Boats and RV owners have one thing in common–they love traveling and enjoying beautiful landscapes that the world has to offer. But unless you live in your RV or boat permanently, there are probably instances that you will need to keep them in a boat storage or RV storage facility. If you’ve been a long time RV or boat owner now, then preparations for long-term storage are probably already second nature. If you need a refresher, this article will discuss if it’s the right time to invest in storage, the proper way to store your vehicles, and the current trends in RV and boat ownership.
Should You Invest in RV and Boat Storage?
While camping, driving, and boating are enjoyable activities, not everybody can afford to do them all year round. And when you’re not using your RV, you most likely won’t be able to keep it in your driveway or your garage – it simply takes up too much space! The answer is simple. Park it in storage facilities specializing in RVs and boats. You’ll find that most offer reasonable rates depending on the contract term and the type of storage unit. You can choose for open parking, covered parking, and fully enclosed storage units. Some facilities have fenced-in parking lots, while others have high-roofed garages specially designed for larger vehicles. Most of these RV storage facilities are expertly maintained with secure locations as well as reliable staff and management. Even better, many will allow you to reserve your unit online, so you can just show up and move in on your specified date.
How to Choose Boat and RV Storage Facilities
Start by looking for an RV storage facility near your area, so you can visit your car any time. That way, you can do a quick check if everything’s in order, particularly if it’s been raining quite hard or it’s been particularly humid. When picking one, you may also want to check if the lot has enough clearance, so you don’t have to worry about damaging your RV or boat trailer during the move-in date. If you have the time, visit the storage center. But if this isn’t possible, their sales team should be able to easily tell you if they can accommodate the model and make of your vehicle.
Preparing Your Vehicles for RV Storage Facilities
They may look tough, but boats and RVs still need to be handled with care. Putting them in storage is not as simple as rolling into the lot and leaving it there. Smart vehicle owners take precautions, so their assets are well-protected. This is why when it’s time to travel, they don’t worry if the car rusted up during winter or the battery gets discharged. That way, they make the most of the summer months out on the water or on the open road. Here are some tips to help you keep your vehicle in optimal condition:
Clean the Exterior
Time to wash up! Make sure that any debris like leaves, mud, tree sap, or bird droppings are cleared off the surface of your vehicle. Leaving them there may damage the paint, lead to rust and corrosion, and eventually weaken the body. Speaking of rust, check the locks on the doors and spray them with anti-rust treatment so they won’t get stuck as you keep it in storage.
Inspect the sides as well as the vehicle seams, windows, doors, and roof to see any cracks where water may seep through. It is a well-known fact that leaky roofs and walls are a huge headache, and repairs for water damage can get very expensive. For this, prevention truly is the key. Reseal any minor problem areas if necessary.
Give the Insides a Good Clean, Too
It’s important to take out all perishable items from the refrigerator and cabinets. Clean off any crumbs or leftovers that may have fallen on the carpet, tables, chairs, and countertops. Use all-purpose cleaning solution on non-porous surfaces to get rid of viruses and bacteria. For soft surfaces like carpets, seats, and curtains, vacuuming will help prevent the proliferation of dust mites and microbes like mold and fungi.
Don’t forget the electronics! Switch off and unplug any appliances, too. The refrigerator should be unplugged, wiped dry, and left with the door left to air it out. For the range hood, do a double check of the valves and regulators of propane tanks and close them tightly.
Maintenance of the Water System and Holding Tanks
During the cold winter months, people often park RVs and boats in garages and storage facilities. For RV owners, frozen water lines are often the bane of their existence. This is when extreme temperatures harden any residual water or fluid in tanks and pipes, causing them to become brittle, which can lead it to crack and eventually break.
To stop this from happening, experts recommend owners to drain the water system prior to going into storage. Stagnant water allows microbes to grow, causing damage to the filters and pipes. You should empty and rinse out the holding tanks as well. If you are planning on long-term storage during the winter, the water system and holding tanks may be treated with antifreeze specially designed for their protection.
Make Sure to Keep Outsiders Away
A parked RV or boat trailer can be a warm place for pests like rodents, roaches, ants, and birds to weather out extreme conditions! Many a bothered RV owner have come back to their vehicles after long periods of storage to discover animals and insects that have gotten through the many cracks and crevices. As if building a small home isn’t enough, these critters also enjoy gnawing on wires, rubber linings, and other plastic components.
Aside from cleaning the interior thoroughly, employ pest control measures like mouse traps. You may also want to spray undersides of seats, tables, and cabinets with roach repellent. Those who are unsure about the types of pest control products to buy for RVs and boats often consult with exterminators on the matter.
More importantly, seal off any possible openings where the creatures can get through. Make sure windows are tightly closed. Air vents from the range hood and the furnace, as well as intakes can be temporarily covered. Cable storage hatches should also be securely closed as these wires are extra susceptible to pesky little teeth.
Don’t Get Tired of Checking the Tires
Just as every regular car driver performs a safety check on all four tires before any drive, so should you before putting your boat trailer or RV into storage. Check the tire pressure and inflate all tires to the recommended amount. The same goes for the tires of trailers of towable RVs and boats.
If tires are left unaired over a long period of time, flat portions develop on the surface and treads, making the rubber deformed and unsafe for the road. Some boat and RV owners purchase special tire covers for their trailers and RVs, for that extra layer of protection on very hot summer months or extremely chilly winters.
Additional Preparation Measures for Motorhomes
Critical to any pre-storage checklist: engine and fuel check. Experts also recommend getting an engine wash if you are planning to keep your RV in storage for more than two weeks on end. Change the oil if possible, because used oil can get contaminated when gunk and particles settle over time.
Apart from this, you may also want to top up your motorhome with a full tank of gas. Not only does this eliminate the hassle when you are finally ready to leave the storage facility, but it also protects your tank and engine. Consider adding fuel-line stabilizers that prevent the gas from degrading and ultimately damaging engine parts. As part of winter storage preparation, fuel additives with antifreeze is also highly advisable.
Some Wise Words on Batteries
Batteries will get discharged over time—even when the vehicle is in use. Still, this frequently happens during the winter. Many RV owners have come back to a dead battery on vehicles that have been in storage for several weeks. You can avoid the problem of a dead battery by disconnecting it and storing it in a safe and dry location where it cannot be damaged by extreme cold. Using a voltmeter, check if your motorhome’s battery has enough charge, and recharge it as often as necessary.
Consider Getting All-Weather Covers
If you will be keeping your RV or boat outdoors in an open parking, it is critical to get an all-weather cover specially designed for the size of your vehicle. These should have enough ventilation to avoid moisture from getting trapped between the material and the surface of the RV. Better yet, it should be well-fitted with enough tie-downs, so it won’t flap around if strong winds blow. When choosing an all-weather cover, you may want to buy one for your specific make and model.
Insurance: Make Sure That’s on Your Checklist
Keeping your RV or boat outdoors may still leave it susceptible to damage caused by acts of nature. You’ll never know when a tree might topple on it or if it will get pummeled by a sudden hailstorm. While no all-weather cover will protect you from that, you can always be on the safe side with insurance. Make sure your insurance policy for your vehicle is updated, and that it covers the period that you will be keeping your unit in storage.
But what if your RV and boat are safely inside a fully enclosed storage unit, should you keep paying for insurance? Word from the wise–don’t try to save money by suspending your insurance, even just for a short period. Some people think insurance will be cheaper that way. Not really. By the time you decide to renew your policy for your boat or RV, you may be surprised to find an increase in your premiums, simply because you had a gap in coverage.
Recreational Vehicles Trends: What’s the Appeal?
Good news, you now know how to prepare your RV before putting it in long-term storage. Depending on where you are in your recreational vehicle journey, this article may have been a quick refresher on the do’s and don’ts when storing the car in a facility or an eye-opener on what it requires to maintain this type of vehicle. If you are on the fence about buying one, the truth is the RV is a fantastic vehicle for the adventure seeker. Simply put, the trusted RV brings the comforts of home to just about anywhere your feet will take you. The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), in fact, reports that more and more Americans are taking the plunge and buying RVs over the past years. Families with RVs allot time off during the year to unwind, take a breather, and head to the great outdoors. They excitedly take out their units from RV storage facilities, and go camping, boating, exploring, and more. What’s not to like about that?
In case you didn’t know, researchers in the mental health industry highly recommend camping as a stress relieving pastime. The fresh air, together with the vast open space, does wonders in improving mood. Socializing and bonding with friends and family are also one of the many perks that make camping top activity for customers of RV and boat storage.
Recreational Boating Sees a Bright Future, Too
Speaking of boats, studies have also shown the immense benefits of being in the open water, too. What’s an outdoor activity without a little fishing or boating? Experts claim that the calmness promoted by water contributes to lower stress levels, which leads to increased levels of relaxation. Whether you’re on freshwater or saltwater, nothing beats the refreshing feeling of the spray on your skin.
The boating industry is no stranger to increased sales, either, as reported by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). According to their statistics, Americans are certainly investing in their own vessels, like powerboats, yachts, and even smaller personal watercrafts. To be more specific, registration of the nation’s boat owners has jumped up to an estimated 12 million in the year 2018 alone.
An Investment in Fun Times with the Family
Everyone wants their investments to last–whether they’re a long-time owner of a recreational vehicle or just about to buy one. The good news is with proper maintenance and the right storage facility, you can make this happen. By following these tips, you can keep your RV or boat in tiptop shape so you can enjoy it for years to come.