How much really is the average life of a RV battery

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A rv battery dying fast or a RV battery not charging are very common things many Rvers face. In fact a lot of people face this issue in US and they end up replacing batteries every year or two. Understanding average life of a rv battery is important to figure out if you are spending too much on batteries.

Replacing rv batteries puts extra pressure on budget. Practicing Simple things can help avoid it. “Battery keeps going dead in my camper” is a common thing you hear among RV community people.

RV Battery Voltage Specifications

A RV generally has a 120V system that is sourced from a generator and is utilized in RV’s main electrically appliances like TV, kitchen appliances and others. A single 12V battery fulfills RV or campers 12Volt battery requirements.

A paralleled connected 12 V batteries also serve the purpose. Power start up on RV Water pump, furnace, lights and other things are powered through 12 Volt battery. One can also opt in for a 12 Volt through two 6 Volt batteries connected in a series circuit.

Life of a RV Battery – How many years can they last

Batteries are one equipment that generally do not have a specific time period by which they will go out of use. It is because there are so many factors that determine the life of a rv Battery. 

On an average, a RV battery lasts around 4-5 years. A AGM battery if used properly can last 4-8 years where as a gelled or golf cart battery lasts between 2-6 years. When overlooked even a best rv battery can fail within a year.

For a RV traveler nothing is more bothersome than a dead battery when you are on road. A gone battery will put you in deep regret thinking about what you could have done to prevent the current grim situation.

A properly maintained battery can last for years and if used carelessly it can die within a year. Most people complain of battery problems within a year or two but they do agree to the negligence. 

A well maintained battery will definitely make you happy and keep you worry free while camping.

rv life expectancy

The 12Volt batteries come in handy when you are not plugged in or when you are doing dry camping without electrical supply.

You can also use the 12Volt battery to power your 120Volt devices if you have converter installed in your RV which will convert the 12 Volt to 120 Volt. This however will mean you will be drying the charge of your battery very fast and you may want to keep an eye on the available charge in your batteries.

A life of battery is directly related to your habits and approach. A same model, same brand battery can last 1 year for one person and the same one may last for 10 years with another user.

It depends how you maintain your battery, for what purposes you use it. It has been a matter of bit confusion as to wen you start charging your battery, until what % you charge it and until what % you use it. These are also the factors that relate to the life of your RV battery.

There are a lot of batteries that are good but this one on amazon really stands out. It discharges just about 3% per month when kept in storage and requires very less maintenance.

Rv Batteries Usage

In order to maintain the RV battery, its important that you first understand the batteries that you are using. RV battery life expectancy is directly related to its way of usage.

It is also important to use batteries for their designated usage. A living area would a need a 12 Volt battery that supplies constant steady current over long period of time hence the coach battery need to be a deep cycle battery.

Rv Engine starts through a engine start battery. Engine start needs a large current for short time for starting. Thus using proper batteries for proper designated work would help in increasing the life span of battery.

A wrong usage or application would put your battery at risk and ultimately annoy you at wrong times on the road. Specially designed deep cycle batteries allow cycling numerous times.

That means, Charging and discharging the batteries over many times. There are distinctive types of deep cycle batteries available for use.

No matter whether you are mostly plugged in to electrical charging or have multiple batteries the best thing would always be to have a proper check at your batteries before you start the trip.

A battery is one thing that may need detailed inspection with proper equipment. And thus do not hesitate to visit a professional RV service center periodically.

A clueless person will end up using batteries in erroneous way and thus even a a quality branded battery will end its worth much earlier. 

Many people have mindset that they may have to replace battery every year. But, as per many experienced RV users you need not do that if you stay informed. Educate yourself and take care of the batteries in time.

Charging a deep cycle battery is very important and you need to have appropriate equipment for charging.

A wrong charging procedure can result in hampering the battery and will lead to unsatisfactory performance. A proper charging circuit is much imperative and you need to be careful and thoughtful about it.

Causes of Rv Battery failures

A proper full cycle for a battery charge, recharge is discharge from 100 percent down to 50% and then charging it back to 100 percent. Understanding how to charge rv batteries is vital. Most RV battery failures are due to negligence or lack of knowledge.

Check my article that discusses on identifying if the RV battery is going bad.

Deep cycle batteries need constant voltage current ideally. Do not overcharge nor undercharge your batteries. Overcharging can lead to decomposition of water in the electrolyte and will cause ageing of your batteries.

Overcharging of batteries can cause thermal runaway which is induced due to excessive current acceptance by already heated battery. And thus finally lead to damaging your battery. Undercharging a battery can also be damaging. Battery capacity reduces over time when too low voltage if applied.

AGM deep cycle batteries are popular as they they have lower deep discharge failures, they have elongated service life, they do not need water and are also considered safer.

Severe overcharge of deep cycle batteries will mean they will go out of use within a year. Gelled batteries can become useless within one day if overcharged. On the other hand gold cart battery can become useless if kept without use for long period. This would happen If the circumstances were of higher temperature.

Another reason why batteries die out is because of self discharging. A RV battery kept in storage can discharge up to 10% in a month. This can lead to thorough discharge over long period.

Which will result in shortened life of battery while in use later. While the RV is in storage one can try charging batteries for around 8 hours. Do this every month or Take out and store batteries.

Maintaining your batteries – things to do

  • Insulate batteries so that they do not come in contact with adhesives or other organic solvents.
  • Install rv batteries tightly enough to provide sufficient shock absorbent capability.
  • Avoid over charging or undercharging of batteries to keep rv life expectancy high.
  • Dont charge your batteries in airtight enclosures
  • Keep your Rv batteries away from things that can result in flames or sparks
  • Avoid high heat conditions for RV batteries. You need to try and keep the operating temperature well maintained.
  • Use battery combinations of same brand, same capacities and same age
  • Use distilled water in RV batteries. Avoid normal water use.
  • Turn off battery connecting switches when the rv is in storage.

Testing and monitoring the Batteries

The best way to maintain the batteries is to actually test them and monitor their charge periodically. There are multiple ways to do this. Check out the complete RV battery testing and monitoring guide.

Top RV Batteries

What are the best RV batteries one can buy. A battery is a critical component of your motorhome and also travel trailer. There are two main purposes, one to start the RV engine and other to power all the components in the RV like lights, 12V refrigerator, water heater or even television.

Here is a list of 5 popular RV batteries you can buy.

  • Odyssey PC925 12 V Battery
  • Renogy Deepcycle 12 V 100 Ah battery
  • Optima BlueTop
  • VMAX857 AGM battery

Some commonly asked questions about RV batteries:

why is my RV battery dead?

Does leaving your RV plugged in drains the battery?

While it is fine to keep your RV plugged in all time, it may however lead to draining your battery. The battery if kept connected will lead to draining due to parasitic loads too.

So, be sure to disconnect and store the battery if the RV is going to be unused for long time. Specially during winter storage it is advisable to keep the battery securely stored inside the garage.

Be sure to charge it fully before storing and also check on it from time to time. An unused battery too can loose charge at a smaller rate.

Does RV battery gets charged when the RV is connected to shore power?

Yes, when the RV is connected to 110 V shore power it will charge the DC battery and also power the electrical appliances.

What is draining my camper battery so fast

This is a common observation among many RVers. They do not have any running appliances and yet the batteries drain. This can happen specially with old batteries. The draining without any load is a normal thing and to avoid complete discharge you have to charge the batteries fully.

Another common reason for this is the parasitic load. You may feel there is nothing that is running but in reality there could be smaller parasitic appliances that are taking the power.

Some of these devices include LP gas detector, TV antenna booster, clocks, other electronic circuit boards, smaller lights. Many of these take very small power but together over a long period of time these can drain the battery.

A common cause of battery discharge is a wrong way or not fully charging the batteries.

Can solar panels charge RV battery

Yes, solar panel setup can charge the battery. A proper solar kit charges the batteries which is then sued for powering the DC run appliances. If you want AC power then an inverter is to be used which convert the DC output from battery into AC.

How much time it can take to charge the battery. It depends on the watts of the solar panels and also on tits efficiency. A small solar panel of say 100 Watts can be used to trickle charge the battery.

How long can you stay boondocking with a 12 V battery?

By properly conserving power your RV battery can last 2 to 3 days while boondocking. Having said this, its upto you and what kind of appliances you are running. Normally, on a smaller RV you would need battery for lights, small refrigerator, charging mobile, water pump and other smaller appliances.

Dry camping is all about conserving power and water if you want to stay longer.

Conclusion

RV battery can last long enough if the sufficient care is taken. A periodic maintenance should keep your RV batteries functioning and keep you out of predicaments.

Its a small thing to do compared to the price you have to pay to replace the batteries every year. A routine maintenance and charging the batteries whenever they discharge should do you a great help. And when batteries are needed most one wouldn’t face the annoying hours. Increasing the rv battery life expectancy is upto the RVer.

Yoganand Gadekar

Yoganand is a RV enthusiast who spends countless hours researching and learning various things related to RV camping. He believes in spending time doing Outdoor activities.
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