Welcome to “Ask an RV Expert,” the advice column where RVillage experts answer your questions about common RV maintenance problems.
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Dear RVillage Expert: What tips do you have for storing our travel trailer for 4 months during the winter? —Cathy J.
Winter storage comes in all shapes and sizes, ranging from residential driveways to temperature-controlled storage units, campgrounds, and more. And while there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for storing your rig, there are a few things to keep in mind before you prepare for this final winterization step.
First and foremost, keeping your RV safe from damage, theft, rodents, and extreme weather conditions should be your top priority, no matter where your rig is parked during the off-season months.
Depending on your budget, location, and the size of your RV, you could have several storage options available to you, or just one or two. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know before storing your rig at these common types of locations.
Residential storage. The cheapest and easiest place to store your RV is definitely going to be at your own home, as long as county, city, and neighborhood regulations allow you to do so. Ideally, you’ll want to park your rig inside your garage (depending on its size) or under a carport or storage overhang. While parking in uncovered areas like your driveway, your yard, or alongside your home isn’t ideal, as your RV will be exposed to the elements, these locations might be your only options. If that’s the case, invest in a heavy-duty RV cover designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, and regularly check and clear your RV of any pooling rainwater or snow that can accumulate on your roof and other areas of your rig.
The downfall of storing your RV at your home is the space your rig will utilize; however, the cost savings and ability to keep a watchful eye are worth the temporary inconveniences.
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Indoor storage unit. The next best option to your own garage is an indoor storage unit, preferably one that’s climate-controlled. Indoor storage facilities often offer heightened security measures to protect your rig from theft and vandalism. Heated or temperature-controlled storage units will also give you peace of mind knowing that your RV won’t be exposed to extreme heat or cold while it’s tucked away.
Keep in mind that you still need to keep your RV’s insurance policy valid, even though it’s stored indoors. If your indoor unit isn’t climate-controlled, storing your rig indoors still helps protect it from weather, rodents, and other outdoor exposures.
Indoor storage, especially if it’s climate-controlled, can cost significantly more than other storage options. Prices typically range from more than $100 to upwards of $500, depending on the facility’s amenities and the size of your rig. These units can also book fast, so arrange your storage space well before it’s actually needed.
Outdoor storage space. If your home or an indoor storage unit aren’t options, oftentimes RV owners will opt for an outdoor storage space. This could be at a campground, fairground, or even larger residential properties with ample space to park multiple rigs. Like with a driveway or backyard, you’ll want to properly cover your RV if it’s going to be sitting outside all season.
You’ll also want to ensure that your RV insurance covers theft, vandalism, and other mishaps that could happen while parked off of your property. Some insurance policies offer storage-specific insurance for the off-season. It’s also important that you, or somebody you trust, are able to check in on your RV at least one or two times per month.
While outdoor storage isn’t the most expensive storage option, expect to pay anywhere from $30 to more than $100 per month to rent space for your rig.
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General RV Storage Tips
No matter where you store your rig, here are a few overall RV storage tips to consider.
- Always properly winterize your rig before storing it away for the winter.
- Arrange for somebody to check in on your RV if you’re unable to do so on a regular basis.
- Protect your rig from unwanted pests, even if it’s being stored in a garage or indoor unit.
- Consider adding a fuel stabilizer to driveable units to prevent your fuel from going bad after sitting for long periods of time.
- Add padding to your leveling and stabilizing gear since this equipment will be engaged for the length of your storage period.
- Don’t forget about your tires. Specific tire covers will protect them from weather exposure.
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