Recreational vehicles or RVs are amazing outdoor camping companions. They are your home on wheels that you can take anywhere and camp comfortably. Since an RV is your vehicle and your home in the wilderness, you would definitely want it to be in pristine condition. One aspect of RV maintenance is how it is parked or stored during the down period when you are not traveling much. Can you park RV on grass for long period of time? What damages can it cause and how to minimize the risk? Let’s explore.
So, can you park RV on grass for a long period? Short answer: Parking or storing your RV on grass for a long period is not a good idea. The moisture from the grass beneath causes accelerated rusting of the undercarriage and will result in mechanical failures over time. The tires can also sink in the soft ground due to weight. It is also not good for the grass as it will soon die out without sunlight.
In the below sections, I will explain in detail why parking your RV on the grass for a longer period is not a good idea and what we can do to avoid the possible damage IF we have to store our RV on the grassy land. Stay with me.
Why you cannot park RV on grass for long period
Humidity and moisture don’t sit well with metal and metallic structures. That’s the reason we don’t recommend leaving your RV on a grassy land for a longer period of time while you are staying home.
If you do that, you will put your vehicle slash home at risk of damage. Here is what can happen.
Rusting underneath the carriage
Plant evaporate water through its leaves through a process called transpiration. When you park your RV on a grassy green land, you are exposing the undercarriage to a vapor rich air coming from the grass. This vapor rich air, when hits the cold metal, it condenses (specially during the morning hours) and the metal undercarriage becomes all wet.
This condensation of water on the metal cause rusting which is detrimental to any metallic structure. Rust slowly destroys the mechanical integrity of the structure under the vehicle including your critical transmission and structural components.
Tire sinks in the soft grass
RVs are heavy and huge as compared to normal vehicles. The average weight of an RV is around 5200 pounds or more. If you park your RV without taking the weight off the wheels (which you should), The wheels can easily sink in the soft grass due to the heavy weight above.
Now, when it’s time to drive again, you will have a tough time getting the RV out, especially if the parking area dries out over time and the wheels are cemented in the hardened mud.
The grass underneath dries out without sunlight
All plants need sufficient sunlight to grow and remain green. If you park your RV on a grassy patch of land, you are effectively blocking the sunlight during the majority of the day. Without sunlight, the grass underneath will soon become yellow and dry out.
When you move your RV after a long period of idle parking, you will see a rectangular-shaped dry patch of land. If the parking area is your front lawn, that’s going to look really weird for a couple of weeks till the greenery grows back.
How to correctly park RV on grass
If there is no other option to park RV, other than grass, then several techniques can be helpful to minimize the possible damage to some extent. These precautionary measures can be used to park RV on grass safely for a longer period.
Water Proof Barriers
As discussed above, our main concern with storing RV on a grassy land is the moisture laden air coming from the grass beneath. How about we minimize that?
By putting a waterproof barrier between the grassy ground and the undercarriage, you can prevent condensation of water on the metallic surface to some extent. The barrier can be any waterproof sheet like plastic or nylon.
The cheapest of them is a large plastic sheet. You can get a bundle off Amazon or your local hardware store and wrap it below the undercarriage, effectively covering all the areas exposed to the vapors coming from below.
Use concrete blocks under tires
Another method you can use to lessen the damage from green grass is laying out a patch of concrete blocks or tiles beneath your RV and making a temporary surface on which you can park the vehicle.
This will serve two purposes. First, it will prevent the evaporation of water from the grass (but will also kill the grass in the process), and secondly, it will provide a firm ground for the weight of the RV so that the tires don’t sink in the soft ground.
Another benefit of laying out a clean layer of concrete blocks or tiles is that you can immediately see any leakage or spillage from the transmission. This will help you with a quick diagnosis and will prevent engine damage.
Use of wooden blocks
The wooden blocks are mostly used to prevent RV tiers’ sinking in the grass while parking. You can get them cheap from your local hardware store. Place the thick and large wooden blocks under the tires before parking. If the grass is wet or there are chances of rain, the blocks must be thicker and larger in size. Small wooden blocks may sink into the grass easily under the weight of the RV.
As we know that wood can easily be damaged by moisture especially in the long run, it is better to wrap the blocks in plastic sheet to prevent moisture from gettting in.
White covers for tiers on sunny day
When we park our RV while traveling or during downtime, it is directly exposed to sunlight and harsh temperature. White tire covers protect against direct sunlight and UV radiation. The sidewalls of RV tiers are more susceptible to UV ray’s damage. The longer exposure to the sun rays can weaken the tire sidewalls. Covers will prevent the premature cracking of the tiers, also known as dry rot.
Trimming the grass short before parking
The grass is mainly the source of moisture and humidity. Trimming off the grass short will keep the moisture in check (fewer leaves, less evaporation, less moisture).
Use of plastic or rubber pads in RV parking
The rainwater can pool around the RV tiers easily. You can use rubber or plastic pads to insulate the tires. Some people also use rubber house doormats for this purpose as well. Ensure that the entire area of the tire coming in contact with the parking surface sits on the rubber or plastic pad. These pads will prevent direct contact with the moisture and surface.
Use of gravel with paving stones
The gravels are used mostly to provide good support and protection from moisture under RV tires. The rainwater runs off it easily without any pooling. Gravel pads with paving stones are more durable, tire friendly, and easily dissipate the water. Paving stones provide more compaction and water drainage when used along the gravel. When RV tires are parked on the grass with gravel, they can prevent moisture in the grass by acting as a moisture barrier as well.
lifting off the weight of tiers on the ground
When you park your RV for a long time without moving it, you are putting all the weight of the RV on a single spot on the tires. This will cause localized pressure damage also known as flatspotting. To prevent this, we normally lift off the RV weight and put it on wooden blocks or on an RV stabilizer jack (Amazon link). You can also use tire saver ramps (like this one available on Amazon) to reduce the risk of flat-spotting.
If you will use stabilizer jacks for shifting load, make sure the surface beneath is strong and level. If the soil is soft, you can distribute the load by placing a wooden block or large concrete block beneath it.
What is the best surface to park RV on?
To park your RV for a long period, a reinforced concrete surface is your best choice. Unlike an asphalt surface, It remains rock-solid during hot summers as well. A 6-inch reinforced concrete surface will work for the heaviest class A RV as well.
Another option is crushed gravel or lavarock. Both provide excellent solid support beneath the tires.
Is parking your RV on gravel bad?
No. Parking your RV on a graveled surface is perfectly fine. It will not damage your tires in any way. If you are parking the RV for a long time, the best practice is to take the load off the tires and shift it directly to the ground surface with wooden blocks or scissor jacks.
Best place to store RV when not traveling
There are three options to store your RV when you are not traveling. Few people have their storage garages for RV parking. While other rent-out places for it.
Indoor RV storage
Depending upon the size of your RV and availability of parking space, indoors will provide much protection from rain, sunlight, humidity, and moisture. You can keep check of your vehicle from time to time. You can use RV indoor storage places in case you don’t have your place. It might be expensive but can provide long-term protection to your RV.
Outdoor RV storage
Some people set up their grounds and lawn spaces with concrete or gravel to store RV. That is not a perfect place to park RV for a longer period. Your vehicle will be directly exposed to a harsh environment and rain. The paint and tires will be at high-risk of damage. Few techniques can make outdoor safe for parking, like lifting the tiers off the ground and making concrete or gravel paths. Still, the moisture in the air can cause rusting and corrosion to the RV.
Shelter RV storage
Several shelters are used for RV storage to protect from rain and sunlight. It can offer security and safety to some extent. Your RV is not directly exposed to the environment, but somehow it is not fully protected and shielded from damage than fully indoor parking.