A lot of new RVers ask the question. Do I need a battery for my travel trailer? It could be confusing sometimes if your trailer has outlets for drawing electricity from an outside power source.
However, you will need to have a battery. A lot of people do not know that their RV needs some form of power source to run the appliances and for other purposes.
Table of Contents
- Why Do I Need a Battery for My Travel Trailer?
- The Right Battery Type for a Travel Trailer
- How to Make Your RV Battery Last?
Why Do I Need a Battery for My Travel Trailer?
Well, there are plenty of functions in a trailer that won’t be done without a battery unit.
Useful in Emergencies
If your starter system ever fails and leaves you stranded, then at least power will be available from your backup until help arrives.
Some batteries can be used as supplemental power sources during emergencies such as storms/tornadoes. Electricity may also go down locally like when a hurricane hits Florida and knocks out power for a lot of people.
Power Source for Many Features
Some trailer features need battery power to function. Without a battery, there’s no way to operate the brake lights, tail lights, wheel brakes, and various dashboard accessories. To tow the trailer legally, these features have to be functioning.
Supplies Energy to Appliances
Some appliances run only on 12V DC power, which comes from the battery. The battery unit receives charge from a regular 120V AC power outlet and supplies that energy as 12V DC power to lights, refrigerators, water pumps, and a few more appliances.
Some small but necessary components won’t run without battery power. The fire, carbon monoxide, and propane leak detecting machines won’t function without a 12V energy source.
Remember that the battery and alternator are two different things. The battery is your backup for power in case you’re ever stranded without a generator or access to electricity. The alternator provides power when you start your engine with no load on it (so like just after starting).
The Right Battery Type for a Travel Trailer
Do I need a battery for my travel trailer? Yes, you do. And you need to choose the correct battery type for running all functions smoothly.
The type of battery you need depends on your vehicle. A typical travel trailer requires one or two batteries to power all the systems in it: lights, appliances, and electronics. When choosing an RV battery, we recommend considering four factors: type, size, capacity, and cost.
Deep-cycle is the only battery type that is suitable for travel trailers. These batteries can supply non-stop power for a long time. Deep-cycle battery units have two variations: flooded and sealed.
Flooded units require more maintenance as they corrode quickly. You will need to recharge and clean them frequently. Sealed ones are slightly pricier than flooded batteries but last longer and demand less maintenance.
There are two varieties of the sealed model: absorbed glass mat (AGM batteries) and gel batteries. So, do your research before deciding to buy one.
Size refers to how much physical space is needed inside your trailer’s storage compartment (or underneath) to house the new battery unit. You can use 6V or 12V units, whichever you find the most convenient. A trailer will need either two 12V batteries or four to six 6V batteries.
6V units are the true deep-cycle batteries while the 12V units are a hybrid of a deep-cycle and starting battery.
Capacity is measured in amp-hours or AH and refers to how much physical power a single charge can hold. The capacity determines the length of time you will be able to run your appliances on that one charge. So, it’s important to choose an RV battery with enough amperage for what you need.
For instance, if all you do is turn on the lights at night, a smaller unit is enough. But if you plan on using more electricity, such as running electrical devices like TVs and microwaves, then a bigger unit is better.
Cost can vary from about $50 to around $700, depending on size and capacity. If you think about the cost of your RV battery in terms of how long it will last, a more expensive battery might be worth considering.
So, size and weight are important considerations when choosing an RV Battery. Some types require maintenance, such as checking the water or specific fluid levels; some don’t need that much care.
How to Make Your RV Battery Last?
Do I need a battery for my travel trailer? Now you know that you definitely need one and that too a deep-cycle unit. But it’s necessary to take proper care of it to make it last longer. Poor quality or improperly charged battery could lead to a trip-ending breakdown. Here are some tips and tricks on how to make an RV battery last:
Check the Connections
Make sure all connections (fuse box, power cord) have tight fittings; never put tape over them! If one falls off while driving down the road, sparks can fly around which will set fire to any nearby flammable materials, such as gas cans or propane tanks. This can cause a major explosion.
Keep the Battery Charged
Check on it every week or so and recharge as needed. Don’t let the charge level drop under 80%. If left uncharged over time, sulfate crystals can form inside, leading to permanent damage.
Overcharging can also destroy a battery, so avoid doing this. Also, don’t let the battery become too hot as hot temperature reduces battery life. Whenever necessary, refill the electrolyte.
Perform Preventative Maintenance
Clean terminals and faceplates regularly with baking soda. Use terminal covers when in storage and keep the connectors tight. All these steps help avoid corrosion buildup, which would eventually make your battery useless.
In addition to having at least two batteries per vehicle with enough cables between them to jump-start one another, you should also carry a set of jumper cables to connect the batteries together in an emergency.
Do I need a battery for my travel trailer? Yes, you should have a battery for your travel trailer. You can find them at many different stores and they are quite affordable.