Going into the summer season, we are all ready to get out and camp! The last thing you want on your first trip is to have a dead battery. RV maintenance as a whole is very important, but before you pack up make sure to check your battery. There are a few things that contribute to battery failure, and we will give you some tips to prevent it!
Sulfation & Undercharging
Sulfation is the number one cause of battery failure. Small crystals of sulfuric acid form on the battery plates. Usually, the crystals convert back to active plate material. When the battery charge is not regulated and remains in a low state of charge, the battery can experience sulfation. This is why undercharging your batteries will go hand-in-hand with sulfation.
Overcharging your battery can result in a battery gassing and loss of water. When a battery gasses, it releases something called hydrogen sulfide.The gas is colorless, but you will know the battery is gassing because of the sulfur smell it produces. When a battery has a loss of water it can cause visible corrosion on the battery. After you correct the water loss, be sure to remove the corrosion from the battery! This all can happen as a result of the charge rate being too high for fully charged batteries. The electrolytes are eventually boiled off when the charge rate is too high, and this can kill the battery.
Sometimes your batteries will self-discharge while being stored. The cause of this is from internal chemical reactions. It is common for batteries to self-discharge up to 10% per month. If the battery completely discharges and doesn’t get recharge, sulfation will likely start forming.
Like many things, the temperature an item is exposed to affects its state . Keeping a battery in a lower temperature prolongs the battery’s life. Keeping a battery in a lower temperature increases a battery’s life, but it reduces the battery capacity. With a higher temperature, the battery life is decreased and the capacity increases. The best air temperature for most batteries is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The chemicals inside the battery are sensitive to temperature, which is why its best to keep your battery in an environment without extreme temperatures.
By following some of these tips, your battery will have a better chance of a long lifespan. There are many resources, and with regular maintenance you’ll always be ready for the camping season!