Skip to Content

Why Is My RV Battery Smoking?

Why Is My RV Battery Smoking?

Do not overcharge the alternator because it damages your RV battery. Keep the batteries at bearable temperature and protects it from high temperature; otherwise, it starts smoking.

Why Is My RV Battery Smoking? In general, when you overcharge the RV battery then, the battery water boils and evaporates from them. Due to this, its solution becomes concentrated, and toxic gases produce smoke that catches fires. In addition, extreme temperatures and corrosion on its terminals can cause the appearance of smoke from the RV batteries.

Use microprocessor control chargers that protect your battery from overcharging. I recommend using the best alternators that give voltages about 13.2 to 14.5. 

Why Is My RV Battery Smoking?

RV batteries contain volatile parts that are present under the hood.

Do not give high amperes to batteries; otherwise, it permanently damages them. Instead, use the high-quality charger that maintains voltage.

Electrolysis imbalance

The electrolyte is the fluid that is present in the battery; it contains sulfuric acid. The process that occurs in it is the electrolysis in which the breakdown of water molecules occurs.

Due to this breakdown, hydrogen, and oxygen separate and evaporates. That’s why electrolytes imbalance occurs in them. It also becomes hot due to the high acids in them and produces smoke.

Low-quality alternator

The alternator provides a continuous supply of charge to the power source. If your headlights are dim, then this means your alternator is creating the problem. The display does not respond appropriately due to a bad alternator.

If you have a low-quality alternator, then the warning lights start blinking. The systems in the RV shut down due to this issue.

Do not overtighten the belt because it lowers the performance of the camper. Instead, clean, remove dust and lubricate it with oil that maintains its quality.

Low water levels in the RV battery

During charging, heating electrolysis also heats the water, and evaporation starts and decreases its levels.

When its level is low, the concentration of sulfuric acid is high that damages the plates. If you do not check then, it also causes overheating and produces smoke.

Indicators mostly use to check the water level in the battery and also maintain its life. For example, when this indicator turns red, it means you need to add water to the device.

The blue signal means you should not need to add more water. This is because it keeps the level of electrolytes equal.

You should also check the plates that are covered with the electrolytes. Do not overfill your battery; otherwise, electrolytes move out after charging, which affects its efficiency.

Do not use tap water because it damages the RV battery. Instead, use distilled water free from ions; otherwise, the minerals present in the water react with them.

The use of tap water also decreases the efficiency of the battery. Instead, use a demineralized device that removes minerals from tap water, which is best for them.

I recommend using distilled water because it is free from chemicals and increases its performance.

The use of tape water also increases their internal temperature, which is dangerous for them.

The dirty surface of the battery

Clean them to maintain their life and check that caps are tightly attached to them. Then, use the cleaning solution or baking soda to clean their external surface.

Do not allow this solution to enter them; otherwise, it affects the electrolytes and decreases their performance.

Replace the caps if these are loose and stops the mixture from entering them. Do not use other chemicals for cleaning purposes because they damage its surface.

In addition, you can also use cleaning agents that do not react with them. Allow it to dry after cleaning to prevent any damage.

Damage from cold weather

At a low temperature, this battery does not charge, and you keep this battery in a warm place for its charging. Crystals formation occurs at low temperatures that damage their efficiency.

Use an insulated power source that keeps them warm in cold temperatures. In this way, you can also make your trailer warm. Thermal wraps are also available in the market, but these wraps use more power.

Lithium batteries are best in cold weather and survive at -125 to -135 degrees. Its cost is around $ 950 to $ 1500, and you can use it for a lifetime.

Corroded terminals of the battery

The sulfuric compounds in the batteries release hydrogen that corrodes their terminal. As a result, it will decrease its durability and also affects its performance.

It can damages the air conditioner and electrical wiring that consequently produces spark. In addition, the corroded power sources create problems in starting the engine.

The green, blue, and white colors on them indicated that they are rusted. If acid leaks from them, then cracking starts. Rusting also reduces the conductivity in them.

Disconnect their cables, and remove wires to prevent any hazardous situation. 

Do not clean the wires hardly; otherwise, it breaks and causes a problem in the power supply.

Apply petroleum on the terminals that protect from corrosion. You can also use baking soda and add it to the water. Then, use an old brush to scrub the corrosion, clean it with water, and dry it. You can also use anti-corrosion pads on the terminal, and it will fix this problem.

Overcharging the battery

Do not overcharge because the water in them evaporates and gases produce smoke in it.

In the latest technology system, when they are fully charged, the power supply cuts down automatically. This feature is not present in the old systems.

If the switch keeps plugged in after charging, then it can cause damage to them.

Due to overcharging, water evaporates that reduces the ions, and makes its solution more concentrated.

Add distilled water that equals the levels of electrolytes in them to fix this issue.

Undercharging the battery

In this condition, it is unable to perform its work. When you plugged out the half-charged battery, the sulfation process starts in it.

Sulfation starts when the voltages decline about 11 to 13.5. During this process, sulfate material binds with the plates and terminal and forms hard crystals.

I recommended that you can fully charge them to protect them from this problem. The sulfation process for a long time ultimately damages the power source.

It can not be able to convert chemical energy into electrical energy, which stops their working.

Therefore, do not undercharge them, and charge them properly before using them.

Heat kills the RV battery

It works fast at high temperatures, but if the temperature is high above its limit, then it can cause damage. It stops working at high temperature and also produce spark.

At this temperature, chemical reactions are faster than the usual conditions. The unwanted reactions also start in them, such as corrosion that reduces their average performance.

The water used in them evaporates faster than the average temperature, and the acid solution also increases the damage.

The flammable electrolytes present in the spark, and when these are exposed to oxygen, explosions occur. High temperatures also lead to a short circuit due to which the smoke produces in it.

Poor ventilation in battery section

Ventilation is vital for its performance because harmful gases are produced in them that are hazardous. In addition, hydrogen gas is also produced around them, which is dangerous.

Keep them in fresh and clean air; otherwise, the hydrogen gas catches fire and damages your vehicle.

If you do not have a proper RV ventilation system, it will cause breathing problems and nausea.

Ventilation also prevents them from overheating and maintain their temperature.

The lead-acid batteries release toxic gases that leak in the closed cabin and damage your brain cells. If you do not maintain a ventilation system, use a sealed power supply to absorb harmful gases in the separator.

Drainage of battery

Different drainage devices can drain RV battery even when it is not in use.

These are also called parasitic loads that consume battery slowly. Again, if you do not charge it properly, then you will face these issues.

If its voltages drop below the optimum limit, then sulfation occurs in them.

This self-discharging of battery start during storage and about 12% to 14% of drainage occurs in one month.

If you store your RV for some time, remove its power supply to resolve these issues.

Charge controller 

It protects from electrical overload and stops the reverse current. In addition, it keeps the current in one direction in the battery; otherwise, discharging starts in them.

The semiconductor used in a charge controller stops the extra current without any extra effort. The diode is also used to stop the current flow.

These gases start to boil, and an explosion occurs that is flammable. Due to this, high voltage water in them starts to boil, separating the hydrogen and oxygen. It also shut off your inverter.

If you use solar panels to charge them, it also maintains voltages in the low sunlight. It maintains the temperature during winter and also charges them quickly. The charge controller reduces the overloading of a circuit that prevents any explosion.

Symptoms of RV battery Smoking

Here are the signs and symptoms that will tell you that the battery is bad and can cause smoking.

Bad smell from the battery

RV water heaters contain rods coated with aluminum, magnesium, and zinc that function as an anode.

This coating is necessary to prevent them from rusting. If the anaerobic bacteria reacts with these rods, then a bad smell produces due to hydrogen sulfide gas.

Therefore we use antiseptics such as peroxides that help to prevent bad smells. The acid and water evaporate, which affects the battery, and if you neglect this, then smoking starts in them.

Replace your anode rod with time to fix this problem. Drain the RV water properly and fills it with vinegar and water. Turn on the water pump so that this circulates until rotten eggs smell not gone.

Leakage of propane from the battery

Propane has no odor naturally, but its leakage is harmful. Using propane in your RV battery reacts with the chemicals and produces a smell like rotten eggs. A propane leak is dangerous because it is flammable and catches fire.

If propane leaks combine with a spark or flame, a high explosion occurs. But sometimes leakage is happening in the inner compartments that you should not recognize quickly, and this situation is hazardous,

Therefore, it is beneficial to check the internal parts for protection.

The battery loses its shape

Extreme temperature is the main reason for swelling and changes in its shape. This condition is very harmful because it is due to the leakage of acids.

Replace battery 

Do not use an old battery and charge it after 4 to 5 years. Always remember the manufacturing date and check it after 6 to 7 months.

If the electric system does not work correctly, then check it. For example, if your headlights are dim, then replace them with new ones.

It can also cause ignition problems in the engine compartment. Do not use weak ignition coil and faulty spark plugs.

Use high-quality parts to prevent your RV from smoking. These problems cause shutting off issues in them, and you will not start them quickly.

What to do if an RV battery starts smoking?

If you maintain them, then it survives for almost 4 to 6 years. But, on the other hand, improper care decreases their efficiency and work.

Clean the wires properly and remove dirt and dust. The grey film is present near the terminals; therefore, clean all the parts and reinstall them. You can use sandpaper to clean its terminal because it is the cheapest source.

You can also use baking soda paste for the removal of dust and dirt. Use a multimeter to check the electrical system and resolve the issue. Replace all the power sources simultaneously; otherwise, the new battery is overcharged and damaged.

Related Articles:

Should I use an electric blanket in my RV?

My RV is shocking me for no reason

Causes of humidity in my RV

How long it takes to attach skirting to an RV?

How to install a battery disconnect switch on an RV?

Is it easy to Reset RV Circuit Breaker?