Batteries are a necessity for operating a large number of your RV’s components, and without that power, you might as well be sleeping in a tent. From your refrigerator to your television to your lights, batteries give you the amenities that made RVing so attractive in the first place. When considering its importance, RV owners should know how to maintain and repair their power source.
When inspecting or repairing your battery, safety is always a top priority. Wear safety glasses and rubber gloves and use the right tools for the job (terminal puller, spreader cleaning tool).
Typically, RVs will have at least one 12-volt deep cycle battery, while others have two or four 6-volt batteries. When you plug into shore power you power up a converter or inverter/charger that replenishes the battery. Additionally, most manufacturers allow the automotive alternator to charge the house batteries a small amount while in operation.
To understand the technical differences between battery types, consult your owner’s manual or pick up a copy of an in-depth RV maintenance guide. For our purposes, we’ll stick to general battery maintenance and repair.
Most RV batteries are considered ‘wet batteries,’ which means they are operated off a liquid electrolyte solution. Maintaining this type of battery requires adding distilled water to the cells, which is sometimes difficult depending on where the manufacturers mounted the battery tray. You can pick up distilled water at just about any grocery store and use a funnel to carry out the task.
Cleaning of the cables and the posts is also very important; visually check to see if they are corroded, which would require replacement. Many problems can arise because of loose connections at your battery, and grounding to the frame of your RV should be secure.
How many times have you arrived at your RV after days or months of sitting in storage, and you find your batteries are dead? Batteries must be kept charged, and when in storage you must disconnect the batteries from your RV. Most RVs will have a battery disconnect, but they are very simple to install if there isn’t one. Even with a battery disconnect if left uncharged they still will lose life.
If you still have dying batteries when you’ve taken all the precautions, ask yourself how old your batteries are. Perform a load test on the batteries individually to see if they are faulty, and if they are, your battery retailer may prorate a replacement. Unfortunately, load testers are expensive and are usually only found at qualified repair facilities.
High-level battery repair and maintenance isn’t for everyone, but if you understand the basics, you can avoid a major headache or trip to the mechanic. That said, it’s best to err on the side of caution and use a qualified RV mechanic to troubleshoot advanced issues.
Battery maintenance and repairs require some basic knowledge and common-sense safety precautions, though if you think you’re in over your head, Call an RV Trained Technician.
This post was submitted by the Wander Care team. Wander Products are tailor-made for RV owners. Each product and program has been specifically built to provide you with helpful resources and services to keep you and your family enjoying your RV. It’s difficult to get help when you are On the Road. We’ve made it much easier and are with you 24 hours a day.
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