If you’re not going to be using your caravan in the winter, it’s important that you prepare it correctly and then you’ll also need to decide where you’re going to store it.
Preparing Your Caravan
First of all, empty out and clean all of the cupboards and get rid of any food items so as to avoid attracting vermin and to prevent nasty odours. Do the same with the fridge and thoroughly clean and de-grease the hob and oven. Once emptied, cleaned and disconnected, leave the fridge door slightly ajar for ventilation. You should also leave small cupboard doors slightly open for ventilation too but close larger doors to prevent warping. Drain the water heater thoroughly ensuring that no water remains inside and leave all drain cocks and taps open. Flush out any water pipes with sterilising fluid and do the same to any waste pipes using a stronger disinfectant. Also cover up any external drain pipes to prevent insects from getting inside. Fine mesh is ideal for this. Make sure that the toilet is emptied and sterilised.
Remove the 12v battery and clean it remembering to top it up with electrolyte fluid if necessary. Then store that over the winter in a dry and cool place. Also remove any other batteries which could corrode over the winter from other appliances such as any clocks or smoke detectors. Gas cylinders should also be disconnected and preferably removed from the caravan and stowed away in a cool and well ventilated location. Also, make sure that any electrical items such as a radio, TV, DVD player and hi-fi are also removed and kept indoors. Remove any furnishings such as curtains and cushions to prevent mould.
Thoroughly wash down the exterior of the caravan removing any mud and salt to prevent corrosion and examine the caravan for any wear and tear and make any necessary repairs before storing it away. If it’s possible, the caravan should be jacked up onto axle stands with the wheels off the ground and, ideally, the wheels should be removed and stored in a cool place. Corner steadies should then be lowered onto the ground and the handbrake left off. Finally, make sure all valuable items are taken off the caravan and lock the door. It’s also a good idea to fit a good wheel lock or hitch lock.
Storing The Caravan
There are numerous options for caravan storage once you have prepared it for winter. Many people choose to keep a touring caravan on their drive but, in some cases, it can annoy the neighbours so it’s polite to check first and you might need to check that keeping a touring caravan on your drive is actually permitted. If it is, make sure it’s parked away from things like tall trees. Some people use covers to protect their caravan from the harsh winter weather although others think that the condensation which results by doing this causes more damage than the elements.
If you’re going to use a touring caravan storage site, you should firstly check that this is covered by your insurance. Security is always going to be a concern so you should check to see what provisions have been made at the site you choose with regards to things like regular patrols and CCTV, for example, and, where necessary, fit additional security devices such as hitch lock and wheel clamp.
You can choose open air touring caravan storage sites or undercover sites such as in a warehouse or barn. Undercover sites tend to be more expensive than open air sites but it may be worth it for the peace of mind you’ll get knowing that an undercover site is likely to be more secure and it also protects your touring caravan better from the harsh winter weather.