Long Term RV Parking

If you’re a Motor Home owner and you’re just starting out you’ll probably want to pay attention to this. Sometimes we learn things by accident which can be a good thing. But often they are things we have learned the hard way that causes us stress and expense. Since we started our journey we haven’t stayed on one site for more that say three to four weeks. Recently we returned to Wisconsin and set up for a lengthy stay and in the course of that period of idleness the chassis batteries drained down to such a level as they were in essence dead.

I discovered this when I tried to tweak the leveling of the rig…I put in key, turned said key and nothing. None of the annoying alarms, not a warning light…nothing. A neighbor happened to have a battery charger and he let me use it. I put the charger on the batteries and after a full day they showed that they were charged sufficiently. Or so I thought. Since the time difference between my regular monthly inspection and maintenance was just a few days apart I forgo doing it. Figured I’d just do it all on the day we were going to be moving.

What happened next illustrates the reason to strictly adhere to a scheduled maintenance plan that will save you stress, embarrassment and possibly a huge expense. Even if its something as simple as periodically starting up your rigs engine and generator. By doing so you ensure that they are in working order and the batteries they depend on get a chance to recharge.  Remember your rig will have parasitic drainage on your batteries whether chassis or house, the longer the time the parasitic drainage lasts between charges will depend on whether you’ll be able to crank up and go when you want to or use the power necessary to run something.

So a week later as we were preparing for our departure, on the day previous to our actual leaving, I felt the need to do my pre-departure inspections a day early. Imagine my surprise when I turned the key and nothing happened. What am I going do now? Well I had retrieved from our storage unit (since we back in our home area) my battery charger. I hooked up the charger to the chassis batteries and then we checked in with the office to see if extending another day was possible if we couldn’t resolve the issue in time. The answer of course was no, you got to move someone is schedule to move into that site as soon as you depart.

Remember you might not be able to access the necessary replacement parts…in this case the batteries from a local source. If you’re driving a large Diesel Pusher, your rig probably has Class 31 or larger batteries. Which by the way are not cheap either! Fortunately for everyone concerned, putting the chassis batteries on the charger solved the problem.

So take a lesson…be sure to equip yourself with a battery charger just in case. But most importantly set and stick to a schedule or regular inspections and maintenance even while parked for a long time. It will save your sanity later.

Oh and if you find yourself shopping around for new batteries, start with the local farm and ranch stores. Often they will have in stock the larger class sizes of batteries that large machinery such as tractors, semi and big trucks use that are similar to the needs of your RV. If they don’t have them, then look at commercial truck parts and service retailers. If they don’t have them then its to the dedicated battery sales and service people or lastly…a RV dealership. Who gets them from those I previously recommended sourcing from….they just mark them up even higher in price.

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Gerald Voigt

Gerald’s interests are wide and varied. His work career started in the United States Air Force and since then has worked in logistics management, retail & service management as well as manufacturing. He’s an author, photographer, pilot, radio show host and marketing consultant who enjoys RVing which allows him greater freedom to explore, meet new acquaintances and serve his clients.

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