Before putting your caravan into long term storage, whether it's just for the winter or while you're out of town for a few months, it pays to make sure the van is in top condition and systems are safely shut down. Pre-storage is also a great time to ensure all the caravan repairs and maintenance are carried out so it's ready to hit the road when you need it next.
Think outside the rectangle
Give the caravan good clean on the outside. If you have recently been off roading or have driven on unsealed roads, give the underneath a thorough wash as well to avoid rust or corrosion. Inspect the exterior of the van for damage or any repairs any needed. Get issues sorted out now if you have time so you're not rushing (and possibly paying a premium) before your next trip. Also:
- clean external light fittings
- check tire pressure and tread, including jockey wheel
- check external electrical points for wear and tear
- grease any mechanical parts or linkages such as corner steady hinges
Empty and clean
Empty out all perishable food items. After 4 months in storage, anything that can go off will be well and truly into the science experiment stage by the time you open up for your next caravanning trip. It can also be a good idea to remove all food items, even non-perishable items, to discourage pests from moving in once you move out. (Most storage facilities carry out regular pest control measures but this doesn't guarantee anything inside the van will be exterminated.)
Empty, defrost and clean the fridge, make sure it is dry and leave the fridge door open to prevent mould build up.
Thoroughly vacuum and clean throughout and ensure everything is dry before you close up. Also:
- store blinds down to protect the spring mechanism
- stand cushions on end to help with mould prevention
- use breathable dust cloths over delicate items
- consider leaving storage cabinets open
- close windows and skylights
- WD40 hinges
- give the bathroom or toilet a good clean and leave the door open
Storage tip: Silica gel sachets or a few open boxes of bicarb soda soda left around the van will help absorb moisture and prevent musty odors during caravan storage.
Drain the water from tanks, pipes, and taps. Check with and follow your caravan manual for directions on draining pumps and hot water systems.
Thoroughly clean and drain the toilet. Consult the manufacturer's instruction manual for specific directions. Remove the waste tank and clean well. Don't forget to drain water from the cistern or flush tank.
Gas free zone
Check with your storage facility as to their gas storage guidelines. You may need to seal off and remove the gas bottles from the caravan before you store it.
Turn off or unplug all electrical components including appliances, lights, air conditioners, etc. Even standby mode can gradually drain your battery power. Remember, if it glow's, it's using power.
Batteries left for extended periods without use can gradually discharge and may never return to full capacity. If you are unable to periodically return to the caravan and charge the batteries, it's recommended that they are removed and stored where they can be recharged regularly.
Consult caravan handbook for manufacturers storage recommendations.
Storage tip: Ensure your caravan insurance is up to date.