You’ve broken out the leaf blower and your coziest flannel sheets, and you’re starting to build up a nice, hefty pile of firewood. Heck, if you’re really well organized, you might already have made your holiday shopping list, not to mention a budget.
Autumn’s about to arrive, and winter won’t be too long after. It’s time to hunker down and get ready!
But even if your home is 100% prepared for the coming drop in temperatures (and leaves), it can be easy to forget about your camper. Your RV needs some seasonal love, too!
So whether it’s a motorhome, travel trailer, or tiny camper van living in your driveway, don’t leave it out in the cold — at least, not metaphorically.
Here’s a quick guide to how to prep your RV for the quickly-approaching fall season.
RV Autumn Maintenance Tips
Although autumn is a fantastic time to take camping trips, many families take a break from vacationing for September and October. The fun-filled summer’s at an end and school is back in session, so it can be a good time to get back into a routine and recoup some travel funds.
But it’s important to give your rig the proper attention it needs before you say goodbye to it for a whole season. After all, keeping up with your RV’s maintenance requirements helps ensure it’ll live a long, adventure-filled life, which will save you both money and the headache of dealing with service mechanics.
If you won’t be using your rig for a while — or even if you will — you should take the opportunity at the end of the summer to double-check all your rig’s systems. Change the oil, check all the filters, and do a thorough search for any signs of water damage (which, ideally, you should be doing after every single camping trip anyway!). If you put your rig away with issues you don’t know about, you could face a nasty surprise next time you take it out for a camping trip — one that could postpone or even cancel your travels.
It’s also a good idea to check your RV’s tires for pressure and tread, as well as to give your RV’s fresh and wastewater holding tanks a thorough cleaning (here’s how).
In fact, it’s a good idea to give your entire rig a scouring before you store it for any length of time, both inside and out. Although it might collect some dust in the meantime, cleaning your rig will help prevent the musty, mildewy scent that can build up when your RV isn’t in use. (Plus, a dusty rig is a lot better to uncover than one with moldy leftovers in the fridge and muddy footprints in the carpet!)
To keep your rig in ship shape during autumn and year-round, check out our preventative maintenance guide. You know how the saying goes — an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s certainly the case when it comes to RVing, especially considering the cost of professional service for even minor repairs and issues!
How to Prepare RV for Storage
Aside from checking all your rig’s systems and cleaning the cabin, exterior, fridge, bathroom, and tanks, there are a few other steps to prepare your RV for storage — especially during the fall season.
First of all, remember that it’s called “fall” for a reason. A whole lot of leaves and debris are about to come tumbling from the sky, and ideally, you don’t want them landing on the roof of your rig!
Bird droppings, tree sap, twigs, branches, and even leaves can create a sticky and stubborn mess that’s difficult to clean up after it’s been sitting for a while. And when you do try to dislodge the goop from your RV’s roof, you can bring the finish off with it — which can actually contribute to roof damage and water leakage. No good!
So when you store your RV for a longer period of time, whether it’s the whole fall season or just a few weeks, it’s a really good idea to invest in a sturdy RV cover — or even to find a garage or other building in which to store it.
By keeping your rig shielded from the elements, you’ll help its roof and seals last longer, and also extend the life of that nice, shiny paint job and finish. Many quality RV covers even boast UV protection, which adds an extra layer of prevention to the equation.
Finally, keep in mind that if you’re planning to store your RV well into autumn or winter, you may face freezing temperatures… which means you do NOT want water in your holding tanks and pipes. Just like in a house, that water can freeze and expand, wrecking your RV’s delicate plumbing and causing a huge mess (and expense!) for you to deal with later.
Fall RV Prep Checklist
Looking for a comprehensive fall RV prep guide?
Here are the steps you shouldn’t miss.
1. Thoroughly clean your RV’s interior. Don’t forget the bathroom, cabinets, kitchen sink, or refrigerator — the last thing you want is to find leftovers in there come spring! It’s a good idea to strip all the linens and defrost the refrigerator entirely so you get a totally fresh start for your next camping trip.
2. Give your RV’s exterior a wash. You’ll remove any debris and dirt, ensuring it’s nice and clean for its time in storage.
3. Double-check your RV’s water holding tanks. You want them empty and clean before you store your rig for any long period of time!
4. Go through all your regular preventative maintenance steps, including oil and filter changes, tire checks, battery maintenance, etc. This is a great time to make sure every part of your rig is up to snuff.
5. Store your RV under a canvas cover — or better yet, in a garage. That way, you’ll ensure all the hard work you just did to make sure your rig is good as new stays that way, no matter how long it is until your next camping trip.
There you have it: Your rig is totally ready for autumn! (Unless, of course, you’re going on a fall camping trip — in which case, all you need to do to prepare is grab a few of your favorite warm blankets and a big jug of apple cider.)