Bucars Blog — June 16 2016

RV Battery Maintenance Tips

Hello, I’m Craig with Bucars RV centre. I’d like to talk to you a little bit about some light battery maintenance.

With your batteries, as you use them, as they cycle and be charged for being plugged into
your shore, then drain down from being dry camping. It’s good to periodically pop the covers on your 12 volts. You’ll have a little tap to pop off, and this gives us access to see our fluid levels in the batteries. Do be careful, this is battery acid and liquid around the battery that’s coming off. What you want to do is look and see how full the fluid is in the battery. If it is low just top it up by simply adding some distilled water.

In most batteries will be a bit of a plastic collar dropping down inside that battery bank. I like to bring it up to my level so they’re just a couple of millimetres below that collar. I find if you come up into that collar on a hard charge they tend to boil over and create a fairly extensive mess in your battery box. So, caps are simple on the 12 volts. Be careful when popping them down if you’ve been hammering down it tends to splat old fluid out and soak you with that
battery acid which you’ll discover when your next laundry load is done.

Six volts are what they call a speed nut and you just simply open it up that way and again, physical inspection, check the fluid levels and just top them up. Six-volt batteries do cycle a lot more than 12 so I would want to be doing this pretty much every three to four weeks while I’m using my trailer.

Whereas a battery beginning in the season and towards the end of the season is good enough within a couple times in the season you’ll be fine. if you are not sure with your battery
the beginning to the next season because it’s been sitting in the garage over the winter and your time to hook it up you can certainly bring your batteries in, drop them off and Bucars here will be glad to charge them on the bench and then do a load test to ensure that they’re up and ready for you for this camping season.

Another concern with the flooded batteries. Make sure you get them out at the end of the winter. I know a lot of customers feel out there feel they have a solar package on their unit, therefore, their batteries are being cycled. That’s true until the snow comes. Unless you’re out there at every snowfall sweeping your solar panel to ensure the charge to your batteries, chances are, come spring you’re going to get to your trailer and you’re going to have dead batteries. So at the end of the season, once I get it back to my storage lot, I’ll take my batteries out, bring them home with me and store them either in the garage or downstairs in
the basement.

When removing the batteries, again, the seasons good to give it a good visual to inspect a battery for any signs of defectiveness. If you’re too late to get your battery out of your unit, they will start to swell from freezing in which case your plates are now compromised or touching one another and shorted out the battery. Worst case you’d end up with a split going down the side seams of the batteries in which case you’ve lost your fluid and the battery
is pretty much toast and needs to be replaced.

Throughout the course of the season we’re going to find our batteries through venting off and charging then they look pretty ugly you will get corrosion buildup on the terminals. Simply just remove your terminals they’ll be all crusted a fine grit sandpaper or Emery cloth does a nice job to clean off the terminals of the residue to get them nice and shiny so we have a good contact and then simply take in a wire brush and again knocking the corrosion off of the posts. If you wish, I like to when it comes time to store my batteries at the end of the season, I’ll pull them out and use a battery cleaner and simply spray down my battery and that will react to all the acid that’s still on top of the battery. And you’ll see it’s turning from pink to blue that is a battery acid. It will neutralize the product it also helps clean it we let it sit for several minutes and just rinse it off with the hose and then store my batteries in the garage or basement for the winter.

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