Diligent and meticulous preparation ensures that your investment in an RV or trailer will not be compromised while it is in storage for any season. Taking the right steps assures you that your vehicle will remain in good condition. Otherwise, you run the risk of encountering problems just when you are about to take your family on a road trip. Aside from the hassle, you will have to worry about a significant repair bill when your RV is damaged due to moisture, cracks, and freezing.
General Checklist before Storing Your RV or Trailer
Initially, check the overall condition of your RV or travel trailer before storing it for any season.
Here is a general checklist of items you need to look into. It is also best to read the manufacturer’s manual that came with your RV or trailer for specific storage instructions.
- Prior to storing your RV or trailer, it is a good idea to go on a short drive around the block. Take note of any significant sounds that may indicate engine or tire trouble. Make sure to have these checked by a professional prior to storage.
- Carry out a thorough inspection of your vehicle from top to bottom. Check for anything that may be broken like awnings or seals. Get these fixed right away to prevent further damage due to moisture.
- Take the time to remove items that may freeze during the winter season from the RV or trailer. In particular, take out liquid containers that get damaged due to extreme cold.
- Remove and wash bedding sheets and linens for storage.
- Make sure to vacuum the carpets, floors, and cushions.
- Seal and waterproof cracks or peels along the exterior of the RV or trailer.
- Wash the RV or trailer then apply a coat of wax.
- Empty the cupboards for food items to minimize the onslaught of critters.
- Turn off and empty the refrigerator then defrost it. To reduce odors, place baking soda inside the refrigerator and leave the door open to prevent the growth of molds.
Saving Your Battery for Storage
It is essential to ensure that your battery is prepped for storage to protect it from the cold. Moreover, you do not want to deal with a dead battery when you take your RV or trailer out of storage.
Make sure that the battery is fully charged as this lessens the chances of freezing in cold weather. A battery with a weak charge is more likely to freeze and get damaged. Your battery will also last longer if you take the time to prevent the possibility of discharge. Make sure to disconnect or turn off equipment in the RV or trailer that can drain the battery. This includes the alarm, TV antenna, and shut-off valves. It is also best to detach the negative cable from the battery. In this way, even if you forget to switch off a device, the battery charge stays intact.
If you live in an area that experiences extreme cold during the winter, it is better to take out the battery. Keep it stored in a dry room with an ambient temperature.
Prevent Plumbing Disasters
The chances of a plumbing disaster are greater if you do not take the necessary precautions. For the winter period, it is advisable to get rid of the water running through the system before storage. This includes the water in the heater tank.
Afterwards, add anti-freeze to the pipes, valves, traps, as well as the waste tank to treat the entire system. The addition of antifreeze prevents any leftover water from turning into ice.
In some cases, it may not be necessary to add antifreeze to the fresh water or black water holding tanks. If a small amount of liquid is left, there is still enough space for expansion should it freeze up. However, it is important to pay close attention to the waterlines as these have little room for expansion.
Leftover water that freezes in the system can cause expansion and eventually break the pipes open. As a result, the RV or trailer may get soaked and cause additional damage to the floors.
Take Care of Your Tires
See to it the tires of the RV or trailer are prepped correctly for storage. This ensures it is ready for road travel when you need it. The last thing you want is to discover tire blowouts on the day of your trip.
As with any other vehicle, tires weaken if left in the same place and position for a long period of time. This could lead to an accident while you are on the road. Bear in mind the following tire tips before checking your RV or trailer into storage.
- In terms of storage location, choose an area that is cool, dry and away from direct sunlight.
- Leave only the bare essentials, if possible, take out items that are not built in to the vehicle. The lesser weight carried by the tires the better.
In some cases, it is helpful to place the vehicle on blocks to limit the weight on the tires. This is especially practical if you plan to keep the vehicle in storage for more than three months.
Alternatively, you may opt to remove the tires altogether and place the vehicle on top of blocks while in storage. This reduces the chances that your tires will get flat spots if kept in a stationary position for too long.
If possible, move the RV or trailer to turn the tires to keep the rubber from cracking. This also limits the chances of flat spots. However, avoid doing this if the weather is too cold.
- Add 25% more air into your tires on top of the recommended pressure. However, take care not to go beyond the inflation capacity set by the rim manufacturer.
- Take the time to wash your tires thoroughly. Use soap and water to remove oil that has gathered over time during your travels.
- Use protective tarps to cover the tires after pressurizing and cleaning.
It is best to prepare your RV or trailer for storage to minimize problems later on. So that when the season permits you can get on the road safely without delay.
Taking the time to prepare your RV or trailer for storage certainly pays off in the long run. It limits the likelihood that you would spend thousands of dollars to have damages repaired. Moreover, you and your family will get to enjoy your RV or travel trailer for a very long time.