Are Car Jumper Cables OK for RVs?

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Are Car Jumper Cables OK for RVs?

What do you do when your RV battery dies? Can you jump it from your car using jumper cables, or do you need additional equipment?

We discovered what can happen when you jumpstart your RV with jumper cables and what you can try instead.

Let’s take a look!

What Kind of Jumper Cables Can You Use on an RV?

Before determining what kind of jumper cables you can use on an RV, it’s important to understand the difference in jumper cable sizes. 

Jumper cable sizes are called “gauges.” The gauge of a jumper cable determines how thick the cable is. The thicker the cable, the more current it can handle. Jumper cables can range in size from one to 12 gauges, with one being the largest. 

You need a thicker jumper cable size for a large vehicle, like a truck, SUV, or RV. The appropriate gauge for an RV will be between one and four. 

Pro Tip: Don’t get stranded with a dead RV battery. Make sure you have one of these 5 Best Portable Jump Starters for RVs on hand.

Person trying to start engine with jumper cables.
The size of your RV will impact what size jumper cables you’ll need.

Can You Jumpstart Your RV Using Your Car?

If your RV doesn’t start because of a dead battery, you may be able to jumpstart it using your car.

You should never attempt to jumpstart your RV if you don’t have jumpstarting experience or knowledge of your engine size. Don’t attempt to jumpstart an RV with a small car or a small engine. It just won’t work and can cause catastrophic damage.

However, if you drive a large truck or SUV, you may jumpstart your RV like you would jumpstart a car. If you’re unsure whether or not your engine is large enough, don’t attempt to jumpstart your RV with your car. 

Woman mechanic fixing dead battery.
Only jumpstart your RV if you are confident in your skills. Do not risk damaging your battery or RV.

Will Jumping Your RV Damage Your Vehicle?

If your car engine is too small to handle your RV, you could damage your car battery.

Additionally, if you attempt to jumpstart an RV with a car that doesn’t have enough power, you can damage your car’s engine and electrical system. If you aren’t familiar with engine sizes or jumpstarting in general, you shouldn’t attempt to jumpstart your RV. 

Are Portable Jump Starters a Better Option Than Jumper Cables?

Portable jump starters are a better option than jumper cables for jumpstarting an RV. You can purchase a portable jump starter that’s rated for your RV engine size. You’ll never have to worry about permanently damaging your vehicle or vehicle engine battery. Generally, you need a portable jump starter with a high amp rating to successfully jumpstart your RV. 

If you’re buying jumper cables for your RV, consider spending a bit extra on a portable jump starter instead. While you might save some money buying jumper cables, damaging your vehicle will cost far more.

Quick Win: Here’s our #1 Portable Jump Starter (so you don’t have to read the article).

Mechanic testing battery on vehicle with device.
Consider whether a portable jump starter might be a better option for you than jumper cables.

Alternative Methods of Jumpstarting Your RV Starter Battery

Did you know that you can jumpstart your RV using your house batteries? It’s true! This is a simple and convenient option, but it might require installing additional equipment. 

To jumpstart your RV starter battery with your house batteries, you need a battery isolator. A battery isolator connects your RV house batteries to your RV starter battery. It has an inline fuse and on/off switch so that it only connects the two when you turn it on. 

With a battery isolator like a Battery Doctor, you can choose to charge your house batteries from your RV engine while you’re driving. You can also hit a button to reverse the flow of power and charge your battery from your house batteries. 

Keep in Mind: The best way to not have to worry about jumpstarting your RV, is by not destroying the battery. Avoid doing these things: How to Completely Destroy Your RV Battery.

Jumper Cables Might Not Be the Best Option to Jumpstart Your RV

While you can jumpstart your RV with your vehicle and jumper cables, it might not always be the best option. Other options, like a battery isolator or a portable power pack, can be safer and provide more peace of mind. 

Whether you choose a portable power pack or a battery isolator, you have options for jumping a dead RV battery. It’s always a good idea to carry a good set of jumper cables just in case. Have you ever had to jumpstart your RV?

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