Self-Storage for your RV: A How To Guide

The leaves are beginning to turn colours, the wind is picking up, the days are getting shorter: it must be autumn. While there is still time left to enjoy your time roaming the colourful fall countryside in your RV, this is also the time of year you need to start planning to put your RV away for the winter.

At Real Storage, we house RVs of all shapes and sizes throughout the colder months of the year. With our many clients being RV owners, we thought it would be best to supply them some tips on how best to prepare your RV for life in self-storage.

Before we launch into those though, we also thought it would be best to provide a few RV-centric activities that still remain during the fall season.

RV fall activities

The first and most obvious activity is a simple scenic drive through the autumn environment. Head through the Kawarthas, cruise by the Rocky Mountains, look out onto the ocean from the Bonavista Penninsula: autumn is an incredibly beautiful time of the year to enjoy from the comfort of your RV.

There’s also still time left for one last camping trip, as most camping grounds and RV parks are open until mid-October (or later). Add in one last canoe or kayak adventure, and you’ll milk the most out your RV this year. Get one last trip (or two) in before the snow hits.

Autumn is also a boon for agriculture, so a day picking apples or choosing your Halloween pumpkins can make for an enjoyable few days on a few farms, packing your RV full of locally-grown treats to take home.

Once you’re finally home though, it’s time to start prepping your RV for self-storage. Here’s what you need to take care of for a successful RV hibernation term.

Make is clean

The first thing you should be doing is cleaning the interior and exterior. You especially want to remove any food particles from the interior, as food can attract pests. Take your time wiping everything down well: leaving dirt and grime over long periods will see them stain many surfaces. Moreover, food, dirt, dust, etc. can lead to odors when remaining stagnant for an extended duration.

Give the exterior a good wax, adding an extra layer of protection for the cold months. When the spring arrives, you’ll appreciate your beautifully clean RV, ready for another great season on the road.

As you make your way through cleaning your RV, it is also the right time for maintenance. If you find anything wrong, fix it now. Leaving issues over the winter will likely only make them worse in the meantime. Rather, remedy any issues now so that when the spring arrives, your RV is ripe and ready for the season.

Dry your RV out

More important than cleaning is draining your RV of any water. Water will lead to mildew, mould, pests, and bad odors. Get to the details: drain your toilet, remove shower heads, open drain taps.

With everything dry, we also suggest plugging everything after to ensure things are as dry as possible.

Sustain the airflow

Did we mention funny odors? How about mildew? While you certainly want to close windows and doors, you also need to keep the air moving to prevent things like odors and mildew.

Make sure your vents are not covered up to allow for a constant flow of air. Leave cupboards and drawers open. Definitely leave your fridge/freezer ajar. All this will help to ensure the interior remains dry, as well as preventing mildew and odors.

We would also say that removing soft furnishings, such as cushions, is a good idea, along with leaving beds striped, and not folded away. These can soak in any odors during their length of time inside.

Turing your RV off properly

Once you’ve primed your RV, it’s time to shut it down properly. You should be filling your tank with gas, as gas that sits still for extended will see contaminants collect on the bottom. This could cause problems starting the RV in the spring. More gas will dilute the contaminants, leaving this possibility as far less likely. Similarly, you should top up your coolant and brake fluids.

Your oil is your biggest issue here though. If your oil is at all dirty, then change it for fresh oil. Dirty oil that sits for too long can clog lines, and create huge headaches when the spring returns.

Remove your battery. Electronics will continue to use power even when they are off. Leaving things connected like this for the entire winter will likely drain your battery. Instead, disconnect, and attach your battery to a battery tender or maintainer. The tender will continue to keep the battery charged without over-charging it. Store the battery in a cool, dry place.

It is also a good idea to inflate your tires to their fullest PSI. Sitting for long periods without movement can lead to flat spots on your tires. Inflating them to their fullest will help prevent this.

Cover your RV

Finally, now that your RV is clean, dry, powered down, and ready for its season in self-storage, your final move is to cover the RV. Even within an enclosed, private space, it is a good idea to add another layer of protection to the exterior. If your parking your RV outside, then the cover is a must.

Opt for a cover that is both breathable and soft, so as to not damage your RV. Opt for one that is also durable and strong enough to offer the proper protection for the winter though.

The leaves are falling, but this is the perfect opportunity to spend one or two last trips in your RV before putting it away in storage for the winter. When the leaves start to sprout again in the spring, your RV will be ready if you’ve followed our helpful tips for RV self-storage.

If you have any questions about storing RVs for the winter, or any other self-storage question, then speak with your Real Storage agent today.