How To Maintain RV BatteriesAnthony Day
This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
- A good RV battery ensures that you’ll be able to start your RV when you want to.
- Regular maintenance of lead acid batteries will reduce headaches later in battery life
- Doing things like checking battery voltage before going on a trip will reduce problems
- Deep cycle batteries need trickle charging and typically last longer.
- You’ll want equipment like a battery tender especially for lead acid batteries.
RV maintenance is crucial for people who travel frequently in their motorhomes. How do you maintain an RV battery to avoid problems?
Proper maintenance includes regularly charging batteries and making sure they have enough water stored. To avoid longer term issues you’ll also want to check for corrosion. Most RVs use lead-acid batteries which require regular maintenance to ensure their longevity.
We’ll review the what and why of a few different methods used to maintain your RV batteries including the lead acid batteries most commonly used to power your vehicle. An RV battery can be pretty easy to maintain once you know how.
How to Maintain RV Batteries
As an avid RV enthusiast, I know how important it is to maintain my RV batteries. Here are a few tips that I have found to be helpful in keeping my RV batteries in top shape:
- Check your RV batteries regularly for corrosion and clean them as needed. Corrosion can cause damage to your battery terminals and decrease your battery's lifespan.
- Keep your RV batteries charged but avoid overcharging them. Overcharging can lead to battery damage and a shorter lifespan. Some battery chargers have an automatic shut off that prevents your lead acid batteries from being too charged up.
- During hot weather or high usage, check your RV batteries frequently and add distilled water as needed. This will prevent your batteries from drying out and losing their capacity.
- Store your RV in a climate-controlled space to prevent extreme temperatures from damaging your batteries. If you cannot store your RV in a climate-controlled space, consider removing your batteries and storing them in a safe and dry location.
- Equalize your RV batteries regularly to ensure that they are all charged to the same level if you have multiple batteries. This will help prolong the life of your batteries and prevent them from dying prematurely.
- Deep cycle batteries are a little different in that have thicker lead plates. These types of batteries typically need to be charged slower to offer the same performance and battery life year over year.
- Less common are lithium ion batteries which are smaller but engineered to hold a charge longer. These are maintained like the lithium ion batteries in other devices. Keep them safe, dry, and out of extreme heat and you’ll be OK.
By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your RV batteries stay in great shape and provide you with reliable power for all your adventures on the road.
Equipment for Checking RV Batteries
Having the right equipment is rather important to knowing what is happening with your RV batteriesl. Here are some tools that I always keep on hand:
First, you’ll want a voltmeter. This basic device measures the voltage of your battery and is essential for checking its charge level. I use mine to test my RV batteries regularly to make sure they are holding a charge.
Another important tool to carry with you is a hydrometer. This tool measures the solution of electrolytes that help keep your battery going. It's a great way to check the overall health of your battery and can help you determine if it needs to be replaced.
Finally, a battery load testers simulates the load that a battery would experience during use. The tester will probably scream at if there is a problem.
Having these tools on hand makes it easy to check the health of your RV batteries and ensure that they are performing at their best. I recommend testing your batteries regularly to catch any small problems before they become too big.
RV Battery Potential Problems
I know firsthand the importance of having a reliable battery system. Even with proper maintenance, batteries can encounter problems that can affect their performance and lifespan. Here are some common issues to look out for:
RV batteries can lose water over time especially in hot weather conditions. This can lead to a decrease in the battery's capacity and lifespan. To prevent too much evaporation you’ll want to add water as necessary and keep the battery cool when you can
An internal short can occur when the battery's positive and negative plates come into contact, causing a short circuit. This can lead to a decrease in the battery's capacity and lifespan. This problem is most commonly caused by the battery being rattled or dropped so handle it carefully if you do have to move the battery.
By keeping an eye out for these common issues you can ensure that your RV batteries are in good condition and ready to power your adventures on the road.
How Often to Check RV Batteries
It's recommended that you check your RV batteries at least once a month. This will help you catch any problems early on and prevent them from getting worse. You should also check your batteries before and after each trip to ensure that they are in good condition.
The state of charge represents your battery’s ability to produce electricity. This can be easily checked with a tool like a multimeter. A fully charged 12-volt battery should show between 12.6 and 12.8 volts. If your battery is reading significantly lower than this, it may be time to recharge it.
By checking your RV batteries regularly you can extend their lifespan and ensure that they are always in good working condition. So make it a habit to check your batteries at least once a month, and before and after each trip.
How have RV and deep cycle RV batteries changed?
The average RV battery has changed over the last decade. While lead acid batteries are still common, AGM batteries are on the rise too. The acronym within AGM batteries literally means absorbed glass mat. This represents the next generation for lead acid battery and deep cycle battery energy storage and production. You’ll see absorbed glass matt batteries soon!