Unless you’re on the road full time, you’ll need to find a place to store your RV in between trips or at the end of your seasonal adventures. Not only do you need to find a spot to park it, but you’ll need to prepare it for long-term storage and, depending on your climate, winterize it, too.
We’ve compiled some options for different ways to store your RV, as well as some things to take into consideration as you prepare to store your rig before your next RV road trip.
Storing Your RV at Home
Check Out Residential Rules
If you own your own home in a rural area with plenty of level ground and no homeowners association (HOA) rules, consider yourself lucky! You may just be able to prep (see below) and park your RV on your property -- perhaps with a waterproof cover or in a carport -- and call it a day.
If you do live in a city or suburban neighborhood, you might be able to park it in your driveway or in a communal apartment parking lot, but you’re going to have to check with your landlord or HOA.
Some municipal laws may prevent you from parking your RV on your own or rented property. Be sure to check the rules and regulations in your area.
Consider These Parking Tips
Parking off street -- in a driveway or on open rural land -- is ideal, as it’ll be safe from other drivers. But if that’s not an option, you might need to park it on a local street.
If you need to park your RV on a public street, answer these questions to determine if your rig will be secure:
- What’s the speed limit on the street?
- How busy is the street?
- Do other large vehicles like garbage trucks and street sweepers make their way down the street?
Keep Your RV Protected at Home With a Carport or RV Cover
Ideally, you’ll be able to protect your RV from the elements, whether that’s rain, snow, or constant sun. If you don’t have a large garage to store your RV in, consider a carport to protect your RV.
An alternative is a waterproof and protective cover that can encase your entire rig. A flexible cover won’t protect from damaging debris like a tree limb that might fall in a violent storm, but it will ensure that your paint isn’t damaged from the sun, snow isn’t piling up directly on the roof, and birds aren’t nesting where you can’t see them.
Protective covers come in all different sizes to fit different types of RVs, from truck campers to fifth wheels to Class A motorhomes. They typically have zippered panels for easy access and built-in air vents to help prevent condensation. Integrated straps and buckles help keep the cover secure, even in inclement weather.
Storing Your RV at a Facility
Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash
A commercial storage facility is a great way to store an RV when it’s not in use. Generally speaking, these storage spaces are safe and secure, ranging from fenced-in (or otherwise security patrolled) parking spaces to temperature-controlled garages. Storage facilities might also include battery charging or snow removal services -- of course, those will also cost you the most.
Depending on your budget and the options available in your area, you might be able to choose from the following:
Commercial parking spots aren’t necessarily recommended if you live somewhere with potentially damaging weather such as hurricanes, tornadoes, or hail storms. However, these can be affordable choices for short-term storage, especially when paired with a high-quality cover.
Carports provide a roof for your RV, but they are open on the sides. They can mostly help protect your RV from hail, water, snow, or sun damage, but they don’t do much in terms of protection from heavier storms.
A garage is the best option for long-term RV storage -- but this type of quality protection also costs the most. The most upscale garages for RVs have a large access door, they’re enclosed on all sides, and each RV in the facility has its own access. There are upgraded temperature-controlled garages that can help keep all parts of your RV in tip-top shape. While these aren’t necessary, they will keep your RV newer for longer.
How to Shop Around for an RV Storage Facility
Below are a few questions to ask when making a decision on a storage facility for your RV:
How many RVs are stored at the facility?
If your RV will be the only one stored there it could become a magnet for theft or vandalism. You may want to choose a reputable RV storage facility or even one that specializes in RV storage.
How secure is the facility?
Be sure that the facility, at minimum, has working security cameras, a gate around the property, as well as proper lighting. Extra security measures can include computer-controlled gates where you need to enter a security code to gain access to the property. Some RV storage facilities don’t allow customers in at all and instead have a valet service.
Does the facility offer pest control?
It’s tough to keep away rodents and bugs if your vehicle is parked outside. But if you’re considering a garage, you can ask if they make regular efforts to keep pests from taking up residence in your RV.
How is the facility’s customer service?
Chances are high that you’re paying a pretty penny to store your RV. The facility should offer great customer service for whatever you may need. For instance, if your RV is stored outside, you might want someone to check on your rig after a storm. An RV storage facility with high-quality customer service should have no problem assisting you with this request.
How often are employees on site?
Having staff on the premises, even occasionally, is a must. There should be someone generally monitoring security and checking on the RVs regularly.
How to Prep Your RV for Long-Term Storage
Photo by Célio Pires on Unsplash
There are a few things you’ll want to do to your rig before you park it somewhere safely for the longer term. Here’s a list to keep in mind:
Clean the Exterior of Your Rig
You’ll want to give your RV a good washing before it goes into storage. It’s easier to remove those bugs on the windshield sooner than later, and better to get rid of any collected dirt and dust to help keep your rig’s paint job in good shape.
Make Sure Your Tires Are Properly Inflated
Every rig, depending on type and model, has a recommended pressure for its tires. Ensure your RV’s tires are properly inflated to keep them in good working condition.
Empty All the Tanks
Make sure your water tanks, as well as your black and grey tank, are empty before storing your rig.
Turn Off the Appliances
All of the following should be turned off before storage: water heater, air conditioner, heater, and refrigerator. Unplug any smaller appliances, like your coffee maker and toaster, that you typically leave on counters.
Turn Off the Propane
If your RV has an onboard propane tank, be sure that the tank is turned off before storage. If your RV has small propane tanks, it’s best to turn them off and remove them before you store your rig.
Disconnect the Batteries
Fully disconnect your RV batteries if your rig will be stored longer than 3 weeks or so. This will help prevent your batteries from dying. That said, even disconnected batteries will lose their charge after about 6 months. It’s recommended to charge your disconnected batteries about every 3 months to help maintain their charge. Check to see if your storage facility will do this for you, and if you’re storing your RV at home, mark your calendar to remember to take care of this.
Disconnect Electrical Devices
Again, if you’re storing your RV for more than a few weeks, you’ll want to disconnect or remove the batteries out of electrical devices such as smoke detectors. Acid can begin to leak out of batteries that are stored too long.
Add Fuel Stabilizer
Adding fuel stabilizer to your gas taking is helpful if you plan to store your RV for more than a few months. Stabilizer can help protect your fuel system as the gasoline naturally evaporates over time.
Winterize Your RV
If your RV will be stored below 32°F (0°C) at any point, you’ll absolutely need to winterize your RV. This process can be daunting, but it’s worth the time and effort to protect your RV and keep it running in tip-top shape.
Guest post submitted by the Harvest Hosts team.
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