Ah, the joys of camping. The open road, beautiful landscapes, and the fresh air…..sometimes. Ever walk around your RV (especially by the battery box) and wonder what that foul smell was? It kind of smells like you forgot an egg by your battery there for a month.
Although this can be a bad sign and you need a new battery, it is essential you understand why this is causing a foul smell and the best approach to fixing it.
Table of Contents
- What Is That Smell!
- Causes: What Can Make Your RV battery Start To Smell?
- Prevention: How Can You Stop Your Battery From Stinking?
- Treatment: What Can You Do If Your Battery Starts To Smell?
- Conclusion: Have A Clean And Fresh Smelling RV With A Little Maintenance.
What Is That Smell!
RV batteries can sometimes have a rotten egg smell. This is usually due to sulphuric acid leaking from the battery. If the battery is not correctly cared for, this smell will continue to develop.
This odor is caused by a chemical reaction between the sulfuric acid in the battery and the hydrogen sulfide gas that leaks from the cells. The smell is strongest when the battery is cold and will go away as the battery warms up.
The first step is to determine whether the smell comes from the batteries themselves or another source. Once you have identified the source of the smell, you can take steps to correct the problem.
The smell can be pretty unpleasant, but it’s also an indicator that something is wrong with your battery. In most cases, the battery is losing its ability to hold a charge. This will eventually lead to total failure of the battery, so it’s important to take action as soon as you notice the smell.
Causes: What Can Make Your RV battery Start To Smell?
There are several possible causes of an RV battery smell. One is that the battery is overcharged, which can cause the battery acid to leak and create a rotten egg smell. Here is a great post on knowing when to charge your RV Battery.
Another possibility is that the battery has begun to sulfate, producing a strong odor. If there is any sign of liquid leaking from the battery, it’s likely that it’s been overcharged and should be replaced. Batteries that have begun to sulfate should also be replaced, as they won’t hold a charge for very long.
Lead acid batteries emit hydrogen gas and sulfuric acid as they age. This gas can cause the plastic battery housing to melt, and the acid can corrode wires and connectors. This is caused by the corrosion of the battery terminals and can be a sign that it’s time for a new one. If your battery is more than three years old, replacing it’s probably a good idea, even if it doesn’t smell bad yet.
The good news is that replacing an RV battery isn’t too tricky. Most dealers will carry them, or you can order one online. Just make sure you get the right size for your rig.
Can AGM Batteries Smell Like Rotten Eggs?
AGM (absorbent glass mat) batteries may also produce a rotten egg smell when charging. However, this smell is usually less intense than with lead acid batteries.
Prevention: How Can You Stop Your Battery From Stinking?
If this gas isn’t allowed to escape, it can build up and cause the battery to overheat. One way to prevent this is to periodically check the battery’s water level and ensure it is topped off. Another way to avoid excess hydrogen gas from building up is to use a battery vent cap. These caps allow the gas to escape without letting in any rain or moisture.
You also want to make sure you keep your battery well-maintained. Check the fluid levels regularly and add distilled water as needed. If the terminals are dirty or corroded, clean them off with a wire brush.
Keep your battery fully charged (you can use a battery charger). The average lifespan of an RV battery is around 3-5 years, but there are things you can do to ensure that your RV battery lasts as long as possible. One big factor in how long your battery lasts is how you treat it. Here are a few tips for keeping your RV battery healthy and lasting as long as possible:
1. When you get a new RV battery, break it in by charging and discharging it a few times. This helps the battery form a good electrical connection and will help it last longer.
2. Always keep your RV batteries fully charged. A discharged battery will start to sulfate, damaging the cells and reducing the battery’s life.
3. Don’t let your batteries sit unused for long periods.
Treatment: What Can You Do If Your Battery Starts To Smell?
If you think your RV battery might be starting to smell, here are a few things you can do:
1. Check the battery fluid level. If the fluid is low, add more water or sulfuric acid. If a maintenance-free battery, you will not be able to add anything to the battery.
2. Clean the battery terminals and posts with a wire brush.
3. Make sure the cables are securely attached and in good condition.
4. If the smell continues, have the battery tested by a professional technician.
Conclusion: Have A Clean And Fresh Smelling RV With A Little Maintenance.
If your RV battery smells like rotten eggs, there are a few things you can do to try and fix the issue. First, check the battery’s water level and ensure it is complete. If it is not, add some water. Second, clean the terminals on the battery with a wire brush. Finally, if the smell persists after doing both of these things, it might be time to replace the battery.
Tony is an avid camper and RV traveler. He fell in love with camping on his first RV trip with his wife over 25 years ago. Tony loves sharing lessons learned and tips about RV maintenance and safe traveling.