Unfortunately, for most of us, RVing season comes to an end when the temps start to drop and the local meteorologists start to hint toward snow on the horizon. This means that RV winterization gets bumped up on our list of to-dos. If you tuck your RV away in heated storage for the winter, consider yourself lucky! Preparation is quicker and easier for you! However, if you store your RV outdoors for the winter, there are some extra steps and precautions you'll want to add to the standard RV winterization process to ensure that your camper is properly cared for winter settles in. Here are some tips on proper outdoor RV storage that go beyond just basic RV winterization.
Give It a Good Cleaning
Before storing your RV for the winter, clean it from top to bottom, inside and out. Removing the dirt on the outside of your camper means that less oxidation will occur while it sits. Also there won't be any dirt on the outside to scratch the exterior paint if you put a cover over it. Thoroughly cleaning the inside goes a long way toward avoiding a pest problem over the winter. Critters look for warm homes during the cold months, and if they smell the scent of even the tiniest morsel in your camper, they'll find their way in and make themselves comfortable. And they can do a lot of damage! In the spring you could open your RV up to find cushions chewed through, critter droppings all over, bedding soiled and torn, and more. Use a disinfecting spray on all surfaces and vacuum thoroughly so no little crumbs are left behind. Make the interior as inhospitable to fuzzy little creatures as possible! You'll thank yourself in the spring!
Cover It Up
There are many reasons to invest in an RV cover! By securing a cover over your RV in the winter you are preventing the exterior paint from oxidizing and fading from the bright winter sun. That's right, the sun shines in the winter (although not as much as during other months!), and when it reflects off of the snow it can be very bright. Months of exposure to this bright sunlight can cause your RV's exterior paint to end up looking dull and drab. So protect it with a cover! A cover also keeps dry rot on the tires and the window seals at bay. The interior of your RV can benefit from a cover as well. Furniture near windows will be protected from damaging UV rays, thus eliminating the possibility that the fabric will fade from the sunlight. And an RV cover keeps prying eyes from seeing what lies inside your RV, hopefully eliminating the potential of your RV becoming a sitting duck for sneaky thieves.
Shrink Wrap It
If a custom cover is not in your RV budget, consider shrink wrapping it instead. This helps to protect your RV from the elements and it filters out some of the sun’s damaging rays. While it’s not as effective as a cover, it is a great way to protect your RV without having to spend too much. This method requires heat to shrink it, so use caution as heat can damage exterior graphics, gel coating, and paint.
Don't Forget About the Tires ...
If you don’t use an RV cover, or if the one you have doesn’t cover the tires, you'll want to cover them separately so they aren't exposed to months of sunlight. Direct sunlight will dry out the rubber, causing tiny cracks to happen all over the tires. When this occurs, you are at a great risk of experiencing a blowout as you head down the road on your next camping trip.
... Or the Wiper Blades!
The wiper blades on a motorhome can experience the same drying effect from the sun as the tires do. The sun dries them out and rots them, and when you head out on your first trip in the spring or summer, you'll have wiper blades that don't wipe water off of your windshield. So if you don’t end up covering your motorhome, at least protect your wiper blades with covers. The cost in the long run will be worth it.
Do you store your RV outside in the winter? If so, share some of your outdoor RV storage tips with us below! We'd love to hear from you!