If I said it once I said it a million times, RV’s are a major investment like your house or automobile. To protect your investment and get many years of reliable service and use from your RV there are certain measures you need to take. One important measure is how you store your RV. The best scenario for storing your RV, when not in use, would be some type of overhead shelter. The problem is in most cases this is not feasible or even possible. It can be costly to construct some type of shelter for your RV and many times local building codes don’t allow this type of construction on your property.
Over time the roof and exterior of the RV begin to show signs of wear, caused by the constant exposure to the elements. Ozone in the air and ultraviolet, (UV) rays from the sun start to take their toll, which is first evident by signs of fading paint. The ozone in the air also causes products like rubber and vinyl to dry out, crack, and start to deteriorate. The UV rays from the sun make this aging process happen quicker. Another result from leaving the RV exposed to the elements is the constant need to wash the RV. I wash our motor home when we return home, after every trip. I don’t know about you, but I for one can do without having to wash it in between trips too.
I am a big advocate for keeping the tires on your RV covered when you’re not using the RV. It is not uncommon to see RV tires with low mileage and plenty of tread that are ruined by the damaging effects of ozone and UV rays. Ozone in the air and UV rays from the sun shorten the life of your tires. Ozone in the air causes tires to dry rot and deteriorate. UV rays from the sun make it happen quicker too. This is especially true of the tires sidewall. You should inspect your tires periodically for any checking or cracks in the sidewalls. If you notice any damage, have the tires inspected by a professional before using the RV. Tire failure on an RV can be extremely dangerous and can cause costly damage to the RV.
There are basically two ways to protect your RV tires from these elements. Keep the tires covered with covers that will block out the sunlight when not in use; or for long-term storage remove the tires and store them in a cool dry place away from sunlight, grease, oil, and fuel. I also recommend that you place something like a piece of wood between the ground and the tires. Be sure that whatever you use is larger then the footprint of the tire. No portion of the tire should hang over the edge of the tire block. This can cause internal damage to the tire. The bottom line is, inexpensive tire covers can protect your expensive RV tires from being ruined by the sun.
The same thing that happens to the RV tires can happen to the entire RV. The roof, paint, rubber and vinyl can all be damaged by the sun, not to mention what the wind and rain can do to the exterior of the RV. Your RV is too big of an investment to let Mother Nature wreak havoc on it when it is in short or long term storage.
The most logical and cost effective way to protect your investment is to use an RV cover when you’re not using your RV. A few features to look for in an RV cover include:
The material the cover is made of is breathable
It protects the RV against the suns UV rays
It is water resistant.
An RV cover has to be able to breathe. If the material used to make the cover cannot breathe properly it can lead to several problems. Moisture can get trapped inside the cover, mold and mildew is more likely to form, and heat has no way to escape.
You should also consider how difficult it is to put the cover on and take off, the warranty period and the cost of the cover. The cost may be an insignificant factor when compared to the added protection it offers your RV.
Keeping your RV and RV tires covered with a quality cover is by far the most cost effective solution there is for protecting your investment.
Mark J. Polk
Copyright 2008 by Mark J. Polk owner of RV Education 101