After a potentially busy spring, summer and autumn for motorhome owners, it’s that time of year again when many of us will be putting our motorhomes into storage for the winter. However if your motorhome will be inactive over the winter it’s crucial to plan ahead to ensure that your vehicle is safe and secure from thieves and fully protected from the elements prior to the new season getting underway.
Safe and secure
When placing your motorhome into hibernation, the first question you need to ask yourself is where would you rather store it, at home or in a purpose built storage compound? Both have their advantages and disadvantages but wherever you choose, do try to avoid areas with potential hazards. If your vehicle were to stay stationery beneath trees there would be the obvious risk of falling overhead branches that could damage the exterior. Likewise avoid any areas where water could collect.
Security is also of utmost importance when storing your vehicle. If you’re using a storage compound you need to check that the location meets the requirements of your current motorhome insurance provider. When storing it at home, security should equally be a priority and you may need to purchase some extra security measures such as security lighting, a drive post or locked gates. With the majority of thieves attracted to the easiest target, gates preventing a vehicle being driven away with ease will work as an effective deterrent.
Your insurance policy may also come with certain stipulations relating to an unattended vehicle. It is common for certain providers to request more expensive motorhomes have alarm systems or tracking device installed for example.
Charge her up
With security so important over the winter months it’s vital that your security devices are in full working order over that period. If you are using electronic security devices you will need to monitor the power of the battery charging them from time to time and ensure that it is kept charged at all times.
Prior to storage, it is really important there is no excess water left stagnating in the vehicle during the winter months. This will eliminate the occurrence of unpleasant odours and water damage.
The first step is to drain the water system so that the drain valves are at their lowest point. Your manufacturer’s handbook will contain instructions on how to turn the pump off but you should also open all taps half way, including the shower. The shower handset should be removed with any surplus water shaken out. The external shower will also need to be addressed. Be sure to drain the toilet and you could plug the drains to prevent any smells entering and lingering in the interior during the winter months.
The final stage will be to drain the water header, on-board tank and grey water tank. Remember to drain any internal and external pump too.
Now that the bigger jobs are out of the way there are just a few more smaller tasks to do before you can pack your motorhome away for the winter and be safe in the knowledge it will still be in tip-top shape when you are ready to take it out again.
First off, some housework is in order – the fridge will need to be emptied and cleaned following the manufacturer’s guidelines, with the door left slightly ajar. Still in the kitchen area, give the hob, oven and grill a final clean. Cupboards will need to be emptied and cleaned and it’s always good to give the whole area a vacuum, including the upholstery and curtains.
Condensation can be one of the biggest problems during the winter months. Whilst most DIY stores sell moisture absorbing crystals, if possible it would be a good idea to remove any soft furnishings and store them somewhere warm or dry where the air can circulate round them. Depending on where you are storing your motorhome, if it is hooked up to the mains you could, in theory, consider running the heating on low simply to take the chill off.
Contrary to popular belief do not buy a big tarpaulin and cover your vehicle with it as this in fact will actually stop the air circulating around, and cause mould to develop inside the vehicle.
As an extra safety precaution gas cylinders are best removed and stored in a ventilated and cool place.
Last but not least, lock the vehicle up and when the insurance is due, book the vehicle in for a service and plan your trips for the following year.
If you have any additional tips for storing your motorhome in winter, be sure to let us know.