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There are many important details to consider when RV storage is going to be for the long term.


So, you’ve finally decided to give your trusty RV a break from all those awesome adventures. Maybe you’re dreaming of sunnier days or just need a little time to recharge. Either way, putting your beloved home-on-wheels into RV storage doesn’t have to be a bummer. In fact, with a bit of know-how and some elbow grease, you can ensure your RV stays in tip-top shape while it patiently awaits its next grand journey.

Think of it like tucking your favorite toy away for safekeeping – you want to make sure it’s clean, protected, and ready to go when you call upon it again. Preparing your vehicle for extended RV storage is all about preventing any nasty surprises like mold, leaks, or critters making themselves at home. And who wants to deal with that after a long hiatus from the open road?

Follow along as this article guides you through the essential steps to give your RV the well-deserved rest it needs, so you can hit the ground running when wanderlust calls once more. Continue reading and learn more!

As always, if you have any comments/questions, please leave them below.

Clean Your RV Thoroughly

Cleaning your RV before storing it is crucial to prevent any unpleasant surprises when you take it out again. Ideally, the whole preparation process is done at home before you move your vehicle to the RV storage facility. This makes it easier and more convenient for you to do extensive cleaning and necessary checks before finally leaving your RV for long-term safekeeping.

Here’s a breakdown of how to give your RV a thorough cleaning:

Cleaning The Interior

First, you must empty the space by removing all food, trash, personal belongings, and linens. This includes the refrigerator and freezer. Leaving anything behind can attract pests and create odors.

Next is deep cleaning. Vacuum the floors, carpets, and upholstery. Wipe down all surfaces with a suitable cleaner, paying close attention to the kitchen and bathroom areas. Clean the refrigerator and freezer thoroughly, leaving the doors slightly ajar to prevent mildew.


Finally, you need to control moisture by placing moisture absorbers or baking soda in cupboards and other enclosed spaces to prevent mold and mildew growth. Leave interior cabinet doors and drawers slightly open to allow for air circulation.

Cleaning The Exterior

Wash the exterior thoroughly to remove dirt, grime, and any debris that might have accumulated. Once dry, apply a coat of wax for added protection against the elements. Next, check all seals around windows, doors, and vents for any cracks or damage. Replace any worn-out seals to prevent leaks and keep pests out.

Clean your tires and cover them with tire covers to protect them from the sun’s harmful UV rays. If you have an awning, make sure it’s clean and dry before retracting it for storage.

Remember, a clean RV is a happy RV! Taking the time to clean it thoroughly before storing it in a facility like River Valley Storage or other locations will save you from headaches down the road and ensure your trusty travel companion is ready for your next adventure.

Drain And Winterize The Plumbing System

Winterizing your RV is essential to protect its plumbing system from freezing temperatures. Here’s a simplified guide to draining and winterizing your RV:

How To Drain The Water System

Start by turning off the water heater and water pump. Then, open all faucets (including the shower and toilet valve) and low-point drains to let the water flow out. If you have a water filter, remove or bypass it. Next, drain the freshwater tank. Then, flush the toilet until the bowl and tank are empty. Lastly, open the drain on the water heater and let it drain completely.

Bypassing The Water Heater

Most RVs have a bypass valve on the water heater. If yours does, close the inlet and outlet valves on the heater and open the bypass valve.

Adding Antifreeze

Using a water pump converter kit or hand pump, add RV-specific antifreeze (NOT automotive antifreeze) to the system through the water inlet. Open each faucet until you see antifreeze coming out, then close it. Don’t forget the toilet and outside shower if you have one.

Afterward, pour a cup of antifreeze down each drain to protect the p-traps. Once done, flush the toilet to get antifreeze into the valve.

Additional Steps

Consider using compressed air to blow out any remaining water in the lines. Removing any remaining water in the lines before storing your RV for an extended period, especially in colder climates, helps prevent freezing and damage. If any water is left in the lines, it can freeze and expand, causing the lines to crack or even burst. This can lead to expensive repairs and potential water damage to your RV’s interior.

You’ll also avoid stagnant water issues by keeping the lines dry. Stagnant water can become a breeding ground for bacteria and other microorganisms, leading to unpleasant odors and potentially harmful contaminants in your water system.

Protect The Tires

Protecting your RV’s tires during long-term storage is essential to prevent damage and ensure they’re ready to roll when you hit the road again. Here are a few key steps:

  • Clean and inspect: Start by giving your tires a thorough cleaning with soap and water to remove dirt, debris, and any corrosive substances. Inspect them for any signs of wear, cracks, or bulges. Address any issues before storing your RV.
  • Inflate to proper pressure: Ensure your tires are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure (usually found on a sticker inside the driver’s door or in the owner’s manual). Under-inflated tires can develop flat spots during RV storage, while over-inflated tires can be more susceptible to damage.
  • Cover your tires: Invest in tire covers that block UV rays. These covers will protect your tires from the sun’s harmful rays, which can cause cracking and dry rot.
  • Elevate or move: If possible, elevate your RV using jacks or blocks to take the weight off the tires. Alternatively, move your RV slightly every few weeks to prevent flat spots from forming.
  • Store in a cool, dry place: Whenever possible, store your RV in a shaded or covered area to minimize exposure to the elements. Avoid parking on grass or dirt, as these surfaces can trap moisture and accelerate tire degradation.
  • Check tire pressure regularly: Even with these precautions, it’s a good idea to check your tire pressure periodically during storage and re-inflate as needed. This helps prevent flat spots and ensures your tires are ready to go when you’re ready to travel.

By following these steps, you can protect your RV’s tires from the most common causes of damage during RV storage. This will save you money in the long run and ensure a smooth and safe journey when you’re back on the road.

Disconnect The Batteries

Removing your RV’s batteries before storing it for an extended period, especially during winter, is a smart move for several reasons:

  • Prevent battery drain: Even when your RV is not in use, certain components like clocks, alarms, and propane detectors can slowly drain the batteries. Removing them eliminates this parasitic draw, ensuring your batteries remain charged and ready to go when you need them again.
  • Protect against freezing: If you’re storing your RV in a cold climate, leaving the batteries in can be risky. Battery fluid can freeze and expand, causing damage to the battery case and potentially leading to leaks or complete battery failure.
  • Extend battery lifespan: Storing batteries in a cool, dry place (ideally around 50°F or 10°C) and maintaining a full charge can significantly extend their lifespan. This is especially important for lead-acid batteries, which are prone to sulfation when left discharged for long periods.
  • Avoid corrosion: Batteries can release gases that can corrode terminals and connections over time. Removing them helps prevent this corrosion, which can affect battery performance and make it difficult to reconnect them later.
  • Safety: In rare cases, batteries can malfunction and cause safety hazards like fires or explosions. Removing them eliminates this risk while your RV is in storage.

    If you can’t remove the batteries, consider using a battery disconnect switch or a trickle charger to maintain their charge and prevent drain during RV storage. However, removing them is the safest and most effective way to protect your batteries and ensure they’re in top condition when you’re ready to hit the road again.

Close And Seal Your RV

Sealing your vehicle before long-term RV storage is essential to prevent pests, leaks, and damage from the elements. Here’s how to do it effectively:

Sealing The Exterior

Carefully examine the exterior for any cracks, gaps, or openings. Pay close attention to areas around windows, doors, vents, and roof seams. Use a sealant or caulk designed for RVing to repair any damage. Next, cover vents, roof vents, and refrigerator vents with screens or covers to prevent pests from entering. Stuff steel wool into any openings around pipes or wires where rodents might try to squeeze through.

If your RV has slide-outs, clean and lubricate the seals to prevent them from drying out and cracking. Consider using a slide-out cover for added protection.

Sealing The Interior

Close all windows and doors tightly. Check the seals and replace any that are worn or damaged. Consider using weatherstripping for added insulation and protection against drafts. Also, don’t forget to tape or cover any appliance vents, furnace vents, and water heater vents to prevent pests from entering.

Before closing the RV, you must also clean the refrigerator and freezer thoroughly. Leave the doors slightly ajar and place an open box of baking soda inside to absorb odors and prevent mildew.

Additional Tips

Consider using a dehumidifier inside your RV to reduce moisture and prevent mold growth. Also, if you’re storing your RV in a rodent-prone area, consider placing rodent-repellent sachets or traps around the perimeter.

By taking the time to seal your vehicle properly, you’ll be ensuring that it remains in good condition during RV storage. This will save you from headaches and costly repairs when you’re ready to hit the road again.

Store In A Secure Location

The storage location is an important consideration.

Choosing the right RV storage facility is crucial for the safety and well-being of your beloved home-on-wheels. Here are some key factors to consider when making your decision:

  • Location: Choose a facility that’s conveniently located for you, whether it’s close to home or near your favorite travel routes. Consider accessibility as well – you’ll want a place with easy-access roads and ample space for maneuvering your RV.
  • Security: Look for a facility with robust security measures in place. This could include gated access, security cameras, well-lit premises, and even on-site security personnel. Ask about the facility’s track record for safety and security incidents.
  • Covered vs. uncovered RV storage: Decide whether you need covered or uncovered storage. Covered storage offers protection from the elements like sun, rain, and snow, but it comes at a higher cost. Uncovered storage is more affordable but may expose your RV to potential damage.
  • Amenities: Check if the facility offers any additional amenities that might be beneficial to you. This could include dump stations, wash stations, electrical hookups, propane refills, or even maintenance services.
  • Cost: Compare prices between different RV storage facilities. Remember that the cheapest option isn’t always the best. Consider the value you’re getting for your money in terms of security, amenities, and convenience.
  • Reputation: Research the facility’s reputation online and read reviews from other RV owners. Ask for recommendations from friends or fellow RVers who have experience with different RV storage facilities.
  • Contract terms: Carefully review the contract terms before signing up. Pay attention to details like the length of the contract, cancellation policies, and any additional fees.

By carefully considering these factors and doing your research about the pros and cons of RVing, you’ll be able to find an RV storage facility that meets your needs and gives you peace of mind while your trusty travel companion is resting up for its next adventure.

Cover Your RV

Covering your RV properly is essential for protecting it from the elements during long-term RV storage. Here’s how to do it effectively:

  • Choose the right cover: Opt for a breathable material that allows moisture to escape, preventing mold and mildew. Look for covers made of polypropylene or polyester with multiple layers for durability. Ensure the cover fits your RV snugly but not too tightly. A loose cover can flap in the wind and cause damage, while a tight cover can restrict airflow and trap moisture.

    Consider covers with reinforced corners, weighted hems, and adjustable straps for a secure fit. Some covers also have zippered panels for easy access.
  • Install the cover: Usually, covering an RV is easier with two or more people. Unfold the cover on the ground next to your RV, ensuring the front and back are correctly aligned. Begin by covering the lower sections first, gradually working your way up. Use a ladder or step stool for higher areas. Once the cover is in place, tighten the straps to ensure a snug fit. Avoid overtightening, as this can put stress on the cover and your RV.
  • Use a cover lift: If you have a tall RV, consider using a cover lift tool to make installation easier.

    By following these steps, you can effectively cover your vehicle and protect it from the elements, ensuring it stays in top condition during its time in RV storage.

    Even while in RV storage, periodically check on your RV to ensure everything remains in good condition. Look for signs of leaks, pest infestations, or other issues that need attention. Regular checks can help you catch and address problems early, saving you time and money in the long run.

RV Storage – Conclusion

Knowing how to prepare your RV for extended storage is crucial for maintaining its condition and ensuring it’s ready for your next trip. By following these steps, you can protect your investment and enjoy your RV for many years to come. From cleaning and winterizing to choosing the right RV storage location, each step plays a vital role in keeping your RV in top shape.

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