Last Updated on April 14, 2023 by Jessica Lauren Vine
Many RV owners have questioned, “How long does an RV battery last?” A common occurrence is RV batteries which don’t last as long as they were designed to. Most RV owners report replacing their RV batteries before their expiration date. While this may be inconvenient and costly, every RV owner needs to know how long RV batteries last.
An RV battery lasts between 5 and 7 years. Unfortunately, some RV owners have had to replace their RV battery every 1-2 years. The lifespan of an RV battery is affected by a few factors, including lack of maintenance, over and undercharging, sulfation, self-discharging, and parasitic loads.
Some RV owners, especially the newbies, may not be familiar with the care required for an RV battery. There are a few methods to extend the life of your RV battery and save you time and money on having to replace it. While maintenance should be carried out on any vehicle, some RV owners may neglect to consider the necessary care required for maintaining the battery.
How Long Can An RV Battery Last?
Typically, an RV battery should last between 5 and 7 years. The reduction in an RV’s battery life comes primarily down to maintenance. Of course, each RV owner will have different views on maintaining their RV, but they should not neglect to look after their RV batteries.
RVs have two battery systems. One powers the motor home part of the RV, while the other is like a standard battery. Similar to those found in a car. The RV house battery is supposed to have a longer lifespan as it powers the electrical components of the motorhome. They are also known as deep cycle batteries and expel less energy at once.
These deep cycle batteries are said to last up to three times longer than a typical vehicle battery; however, this is not always the case. Poor maintenance and an inferior battery will result in you having to replace your RV battery more often than you’d like.
Boondocking On An RV’s Battery Power
If you aren’t familiar with boondocking, it’s a term that refers to off-the-grid traveling and camping without the amenities. Most RV’s can manage to boondock for a day or two, but most aren’t kitted out to go longer than that. Boondocking requires RV owners to store and use electricity off the grid. The RV battery can supply this but only for a short period.
If you want to go on longer trips and stay in off-the-grid locations, you may need a battery upgrade or a secondary system to provide electricity.
Which RV Batteries Have The Best Lifespan?
There are a few good choices for RV batteries on the market. While they all may sound appealing, not all batteries are made equal. Here are two of the most commonly used batteries for an RV:
Deep Cycle Batteries For An RV
A deep cycle battery produces a steady current over an extended length of time. Deep cycle batteries have many variants, including flooded wet cell batteries, gel batteries, and absorbed glass mat batteries, and these batteries usually last 4 times longer than regular batteries.
Lithium Batteries For An RV
Many RV owners who use solar power opt to use lithium batteries. Lithium batteries are a bit more costly but have other benefits, including being more lightweight, smaller, and may not require as much maintenance as the others.
How Often Should I Charge My RV Battery?
Deep cycle batteries can last 400-500 charges, while lithium batteries can last up to 5000 charge cycles. The frequency in which you need to charge your RV battery depends on the type of battery you have. The best practice in charging your RV batteries is to charge them while they naturally discharge.
If you aren’t using your RV regularly and it is in storage, the battery should not be left on charge but should be disconnected. It should be charged once a month while stored. You can charge an RV battery with solar panels, but avoiding doing this while your RV is in storage is best.
The Main Reasons Why An RV Battery Does Not Last
There are a few typical reasons why your RV battery is dying or not lasting as long. These include the following:
- Incorrect recharge and discharge of the battery. Often an RV battery will be charged too soon before it has time to discharge. Knowing your battery type and when it needs to be charged is crucial to avoiding battery failure. The most common charge method is charging to 100 %, allowing the battery to discharge to 50%, and then recharging to 100%. However, all batteries are different, and you should read up about your specific battery before incorporating a charging method.
- Deep cycle batteries need a constant charge. Therefore, if possible, your deep cycle battery should always be charged. If you overcharge your deep cycle battery, there can be degradation in the electrolytes and lead to aging of your battery.
- Thermal runaway. Overcharging your RV batteries can lead to thermal runaway due to more heat or charge being placed on an already charged battery.
- Undercharging the battery. If your RV battery is always undercharged, there is too low of a voltage given to the battery. This results in damage to the battery over time.
- Batteries kept in storage. If your RV is kept in storage and the battery is not charged, it can quickly discharge by 10% per month.
Tips On Extending The Lifespan Of Your RV Battery
If you’re looking at getting the best out of your RV battery, there are a few things you can do to extend the lifespan.
- Avoid sulfation by charging your RV when needed.
- Use a digital volt meter to check the level of charge in your RV battery
- Avoid parasitic loads (things that run while your RV is not being used) that cause your RV batteries to discharge
- Insulate batteries to prevent them from being exposed to adhesives or solvents
- Instore RV batteries tightly for shock absorption
- Keep the operating temperature stable, and avoid overheating your RV battery.
- Turn off the battery connecting switches when the RV is not being used and while it is placed in storage.
RV Battery Frequently Asked Questions
Learn more about RV batteries by getting your RV battery questions answered.
Are RV batteries deep cycle?
Yes. RV batteries are typically deep cycle batteries. However, you can search for your specific model to make sure.
How does an RV battery charge?
An RV battery can charge when hooked up to shore power or when connected to your tow vehicle.
What is the best RV battery for solar?
Battle Born batteries are some of the best batteries you can find, and the owners seem cool too.
The lifespan of an RV battery is directly linked to its usage and maintenance. While there are a few batteries on the market for RVs, some require more care and upkeep than others. Incorrect use, over or undercharging, and not correctly inspecting your RV battery before a trip could mean you’ll need to replace your RV battery in just a couple of years.
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