RV Travel News & Blog Articles
Camping World’s Guide to Storing an RV
For some of us, the end of summer marks the end of RV season as well. If you’re not someone who RVs full-time and chooses to snowbird during the winter months, you’ll need to make arrangements for storing your RV. In fact, even during the warmer parts of the year, if you’re a weekend warrior camper, you’ll likely need to store your RV somewhere while you aren’t using it.
As a seasoned RVer who has done everything from full-timing to occasional weekend camping trips during the summer, I’ve had a variety of RV storage experiences. In this post, I’ll share some of the most common questions that new RVers may have about RV storage, along with a few tips I’ve learned along the way.
Where Can I Store My RV?Image: Lindsay McKenzie
When it comes to where you can store your RV, you really have two options: store the RV on your own property or someone else’s property.
To determine whether or not you can store your RV on your own property, you’ll need to first check with your homeowner’s association or determine if there are any neighborhood covenants that restrict residents from parking RVs on their property.
If you don’t have any restrictions, you’ll then want to determine if you have a space on your property that is both large enough and also secure and safe enough for your RV.
If storing your RV on your own property isn’t an option, you’ll need to look elsewhere. And it’s best to have several options to choose from. The simplest solution might be to see if a friend or a family member has the space and would allow you to park your RV on their property. If that’s not a possibility, there are still options available.
You can do a quick internet search for RV storage facilities in your area. With RV sales on the rise in recent years, these seem to be popping up all over the country. If there aren’t any close enough to you, or you want to compare options, you may also find that standard storage facilities sometimes allow RVs to be stored on their property. Some even have storage units large enough to park an entire motorhome inside!
Lastly, you can check with your local RV parks, as some offer storage as well. You’ll need to weigh out your options and determine which one fits your needs and budget.
How Much Does it Cost to Store an RV?Image: Lindsay McKenzie
The different storage options listed above will vary greatly not only in cost but also in amenities. Obviously, storing your RV on your own property or a friend or family member’s property will be the least expensive option. But, when it comes to storing your RV at a storage facility or RV park, there are a variety of factors that influence the cost.
First, the prices of RV storage will fluctuate depending upon where you live and the availability of storage in your area. The more amenities that a facility offers also influence the cost. Some facilities have covered spots where the RVs are parked underneath roofing, while others offer full coverage where the RVs are parked inside of an enclosed unit similar to a garage.
Then, of course, others only have an open field or parking lot that may or may not be paved and RVs are simply parked side by side in the elements. Security, 24/7 access, and on-site dumps and freshwater filling stations will also affect a storage facility’s pricing.
When it comes to the price of storing your RV, an additional factor to consider is whether you’ll be looking for long-term or short-term storage. You may find storage facilities will charge more for a shorter length of time. Some may even require you to store your RV with them for an extended amount of time versus allowing you to pay month to month.
Each facility will have its own policies, contracts, and payment terms. Consider all the pros and cons of each facility in addition to the cost.
How Does Weather Impact Storing an RV?Image: oksana.perkins / Shutterstock
If you don’t store your RV in an enclosed storage garage, you’ll certainly want to determine what elements you’ll need to protect it from (including hailstorms). Here are a few tips for storing your RV outdoors during extreme weather conditions:
Protecting Your RV from Sun Damage
Regardless of whether you’re storing your RV outdoors during the heat of summer or in the freezing temperatures of winter, one of the biggest concerns is protecting the exterior of your RV. Getting an RV cover will protect it against sun damage, as the sun can fade the paint or decals on your RV.
If you don’t have an RV cover, you’ll want to make sure you wash the exterior of your RV to keep any dirt from eroding the surface, as well as wax your RV to help seal and protect it. The sun can also crack, harden and damage the rubber on your tires so if you choose not to cover your RV, you should at least consider getting tire covers.
Protecting Your Battery From Extreme TemperaturesImage: Air Images via Shutterstock
Your RV’s coach battery is another component that needs to be protected in extreme temperatures. Anytime your RV will be sitting for a long period of time, it’s good to disconnect them to avoid draining them. But, if possible, you’ll also want to store your battery inside your home and outside of the heat and cold. This also includes any batteries you may have in other parts of your RV, such as clocks, flashlights, alarms, etc.
Protecting Your RV in Freezing Temperatures
The most important thing is that you properly winterize your RV before temperatures consistently dip below freezing. Your unit’s manual will provide some instructions for winterizing your specific model, but it’s always smart to research or ask a service technician for tips and guidance, as each RV is different when it comes to winterizing.
The important thing is that you ensure there is no water in any of the pipes or holding tanks to prevent freezing and cracking. If you choose to winterize with RV-safe antifreeze, be sure to bypass your water heater to avoid damage.
Humidity and Your RVImage: Paul Maguire via Shutterstock
Depending on where you plan to store your RV, you’ll need to pay attention to whether you’ll need to increase or decrease the humidity inside your RV. Humidity and moisture can wreak havoc on an RV.
If your RV will be stored in a dry climate, you’ll want to add just enough moisture to keep any wood from drying and cracking. One idea is to place a large bucket of water in the center of the RV, to add some moisture to the air.
On the flip side, you may need to absorb the moisture from the air if your RV will be stored in a moist and warm climate. Using a dehumidifier will help to prevent mold and mildew growth inside the RV. Be sure to open all cabinet and closet doors when trying to balance the humidity or dryness in your RV to keep the air consistent throughout the unit.
How to Protect Your RV from Pests and RodentsImage: Camping World
Pests and rodents can be one of the biggest concerns when it comes to damage to your RV while storing it. The easiest way to protect from pests is to ensure that your RV is clean and that no food, or even small particles, are left behind. Thoroughly wipe surfaces and vacuum all carpeted areas.
But, you’ll likely need to take other measures to keep the critters out. Mice love to build nests in warm areas during the cooler months. First, inspect every area of your RV for possible entryways and try to seal them where you can.
There are also lots of home remedies out there to deter rodents from entering that include mothballs, dryer sheets, and even Irish Spring bar soap. However, sometimes the old-fashioned mouse traps are the way to go.
To keep insects away, a good (and natural) home remedy is to soak cotton balls with lavender oil, cedar oil, tea tree oil, and/or peppermint oil and place them all around the inside of the RV. For ants, baits and powders tend to do the trick.
Anti-Theft ProtectionImage: Lindsay McKenzie
Of course, critters aren’t the only things wanting to get inside your RV. You’ll need to be prudent about locking the doors, windows, and exterior storage compartments of your RV and taking other security measures to avoid theft or break-ins.
Wheel locks and hitch locks are sure to prevent your RV from being stolen. But, other products like motion detecting lights and alarm systems, and upgrading to higher quality locks may be a good idea for added security.
Other RV Storage TipsImage: Camping World Make sure everything is turned off in the RV, such as the propane, water pump, and refrigerator (you’ll need to defrost the freezer first by turning it off and laying a towel inside to absorb the water). You may want to consider combatting odors inside your RV. One way to do this is to allow for adequate airflow through the RV by opening vents just enough to circulate air but not so much that rain or snow can get in. It’s wise to check in on your RV every so often to make sure the preventative measures you’ve taken are working. Cleaning the air conditioning filters and covering your air conditioner can help protect it from the elements. If you own a motorhome and it will be in storage for an extended amount of time, you’ll want to start and run the engine about once a month to keep the engine components lubricated and prevent the fuel from deteriorating. Another option is to add a fuel stabilizer to your fuel tank, which can also be used in your generators as well.
Storing Your RV
Taking these steps to ensure your RV is stored safely and properly, and stocking up on must-have products for storing your RV, will surely help protect your home on wheels when you aren’t using it. Then, when the time comes, your RV will be ready for your next adventure!
If you want to avoid storing your RV, I’d highly recommend renting it out instead by using Good Sam’s rental program. You can not only avoid the hassle and costs of storage but you can make money when you’re not using your RV.
How do you store your RV? Tell us in the comments below!