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High season for vans in Quebec is coming to an end!

As the leaves change color and temperatures drop, it’s clear that summer is over. While full-time vanlifers will migrate to warmer climates out west or south during the winter months, others will opt to stay in Quebec and securely store their vans. As our main goal is to help you whenever you need it, get ready for next spring with these top tips on preparation and storing your van for the winter.

karolina krupa van hiver

Deep cleaning

Vanlifers know how quickly small spaces like our vans get dirty! Even if you’ve swept and cleaned your surfaces all summer long, it’s important to give them a thorough cleaning before storing your van to avoid the build-up of dust or substances that could mold and damage your space in the long term.

Get out your vacuum cleaner and rags, arm yourself with an eco-friendly cleaner and take a day to:

  • Empty all your cupboards and scrub them from top to bottom.
  • Clean all surfaces: floor, ceiling, countertop, sink, windows…
  • Remove all items from your fridge, clean it thoroughly, and leave the door slightly open to prevent mold and mildew growth.
  • Remove, wash, and air out your sheets, comforter, and pillows.
  • Clean the shower and toilet to avoid unwanted odors and bacteria.

It certainly won’t be the most exciting day of your life, but this little maintenance will keep your van in good shape in the long term!

nettoyant tout usage unscented company

Fermeture du système électrique

Pour garder votre batterie de véhicule pendant plusieurs années, il est toujours mieux de la débrancher lorsqu’on ne prévoit pas utiliser sa van pour une longue période de temps. Comme les batteries n’aiment pas le froid et qu’elles se déchargent même à ne rien faire, l’idéal est de les garder dans un endroit relativement chauffé chez vous et de les faire charger une fois par mois. Si vous avez tendance à oublier ce genre de truc, il existe même des chargeurs intelligents qui s’occuperont de la recharge pour vous tout au long de l’hiver.

Si jamais vous préférez ne pas retirer la batterie, il est toujours possible de brancher votre van environ une fois par mois à une prise électrique régulière puis de la laisser tourner au neutre pendant 1h afin de garder la batterie en vie. Par contre, comme cette solution implique l’émission de carbone qui pourrait être évitée, il reste préférable de simplement retirer la batterie.

Dans tous les cas, n’oubliez pas d’enlever vos fusibles du tableau électrique 12V! Même si vous avez fait le tour de tous vos appareils à l’intérieur de votre van, un oubli est si vite arrivé. En enlevant vos fusibles, vous vous assurez donc que votre batterie intérieure ne soit pas sollicitée et vidée pendant l’hiver.

système électrique van volthium

Draining liquids

One crucial step in storing your van is to empty all pipes and tanks if you have a water supply system, toilet, or shower. This will prevent freezing and damage to your installations during the winter.

Before storing your van, ensure that both your grey and black water tanks are fully emptied. Check all areas that use water such as the shower, toilet, and faucets, as well as the water heater, pump, and external water inlet to ensure they are drained. To prevent any damage to the pipes, apply non-toxic antifreeze throughout the entire piping system.

camper van

Choosing a storage location

There are two main options for storing your van: either indoors with heating or outdoors. As the first option is often more expensive, some people prefer to keep their van on an outdoor lot to save money. Both options are possible, so here’s what you need to know.

If you have access to free indoor storage, it’s the best solution. You can park your van in a safe, temperature-controlled environment and keep it in pristine condition.

If you’re considering renting a space to store your vehicle, it’s a good idea to ask vanlifers in your community for recommendations or check out Facebook groups where van owners share their top choices. If you’re concerned about leaving your van unattended during the winter in an unfamiliar location, consider installing a security camera inside to monitor it remotely.

To help you, here are a few suggestions for places to store your van:

entreposer sa van dehors - storing your van

If you choose to keep your van outside during the winter, either on your own property or in a friend’s yard, there are some valuable tips to help you store it correctly. Rust is often a big concern when it comes to storing vans outside, but snow is not the primary culprit for damaging the vehicle’s bodywork. Instead, you need to be cautious of calcium, which is found in the salt on the roads. This salt is the main cause of rust and should be avoided at all costs.

Before storing your van for the winter, it’s important to give it a thorough exterior cleaning, including the roof and underside, to remove any calcium residue. Once parked on a level surface, make sure to clear snow from the roof throughout the season to avoid excess weight and potential structural damage.

If storing your van in an urban area, be aware that the catalytic converter is a target for theft due to the valuable metals inside. To prevent this type of theft, choose a location that is often frequented and closer to a house, such as a front or back yard., and consider installing a protective box or security measures like lights or cameras.

caméra surveillance van - storing your van

Storage procedures

If your van remains unused during the winter season, you can cut down on registration expenses! Simply follow a few easy steps on the SAAQ website, and avoid spending money for nothing. All you need is your van’s most recent registration certificate.

It’s important to keep in mind that the SAAQ does not offer partial refunds for a month that has already been paid for. For instance, if you request storage for your vehicle on November 15th, you won’t receive a reimbursement until December. This applies in the spring as well. If you decide to deregister your van in the middle of March, you’ll still be required to pay the full amount for that month.

safari condo go van - storing your van

Our little extras

It’s always better to go the extra mile to keep your van in tip-top shape! For outstanding maintenance, take advantage of your van’s storage period to decontaminate and wax its exterior.

When you’re on the road, your vehicle’s paint is always vulnerable to harmful chemicals. To keep your van in prime condition, it’s recommended to use a paint decontaminant when washing the exterior and follow up with wax for an extra layer of protection and a renewed look. Although it’s not required, this additional measure can help your van sustain a like-new appearance for an extended period of time.