Storage Tips for your RV, Boat, or Car

Boat Storage

Winterizing is more than just adding in some fuel stabilizer, draining the engine and adding antifreeze. Because boats and engines differ, start by checking the winterizing/ storage sections of your owner's manual. Here are just a few tips on storing your boat.

  • Check the hull, looking for stress cracks (common around the bow eye) and gelcoat blisters. Stress cracks can indicate structural damage, and anything serious should be looked at by a professional..
  • Vinyl cleaners and protectants, available in gels and sprays, can prevent your vinyl from drying out and cracking..
  • Vent your boat cover for good airflow to minimize trapped moisture..
  • Spray all exposed electrical connections with a moisture-displacing lubricant.
  • Be sure the cover is securely tied down or taped so wind won't get underneath the cover, blowing in snow or shredding the cover itself.
  • Winter's biggest dangers to engines are freezing, corrosion and fuel degradation.
  • These tips are a basic guide that was intended to assist you in winterizing your boat. It is extremely important that you read your owner's manuals for unit specific winterizing guidelines.

Car Storage

Whatever the reason for your time away from the vehicle, you'll need to put it in storage. Here a just a few ideas on how to prepare your car for storage.

  • Wash your car. Water stains or bird droppings left on the car can damage the paint. Make sure to clean the wheels and undersides of the fenders to get rid of mud, grease or tar. For added protection, give the car a coat of wax.
  • Consider getting the oil changed if you will be storing the vehicle for longer than 30 days.
  • Fill the tank with gas if you expect the car to be in storage for more than 30 days. You should also purchase a fuel stabilizer such as Sta-bil, to prevent ethanol buildup and protect the engine from gum, varnish and rust.
  • Don't use the parking brake, instead, purchase a tire stopper, also called a chock, to prevent the car from moving
  • If your car will be in storage for more than 30 days, consider taking the wheels off and placing the car on jack stands at all four corners.
  • A garage will keep your car dry and relatively warm. Unfortunately, those are also two things that make a garaged car attractive to rodents. Try to cover any gaps where a mouse could enter, such as the exhaust pipe or an air intake. Steel wool works well for this. Next, spread mothballs or cotton swabs dipped in peppermint oil along the perimeter of the vehicle. The smell is said to drive mice away.
  • These tips are a basic guide that is intended to assist you in perparing your car for storage. It is extremely important that you read your owner's manuals for specific winterizing/storage guidelines.

RV Storage

To protect your investment and get many years of reliable service and use from your motorhome, there are certain measures you need to take. One important measure is how you store it.

  • When your motorhome is stored for the winter it's not uncommon for mice and squirrels to make their winter home inside. These animals are notorious for chewing through vehicle wiring and plastic and rubber components, resulting in extensive damage to the motorhome.
  • Defrost the freezer compartment and clean the refrigerator. Leave the doors propped open and place baking soda in the compartments to absorb odors. If the RV is in long-term storage and won't be plugged in to electricity, it's a good idea to turn off the main breaker in the distribution panel. Also, turn off the LP-gas supply valve at the LP tank.
  • If the RV is in long-term storage it's better to remove the batteries and store them where they will not freeze. If it would be difficult to remove the batteries, make absolutely sure they are fully charged and then disconnect the negative battery cable. In either case, keep the batteries fully charged while they are in storage.
  • Change the oil and oil filter on the vehicle engine and the generator prior to storage. Consult your owner's manual for the correct type of engine antifreeze. Drain, flush and refill the system according to recommended service intervals.
  • Fill the fuel tank prior to storage and add a fuel stabilizer (follow manufacturers instructions). Run the engine and the generator long enough for the stabilizer to get through the entire fuel system. If possible, exercise the generator for at least two hours every month with a minimum of a ½-rated load on it. Consult your generator owner's manual for load ratings.
  • Consult your vehicle and RV owner's manual for additional storage tips specific to your motorhome.