youtubeIt’s that time of year again. Time to think about winterizing the RV for its long winter’s nap. Most Northwest RVers know to perform the needed steps to protect their RVs plumbing system from freezing. However, RV battery winter storage is often overlooked during the winterizing process. If you take the proper steps to protect your lead acid batteries when putting your RV into winter hibernation, they will be ready to go camping come spring.

Deep Cycle Batteries Aren't Chesp - Be sure to protect them

Don’t think you need to protect your lead acid batteries as part of your winterizing process? Then watch this video explaining the importance of RV lead acid battery winter storage and how the owner learned his lesson the hard way.

Here are 8 lead acid battery winter storage do’s and don’ts starting with the don’ts.

Don’ts for RV Battery Winter Storage

Don’t let your lead acid batteries (house and start) become discharged. Each time your batteries are drained below 50% of rated capacity, it shortens the life span of the battery due to sulfation. How do batteries drain while in storage if the RV is not being used? Most RVs have multiple parasitic 12-volt loads such as gas detectors, stereo clocks, circuit boards, etc. that slowly drain your battery over time.

Don’t let a discharged lead acid battery freeze. The fluids in a discharged battery can freeze. The electrolyte inside the lead acid battery is made up of approximately 25 percent sulfuric acid and 75 percent water. The acid interacts chemically with lead plates to create electricity. When the electricity is discharged, water is the primary remaining element making batteries more susceptible to freezing. The expansion of the fluids due to freezing will often cause the plastic housing of the battery to swell and crack. Once cracked, the battery is destined for the scrap pile.

Don’t believe that your battery will stay charged all winter even if disconnected from the RV. All lead acid batteries self-discharge over time and will likely drain below 50% state of charge by spring if not charged periodically over the winter.

Don’t leave your battery(s) on a standard battery charger all winter as many chargers supply a constant voltage which will damage batteries via overcharging.

Do’s for RV Battery Winter Storage

Do keep your lead acid battery(s) charged via a quality 3 or 4 stage charger or battery tender, as a fully charged battery can withstand extreme subfreezing temperatures.

Battery Tender

Do keep snow off your solar panels if they are the primary battery charging source.

Do use a battery kill switch or disconnect them to prevent parasitic loads from draining your lead acid batteries below 50% state of charge. Charge batteries as needed.

Battery Switch -

Do remove the lead acid batteries from your RV and store them in your garage (cool, but not subject to freezing) if you are unable to keep them charged in your RV. Charge as needed.

Do check the flooded cells in a lead acid battery to assure they are at proper levels. Fill with distilled water if needed.

RV lead acid battery winter storage is just as important as protecting your RVs plumbing system during the winter months. Make certain to include it as part of your annual winterizing process. You will be thankful you did.

Questions, Comments? Please leave your thoughts below.

Dave Helgeson
Author: Dave HelgesonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Dave Helgeson and his wife love to travel across the west in their RV. With over 40 years experience in the industry and a lifetime of RVing, Dave writes about all things RVing but loves to share destinations and boondocking advice.

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