Wash and Wax
Before storing your RV, be sure to thoroughly wash and wax the exterior. Cleaning the exterior will prevent abrasive dirt or sand from damaging the paint, and waxing will help seal the surface to better protect against sun damage.
Insect and Rodent Prevention
While in storage, it is crucial to prevent insects and rodents from entering the RV. Take the time to clean your RV thoroughly; even the smallest amount of crumbs and everyday household items like toothpaste or soap can attract unwanted guests. Be sure to block off or screen all external openings; RV roof and exterior vents should be covered/sealed with a protective finer mesh such as a Charcoal Fiberglass Small Insect Screen. Most RV parts outlets sell made-to-fit screening for these openings. Additionally, insects need water to survive, so be sure to eliminate any water inside the RV. Plug sink drains, cover all shower drains, and close toilet seats.
Moisture can work for you or against you when storing your RV. For example, if you store your RV in a humid environment, you will need to decrease the humidity inside the RV as much as possible to help prevent mold and mildew from growing inside your RV. However, if you store your RV in a dry heat environment like Arizona, you may need to increase the humidity inside the RV to keep wood and other finishes from drying out and cracking.
- If you store the RV in an arid/dry climate, place a 5-gallon bucket of water in the center of the RV. This will put enough moisture in the air to prevent the wood from drying and cracking. Be sure to open all cabinet and closet doors, so the humidity is even throughout the entire RV.
- Standing water in any of the holding tanks can allow mold, mildew, and algae to grow. Drain all of the holding tanks, including the freshwater tank, and ensure they are empty and dry before storing the RV.
When prepping your RV for storage, keep in mind weather-related aspects, specifically temperature, when dealing with plumbing. The amount of work needed is dependent on the chance of below-freezing temperatures and duration of stay. In mild temperatures that don’t go below freezing:
- Flush out the waste tanks and add back in ¼ tank of water to prevent them from drying out.
- Freshwater tanks should be filled, and add in ½ cup of bleach, and then run into all the pipes to prevent bacteria growth while in storage.
In colder temperatures that do go below freezing:
- Remove ALL water from the plumbing system, including the water heater tank.
- Additionally, adding a bit of antifreeze into the piping, valves, drain “P” traps, and a little bit into each waste tank will help make sure you don’t have leaks and broken pipes or hoses
Taking necessary steps to ensure your tires are correctly stored is essential in preventing blowouts when you hit the open road once again. Any time an RV sits unused, the tires can develop flat spots. The longer it sits, the worse they get. The vast majority of tires on RVs are steel-belted radials, which offer more strength but causes the tire to flatten out over time. If at all possible be sure to:
- Have someone move your RV from time to time.
- If you are unable to have someone move it, place pieces of plywood under the tires. Make sure the wood is wider than the tire and no part of the tire hangs over the edge of the plywood.
- Use tire covers to prevent the tires from becoming dry-rotted from sun exposure (if you don’t have tire covers for your RV, you can wrap a tarp around the tires and use a bungee cord to hold the tarps in place).
Do not store anything COMBUSTIBLE (e.g., paint thinner, gasoline, solvents, or paint).
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