How to Lock Up and Secure RV Batteries

Every summer, many recreational vehicle (RV) owners experience the crushing disappointment of discovering their rig's batteries have been stolen.

Depending on the number and type of batteries stolen, this can be a pricey item to replace. How can an RV owner keep their vehicle’s batteries safe from would-be thieves? 

There are four relatively simple strategies that any RV owner can use to lock up and secure RV batteries and reduce their risk of battery theft: removing the battery when not in use, relocating it to the inside of the rig, installing a battery lock, or installing a locking battery box.

Read on as we list the necessary steps you’ll need to take to lock up and keep your RV batteries secured. The rest of this article will touch briefly on why thieves target RV batteries and delve deep into prevention strategies against battery theft.

Remove Batteries When Not in Use

Nobody can steal your RV’s batteries if they’re not out in the open. While it’s extremely inconvenient to remove the batteries after every trip, doing so is one surefire way to prevent them from being stolen. 

Removing the batteries involves mostly detaching the cables from the positive and negative terminals on each battery. However, depending on how the wiring is done for your specific RV, this is not necessarily a simple job. It’s important to take notes and even photographs so that you’ll be able to reconnect the batteries later on, more easily.

This video gives great guidance for documenting and labeling the batteries and cables when disconnecting a battery so that you’ll know exactly how to reinstall the battery next time you want to take a trip:

Ensure the battery is stored at a comfortable temperature; aim for between 32°F and 80°F (0°C and 27°C). Fully charge it before storing it and make sure that there’s nothing nearby that might accidentally come into contact with the battery terminals. Proper storage will help keep your batteries ready to be reinstalled for your next adventure.

Move the Batteries Inside the RV

Another way to put the batteries out of reach of would-be thieves is to move their location permanently. If the batteries are no longer accessible from outside the RV, they are much safer from thieves. 

The best and safest way to do this depends on your specific RV, but you’ll need to locate a clean, dry area that’s relatively close to the current battery location so that the move won’t necessitate a ton of internal rewiring. You’ll need to attach a battery box to your chosen location and then install the battery inside. 

You’ll also need to vent from the battery boxes outside the RV so that no harmful fumes will build up inside the box. Some battery boxes come set up for this kind of inside installation, while you can set up your ventilation system for others.

This video provides a simple tutorial for moving your RV’s batteries inside and setting up vents:

Install a Battery Lock

A third option to keep your batteries safe is to install some third-party battery lock. There are multiple styles of locks out there, but the one you’ll see recommended most frequently is this Batteryshackle Single Battery Lock.

This top-notch lock uses steel bars to wrap around the battery, forming a sort of cage with a hinged top to hold the battery firmly in place. It requires three padlocks, making it an undesirable target for anyone looking for an easy mark.

A different option would be to use a metal-reinforced cable lock, like this MasterLock Python Keyed Cable Lock. It’s less secure than a cage-type lock, but hopefully, the inconvenience of having to cut through a tough lock is enough to deter thieves.

Install a Locking Battery Box

There’s a good chance that your RV came with its battery already installed in a battery box of some sort, and replacement batteries may also come with their specific box.

Most standard battery boxes have a lid that snaps off and on, which protects the batteries from the weather (somewhat) but does nothing to protect them from being stolen.

However, you can replace your RV’s battery box with a sturdier option that can be locked, usually with a padlock. These durable locking battery boxes will make it much harder for thieves to get to your batteries, making your vehicle less of a target.

Switching out the battery box is a relatively simple task that will require you to remove the battery and any existing battery box first. Once the new battery box has been installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions, the battery can be replaced within, ready to power future adventures. 

This Aluminum Diamond Plate RV Armor Lockbox is extremely durable, protecting your battery from both thieves and the elements. It is locked with a simple padlock, so it’s important to buy a high-quality one. 

Similarly, this Torklift Power Armor Battery Box is strong, sturdy, and lockable. A padlock makes it much harder for thieves to gain access.

This Curt Lockable Battery Case is simpler, made of extremely durable polyurethane plastic. When locked with a padlock, it’s still quite sturdy, protecting your battery from both thieves and bad weather.

Why RV Batteries Get Stolen

Thieves steal RV batteries because it’s a simple, straightforward crime; if the batteries are not secured, a couple of cut cables is all it takes to free the battery and take it away.

Many RVs have their batteries stored on the vehicle’s tongue, and many factory battery boxes are not lockable. Other batteries may be stored in the stairs or a compartment on the vehicle’s side. Even if these locations are locked, thieves still manage to break in sometimes.

While stolen RV batteries don’t sell anywhere close to what they cost the owner brand new, many recycling centers will buy them for cash. It’s easy to steal the batteries and turn them around for a quick profit, no questions asked.

How to Prevent Battery Theft

RV battery theft is a crime of opportunity. The easiest way to avoid having yours stolen is not to make your RV into a target, if possible. Sometimes, you may hear on the news that certain areas, or even certain specific campsites, are experiencing increased battery thefts. If this is the case, consider vacationing elsewhere.

When you’re at home, whether gearing up for a trip or between adventures, do what you can to keep your batteries safe.

If your dwelling has a side yard that you can park your RV in when not in use, locked safely behind a gate, utilize it, the minor inconvenience of having to park it back there in between trips is much better than having to buy new batteries. Consider using security cameras to keep an eye on your RV, too.

If you store your RV in a storage facility of some sort between uses, opt for one where your RV is kept locked up. If you’re storing your RV in a parking lot somewhere, thieves may still be able to gain access to it.

Unfortunately, though, not everyone can keep their RV in an inaccessible, locked place.

Conclusion

It’s an unfortunate fact that your RV’s batteries may be seen by thieves as easy marks, a quick way to make a few bucks. It’s very important that the responsible RV owner take the time to secure their batteries, either by literally placing them under lock and key or by removing them to a location where thieves cannot access them.

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