The Ultimate Guide To Winterize An RV for Storage

It’s a sad time when you must put away your RV that has brought so much escapism. While you are thinking back on all the adventures, connections, and relaxation you enjoyed, it’s time to focus on the RV itself. You want it to be ready when you open the RV door for the next getaway. This means going through some cleaning and maintenance tasks as well as going through the RV winterization process. 

Here are some key items you want to check off while you are preparing your RV for storage. 

Find the Right Storage Spot

Not sure what to do before winterizing RV motorhomes and trailers for storage? Well, first you’ll need to find the perfect spot to store it!

You have a few different options for RV storage. If it is allowed where you live, you could choose to store the RV at your home. Some people keep their rigs in their driveways, others park in the grass. We’ve even seen some RV owners build carports specifically for their trailer or motorhome. 

Another option is, of course, to pay for a storage spot. In this case, you will have the option of covered or uncovered storage. Covered storage will be more expensive, but will also provide protection from the elements. No matter which route you decide to go, be sure the storage facility is secure. 

Regular RV Cleaning

Before you store your RV, you will want to go through a thorough RV cleaning process. Vacuum the interior, clean out the refrigerator and cupboards, dust everywhere and clean your linens. Clean your A/C filters and RV vents. Clean the spot you plan to park your RV in to keep away pests. Leaving behind dust and dirt and wear on your RV’s interior and exterior. Remove all this and your RV will not only be more inviting when you open it up, it will have less build-up, odors, and a draw for insects.

Routine RV care can help prolong the life of your RV by a number of years.

Standard RV Storage Preps

Experienced RVers know there is a list of several things you should always do to care for your RV in storage. Seal any exterior leaks, cracks, or holes, retract slides, and disconnect your batteries. You also want to make sure your RV is covered (tires included). Not by a tarp which will collect moisture so make sure you select the right cover if you must store it outside against sun and rain. 

You will also want to make regular checks on your RV with inspections every few weeks. This will help you circumvent growing leaks, critters invading or other damages that can worsen. 

Just like a brick-and-mortar home that is not lived in…when someone is not living in it all the time noticing immediately when repairs need to be made, it can go to disrepair very quickly.

Storage Items Removal

Storing your RV is not just about what you want to prep but also what you will want to remove. Don’t forget these steps:

  • Drain the water system. This will prevent unexpected leaks and safeguard against freezing issues.
  • Remove all food. Don’t give pests something to feast on and leave behind their own mess. You also don’t want to have expired items in your fridge!
  • Disconnect gas. Leaks can be a big issue here.
  • Remove gas. Leave your tanks as near empty as possible if you have a class A, C or a van.
  • Take out linens. It may not seem like a big deal, but they can leave behind odors or be a nesting source for animals.

Additional steps are required when storing your RV for a long period of time, but they can help save you both time and money in the long run.

Protect the RV from Pests

We mentioned removing food to protect the RV from pests in the section above. Cleaning also helps with this. That said, these are not the only things you’ll want to do to deter pests when winterizing a camper. We also recommend using a pest repellent such a Mighty Mint and plugging all holes and possible entry points with fiberglass. 

Visit the RV as often as possible to check up on things and if pests do become a problem, consider setting up a bucket trap

Long Term RV Storage

If you are only storing it for a few weeks, your prep list may be small. But long-term storage will have more requirements. You may want to defrost the refrigerator and leave all inside doors open. Be sure to turn off all appliances. Close all blinds and windows to prevent UV damage. Running a humidifier can prevent mold and mildew. Also make sure you level your RV. This will ensure all your doors and cupboards open and close correctly. And any water in our pipes will not pool. Most importantly, your RV frame will be supported correctly without adding stress in an unlevel environment.

Cold RV Storage

Storing an RV in the cold of winter has additional requirements. RV winterization is incredibly important for keeping your RV in tip top condition while it is in storage. 

Wondering how to winterize an RV? Include these in your storage process:

  • If you have a class A or C, add a fuel stabilizer to your gas tank.
  • Disconnect your batteries as they may freeze
  • Drain and flush all your tanks
  • Open all faucets and remove drain plugs

Worried about costs and want to know how much does it cost to winterize an RV? Don’t worry, it’s an incredibly inexpensive process when you do it yourself. 

Don’t forget when you go through the RV winterization process, you will need to de-winterize in the spring!

These storage steps may take you a full day, maybe two depending on the size of your rig. It may take a little extra work instead of just dropping off your RV for the season and getting back to the daily grind. But taking care of these important RV details will make sure your RV is there for you, in great condition, when you are ready to roll down the road again.

About Lucinda Belden

Lucinda Belden is a travel writer who has been full-time RVing for several years in a 44-foot fifth wheel toy hauler with her husband Will and their dog Cozy. Lucinda writes on all kinds of travel from cruises to motorcycling to RVing as well as travel books available on Amazon. She is also the Program Director for MyRVRadio, the first online radio station for RVers. You can follow her adventures at