Owning a class B motorhome or RV gives you the opportunity to travel and explore so many new and exciting places with the many comforts of home. Many of these features are powered by your 12-volt battery system.
Having a basic knowledge of how your motorhome batteries work and how to properly maintain them can help you avoid replacing them prematurely.
Motorhome Battery Basics
What exactly is a battery? A battery is simply an electrical power storage device. Batteries store power in the form of chemicals. All RV batteries are composed of lead acid. They can last up to 5 years if properly maintained.
Remember these basic battery care facts:
- Never let your batteries go below 50% charge. If you let them go below 20%, they will become damaged and never go back to full functioning capabilities. When they go below 50%, it is best to charge them immediately. Batteries can last up to 7 years if you follow this rule.
- Purchase a digital voltmeter. A voltmeter is an instrument used to measure the electrical difference between two points in an electric unit. These can be found in many auto supply stores or hardware retailers. Since 12-volt batteries give off more voltage when fully charged, you can use your voltmeter to monitor when they need a charge.
- Deep Cycle batteries are designed to give a steady amount of power over an extended period of time.
- Automotive batteries are simply batteries used to start your vehicle’s engine.
- Marine batteries are a hybrid of deep cycle and automotive batteries.
Class B RV Battery Storage/Maintenance
Proper battery storage is important always, but it’s especially crucial during the cold winter months. Overtime your batteries will naturally loose their charge. Freezing temperatures can kill your batteries’ cells as well.
Removing your battery from your vehicle and checking its voltage to make sure it doesn’t fall bellow 80% can help maintain its longevity. Checking your battery’s charge monthly is recommended.
Start by disconnecting your house batteries. Many motorhome and RV appliances consume tiny milliamps overtime, which drains the batteries faster than you may anticipate. Your refrigerator, radio, smoke detector and other motorhome appliances can be turned off but are still sucking these milliamps of power while not in use.
Hot temperatures can also kill batteries. Check your batteries’ electrolyte levels and add distilled water when necessary to help preserve them. The minimum level for charging the battery is at the top of the plates. If it’s below the plates, add enough distilled water to cover them before you proceed to charge the battery.
Keeping your battery clean of corrosion can help prolong its lifespan too. Corrosion can be neutralized with a 50/50 mixture of baking soda and warm water. Use one pound of baking soda to one gallon of water. Don’t forget to clean inside the cable clamps and the dirty battery terminals.
Camper Van Battery Safety
Remember, your motorhome or RV’s battery contains sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid can be extremely dangerous! If not properly handled, it can lead to severe burns or even blindness. Do not smoke or be around open flames when working on your battery. Wearing goggles and gloves is a necessary safety precaution.
Enjoying Your Class B Motorhome
Following some of these guidelines can be really helpful in preserving the lifespan of your beloved RV or motorhome batteries. If you own a class B motorhome, then it’s clear you are serious about enjoying travel and life on the open road. Maximize that time by being a savvy vehicle owner!
Looking for your next motorhome? At Classic Vans, located in the San Francisco Bay Area, we offer the nation’s best selection of campervans, conversion vans and mobility vehicles. Browse our inventory of new and used motorhomes, or call (866) 370-8222.
Don’t live in California? No problem! Ask about low-cost nationwide delivery.