Extend RV Battery Life with 10 Tips

RV battery life is essential for any RVer on the go. When you properly maintain a deep-cycle battery, it can last for 6 years or longer. Unfortunately, some RV owners have to replace their batteries every couple of years. 

However, it’s not too difficult to extend RV battery life. Simply follow some basic care and maintenance steps. Below, we look at 10 ways to extend the life of your RV battery. 

1. Routine Maintenance & Charging

With some routine maintenance and quick action, you can extend the life of your battery. If you have a discharged battery, it’s important to recharge it as soon as possible. 

When a battery enters a low-charge state, small crystals begin to form on the plates. We call this sulfation. If it remains like this for a while, it ruins the battery. 

Typically, sulfation begins when the charge drops below 80%. If you recharge the battery in a timely manner, you help to prevent this from happening. 

2. Keep 12-Volt Batteries Above 12 Volts

It probably sounds a bit funny. However, at a full charge, a battery is at 12.7 Volts. When your battery reads below 12 volts, it means the battery is at or below 50% charge. 

It’s simple to measure voltage with a digital voltmeter. This offers you a quick idea of the depth of discharge, telling you when to recharge the battery. In turn, you help to extend your RV battery life. 

Set the voltmeter to DC and place the red lead at the positive terminal, the black lead goes to the negative terminal. Then, it allows you to read the battery voltage. 

3. Reduce the Depth of Discharge

When you reduce the depth of discharge of your battery, you extend the life of the battery. If a battery discharges to 50% regularly, it lasts twice as long as a battery that cycles down to 20%. 

4. Disconnect from Parasitic Loads

Oftentimes, RVs have parasitic loads that discharge a battery slowly over time. Typically, these are power boosters, stereos, appliances, and leak detectors. If your RV has a battery disconnect switch, throw it into the “off” position anytime you don’t use the RV. 

Additionally, if you leave the RV in storage, it’s especially important to have this off. 

5. Check Water Levels in Hot Weather

In Texas, we are all too familiar with the draining feeling of hot weather. However, high temperatures can drain batteries, too. 

When it gets hot outside, be sure to check the water levels in battery cells more often. Checking the electrolyte levels helps to save your lead-acid batteries, extending RV battery life. 

6. Use Distilled Water

Whenever you need to add water, be sure to use mineral-free water. Typically, distilled water is the best option. Unfortunately, regular tap water causes calcium sulfation. 

7. Charge in Stages

Proper charging is done in stages. With a bulk charge, it’s fine to return the battery to 90% in the first couple of hours. For the remaining 10%, use an absorption charge to prevent gassing and loss of water. 

Then, a float charge can help you maintain your full charge. Generally, most RV converter chargers are three-stage chargers that handle this process for you. 

8. Water After Charging Only

It’s important to only water batteries after charging. However, an exception to this is when the plates are exposed before charging. In this case, add enough water to cover the plates. 

Then, charge the battery. Once the battery is at full charge, fill each cell up the bottom of the vent well. 

9. Keep the Vent Caps On

If you keep the vent caps on as the battery charges, you prevent water loss from gassing and bubbling. 

10. Recycle 

The plastic and lead in batteries are recyclable. Generally, over 95% of battery lead is recycled. While this doesn’t necessarily improve RV battery life, it’s a good practice to follow. 

Extend RV Battery Life with Professional Maintenance

When you have questions about the health of your RV battery or systems, call on the professionals at TX RV Repair. Our team of technicians strives to offer heightened levels of customer service and maintenance. The goal is always to ensure your RV is adventure-ready.