Why is My RV Battery Not Holding a Charge?

RVs contain 12-volt batteries in their exterior compartment to power electric appliances. Many people complain that sometimes these batteries do not store enough electrical energy to power electrical systems.

Why is My RV Battery Not Holding a Charge? RV batteries not holding a charge can be due to poor maintenance, short trips, extreme temperature, old batteries, sulfation, use of heavy electrical appliances, parasitic drain, low water levels, under and overcharging, and use of incorrect chargers.

These batteries have a low voltage, and different electrical systems cannot function correctly. On average, lead-acid batteries can last for a day when you only use them to power lights, outlets, and other small electric equipment.

Reasons Solutions
Poor maintenance Use a wire brush and baking soda paste for cleaning
Short trips Give proper charging time and avoid short runs
Extreme temperature Park RVs in covered and shady places
Old batteries Replace them with a new one
Sulfation Check battery voltage before storing them
Using heavy electric appliances Avoid using AC, heaters, and microwave oven
Parasitic drain Turn off unnecessary devices like TV and radio
Low water levels Add distilled water
Under and overcharging Use correct charging methods

Poor maintenance

Regular maintenance and servicing of RV batteries are essential to keep them functional and increase their durability. On-time scheduled maintenance decreases the risk of problems and repair costs.

These do not hold the charge and can provide sufficient electrical energy when you do not maintain them properly. Corrosion can come on their terminals, leading to restrictive current flow.

These do not get enough charging when their terminals are corroded. The corrosion on terminals produces a conductive layer, which does not allow the current to flow through them.

It causes interference in the flow of electrical current and prevents them from charging properly. Corrosion can come on them because of acid buildup, exposure to liquid elements, and overcharging.

Use the dielectric greaser to prevent their terminals from rust. You can also use the wire brush to scrape off the corrosion layer or apply the thick baking soda paste on them.

Short trips

Many people prefer short trips rather than one long trip for a whole day. Short trips do not provide enough time for the charging of RV batteries.

The issue comes when you do not give these parts enough time to hold the charge properly. You can face the problem when you stay in campgrounds for a short time for charging purposes.

In addition, many of my friends also prefer short stays in different places to save their time. It is better to take one long trip after charging batteries properly rather than short trips.

On average, these need approximately 5 to 6 hours for full charging, and short trips hinder the recharging procedure.

Extreme temperature

Batteries are sensitive to extreme hot and cold temperatures because it interrupts electrolyte movement and affects the chemical reaction.

Extreme cold and hot temperature can decrease their overall performance and affect their ability to hold the charge after recharging.

The freezing temperature slows down the chemical reaction that is necessary to procedure a sufficient amount of electrical energy.

In addition, it can also increase the internal resistance, and electric current cannot flow through them at a faster rate.

On the other hand, high temperatures in summer accelerate the chemical reaction and cause overheating issues, which can lead to early wear out and degradation.

Moreover, it also causes the fluid inside batteries to evaporate, which slows down the chemical reaction. It is better to park your RV in shady areas and covered garages to protect them from extreme temperatures.

I always charge the RV batteries when they are not in use.

Old batteries

On average, these can last for about 5 to 6 years, depending on their maintenance schedules and manufacturing brands. You can increase their longevity by properly maintaining and using them according to recommended guidelines.

Sometimes people face low power supply issues after a few minutes of recharging their batteries. These drain quickly because of their old age.

The batteries older than 5 to 6 years can drain quickly because of the decreased performance with their age.

The older ones lose their ability to hold the charge because of damaged plates. In addition, sulfation, overcharging, and high temperature decrease their overall performance.

Replacing the batteries when they become old and cannot provide sufficient electrical energy is necessary. You can check their performance by connecting them with a voltmeter and multimeter.


Sulfation is the major issue, and you can see it in lead-acid batteries. It happens when lead acid crystals accumulate on the plates and causes hindrance in the flow of electric current.

These crystals accumulate on the plates and decrease their surface area. They lose their ability to hold sufficient electric current for longer.

The sulfation issue occurs because of leakage and cracks in the exterior surface. In addition, broken and poorly sealed capes also cause lead acid crystals to accumulate on plates.

Over and undercharging also leads to the formation of lead-acid crystals. Moreover, you can face the issue because of poor maintenance and low electrolyte levels.

You can prevent the sulfation process by storing the RV batteries properly. Ensure that these should have a charge of at least 12.4 volts when storing them.

Incorrect storage temperature also triggers the process, so it is necessary to keep them at room temperature, which is about 24°C.

Using heavy electric appliances

Many people face issues with their RV batteries because of heavy electric appliances. Mostly these are 12 volts and can only power the electric lights and power outlets.

These are not feasible for heavy electric equipment like air conditioners, microwave ovens, and heaters. These do not hold the charger longer when you use them more than their recommended range.

Over usage drains power from them and leads to a low voltage supply. Avoid using them more than their recommended range because these can die early.

I do not prefer to run your air conditioners, microwave ovens, and heaters on them.

Parasitic drain

RV batteries are draining quickly and are not holding the charge because of parasitic drains. Some interior components drain the power when you turn off your vehicles.

Parasitic drain issue comes when you run the air conditioners, electric chargers, interior lights, electronic devices, and alarms. These remain even if you turn off your RVs and drain power from the electric source.

These do not hold the charge for longer because of these devices. Turning off these devices when you are storing your RV is necessary.

Moreover, turning off all unnecessary devices like radios, TV, and mobile phone chargers when you park them is necessary. Install the battery disconnect switch to disconnect the power supply from the electric equipment when you are not using it.

Low water levels

Distilled water is the integral component of lead acid batteries to proceed with electrochemical reactions. The water levels become low because of the normal electrolysis procedure.

Water in the cells keeps the plates submerged so they can hold sufficient electric current. These die quickly because of low water levels inside the cells.

The water level also decreases because of incorrect charging methods and short runs between charging. In addition, high temperature accelerates the chemical procedure and speeds up the electrolysis reaction or loss of water.

It is necessary to check the water levels by removing their cell. Pour the distilled water in them up to the marked level to reduce the risk of damage.

Under and overcharging

Over and undercharging are the leading cause of RV battery failure and decreased performance. People face the issue when they connect them with chargers for a long and then forget to remove them.

Overcharging leads to sulfation procedures and overheating issues. Hydrogen gas can also build inside sealed caps and leads to their swelling and melting.

In addition, it can also cause an increase the water consumption because of high temperatures and accelerated electrochemical reactions.

Moreover, overcharging cause corrosion to come on the plates. Batteries do not hold the charge properly and provide sufficient powers because of undercharging.

It is necessary to give them proper time for charging and avoid short runs. Use the correct devices for their charging that are compatible with their voltages.

Avoid using high-voltage chargers because these can affect their overall performance.

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Categories RVs