Well-maintained RV batteries can last you a good several years. Follow our tips to extend your RV battery’s life!
RV batteries are a component that every RVer should know fully about. After all, your RV batteries are responsible for running all the appliances and electrical machinery in your motorhome when the RV is not plugged in. From your hair dryer to the coffee maker, refrigerator, and toaster, the running of everything depends on your RV batteries.
RV batteries usually last anywhere from five to seven years. However, they sometimes become faulty before the prescribed time for several reasons. But with the proper care and maintenance, you can give your RV batteries a long, healthy life. Our guide below will tell you the best ways to extend your battery life!
When Does Your RV Battery Need Changing?
There are several indicators of a faulty RV battery. When this is the case, it might be difficult to extend the RV life of your battery. Check your battery for any of the signs below:
Frequent charging cycle:
Charging an RV battery is a common thing. However, charging it frequently takes its toll on the RV battery. It degrades the battery’s performance and affects its charging capacity. That’s why any time you have to charge your batteries very frequently, it means that the RV battery is not performing as well anymore.
Fast battery discharge:
This is linked to charging your RV batteries too frequently. When the battery health is affected, it starts discharging swiftly, and it may be disproportional to how much is being used. That means that no matter how less the battery may be getting used, it will drain quickly.
Increased voltage drop:
If your appliances are getting less voltage than before when using them, that means that there is a voltage drop. This happens due to faulty or eroded cables, but mostly it is because your RV battery needs replacement. So change your batteries before the voltage drops further or the battery completely runs out.
10 Ways to Extend Your Battery Life
Use the RV generator for heavier tasks
For certain tasks, consider using your RV generator for a short time and give your RV batteries a break. This could be when making your breakfast, drying your hair, running a heater, or heating food in the microwave. These tasks are heavy-duty but only last a short while, so your RV batteries will be spared the hard work.
Consider using solar panels
Solar panels are a great way to give your RV batteries a helping hand. Full and direct exposure to the sun means that within a day, your RV batteries can charge fully. Solar is a great way to re-direct the heavy load of appliances from your RV batteries. This is especially a good option for RV campers who like to go boon-docking.
Try to run appliances on LP gas
Some appliances, like refrigerators, can run on three types of power: AC from the inverter, 12 volts from the chassis batteries, and LP gas. Refrigerators are large appliances and they consume a lot of energy so that they can drain chassis batteries quickly. That is why it is a good idea to shift your refrigerators to LP gas.
Check water levels
Extremely warm climates and high temperatures are bad for your batteries. This is because your battery is working overtime. So be sure to check the water and electrolyte levels in your battery cells more often. Adding mineral-free, distilled water is good for your lead-acid batteries.
Charge your batteries in stages
A nice, full charge of your RV battery should ideally be done in stages. The first couple of hours of charging are good for a bulk charge. That means charging your RV battery up to 90 percent. For the remaining 10 percent, an absorption RV battery charger can be used to prevent battery gassing. For the final stage, a float charger is used to maintain the full charging of the battery. FYI, many RV converter chargers charge in three stages like this, so confirm if yours does before finding a new one!
Consider using portable appliances
For RVers, portable appliances are incredibly convenient. They are ideally compact, can be packed away when not in use, and come with their own batteries. RV campers can purchase portable, battery-powered appliances, like refrigerators, in order to save their batteries from the heavy weightlifting and extend their life.
Unplug devices from sockets
Even when your devices are plugged into outlets that are turned off, they are sucking energy. Your phones, computers, chargers, or any other device that you have plugged in will draw power from the RV battery even if the outlet is not switched on. That is why you should remember to unplug all devices from your RV outlets, even if they are switched off.
Reduce the depth of battery discharge
If you discharge your battery to 20 percent every day, chances are your RV battery’s life will be shorter than if you discharge it to 50 percent every day. This is because higher usage and greater discharge ruin the cell performance of the battery. So reducing the discharged depth extends the life of the battery.
Keep the battery away from the cold
Very cold temperatures, specifically those that go below freezing, can prove harmful to your RV batteries if there has been a prolonged exposure. That is because when it gets really cold, the cell performance is affected, and the batteries stop charging and discharging. That is when the RV battery life is drained.
Maintenance of all appliances, components, and parts of an RV is incredibly important. The same goes for the RV battery. Many RV batteries, especially lead acid batteries, die out because of sulfation. This is when there is a buildup of lead sulfate crystals, leading to early battery failure.
Your RV batteries are a critical component of your RV. Their maintenance and proper care are important because batteries are expensive, and changing them frequently is not feasible. That is why we hope you keep these points in mind to give your RV batteries a long and healthy lifespan. Happy camping!