Monday, December 4, 2023


Should you box up your batteries?

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

If a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, a battery in the box is worth at least two in the junk pile. Eh? If your rig doesn’t provide “inside storage” for your house batteries, leaving them out in the weather, unprotected, can be most unprofitable. A lot of older travel trailers have the house battery sit up near the hitch, well exposed to the elements.

What could the problem be? Exposure to the elements just ain’t the greatest thing for those expensive voltage piggy-banks. First, battery terminal connectors will oxidize at a much faster rate. Oxidized connectors make for resistance to electrical flow, and that’s a real problem when you’re trying to charge your battery – you want the best flow possible.

Next, road debris, tree leaves and needles, bird droppings, et al., can take up residence on the top of the battery. Add a little water and you have the makings for electrical current leakage. Yes, for real, a small amount of juice can begin to flow from the battery posts across the medium you’re growing on the battery. Even small amounts can add up, reducing the available amount of juice for your use and eventually killing off the battery.

Finally, an unboxed battery is an open invite to folks who like to steal batteries and trade them in for cash at the nearby recycling facility. Yes, they can steal your batteries in a box, too. But once the battery is in the box, adding a security tie down with a lock can reduce a bad guy’s interest in your battery in a flash.

So take the big plunge: Invest in a battery box to protect your leaded investment. For less than $10 a pop you too can liberate your ‘lectrics from the fear of exposure. Here’s one on Amazon.

##RVT835 ##RVDT1427

Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.



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Tommy Molnar (@guest_21293)
5 years ago

I found a great idea on some site that I can’t even remember. Though I’ve never experienced “unplanned battery disappearance” myself, I now place a lock on that twisty thing that holds down my propane tanks (on our travel trailer), which sit in front of our batteries. If a potential thief can’t get my propane tanks off, he also can’t get to my batteries. I just drilled matching holes in the ‘twisty thing’ and the framework and put a long shank padlock right there.

John Snell (@guest_21161)
5 years ago

As a previous owner of a dock a boat lift business doing winterizing and storage of boats and pontoons, storing of fully charged batteries has no negative effect on the batteries longevity. Keep them in the box outside it’s OK. By the way I live in central MN.

Wolfe (@guest_21149)
5 years ago

Another reason for the box is simply spilling the acid – as you bounce down the road, some acid can work through the plugs even though it shouldn’t. When you topfill, you may gurgle some out. It’s safer if it’s already in a catch box when that happens. Do NOT drill drain holes in the box “for rainwater” that shouldn’t be getting in anyway.

Storage: I remove my batteries against parasitic loads and keep them on a charger… Never had one freeze and crack. However my car battery has frozen and cracked three or four times now…

Robert (@guest_21097)
5 years ago

Is your RV stored for the winter, or are you using and just concerned about a sudden cold front? If it is stored I always removed it and put it in my crawl space with a battery tender hooked to it and a piece of wood or anything to isolate it from the ground. Never leave it on concrete. If you’re using it you won’t need to worry as your converter will keep it charged, car batteries don’t freeze.

Gary R (@guest_21110)
5 years ago
Reply to  Robert

Good advice here for the most part, but I have to take issue with the concrete floor advice. It amazes me that this old wives tale still persists.

Thirty years ago, most battery casings were made of hard rubber. And because of the porosity of that material, battery acid would sometimes seep through the rubber and create a conductive path through the damp concrete, draining the battery.

Today’s batteries have plastic cases that are non-porous and allow no seepage.

Robert (@guest_21093)
5 years ago

Thanks for your article. It brings up a question for those of us who have batteries on the front hitch. I have the battery box, but do I need to add extra coverage for the battery when we are having a hard freeze? Thank you.

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