Extend the Life of Your RV’s Battery

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October 24, 2008


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Extend the Life of Your RV’s Battery

Some of the common causes of premature battery failure include overcharging; undercharging; deep discharges; excessive vibration; and calcium or magnesium sulfation from using tap water.
When charging your RV battery during hot temperatures, be careful not to overcharge it. The gassing threshold for most lead acid batteries is a source 14.1V to 14.4V at room temperature. When charging a battery when the ambient temperatures are high, gassing can occur at lower charging rates. What happens if your charging system cannot compensate for temperature? You’re likely to get excess amperage that can cause the water to “boil” out of the battery.

The result of overcharging is a loss of water. When adding water to a battery, it’s important to use distilled water; tap water will cause calcium and magnesium buildups. In an emergency, use rainwater. Avoid overfilling the cylinder – especially in hot weather. The heat will cause the water volume to expand and spill out, causing corrosion.

Undercharging can also cause problems with your battery. If the battery is not fully charged, residual sulfur can build up, decreasing the battery’s storage capacity.

Deep cycling your batteries (80-100%) on a regular basis is another culprit to a short battery life. You should also avoid shallow discharges (less than 10%) on a regular basis. To extend the life of your battery, use 25% to 50% of the storage capacity.

During hot weather, it’s important to perform routine preventative maintenance on your batteries. Keep the battery top clean: the cable mating surfaces and posts and terminals free from corrosion and tighten the cable connections and retention alternating belts.

This article was brought to you by Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service – The leader in RV Roadside Assistance!

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  3. Tom

    Anyone care to comment on the use of desulfator devices to extend the life of RV batteries? I recently hooked one up to my six-year old wet-cell house batteries and after several months of continuous use it SEEMS to me the batteries are working much better. Is it my imagination?

    We full-time, have 400W of solar power, and dry camp about 6 months a year.

  4. Cindy and Randy

    We live in our motorhome and move it about every 5 months. Is it good to turn off the coach batteries when we are hooked up to shore power that long?