What you Should Know about Storing your RV
Recreational vehicles provide a great way for families to travel and enjoy each other’s company. In addition to simply being fun, road trips also can be very educational. If you use your RV on a regular basis, it makes sense to park it at or near your home because it is so convenient. However, you may not always be able to do that. Perhaps you use your RV in the summer and need to store it in the winter. Or maybe your subdivision has restrictions that prohibit the parking of RVs in driveways or on lawns. Whatever the case, if you are in need of RV storage, here are some things you should consider:
RVs are large, generally ranging in length from about 18 to 25 feet and weighing somewhere around 3,000 pounds. Obviously, not all storage sites will accommodate a vehicle of this size. You will need to find a storage facility specifically designed to store trailers and RVs. In addition to simply giving you space to store your RV, storage facilities provide other benefits as well. For instance, a storage facility offers a more secure environment for storing your RV than simply parking it in your driveway. Storage facilities also offer protection from the elements which can help keep your vehicle clean and extend its life.
There are four basic types of self storage suitable for RVs: open land lots, paved parking spaces, covered storage and indoor storage units.
Open Land Lots
Open land lots are the simplest and lowest cost option for storing your RV. They also are among the most convenient. Storing your RV in this manner is much like storing it in your back yard. Obviously, parking on open land does not provide the same degree of protection that a covered space or an indoor storage unit does. However, it does have advantages over simply parking it in your back yard, such as increased security.
Paved Parking Spaces
Paved parking spaces offer a little more convenience than open land lots simply because they are paved. During extremely dry weather, this may not mean much, but it can make a huge difference in inclement weather. Since the additional cost is usually small, this type of storage space may be a good compromise. Some storage facilities stripe off designated parking spaces, while others provide space between and around buildings.
Covered storage offers additional benefits over paved spaces and land lots. For one thing, your RV is better protected from the elements. Some facilities only offer an overhead canopy while others provide a three-sided, walled canopy. Obviously, the three-sided version offers more protection, but it also costs more.
Indoor Storage Units
Indoor storage units are the most expensive of the four types. However, they offer the best protection for your RV and may be worth the additional cost. Essentially, an indoor storage unit is like a big garage with an overhead door. Typical sizes are about 12 to 15 feet wide and 30 to 50 feet long. These units provide the most security as your RV is safely tucked away inside a locked compartment which, in turn, is inside a secured fenced-in area.
RV storage is offered in a myriad of sizes designed to accommodate a large variety of RVs and travel trailers. Size is generally not a problem when storage facilities are simply renting out unused space on open land lots or paved parking lots. However, it can be a concern when it comes to indoor storage. When you go to rent a storage space for your RV, the following guide should help you determine the size of storage unit you will need.
25 ft. storage spaces will accommodate most travel trailers and smaller Class B and Class C RVs. Some of these smaller RVs will fit inside a standard 10' x 25' self-storage unit.
30 ft. storage spaces will handle small to medium size Class B and Class C RVs along with fifth-wheel trailers. Although standard 10' x 30' storage units will accommodate the length and width of most of these RVs, their height may be insufficient.
35 ft. storage spaces will accommodate large Class B and Class C RVs.
40 ft. storage spaces are large enough for most RVs and campers, including most Class A RVs.
50 ft. storage spaces will accommodate the largest types of RVs, including Class A.
If you are planning to store your RV or travel trailer, you should check your insurance to make sure it covers any incidents that occur in a storage unit. If not, you may want to upgrade your coverage so that it does.
Preparing Your RV for Storage
There are several things you need to do prior to putting your RV into storage. Here is a list of some of them:
Prepare Your Engine
Prior to storing your RV, you should top off all liquids, including oil, antifreeze and brake fluid. Fill up your fuel tank and add fuel stabilizer according to the instructions on the bottle.
Empty and clean out your water and wastewater tanks. You can do this at the site of the storage facility if is equipped with dump stations. Otherwise, you should complete this step ahead of time. You also will want to empty your water heater and toilets.
Once you have cleaned out your tanks, you will want to dry your pipes. This will prevent damage from freezing and thawing. The safest way to do this is to add antifreeze. It also is possible to accomplish this step using compressed air, but you should consult your owner’s manual first to avoid any potential problems.
Inspect the electrical system and unplug all electrical devices that could drain the battery. When you unplug your refrigerator, be prepared to handle any condensation that may occur. Once your RV is safely stored, you may want to either disconnect the battery or completely remove it.
You should shut off your gas tank and remove any propane tanks from the RV. If possible, store your propane tanks in a cool, dry climate. You also should make sure that all appliances are shut off, including stoves and ovens.
This may seem like a drastic move at first, but you may want to consider removing your tires. If your vehicle sits for an extended period of time, flat spots can develop. Otherwise, be sure to chock your wheels to prevent movement.
Make sure that all roof vents are closed off. Check the integrity of your roof, especially the seams, and make any necessary repairs to prevent leaking.
You should thoroughly clean out the interior of your RV and remove any perishables. Make sure that your refrigerator is clean and empty. Just in case you missed anything, leave some ant and roach traps lying around. You also should clean the RV’s exterior, including the roof.
For added security, you should place a cover over your RV. This will help shield it from the elements and prevent damage caused by birds and other animals.