RV Battery Basics, Tips & Tricks

Sep 8 2016

Hitting the open road is the ultimate the American dream. The ability to see what our country has to offer and marvel in its beauty is the stuff most only see in the movies. To make sure you don’t miss these sights, the importance of a good battery can’t be over-emphasized. We rely on them for a lot of things – like starting our towing rig, keeping our refrigerators running and making sure that we have warm showers while boondocking. Not all batteries are created equal, but here are the basics you need to learn the differences between them, and make the best decision for your needs.

Starting batteries versus trailer batteries

The two basic types of batteries that you will have in your trailer are starting batteries and trailer batteries, and each has its own unique purpose. Starting batteries give out a lot of energy, but only for a few seconds. It’s just enough to power up the motor in the nice lookin’ truck to get you moving down the road. Compare it to a basketball game. You give your all up and down the court, and sub in and out frequently with your teammates to give your body a chance to recharge. Oncethe energy has been used it needs to take a break to recharge immediately before it’s used again.

Trailer batteries provide less power, but over a long period of time. This is what is used to run all of those fancy appliances in your rig. Compare it to a baseball game. You play your heart out for nine long innings, and then crash to regain your strength after you’ve defeated the opposing team. These batteries give that long-lasting power, but then do a deep recharge (deep cycle) after the fact to regain its strength and power your next adventure.

Is a bigger battery really better?

Not necessarily. The type of battery you get is really more important in most cases than how big it is. If you have a huge deep cycle battery but only take your RV out once a year for a couple days at a powered campground, you’re really wasting your money. You can easily get away with a smaller battery since you’ll be connected to a charging station while you’re docked. By investing in a bigger battery you’ve got more energy than you could ever want, and wasting that money you paid. It’s like renting Wrigley Field for a 100-person gathering. A huge battery in this case is just a little overkill.

Batteries are meant to be reserves of energy that give you the power you need for your lifestyle. If you like to boondock and only have a small battery you’ll find yourself up a creek without a paddle soon. Smaller batteries are better suited for people who camp occasionally or at a campground. A battery that is too small is just the opposite of Wrigley Field. It’s like trying to fit 1,000 people in a campground that holds 100. Too many people means they are using too many resources. The campground will dry up, unable to sustain the extra workload.

Keeping your batteries in good health

Overcharging and undercharging your RV batteries are the leading causes of their early death. Keeping the battery from being used all the way will help prolong battery life, as will storing your RV in a charging position. Avoiding climates that are really hot or cold will also make your batteries last longer by keeping the fluids inside at the appropriate levels.

There is a lot to learn about RV batteries and their purposes. Keeping your needs in mind and knowing these basic tips will help you make the best choice for you and your family as you set out on the open road to discover the American dream and your Good Life.