How to safely store your motorhome/caravan in the winter months

Andy Irvine

Written by Andy Irvine

 The motorhome landscape has changed so much since Covid-19. As the borders are still closed, we are seeing many of our customers choose to explore New Zealand all year round.

Winter TrailLite driving

However, there are still plenty that don't want to pack an extra layer or 3 and would rather put their motorhome into storage!

If this is you, here are some important things to check off before storing your motorhome. By investing the time now, you will mitigate issues that may arise in the future- and no one wants that!

 

Body/locker seals 

Most modern motorhomes use sealant/glues on exterior panels, which also forms your motorhome or caravans’ waterproof seals. It is very important to visually check ALL seals, vents, and external fittings to ensure the sealant is in good condition. If you’re unsure, please contact the TrailLite Service Centre or an authorised agent to have them checked professionally (click here for our list of authorised agents). We recommend cleaning all silicone seals with a toothbrush and white spirits every six months- including the roof, walls, and locker seals.

 

Water tanks

There are two common ways to care for your water tanks over the winter period.

  • The first one is to keep the tanks full of water to stop algae from growing in the tank. 
  • The second one being empty the tanks completely, flush them out then allow them to dry.

Whichever one you choose to do, either is completely fine.

 

Awnings

Awnings are quite easily overlooked! However, if they are put away damp or wet, the damp environment can promote mould to grow, which quite often isn’t able to be removed. Best practice is to roll out the awning when the sun is out and allow it to dry before retracting. Give it a sweep to rid the pesky dirt and leaves that may still be present too.

Awning clean

House batteries

If your motorhome lives outside, your solar panels will keep your house batteries topped up. If your motorhome is lucky enough to be parked undercover and has a smart charger, please keep it plugged in. This will avoid your house batteries being drained to the point of damaging them. Please read our batteries section in our warranty and maintenance guide for more information about battery maintenance.

Please keep in mind that even the slightest drain on your battery can put its life at risk, so battery maintenance is really important. We also recommend starting up the truck battery every four weeks to ensure that stays topped up.

 

Fridge

As you would after a holiday, empty the fridge now completely and wipe out the inside, then leave the doors ajar. This will air it out, and prevent bacteria, mould, and mildew from inhabitation.

It’s also extremely important to get your fridge serviced annually! This is the most common phone call we get from customers as we near Christmas- fridges not cooling properly. 90% of the time the fridge just needs servicing (burner/gas jets). Why not get this done during your yearly habitation service, so you don’t have to worry? Click here to book an annual habitation service.

 

To cover, or not to cover?

If you're lucky enough to have a big garage or a lean-to for storing your motorhome, awesome! However, if not, it's perfectly okay to leave your motorhome outside with or without a cover.

We offer an exterior sealant as an additional option if you're looking for that extra bit of protection. The sealant, VCP Sharpshield, makes it easy to clean and protects against UV rays, water spots, chemicals, and minor scratches. 

 

motorhome storage shedPhoto from Alan Thrower.

 

Wash

To keep that shiny look, it's important to give your motorhome a scrub before you store it. Not only the sides but the roof (and solar panels) too! Depending on how your motorhome is stored, a lot of bugs, water, trees, leaves (blowing in the wind), and other matter can get trapped and start decomposing on your roof.

The best way to do this is to hand wash/brush only. Waterblasting your motorhome will damage the sealant, voiding your water ingress warranty. If you can't reach the roof of your motorhome, we offer a roof wash service at our service centre. Email us here to enquire/book.

Make sure you never use any chemicals or brushes on your windows. Just water and a micro-fibre cloth will do the trick.

 

Extra tips:

  • One thing I think is beneficial which I do with my own caravan- if you get the chance, turn on all the appliances and run them for 2-3 hours every couple of weeks.

  • I also keep a couple of Damp Rid containers in the caravan while locked up. This makes a big difference when entering the caravan after a couple of weeks. Check them out here. 

  • Make sure all of your valuables are out too! 

 

No doubt you will have your own list and I’m sure you meet many owners on the road that have their own ideas they’re willing to share. Looking after your investment by doing regular checks and services will avoid heartache and will minimise the time your motorhome is off the road.

There is also some model specific information provided as part of your handover that you'll need to be aware of. Please head to our knowledge centre here to check this out. 

We would love to hear your cleaning tips or hacks that you have! Feel free to email us here.

Andy Irvine

Written by Andy Irvine