New RV Batteries Only Last 4 Hours

Question: We bought 4 new batteries for our 200 Cardinal fifth wheel. We are camping in the park and the batteries are only lasting 4 hours. What can we look for?

Robbie: Remember the golden rule: It takes 72 hours to charge a deep cycle battery.

If you are dry camping and left your house with the batteries low (not fully charged) you could have caused the problem before you even started camping. Your batteries need to be plugged in for at least 72 hours to fully charge them. Keep in mind after the first 24 hours of charging, your batteries will still have a good 12 volt charge, but will only be 1/3 the capacity they are capable of holding. If you do not believe this is the problem do the following tests:

  1. After the first 24 hours feel the batteries to see if they are hot (be sure your water levels are up before charging). If the batteries are hot you need to replace them.

  2. Using a hydrometer (only six or seven dollars at a car parts store) check each cell individually to see if each cell is charging evenly. If any one cell is not the same as the others, replace that battery.

  3. If you do not want to go through the trouble of checking your batteries yourself, drop them off at an RV repair center and they will do it for you.

If you have hook-ups and are plugged in check your battery monitor. If your batteries are not showing that they are being charged on the monitor you have a problem with your converter. If you think you have a problem with your converter let me know and I will help you through fixing that issue.

Hope this helps,

Comments for New RV Batteries Only Last 4 Hours

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Oct 12, 2015
New battery not charging
by: Joseph

I replaced the battery for my 2009 fifth wheeler and it is hooked up to power in the park. After a week the battery is low? Can you help me on this?

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Robbie Warford, San Diego RV Repair

Hi, I'm Robbie. Welcome to!

Like the name implies, this site is all about helping you save money while keeping your RV in tip-top shape--and that is all about you having the knowledge to do so.

I've been a technician in the RV industry for 30 years, operating out of San Diego, California. And let me tell you, I love my job.

But I also love empowering RVers with the knowledge they need to make the right decision on repairs, or to make the fix themselves--and that, my friend, is the reason for this website. I hope you enjoy.

Or, learn more about me, my RV service practice, & this website here.