Okay to jack motorhome off ground for winter storage?

Okay to jack motorhome off ground for winter storage?

By Chris Dougherty
(posted when he served as the RVtravel.com technical editor)

Dear Chris,
I live in Canada where the temperatures get well below 0 degrees F at times during the winter. My motorhome is stored outside in the snow. My question is, “Is it okay to use the leveling jack system to level the unit and even to raise the RV off the ground to take some or all of the weight off the tires for extended periods of time in such extreme weather conditions?” — Brian

Dear Brian,
As a rule, you probably shouldn’t lift the coach off the ground. I would drive it up onto pads to protect the tires, and then cover them to protect them from UV degradation. There are many commercial RV pads available or you can make your own using acrylic cutting boards. Either way will keep your tires off the dirt.

In my opinion, the potential damage to the hydraulics is greater than the harm to the tires. Plus, and this is based on my own experience, the jacks can freeze to the ground, or freeze to the pads which freeze to the ground, so if you need to move the coach for some reason you won’t be able to get the jacks retracted. So, as long as the tires aren’t in contact with the ground, and they’re covered, they should be fine. —Chris

##RVT810

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One thought on “Okay to jack motorhome off ground for winter storage?

  1. Ed Price

    I think you should never leave your jacks extended for any great length of time. The oil film protecting the exposed piston shafts can get washed off, and allow a film of rust to build up. Further, the oil catches sand and grit. When you retract your jacks, you are depending on a wiper seal to strip that crud off the shaft and keep contamination out of the hydraulic oil. The debris can damage your seal as well as contaminate the oil.
    A better way would be to use your jacks to raise and level your coach, then put jackstands or some other support column (hefty; my RV has 6,000 pounds at each side of the rear axle), and then retract the jacks allowing the RV to settle onto the jackstands. This keeps the jacks protected but also takes the stress off the tires.

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