If you’ve recently been finding that your leisure battery keeps dying, it’s time to do some troubleshooting!
In this article, we cover a few possible reasons why your battery might be dying faster than usual as well as some steps you can take to make sure it lasts for all your touring adventures!
So, Why Does My Leisure Battery Keep Dying?
Having a leisure battery that keeps going flat can be really frustrating, especially if you don’t know why it’s happening! Not only does it leave you stranded, but it can completely ruin your holiday!
So Why Does This Keep Happening?
Well, there are a few reasons. The first reason is that your caravan battery may be older and need replacing. Over time, leisure batteries naturally lose their charging capacity and will need to be replaced with a new one.
Alternatively, the battery in your caravan may not have enough charge to take longer trips or deal with intense weather conditions like extreme heat or cold.
Additionally, the weight of what you are carrying can also affect the battery’s performance; if you’re carrying too much weight for your caravan, then it could cause the battery to die more quickly than usual.
Let’s break down the most common causes of battery failure and what can be done to get you up and running again!
You Battery Might Not Be Charging Properly
If your caravan or motorhome battery keeps dying, it’s possible that you may not be fully or properly charging your battery. f you think that your battery isn’t charging correctly, there are a few things to check first.
First, make sure that the charging cable is plugged in securely and that no connections are loose. Also be sure to ensure that the voltage converter is set to an appropriate level for your battery type, as this can easily cause issues with charging.
If you’re still having issues with your battery not charging properly, then it’s likely time to inspect the actual battery itself. Make sure all terminals and connections are clean, free from corrosion and damage, and firmly connected.
Lastly, consider replacing any non-durable parts such as torn lead plates or damaged insulation on cables if necessary.
Checking for any loose connections and corrosion spots every few months, and ensuring that they are properly cleaned off with a dry cloth will really help increase the lifespan of your leisure battery.
Your Battery is Thirsty!
One common reason why your caravan or motorhome battery keeps dying is that it’s thirsty. Batteries need to be kept full of juice in order for them to work properly.
This means that you need to make sure that your battery is regularly topped up with distilled water or electrolyte solution.
If you’ve ever taken a look at the plate on your battery, chances are you’ll find built-in vent holes that allow air in and out of the cells.
While these vent holes are a safety feature, they can also draw in moisture from outside air, which will cause the electrolyte solution inside to evaporate and weaken your battery’s performance.
Make sure to monitor the liquid level and replenish it with fresh distilled water periodically. Always pour water carefully – do not overfill the cells!
Also, try to clean any corrosion off of the terminals and check for any signs of damage as this could also lead to further drainage of your battery’s power supply.
Finally, always use a reliable charger when recharging depleted batteries and ensure the rate is set according to the manufacturer’s standards.
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Sulfation Has Occurred
Caravan batteries can die unexpectedly because of a build-up of sulfation, which occurs when the battery has gone too long without use.
Sulfation is caused by an accumulation of lead-sulfate crystals on the battery’s plates which prohibits their function and stops them from absorbing charge.
When sulfation occurs, electrons are unable to move between the cells of the battery and power cannot be stored effectively or released when needed.
This leads to reduced cranking power and/or problems starting vehicles.
Unfortunately, if sulfation has occurred, it means that you will need to buy a new battery since it can’t be fixed.
It’s important to make sure that your caravan or motorhome is not draining more power than necessary when it is not being used.
Things like lights, TVs, Fridges, Charging plugs etc., should all be turned off when not in use to prevent any unnecessary drain on the battery, thus reducing sulfation over time.
Also keep in mind that if you’re allowing your battery to sit for 12 or more weeks without charging, it could suffer from sulfation and die prematurely – so it’s a good idea to keep your caravan or motorhome battery topped up with a trickle charger while it’s sitting dormant.
You Have a Parasitic Battery Drain
If your caravan or motorhome battery keeps dying, you might have a parasitic battery drain. A parasitic battery drain is when one of the electronic components in your vehicle is constantly drawing power even when the vehicle is turned off.
Common culprits of this problem are the alarm system, stereo, or a GPS tracking system that was not professionally installed.
The only way to determine if you have a parasitic battery drain is to use a multimeter to measure how much current is being drawn. If it’s more than 0.2 amp, then there could be something draining the battery when the vehicle isn’t in use.
If you suspect you have a parasitic load on your car or motorhome battery, start by checking each component individually and unplugging the wiring harnesses for anything that is aftermarket equipment such as stereos and alarms.
A possible solution is to find a higher-capacity replacement lead acid battery that can handle the added load of the electrical items being used.
- Voltage: 12V ; Capacity: 120Ah @C100
- Dimensions:- Length: 354mm; Width: 175mm; Height: 190mm (Height is including Terminals / Posts)
- SuperBatt AGM1100 VRLA AGM Premium Leisure Battery
- Ultra Deep Cycle battery 3 to 4 times more cycles than a standard Leisure Battery.
- Heavy Duty Thick Grid (battery plate) with Absorbed Glass Mat Separators
- Fully Sealed Construction: Unique sealed construction ensures NO electrolyte leakage from terminals or case.
- Low self-discharge rate giving extended shelf life.
- Designed for all climates (This battery can withstand severe temperatures).
- Warranty: 2 years warranty against manufacturing faults and defects only.
Your Battery is Self-Discharging
Another reason why your caravan or motorhome battery keeps dying could be because it’s self-discharging. All batteries self-discharge, meaning that they lose a certain amount of charge while they’re not being used.
Some batteries are designed to discharge slowly over time, while others will drain faster if they’re only partially discharged.
Self-discharge is even more pronounced in colder climates where temperature drops can cause a battery to take on an excessive level of discharge.
Whether you have a lead acid, AGM or deep cycle battery, you’ll want to check the manufacturer’s guidelines for their recommended frequency rates for recharging and maintaining the battery in optimal health.
To ensure optimal performance, always follow the manufacturer’s recharge and maintenance schedule as closely as possible.
Make sure to keep track of how often you’re charging and discharging the caravan/motorhome battery to prevent it from dying prematurely.
If you have limited ventilation then consider investing in a battery maintainer; these devices can keep your battery topped up with enough power to ensure its longevity.
It’s also important to regularly check the terminals for corrosion and clean them regularly as this can lead to a loss of power too. If nothing seems to work then you might need to invest in a new battery entirely.
Your Battery is Overcharging
One of the leading causes of why a caravan or motorhome battery keeps dying is overcharging. This occurs when a battery is charged beyond its maximum capacity, which can cause permanent damage to the battery and reduce its lifespan.
Overcharging can be caused by several issues, such as a faulty alternator on the motorhome, an overloaded electrical system or a bad earth connection.
A faulty alternator causes the battery to be constantly charged even when the vehicle is not in use. This results in excessive voltage being drawn from the battery and cause it to eventually become drained and die.
An overloaded electrical system can put too much strain on the battery’s ability to store electricity and will cause it to overheat and die prematurely.
To check if your system is overloaded, look for signs of corrosion and burnt wiring or loose connections in areas such as lights and plugs.
A bad earth connection interrupts the flow of electricity between components causing inadequate charging which results in premature battery death.
You can check this by ensuring all wires have a good connection at both ends and that they are free from any rust or damage.
Also, make sure that you use a proper charger for your specific type of battery.
It’s important to make sure the amperage setting on the charger matches the amperage rating on the battery, otherwise, your battery will be constantly drained despite being plugged in.
Your Battery Has Been Damaged
If your caravan or motorhome battery keeps dying, it’s possible that the battery itself is damaged or flawed in some way. This is one of the most common causes of recurrent battery failure in motorhomes and caravans.
Your battery can become damaged due to age, overuse, corrosion or faulty wiring and this will usually happen without any warning, so it’s important to carry out regular checks.
The first step is to test the battery with a multimeter and measure its current output. If the reading is low, then this indicates an issue with the battery that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
If the readings indicate a faulty cell or cells within the battery, then this could be resulting in higher than normal discharge rates. When this happens, your vehicle will struggle to start or even die while running which can leave you stranded on the side of the road.
Damaged connections may also result in decreased performance of your caravan or motorhome battery so it’s important to check all connections for any signs of wear and tear such as corrosion, loose terminals or cracks in cables and wires.
If these components are not properly connected, then they can cause dangerous amounts of power fluctuation which can damage other components within your electrical system.
Another reason why your leisure battery might keep dying is due to age. While a car battery typically has a lifespan of around three years, batteries used in caravans/motorhomes are typically designed with a finite life span.
Depending on the battery type and its usage it may last anywhere between three to six years.
As the battery begins to age, its ability to store energy diminishes over time. This can lead to batteries draining faster and not having enough power when you need it most.
Check the date code on your battery to determine how old it is. If it has been more than 4 years, it’s time to consider replacing it with a new one.
Additionally, never let a motorhome battery remain unused for more than 6 months at a time; this can accelerate its ageing process significantly.
How to Increase your Battery Lifespan
Looking after your leisure battery is essential if you want to extend its lifespan and get the most out of it. Here are a few simple tips which will help increase its lifespan:
When you are not using your caravan or motorhome store your battery in a cool, dry area. Extreme temperatures can significantly decrease the life of your battery and should be avoided at all costs.
It’s important to maintain proper levels of charge in the battery. Try to keep your battery topped up by putting it on a trickle charge at home.
Regularly check the connections from the battery to the chassis and make sure everything is secure. Loose connections can cause loss of charging, leading to a dead battery.
It’s important to remember that your motorhome or caravan battery isn’t designed for frequent deep discharges so try not to let it drain completely as this can damage it long term.
When you have the battery in use – keep up with regular maintenance such as checking fluid level, cleaning terminals and connections and making sure there is an adequate recharge rate after every use.
Fully Charge Your Battery Before Storage
If you’re not planning on using your caravan or motorhome for a while, it’s important to fully charge the battery before storage. This will help prolong the life of your battery and prevent unexpected failures during your next trip.
Batteries gradually lose their charge over time and if they are not properly charged before being stored, they can become permanently damaged.
To make sure your battery is ready to use after storage, always charge it up completely prior to putting it away.
If you’re not bringing it home then it’s a good idea to disconnect the negative cable from the battery when it’s sat not being used – this prevents electrical drain and ensures that everything is in working order once you’re ready to go back on the road.
As mentioned above, it’s a good idea to bring the battery home and trickle-charge it so that it’s ready to go for the new season.
Avoid Deep Discharges
When it comes to caring for your leisure battery, one of the most important things to do is to avoid deep discharges. Deep discharging occurs when a battery is regularly discharged below 50 per cent of its storage capacity.
This can drastically reduce the life of your battery and cause it to die more quickly than normal. To avoid this issue, try and make sure that you charge your battery at regular intervals, particularly if you know that the caravan/motorhome is going to be left idle for long periods.
Also, deep discharges can cause sulfation in a deep cycle battery – this happens when lead sulfate crystals cover the plate surface – reducing its electrical efficiency and ageing it prematurely.
This loss of capacity accelerates with successive reduced charge cycles.
As well as recharging at regular intervals, it’s also smart to look into investing in a good-quality charger. Quality chargers are designed specifically to protect batteries from deep discharge cycles and keep them healthy for longer.
These chargers will gradually recharge them until they reach full capacity using a longer cycle, ensuring that there is minimal damage done to the cell structure of your caravans and motorhomes’ batteries over time.
Maintain Proper Electrolyte Levels
One of the most important things you can do to ensure that your caravan or motorhome battery is working properly is to maintain proper electrolyte levels.
Electrolyte levels, also known as specific gravity, are an indication of how much charge remains in a battery cell.
If the electrolyte level drops too low, there won’t be enough current flowing through the battery to power your motorhome or caravan.
This is why it’s important to check your electrolyte levels every couple of weeks and make sure they stay within the optimal range.
The optimal range for specific gravity in a lead-acid battery will vary depending on the type and age of the battery being used. Generally, a reading between 1020 and 1080 indicates good overall battery health.
You could also invest in a hydrometer which tells you how much liquid is left in each cell of the battery by measuring its specific gravity, thus helping you prevent undercharging or overcharging which could damage the internal components of your caravan/motorhome battery.
Maintain at least a 50% Charge
When it comes to keeping your caravan or motorhome battery in good condition, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that you should always maintain at least a 50% charge. This will help ensure that the battery lasts longer and works better.
By keeping a partial charge on your battery, you can help prevent it from overcharging and running out of power quickly. Overcharging causes the battery to eventually become weaker and may even cause it to die prematurely.
It’s also important to make sure that you’re not draining the battery too much either as this can also reduce its longevity.
If you find yourself needing more power than your current battery can provide, consider investing in a larger-capacity caravan or motorhome battery.
When charging a deeply depleted battery it’s important not to exceed the advised absorption rate specified in the user manual as this can also lead to premature death and reduced performance.
Keeping an eye on these simple tips will ensure your caravan/motorhome battery stays alive for longer!
When To Replace your Leisure Battery?
From experience with our caravans, we’ve found that Leisure batteries typically need to be replaced after roughly four years of use. Over time, the capacity and performance of your battery will decline due to age and general wear and tear.
When you start noticing poor performance, decreased life span, or weaker charge than previously experienced, then it might be time to replace your leisure battery.
Another measure of your battery’s health is its terminal voltage when disconnected from the charger and allowed to sit idle for a few hours.
If this voltage goes below 12 volts, then it’s time to look into replacing it since any such reading suggests your battery isn’t performing as it should.
Monitor Your Battery in the Winter Months
With the onset of the cooler months, check on all the components of your battery – such as terminals, cables and test points – for any signs of corrosion or deterioration.
It’s also important to make sure that all connections are securely tightened as vibrations from travel can cause them to work loose over time.
If you can, buy a multimeter – used to test electrical voltage – so you can accurately measure the amount of juice still in your battery.
If you start to notice any drops in voltage or changes in performance, it could indicate that there is an issue with one of your battery cells or terminals.
Be sure to check for corrosion or any other signs that may indicate you need service immediately.
How to Store a Leisure Battery When it’s Not in Use?
When storing your caravan or motorhome battery, make sure it is stored in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight and out of the elements.
It is also important to store the batteries with their terminals disconnected so that they do not experience any gradual discharge when not being used.
Also, check the internal components of the leisure battery regularly for signs of corrosion or damage as this may indicate that it needs to be serviced or replaced. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper storage and maintenance.
We also recommend using a trickle charger when storing batteries for extended periods of time. This will help maintain their capacity and prolong their lifespan while they are in storage.
Finally, make sure you clean the terminals before you reconnect the battery to the caravan or motorhome.
In conclusion, if your caravan/motorhome battery keeps dying, it’s important to diagnose and resolve the issue as soon as possible.
By following some of the tips mentioned above, you should be able to figure out why your battery is dying and how best to avoid it.
With some basic maintenance and know-how, you’ll be able to keep your caravan/motorhome battery running strong for years to come!