A golf cart is an important part of the golf game as it offers a convenient way of moving around the golf course. Even more important is the quality of the battery and its efficiency.
Frequent charging is not fun at all, and so is inefficient cruising in the golf cart. The following are a few best practices you can make use of to ensure your golf cart batteries go for longer and last longer.
We also answer a few more questions that you may have regarding golf cart batteries.
About the Golf Cart Batteries
Your golf cart batteries are similar to your car batteries – they are lead-acid batteries.
However, there are differences between the two varieties. For starters, golf cart batteries are 6volts while the battery that your truck uses is 12 volts – seems you cannot interchange them.
And unlike your truck batteries that recharge as you drive, the golf cart batteries only discharge. Driving around the golf course the whole day can potentially drain the golf cart battery of all its juice, and may need to push it to a shelter.
That is, however, not the case with trucks, which you can drive the whole day, without worrying about discharged batteries.
Charging your Golf Cart Batteries
Overcharging is among the surest ways of damaging your golf cart batteries. Fortunately, modern varieties boast an automatic charger that switches off when the battery gets full.
However, not all of us have this newer model. Older ones still need to be manually switched off.
A better way to deal with the manual charger is to determine how long it would take to charge fully, and time it appropriately. You can use an alarm to alert you when it’s time to disconnect the charger to avoid overcharging and eventual damage to the battery.
Ideally, you should charge the batteries every time you use the cart. It is quite improper to wait until the golf cart juice completely diminishes before a recharge. That is another way of reducing the life of the battery.
You should make sure there’s sufficient time to charge the battery fully. Not when you are in a rush to get to the game, and can only afford a few minutes.
And to extend the life of your golf cart even longer, you can get the sophisticated and dependable dual pro charger.
Well, the system is automated, and unlike its counterparts, it delivers optimal charge. As a result, the charging system adds at least a fifth of life to your golf cart battery – good stuff!
Golf Cart Battery Life Expectancy
Well, the life expectancy of a golf cart battery pretty much depends on handling. It depends on how you maintain it, and how you use it.
If one person constantly uses the cart on hills and another avoids hills as much as possible, the cart battery of the latter has a better chance at longer life expectancy than its counterpart.
Other factors like the quality of the battery play a critical role. Cheaper batteries have poor quality parts and are more likely to need replacement sooner than better quality batteries. Essentially, you get the quality of a product according to the much you’re willing to pay for it.
The much a battery stays also depends on basic maintenance. Such simple activities as maintaining the right distilled water levels and making sure to charge after use will determine the life of the battery.
Batteries on private-owned carts tend to last longer than fleet carts. In private carts, the batteries can last as much as ten years while fleet carts can last for around six years, but with the right maintenance habits.
Other factors include the additional options the cart has; for example, entertainment, headlights, and sometimes acceleration.
Some golfers opt to use their carts as transport to the golf course. Essentially, this together with the activity involved in golfing tends to over-discharge the battery. Remember we said that over-discharging eats away at the life of the battery.
Battery Discharge Minutes
Among the most common questions, new golf cart owners ask include, ‘how long do golf cart batteries last on one charge?’
Well, in other words, what is the discharge minutes of a golf cart battery?
In most cases, the run time of the battery discharge minutes is usually all about the average distance that a fully charged battery will go under operating conditions that are normal – this includes warm temperatures, level terrain, and well-inflated tires.
A good quality golf cart battery should successfully do at least 55minutes of discharge minutes at temperatures of around 26 degrees.
Such battery will complete two 18-hole golf course rounds.
Effective maintenance is another way that you extend the life of the batteries.
The seemingly simple tasks of checking the water level at least every month and frequently cleaning the batteries can be the difference between a battery that lasts longer and another that needs replacement within the shortest time.
Use distilled water and do not exceed the set level markings. They are there for a purpose.
You can even make it convenient for you by using a battery watering system to automate the process.
Using the Batteries
The best practices when using golf carts is to switch everything off when not in use. That includes electronic devices, lights and any other accessories attached to the batteries.
Leaving the devices on, whether intentionally or otherwise, leads to a total discharge of the batteries, thereby, reducing its life.
If you have a gas-powered cart, you may find that you need to jump start it as a result of the flat battery. Don’t forget to switch off all accessories before leaving the vehicle. And be to be sure, make sure to remove the ignition keys – take them with you.
The way you drive the golf cart also affects the life of the battery – yes, the driving style.
Typically, avoid as much as possible those steep terrains. Go round if you need to or leave the cart at the bottom of the hill and walk uphill if you are going for a short distance.
Always maintain the recommended weight capacity, and avoid carrying more people than is necessary. And if you need to move the cart a significant distance, a utility trailer or truck would be sufficient to haul it.
Avoid overworking the batteries, and they will last a good time.
Replacing the Batteries
Typically, the batteries should last not less than five years, that is if you do everything right. The charge will also last longer, and you will be able to travel longer distances.
However, the battery will stop working, after a period – hopefully after a long time.
When it does stop working, recycle it and get a good replacement.
Don’t attempt to fix it as it may give more problems than before. One tip that may prove helpful when purchasing the battery is to choose high amp capacities. They tend to last longer than lower amp batteries.
Other Best Practices to Extend the Life of the Batteries
- Always make sure to top off any low battery levels with distilled water, not tap water. Tap water may contain chemicals that may easily damage the battery. Make sure that the fluid levels don’t go beneath the plates.
- Make sure to attach a 3-phase battery charger and be extra careful when connecting the leads to the poles. The negative lead should connect to the negative pole and the positive lead to the positive pole.
- Always fully charge the battery. The majority of chargers feature an indicator light to alert you when it’s full. Charging time varies between an hour and the whole night depending on the level of discharge.
- As much as possible, don’t let the battery discharge more than 70%. Typically, the longer it takes to charge, the more it will overheat, reducing its life. Too much heat is not good for the life of the battery.
Running the cart all day until the battery runs dry is not always the best thing to do. It will overheat during operation, and the longer charging time it will take will also cause overheating.
That’s why in hotter regions, batteries are replaced more frequently than in colder areas. Depending on the temperature of the area you are in, you can know whether the battery will last or not.
Sulfation in Golf Cart Batteries and what you can do about it
Sulfuric acid, especially when the golf cart battery gets fully discharged can cause the sulfur to form on lead plates, which in turn can act as a barrier for effective charging.
Typically, the acid water is 65% distilled water and 35% acid.
During battery discharge, the sulfuric acid finds its way inside the plates to create energy. If you run the cart all day, until the battery goes dead, all the sulfuric acid will be on the plates.
That’s the reason a hydrometer test indicates a dead battery after a full discharge.
Essentially, only water remains at such a time. Charging returns the acid to the solution, and a full charge happens when it all returns. The depositing and removal of the acid eventually wear the paste off the plates.
Failing to charge the battery after a long time causes the acid deposits to overstay in the plates and wear the plates at a much faster rate than is normal. The sulfation process on a discharged battery is faster meaning that the longer you wait to charge after discharge, the faster the rate of wearing off.
Picture the sulfation process as crust formation. The longer the crust stays, the tougher it becomes to get rid. It is this crust that forms a barrier between the acid water solution and the plates making future charging and discharge difficult.
Ideally, you should ensure to charge the cart batteries immediately after use to remove the sulfuric acid deposits off the plates. And if the cart is going to sit in a shelter for a prolonged time, without use, make sure to charge often, like once in a month to extend the life of the batter.
Don’t Buy Cheap Batteries
As you are probably aware that better quality products last longer than the cheap stuff. The same applies to golf cart batteries, and it would be ideal to avoid trying to purchase cheap batteries.
A brand like Trojan is sure to last a king time than most other brands. You see, they use thicker plates, and more lead than your ordinary plates and replacement will take much longer.
However, the price or the quality of the golf cart battery does not do away with the need for maintenance. You might as well pick cheaper batteries if you are not going to maintain it effectively.
Frequently Asked Questions
Golf carts are an integral part of the golfing game. You cannot have fun without a convenient way of moving from one hole to the next. But the usefulness of a golf cart is all in the battery. Therefore, it is critical to ensure it is in good working condition, fully charged and well-maintained.