7 Easy Tips For Maintenance Your RV Battery (2018)
RV batteries are a vital part of your recreational vehicle. How will you be able to start your vehicle or power up appliances without it? With that being said, regular maintenance and proper charging are crucial for it to work.
If ever your batteries aren't maintained properly, then you will have problems, and expensive ones at that!
Which is why if you don't want to spend a ton on repairing and replacement, you will need to learn how to maintain the RV batteries. It will take some lessons and experience, but once you're fully-equipped with the right knowledge (and tools!), you won't have any issues with power in your RV.
Wondering where to start? Read on as I show you a how to on maintenance for your RV battery!
How To: Maintenance For Your RV Battery
If you have no experience with caring for RV batteries, here are basic tips to start off with:
Optimize Your Battery's Performance
Whether you have a marine or deep-cycle battery, you can optimize its performance through making sure that the discharge level does not go below 50%.
As much as possible, never let your batteries go lower than 50%, with 20% being the limit or it would begin to lose its lifespan reasonably quickly. If it does fall at around 50%, charge it immediately, as waiting overnight or longer can damage or reduce the batter's performance.
Also, avoid using your RV battery in high heat environments consistently, as the number of cycles will reduce drastically.
Determine the Discharge
The battery's depth of discharge is the complete opposite of the state of charge. An RV battery with a 40% depth of discharge would have a 60% state of charge.
You can measure its state of charge using a hydrometer, which works best for flooded lead-acid batteries with removable vent caps. If you have a maintenance-free battery, an accurate digital voltmeter is recommended. You can invest in these tools from your local stores.
Make sure to check the state of charge regularly, primarily if you use the RV consistently.
The battery's cycle life refers to the number of cycles the battery would produce in its entire life. Many variables would affect the RV battery's cycle life, including the proper recharge, battery temperature, regular maintenance, cycling use, vibration, and overall care.
Take note that the lower depth of discharge before fully charging it would have a better life cycle.
Because of all these, it is difficult to know the exact cycle life of a battery. To lengthen its life, you must ensure that the battery is stored at even temperatures and is checked and adequately charged regularly.
Charging Your RV Battery
The best way to enhance your RV battery's life and performance is to charge it properly. Have a quality charger that's specifically designed to match the charging requirements of your battery (in current and voltage).
For those who have onboard charger units (such as alternators, converters, or generators), make sure that it is compatible with your RV battery before installing.
Remember that flooded and sealed batteries would have different charger. Do your research on what your RV battery needs before investing in a quality charger.
Avoid Overcharging and Overheating
Even while your battery is charging, you'll need to monitor it. Your battery is like your baby that needs to be checked up and taken cared forgery carefully!
You should never have your battery become overcharged or overheated, which can reduce its lifespan or even damage the battery in the long run. If ever your battery casing is extremely hot when touched, disconnect the charger immediately.
Allow your RV battery to cool down before finishing the charge, or if fully charged, before using it.
You may want to consider trickle charging your RV battery, which can give it new electricity that maintains the best performance. Trickle chargers are low-current and inexpensive types of chargers which feed energy to your battery slowly, which can help prolong your battery's lifespan when unused.
Invest in a trickle charger which matches your battery's current, voltage, and chemistry. However, specific trickle chargers aren't able to regular the current or voltage of your battery's properly. Again, make sure to monitor your battery as it charges.
Extra Tips on Better RV Battery Usage
Now that you know all about how to maintain your RV battery properly, what are some other things to follow for a longer and safer battery lifespan? Here are some tips to take note of:
- When you first get your new battery, make sure that you give it a full charge before using. While it is new, it's still best to have it full-charged before it's ready to get on the field! Also, they need to be cycled a few times before it reaches its full capacity.
- You may need to water your batteries, especially during hot temperatures. Use distilled or treated water to avoid calcium sulfation. Also, water them after charging unless the plates were exposed.
- If your batteries are stuck in storage, make sure to test them at least four to five times a year. This is preventive maintenance procedure. Also, they need to have a boost charge, once a month when in a hot climate and once every two to three months for cold climates.
- Having voltage checks every few weeks can also detect weak or bad batteries that need to be recycled and replaced.
Wrapping It Up
Your RV battery powers up the whole vehicle. If you're serious about camping and want the RV to work without any power issue, then one of the things you'll need to maintain isn't just the RV and its parts, but its source of power as well.
Use these RV battery maintenance tips as a starting point for lengthening its lifespan and ensuring no significant issues today. You'll thank yourself in the long run!
If you have any questions or would like to share your tips and experiences on maintaining your RV battery, then comment below. I would love to hear what you have to think.