Can I Jump An RV Battery With My Car?

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When you have been camping for a while, or when you haven’t been camping for a long time, your RV batteries will start to act strangely.

If your car has a big enough engine, you can use it to jump-start your RV.

However, most cars with smaller engines won’t have enough power.

If you have a truck or a car with a big engine, you can jumpstart the RV the same way you would a regular car.

If all you have is a car, you will have to deal with a lot of risks when you try to jumpstart an RV.

Jump-starting a car can be hard even if you know how to do it, and it can be dangerous if you don’t know how.

That’s why you need to know all the challenges.

Why Is It Hard To Use A Car To Jumpstart An RV?

Batteries all have limits on how much power they can provide when they are being used.

Also, a car’s alternator can only provide a certain amount of power, even if you rev the engine to make sure you’re getting the most.

When an engine starts, it always uses the most power from the battery.

This is why the lights on the dashboard always go down when you start the car.

When an RV starts up, it needs a lot more power than your car’s battery and alternator may be able to give it.

This is why it can be hard: if your car engine is too small, its battery won’t be strong enough to give the RV the power it needs.

This can cause the RV battery to use up all the power in your car or damage the car battery in a way that can’t be fixed.

Suggestion reading: How To Charge An RV Battery?

How Dangerous Is It to Use a Car to Jumpstart an RV?

Before you hook up the wires to your RV and your car, you need to know what could go wrong.

When people do this the wrong way, they hurt themselves and their cars.

We have made a list of all the bad things that could happen while you are trying to get your RV started with your car.

It’s important to note that these are the things that can go wrong with a car or RV, not with jumpstarting a car in general.

#1. Sudden Drop

Most likely, your car battery and alternator won’t be able to give your RV enough power to start.

As you try to turn over the RV and get it to start, it will draw a huge amount of power from your car, causing a sudden drop in power.

This sudden drop in power often kills your car’s engine, causing a failure of the whole system.

This hurts several parts of your engine and can cause all of the chambers inside your engine to fill with water, causing more problems.

#2. Short Circuits

When you connect the wires to the battery terminals, there will always be some sparking.

This is perfectly normal.

But if you try to jump-start an RV with your car, the RV can send a surge of power back to your car, which can short out the wiring.

With modern cars and electronics, it happens less often, but it can still happen and usually costs thousands to fix.

The car engine is not always ready or able to handle a sudden surge of power coming back from the RV when it fails to start up and the power is no longer needed.

#3. Long Term Damage

When a car battery is overworked, the damage doesn’t always show up right away because it can quickly make up for it.

But a few weeks or months after you jump-start the RV, the battery may start to fail often or stop charging itself while you are driving.

This could be because the battery got too much power when the RV tried to start or because it got too much power when it was jumpstarted.

Most of the time, there is no easy way to fix this kind of damage to a car battery.

It will need to be replaced completely to make sure your car keeps running.

What Can Be Used To Get An RV Battery Going Again?

Now that we know why it might not be a good idea to use a regular car to jumpstart your RV, we can talk about what vehicles can be used to jumpstart your dead RV.

A lot of people have the right tools to properly jumpstart their RVs, but they don’t know it.

We always recommend bringing four tools with you to make sure your RV can be started.

Two of them will require a truck or another RV.

When you take your RV on vacation, it’s important to remember all of these things.

#1. Large Trucks

Trucks that are F250 or larger are considered to be pretty big, and they can usually haul and tow vehicles as big as RVs.

Many RV owners tow these behind them so that they have a way to get around a town or location once their campsites are set up.

All of the batteries and alternators in these trucks are bigger than those in most other vehicles, including RVs.

The batteries are made so that they can be used to power anything you might want to do near the truck.

This means that they are a little tougher than normal car batteries.

#2. Some RVs

Most people don’t use a car because they know that other RVs will have batteries that can easily and quickly jumpstart their RV.

When you are camping, there is usually at least one other RV nearby that will help you get yours started and on the road.

Most of the time, RV owners are close friends who are willing to help each other get their RVs running again.

They go out of their way to help each other, and many of them know everything there is to know about their RVs.

#3. Jump Starters

These are special battery packs made to jumpstart most vehicles, including RVs and other large vehicles.

Most RV owners who have changed their RVs or done a lot of work on them will have these in their toolboxes so they can jump when they need to.

It’s important to know that there are many different kinds of battery jumpers, each with a different voltage.

Most small jump starters can only give your engine a quick jolt, while many others can easily and quickly charge your whole battery.

#4. Drop by drop

We recommend always having these hooked up to your RV’s battery when it’s parked, but if your RV’s battery has run out of juice, these can charge it back up.

Many people already have these in their RVs.

To start charging, you just plug them into a wall socket.

If a battery has run out of power completely, a drip charger can be used to give it enough power to start the engine.

But you will need to do this at the right time.

A battery that has been completely dead for a few days might not be able to be charged.

Related Also: Walmart RV Battery: Worth It or Nah?


Your car can jump-start your RV if it has enough power in its battery to do so.

However, because newer cars are more fuel-efficient, this is unlikely to happen.

There are, however, a number of other ways to jumpstart your RV that will allow it to drive off on its own power.

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Ryan is a RV product expert with nearly a decade of experience researching, developing, and testing RV products.

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