How to Prepare Your RV Battery for Winter Care

Did you know that more than one in 13 households in Australia report owning a recreational vehicle (RV)? Or that 42 per cent of RV owners have children under 15? Clearly, owning an RV has gone mainstream for the average Aussie family and with good reason. 

The vast majority of RV owners, 87 per cent to be exact, show a strong preference for outdoor activities such as fishing and hiking. These preferences make owning an RV a natural and convenient solution for getting outside to explore Australia’s incredible terrain while staying in relative comfort. 

Of course, no matter how much you love your RV, some aspects of caring for it can feel a bit bewildering. Take, for example, preparing your RV battery for winter care. How does the process work, and which steps must you remain mindful of?

We’re here to tell you that the process proves more straightforward than you think. Keep reading for our proven six-step method when it comes to winter season battery maintenance. 

Why Your RV Battery Requires Winter Care

If you’re new to the RV scene, you may be surprised to learn that you’ll need to take a few extra precautions before storing your RV for the offseason. What do these precautions entail? For a start, you’ll need to remove your battery and keep it in a warm location. 

Why is this necessary? Because if you don’t, you could end up with a frozen battery when temperatures drop. Believe us, you don’t want to deal with this scenario!

Preparing Your RV Battery For Winter Care

When it comes to taking care of your RV battery during the offseason, invest in a charger and maintainer to keep it adequately charged whilst in storage.

Preparing Your Flooded Batteries for Winter Storage

Follow these steps to properly retire the Wet cell (flooded battery) during the offseason:

  • Take out the battery 
  • Check its water levels
  • Replenish the battery water levels if necessary
  • Charge the battery fully
  • Keep it in an indoor location like a cellar that’s warm
  • Store the battery off the floor by placing a mat or piece of sturdy cardboard beneath it
  • Attach a battery maintainer to keep the battery charged while in storage
  • Check-in with your battery each month to make sure it’s adequately charged

What else do you need to know about storing RV batteries during the winter months? You’ll need to alter how you care for your RV battery based on its chemistry. For example, the process will prove slightly different for lithium batteries as opposed to nickel ones. 

Check out this handy resource categorized by battery chemistry composition to help you get a quick handle on the key differences when it comes to maintenance and storage. Remember that all batteries, even cutting-edge lithium-ion batteries, remain prone to cold weather damage.

Indeed, lithium batteries deal with cold weather better than their alkaline predecessors, but the cold can still destroy them. By following the process above, you can rest assured your battery remains in tiptop shape year-round. 

Additional Thoughts on Battery Care for Your RV

What else should you know about properly caring for your caravan during the offseason? Some RV enthusiasts have questions about dealing with capacity loss during storage.

This loss may manifest in two different ways, non-recoverable losses that permanently impact capacity and self-discharge issues that may be refilled with charging before use.

As with variations in storage recommendations, the type of battery you have will prove more susceptible to certain kinds of capacity loss. For example, lithium batteries may see higher losses if left fully charged throughout the offseason.  

Battery Chargers Worth Considering

At this point, we’ve hopefully answered the bulk of your questions related to battery care. But we have yet to cover how to use a battery charger. This device can mean the difference between a fully charged, well-operating battery and one that dies prematurely. 

What are some easy guidelines to facilitate operating a battery charger or maintainer? They include always using the correct charger for your RV battery’s specific chemistry. Remember that most chargers may only be used to service one chemistry.

If you’re dealing with a battery that’s either hot or cold, you’ll also want to avoid the fast charge setting, even for a quick fix. Ideally, batteries should sit at room temperature before any charging activity takes place. 

You’ll also want to avoid the fast-charging setting when dealing with low-performing or aging batteries. What’s more, if you choose a battery charger and maintainer that’s on the cheap side, pay close attention to the temperature. If you notice the battery getting warm, remove it from the charger. 

Types of Battery Chargers Available

Victron Battery Chargers

Investing in a quality battery charger will go a long way in maintaining the health of your RV battery and storage batteries. Victron Battery Chargers have a great range of chargers suited to most applications. The Blue Smart IP65 range are available in 12V 4/5/7/10/15/25A, 24V 5/8/13A. Unlike other brands, the Blue Smart IP65 Charger will attempt to recharge a deeply-discharged battery by force-feeding it with a low current. Normal charging will then be resumed as soon as there is sufficient voltage across the battery terminals.

The battery is charged, smartly… to perfect condition. The seven-step charging algorithm gets the best out of your battery. The charger gives the battery the power it needs, maintains its health, ensures better performance… and a longer life.

Check the status of your battery remotely. The Blue Smart IP65 is equipped with built-in Bluetooth, so the status of the charger and the battery can be checked on a smartphone, tablet or laptop. All settings of the charger can be configured with the VictronConnect app.

CTEK Battery Chargers

CTEK offer a huge range of Battery Chargers for 4WD, RV, and Marine. The 8-step charger models includes battery diagnosis to establish whether your battery can receive and retain a charge, a Recond mode for restoring and reconditioning stratified and deeply discharged batteries, a winter program for charging in cold weather and an AGM option which maximises the performance life of most Stop/Start batteries.

Best Practices for Storing RVs 

Some caravaners also have questions about storing their RV in general. Whether it’s winter or not, to keep your RV in optimal working order, you’ll want to put it into storage. What’s more, always attempt to park your RV in a covered area to avoid unnecessary damage.

Besides this easy precaution, remember that the top reason for expensive RV repairs remains water damage. What’s more, keeping rubbish such as leaves, twigs, and bird droppings off your recreational vehicle will also help preserve it. 

But what do you do if you’re on a budget and can only afford RV storage that’s coverless? In this case, consider purchasing an RV cover that you place over your investment to shield it from the weather and other elements. 

RV Battery Care

As you can see, RV battery care proves more manageable than many caravanners realize, especially if they’re new to the process. If you bear in mind these few details, you’ll be in fantastic shape for caravanning the next time you want to explore.

Are you ready to learn more about power solutions for your recreational needs? Whether you’ve got a camper trailer, RV, boat, or 4WD, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today to discuss your current questions and needs. 

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