Storing an RV outside in the winter
January 19th, 2024
It’s never fun to call it quits on camping season. Some of us even experience “the winterization blues,” a mild to severe case of gloominess that can linger until the rig reopens in the spring. But for many of us, whether we like it or not, camping season does end, and the time for safe RV storage is a sad reality. Our best bet is to take some precautions and do it right. Here are some quick tips for storing your RV outside in winter to ensure she is ready for that next weekend trip come spring.
RV winter storage tips
Prepare your RV’s plumbing system
Water is your RV’s worst enemy during winter storage, so get it all out of your tanks and fill them with antifreeze. You’ll have to drain and flush your systems to remove all the water and then pour a couple of gallons of RV antifreeze down your drains. Be sure to bypass your water heater. You might need a bypass kit to do this.
If you are not confident with this relatively easy process, we suggest having your RV winterized by a local dealer or mobile RV repair service. If you prefer to do it yourself, follow your dealer’s or manufacturer’s instructions since each RV has different requirements. Learn more about how to winterize your RV.
Cover your RV and RV’s tires
We never covered our RV tires until a maintenance guru came onto our podcast and explained the importance of this simple and inexpensive precaution. RV tires can look healthy to the eye and have excellent tread. Extensive exposure to the sun during RV winter storage can degrade the rubber and cause weather cracking.
When we bought our second RV, the salesman recommended not using a cover when storing our RV during the winter. He suggested that water might pool up inside the cover and cause damage. I didn’t want to spend the extra money, so I listened to his advice and regretted that decision. The front cap of our RV has faded badly and looks much older than it is. As for water pooling up inside the cover, that problem is easily avoided by sporadically shaking out the cover over the course of the winter.
Thoroughly clean the inside of your RV
Get all food and liquid items out of the RV! Get rid of hand soaps, toothpaste, shaving cream, and the like. These bathroom items can freeze and crack during RV winter storage, leaving a sloppy mess in the spring when they melt. We ruined the medicine cabinet one winter by leaving a shaving cream tube in the bathroom’s dark corner.
It’s also important to clean out your fridge and prop open the fridge and freezer doors to avoid mold and mildew. When it’s time to shut down the shop, ensure your RV is as clean as possible. Vacuuming all crumbs and mopping all surfaces will help keep your RV clean during winter storage and keep out mice and insects. Learn how to keep mice out of an RV during winter storage.