wikiHow to Charge Your RV Battery

Everything in an RV, including the lights and the appliances, is operational only through a charged RV battery. You may have to charge the battery a few times if you take your RV out on a regular basis. If you know how to charge your RV battery, you can be sure you'll have the power to enjoy all the perks of your recreational vehicle.


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    Turn off your RV and make sure you set the emergency brake. This will prevent unintentional injury.
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    Locate the RV battery. You could have more than one battery, depending on the size of your RV. The battery location can vary from one RV model to the next.
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    Remove the battery cables from the battery using a wrench. Wear heavy gloves when removing the cables and always remove the red cable (the positive side) first before removing the black one (negative side).
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    Clean the connections on the battery from any corrosive substance.
    • Mix 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 milliliters) baking soda with enough water to make a paste.
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    • Apply the paste to the connections on the battery.
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    • Use a wire brush to scrub off the corrosive material.
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    • Wipe the paste off with clean water and a rag.
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    • Apply petroleum jelly to the terminals to prevent further corrosion.
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    Open the fill cap on the top of the battery to see whether the distilled water level is low. If it is low, pour distilled water into the battery using a funnel. Fill up to the fill line.
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    Attach the RV battery charger to the battery. Connect the positive side to the red connection first and then attach the negative side of the battery with the black connection or clamp the black connection to a metal piece to ground it.
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    Plug in the charger and turn it on.
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    Allow the charger to charge the RV battery completely. The indicator light will come on when the charger finishes.
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    Unplug the charger and remove the connections.
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    Reconnect the battery. First, replace the positive cable and tighten it with the wrench. Then reattach and tighten the negative side.
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    Charge the other batteries in the same way if your RV has more than one battery.
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    Take extra precaution not to cross group house & chassis battery systems as you could blow a charger inverter [[Image: Example.jpg]]


  • You can jump-start the battery with jumper cables if you do not have a battery charger.
  • There are different types of RV battery chargers that you can use. A 3-stage charger works well because it will slow down as it reaches a full charge, so you don't have to keep an eye on it the whole time it is charging.
  • Your battery may not require distilled water. If you have this type of battery, it will not have an access cap.
  • The inverter gauge on the inverter panel will show whether your batteries have any power. If there are no lights on this gauge, you will need to charge the battery. You can usually find the inverter gauge on the passenger side under a door.
  • Make sure you have a charger with you at all times in case you need it.
  • Read the details on the side of the battery, as well as the instructions on the battery charger, to ensure you are charging the battery correctly based on the model of charger you have chosen to use.


  • Be careful not to get any of the battery acid on your skin. It will burn. If you do get acid on your skin, wash it off with a mixture of water and baking soda.
  • Do not attempt to charge the RV battery with the RV running.
  • Do not remove the battery cables without wearing heavy gloves, or you could get a shock.
  • Do not allow the baking soda to leak into the vent holes in the battery, or it will lessen the life of the battery.
  • You must remove the positive cable first. Removing it last could cause a spark.
  • Only use distilled water in the battery. If you use tap water, it could cause contaminants to enter the battery, negatively affecting the performance of the battery.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrench
  • Heavy gloves
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons (30 - 45 milliliters) baking soda
  • Water
  • Wire brush
  • Rag
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Distilled water
  • Battery charger

Article Info

Categories: Recreational Vehicles