How Long Do RV Batteries Last? (Plus 5 Signs Yours Needs Replacing)

April 04, 2024

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Whether you’re a weekend warrior or live on the road full time, the right RV battery can make the difference between a smooth and comfortable experience and a frustrating journey. A well-chosen and well-maintained RV battery can significantly enhance your travel experience. In this blog post, we’ll explore: 

  • Different types of RV batteries
  • The lifespan of RV batteries
  • How to extend the life of your RV battery 
  • Signs it’s time to replace your RV battery 

Understanding RV Batteries 

RV batteries fall into two general systems: 

  • Chassis (starting) batteries. These batteries are similar to those found in your car. They supply a burst of power to start the engine and are recharged as you drive. They power anything driving-related, like the engine, windshield wipers or headlights. Chassis batteries are most commonly found in motorized RVs. 
  • House batteries. These deep-cycle batteries power the living space within the camper, including water pumps, appliances and other electrical devices that work while the camper is parked. They offer steady power meant to be drawn down and recharged as needed. You’ll find house batteries in both motorized and towable RVs.  

3 Types of RV House Batteries

There are three common types of deep-cycle house batteries, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.  

Battery Type Benefits Drawbacks Best For
Flooded Lead-Acid (FLA) Traditional battery, readily available, inexpensive Requires some maintenance, shorter lifespan Budget-conscious customers
Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) Maintenance-free, spill-proof, long-lasting More expansive than FLA, sensitive to charging in extreme temperatures RV owners looking for durability and less maintenance
Lithium-ion Longest lifespan, lightweight, fast recharge time Sensitive to extreme temperatures, more expensive than lead-acid Off-grid campers and those seeking high performance


Lifespan of RV Batteries

A variety of factors can affect the lifespan of your RV battery, including the type of RV battery you choose. 

Type of Battery Average Lifespan (Cycles) Average Lifespan (Years)
Flooded Lead-Acid (FLA) 200-500 6-8 years
AGM 500-800 8-10 years
Lithium-ion 2,000-4,000+ Up to 15 years


Of course, battery type is only one factor in determining the actual lifespan of your battery. Proper use, storage and maintenance also affect your RV battery’s lifespan. 

How to Extend RV Battery Life

Even batteries that are labeled maintenance-free require some level of care in order to perform their best for the longest period of time possible. Properly caring for and maintaining your RV battery significantly impacts its lifespan. 

Keep your batteries clean. For FLA and AGM batteries, keep an eye out for corrosion, which can lead to sulfation and poor connection to the terminals. If you spot corrosion, clean your battery thoroughly. For all battery chemistries, check often for signs of wear, damage or loose connections. 

Avoid parasitic draw. Your RV battery will continue to power electronics in your camper even when you aren’t using it — this is called parasitic draw. Install a battery disconnect switch so you can turn off power when you don’t need it. 

Keep cool (but not freezing). Weather — namely temperature and humidity — can affect your battery’s lifespan. Make sure to store your battery in a cool, dry location to stave off things like corrosion that can cut down battery performance and longevity. 

Practice proper storage. By some estimates, a battery left hooked up to your RV will draw down in a matter of days. If you plan to be off the road for an extended period of time, unhook your battery and remove it from the RV. Charge the battery fully and store it in a climate-controlled environment. Connect your battery to a trickle charger or battery tender to maintain the proper level of charge without the risk of overcharging. 

Proper Charging and Discharging

One of the best ways to extend the lifespan of your RV battery is to follow best practices for charging and discharging. 

How to charge RV batteries: 

  • Use a quality battery charger specifically designed for your battery type (AGM, FLA, or Li-Ion).
  • Charge the battery to its recommended voltage level.
  • Avoid overcharging the battery, as this can lead to damage and reduce the battery's lifespan.
  • Use a quality battery monitor to keep track of the battery's state of charge.

How to discharge RV batteries: 

  • Do not allow the battery to fully discharge. Lead-acid batteries should stay above 50% state of charge, while lithium can discharge upwards of 80%. 
  • Avoid deep discharging the battery. A deep discharge is when the battery voltage drops below 12v (this number can be as low as 10v in some lithium batteries). Deep discharging can reduce its capacity and lifespan. 
  • Do not leave the battery in a discharged state for long periods of time.

5 Signs It's Time to Replace Your RV Battery

Even with the best care and maintenance, your RV batteries will eventually fail and need to be replaced. Here are five signs your lead-acid battery is nearing the end of its life: 

  1. Swelling. If your battery appears swollen or bulging, it's a sure sign you need to replace it right away. 
  2. Voltage drop. A significant voltage drop when a load is applied indicates a failing battery. If your fully charged battery’s voltage plummets under load, it’s time to replace it. 
  3. Reduced ability to hold a charge. If you find yourself constantly needing to charge your RV battery, it’s likely struggling to hold onto a charge and will need to be replaced. 
  4. Diminished power. If your RV lights are dimming or the appliances are slower than normal, it may be time to replace your battery. 
  5. Age. If your battery is getting up there in age for its type, think about replacing it before it fails. 

A note on lithium-ion batteries. Some lithium-ion RV batteries, like those from ReLion, come with a built-in battery management system (BMS). The BMS monitors performance and can provide real-time data on the health of your battery. 

The Best RV Battery for You

RV life is about the freedom to hit the road when the urge strikes. Having a reliable battery means you won’t be held back. Knowing the signs it's time to replace your RV battery and understanding what you can do to extend its lifespan ensures you and your camper are ready for whatever comes across your path.  

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