Whilst your caravan is in storage, it’s really important that you properly maintain your leisure battery, to ensure it’s ready for your next trip out.
Despite what you might think, you shouldn’t just forget about your caravan battery once it’s fitted – it’ll require some attention to make sure it doesn’t slowly discharge and deteriorate. So, if you’ve invested in a good quality battery, and take good care of it, there’s no reason why you’ll need to fork out for a new one next season.
- Check if your battery is charged by taking a voltmeter reading monthly. Avoid doing this immediately after use – leave it to settle for a few hours. You can buy a voltmeter for around £20. Always remove the negative terminal first when disconnecting a battery.
- A fully charged 12V battery would show a voltmeter reading of 12.7V. 75% charged would read 12.5V, 50% would read 12.4V and a reading of under 12V would be fully discharged.
- If you’re putting your caravan into storage for the winter, your leisure battery should be fully charged.
- If you store your caravan at home, you’ll be able to plug it into the mains supply and recharge that way.
- For periods when your caravan is in storage, you can buy a maintenance charger to keep the battery fully charged.
- Mains operated maintenance chargers provide a low trickle charge for keeping batteries fully charged. However, new technology uses circuits that are reactive to the battery and deliver tailored charging patterns – e.g. when the battery reaches full capacity, the charger will switch off.
- When in storage, you may want to remove your leisure battery from the caravan so that you can attend to it more easily at home. However, removing the battery may disable an alarm or tracker which may invalidate your caravan insurance and leave your tourer vulnerable.
- For maintenance, caravan batteries should be recharged as soon as they fall short of 50% charged. This should be done as soon as you return home or to storage from a weekend or holiday.
- Turn off small electrical items in your caravan which could drain your battery.
- Use high quality clamps and ensure their contact areas don’t rust.
- Letting a battery lose all charge will make it pretty much impossible to fully charge again. Leaving a battery discharged will result in white deposits forming on the battery plates. When this happens, the battery can’t be used again.
- If you’ve got a ‘wet’ battery, you’ll need to check the battery regularly to see whether the electrolyte liquid is covering the top of the lead plates inside. If it’s not, add de-ionised water to top up the level.
- There are a range of battery chargers on the market – most battery manufacturers recommend that lead-acid batteries charge best when given a 14.4V input.
Always remember – Please read individual manufacturer guidelines prior to any maintenance work, and do not attempt in the vicinity of naked flames or cigarettes.