVs; ranging between 20 and 30 feet
Usually, an RV isn’t going to be taller than 13.5 feet, though it may be difficult to find indoor storage tall enough to accommodate this height.
Select a self-storage facility with great security, as RVs can be tempting to anyone looking to commit theft. Look for amenities like a gated entry, security cameras and fencing around the property.
Gather Important Documentation
No storage facility wants stolen or abandoned RVs on the property. In order to prove that you have authority over the RV you want to store, be ready to share the following information and documents:
- Proof of insurance
- Photo ID
- Plate number
Prepare Your RV for Storage
First, check for guidance from the manufacturer on how to store your RV. The following steps are great for general care, though your specific RV may need something more than we can predict here.
Usually, these preparations are necessary for protecting the exterior, interior and mechanics of your RV. If you’ve ever “winterized” your vehicle, you’re likely familiar the following process:
- Clean the entire interior, from washing bedding to dusting to scrubbing the floors. This leaves less opportunity for bacteria growth and pest attraction.
- Empty trash cans and clean sinks and the shower.
- Remove any perishable food or plants. Also take out anything that might freeze, especially liquids that could expand and explode (such as soda cans).
- Clean/defrost the fridge and freezer, leaving some baking soda inside to absorb odors.
- Place some moisture-absorbing material inside the RV to absorb moisture and prevent mold.
- Remove valuables and store at home.
- Drain the water tanks and clear the plumbing lines. Consider adding a non-toxic antifreeze to the kitchen/bathroom plumbing lines.
- Check blinds and window covers for holes/rips and repair them.
- Wash the exterior and give it a coat of wax. The wax is especially important if you don’t have an RV cover, as it will protect the body from moisture.
- Change the oil to keep the waters and acids from damaging the engine. Change/top off brake fluid, antifreeze and coolant to prevent oxidation and corrosion.
- Lubricate moving mechanical parts.
- Inflate tires to their maximum pressure to prevent flat spots in the tires (flat-spotting).
- Fill up the gas tank to prevent condensation and rust in the lines. Adding a stabilizer keeps that fuel from breaking down. With the stabilizer added, run the engine for a bit to let the stabilizer circulate through the whole system.
Leaving Your RV in the Storage Unit
Once you have your RV in its storage space, only a few more things need to happen before you can leave it parked. If your RV is towed, rather than driven to the space, you may be able to do some of this beforehand:
- Back the RV into the space to make battery access easier.
- Have wood or plastic under the tires to discourage rubber drying out and cracking.
- Make sure the inside and exterior are completely dry. One last wipedown will remove residue from the trip over.
- Remove windshield wipers and leave them in the RV.
- Close the blinds and window covers to keep out sun rays and further deter pests.
- Leave the cabinets, drawers, fridge and freezer open to keep things aired out and prevent moisture buildup.
- Take out the battery (negative terminal first) to store it somewhere warm and keep it charged.
- Turn off the LPG supply valve.
- If the RV will be parked for more than a few months, empty the gas tank completely and leave it open to dry.
- Block vents and the exhaust pipe to keep bugs and rodents from nesting in any part of the RV.
- Disengage the parking brake--it can damage the brake pads if left engaged for too long. Place chocks around the tires to keep the RV in one spot.
- Cover the tires to protect them from the elements and sunlight, which can dry out the rubber and cause cracks.
- Lock the RV and put the cover on. Be sure you use a cover that is of high quality, meaning breathable, fitted and weather resistant. Some covers come with locking zippers. Do not use plastic tarps, as they can scratch the RV body and trap moisture.
RV Care During Storage
A few simple tasks will keep your RV in great shape during storage:
- To keep everything working well, run the RV every two months, letting it idle for two hours. Do this for the generator as well (Understand that the RV must be running to be allowed to be stored in the first place).
- Do not work on the RV while it’s being stored. Typically, facilities don’t allow working on RVs and other vehicles in storage.
- Check your RV for signs of tampering or theft.
Follow the steps in this RV guide so you can properly store your RV in self-storage, and maintain that adventure investment for future use! Storage Post offers a range of self-storage types and sizes, and availability varies by location. Contact the location nearest you to learn what we have for your RV.