Does My Truck Charge My Dump Trailer Battery?

If you need to rent a dump trailer, you might not know that the hydraulics that operates the lifting mechanism is powered by a battery independent of the truck. Should you be wondering if the dump battery gets its charge from your truck, we can help answer that question. We researched how these batteries receive their charge from multiple professional sources so that you'll know for sure how to keep them ready to operate.

There are three common ways that you can charge a dump trailer battery. They include the following:

  • A 110 outlet within a charging station
  • Connecting your dump battery to a 7-way plug
  • Solar power connected to the dump battery box

By using a 7-way plug, you can connect your dump trailer battery to the one in your truck. This will allow your truck to charge the dump trailer battery.

Now that we know that there are three different ways a dump battery gets a charge, we'll take a look at the pros and cons of each. You might also be curious why the dump trailer battery keeps dying, or how long a dump trailer battery should last. For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post to see what our research has uncovered.

A dump trailer carrying dirt, Does My Truck Charge My Dump Trailer Battery?

The three most common ways to charge a dump trailer battery

If you weren't already aware, the dump trailer can lift its front end during a dump because of a hydraulic system that has been installed. This allows the trailer's end to move up and down in a seamless and steady motion.

The hydraulics are powered by the dump battery on nearly every model. While some newer models might have a gas-powered engine onboard to operate the hydraulics, you'll encounter a battery hookup in almost every case.

Batteries will need to be charged. Using the batteries can drain them faster than you might think. Thankfully, there are three methods for you to choose from when giving this block more juice.

A truck dumping dirty

Connecting to a 110 outlet is the most common way to charge the dump trailer battery.

A battery charger can be used to keep the dump trailer battery up to par. You will need access to a nearby 110V electrical outlet for these chargers to work.

The charger is plugged into the outlet. Then, you'll need to connect the charger to the battery. The positive and negative leads on the charger get connected to the corresponding terminals on the dump trailer battery.

Give it a bit of time, and your dump trailer battery will be able to work the hydraulics in no time.

A 7-way plug lets the battery and alternator in your truck charge the dump trailer battery.

A 7-way plug will connect your truck's electrical system to that of the dump trailer. This provides a trickle charge to the dump trailer battery, keeping it powered up so you can operate the hydraulics.

It's important to understand that the trickle charge this method gives the battery will not be effective on a dead or low-power battery. It simply doesn't provide as much power to the battery to revive it. This method is an excellent option for anyone who starts the job off with a full battery. The power flowing to the dump trailer battery will be enough to keep it charged while you work.

There is also a risk that you can drain the battery in your truck with this method. If you have a 7-way plug factory installed, there will be an isolator to protect the truck battery. But if you have a plug that was an aftermarket purchase, it's highly recommended that you get an isolator and install it.

Solar panels connected to the dump trailer battery box are becoming more popular.

A portable solar power charger

One method of charging a dump trailer battery is by using solar panels. Using a natural resource that shines most of the day is less expensive, effective, and better for the environment.

The panel is secured to the dump trailer battery box. The leads from the solar panel are then connected to the terminals on the battery. As soon as this connection is made, the solar panel will begin charging the battery.

Why does my dump trailer battery keep dying?

While these batteries can keep your hydraulics going strong when new, they will become noticeably less effective over time. The lifespan of these batteries might be a bit shorter than you think. The most common reason a dump trailer battery keeps dying is that it's unable to hold a full charge and is drained more and more quickly.

Your battery might also keep dying because you have not charged it properly. There could also be an issue with the method you are choosing the battery with. As we outlined earlier in this post, some ways to revitalize the battery won't work well with low batteries.

If your battery is new, be sure it is fully charged when you begin your workday.

How long will a dump trailer battery last?

A typical car or truck battery will last an average of three to five years. The brand and quality of these batteries can impact their useful life, but so can their treatment. If you constantly drain your battery to the point that it needs a jump-start, you'll need to replace it much sooner.

Dump trailer batteries are no different. The way that you have to use them means that they are often drained to dead or nearly so, which puts a strain on the battery. 

Typically, the battery on board your dump trailer will last about two years. Those who don't use the dump trailer often might get more years out of one.

A truck photographed at a distance dumping dirt

What kind of fluid goes into a dump trailer?

The dump trailer will use hydraulic fluid to operate the lift on the front end. But there is more than one type of hydraulic fluid. The one best for your dump trailer will depend on the kind of job you are on.

Hydraulic hoses of a dump truck arm

There is one hydraulic fluid that is best for the heaviest loads

Water-glycol is the fluid that will give the hydraulics the most lubrication. This fluid is the most expensive of the ones we will look at. But its application is essential if you are doing a heavy-duty job.

Most everyday jobs can be done with these hydraulic fluids

There is also synthetic hydraulic fluid. This is less expensive than water-glycol and is best for long-term usage. It degrades less since it has no organic properties.

Mixing different kinds of oils

The most traditional hydraulic fluid is one that is petroleum based. Good old-fashioned mineral oil is the most commonly used one. It is the least expensive and does an excellent job of lubricating, but will need to be replaced the most often.

Final thoughts

A dump trailer carrying dirt

There are many ways to charge a dump trailer battery and keep it powered so you can work with the vehicle all day. Carefully choose what charging option for the battery is suitable for your job, and always have a backup method prepared just in case. As gas engines onboard the dump trailer is becoming more popular, there might be a time in the future when dump trailer batteries are obsolete.

We hope this post on dump trailer batteries answered all of your questions. For additional information, we recommend reading the following posts:

Towing Capacity and Trailer Weight – What RV Owners Need to Know

Car Horn Not Working After Battery Change – What Could Be Wrong?

Gauges Go Crazy When Starting Car [Or Trying To] – What To Do?

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