A golf cart battery can last you a long time, but eventually, you will have to replace it. Golf cart batteries cost a lot of money, and you do not want this to become common practice because of improper care and maintenance. Therefore, you must start battery maintenance by charging it properly.
Do new golf cart batteries need to be charged? A new golf cart battery needs to be charged to full capacity before driving your golf cart. After that, you need to charge it every other time you use your golf cart. Most modern golf carts come with automatic chargers that switch off when the battery is fully charged. This is a convenient feature because it prevents the battery from overcharging.
You never want your golf cart to break down in the middle of a game because of battery issues. If you want to know more about golf cart batteries and how to care for them and maximize performance, keep reading.
Types of Golf Cart Batteries
There are three main categories of golf cart batteries. These include:
- Lead-Acid batteries
- Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries
- Lithium-Ion batteries
Golf cart batteries are also known as deep cycle batteries. This means they are built to sustain long periods of current draw and deep discharging. Most of these batteries come in 6, 8, and 12 voltage configurations. Golf cart motors operate at 36V or 48V, drawing between 60-70 amps of current.
It is common to think that electric golf cart batteries work differently. On the contrary, all batteries work by changing chemical energy into electrical energy. The only difference is the type of chemical present in the different batteries.
Now that you know how electric golf cart batteries work let us look at how to charge your new battery.
How to Break In a New Golf Cart Battery
New golf cart batteries come with about 75% charge and usually have a break-in period. According to experts, breaking in your golf cart battery can increase its longevity and overall power. However, you have to do it the right way. Below is the recommended procedure to break in our new golf cart battery.
- Connect your charger and leave the batteries to charge until the charger automatically switches off. Your golf cart should be off and undisturbed during this process.
- After charging to 100%, take your golf cart for a drive to discharge the batteries. Do not let it go below 50% capacity.
- Plugin your charger again and recharge your battery to 100%.
- Repeat the above process for the first 10-20 charging cycles.
Between cycles 10 and 15, you should notice a significant increase in your golf cart battery’s speed, power, and run-time. Remember to keep an eye on the water level as it might reduce due to evaporation during the process. If the water levels are low, fill it up using distilled water and ensure you do not overfill it.
Should Your Golf Cart Battery Make Noise When Charging?
Some golf cart batteries make charging noises, and some do not. For example, if your golf cart uses a flooded lead-acid battery, you will hear a bubbling sound when charging. This bubbling sound is caused by a process called electrolysis.
Electrolysis happens when the electrical current passes through water or electrolyte solution, creating hydrogen and oxygen gases. The bubbling noise is higher if you use a higher voltage charger.
Other batteries like the AGM or gel batteries do not make a sound while charging. If you hear a bubbling sound when charging your AGM golf cart battery, it might indicate damage. Most electric golf carts come with lead-acid batteries, so a bubbling sound is quite normal when charging.
Should Your Golf Cart be On or Off When Charging?
Your golf cart should always be off when charging your batteries. Charging your golf cart batteries when your cart is on will take longer to charge, and it might damage your batteries. Have you ever tried to fill up a bucket of water with holes? The bucket takes longer to fill up, and the water will drain faster.
The same concept applies to charging your golf cart batteries when the cart is running. It will take longer to reach full capacity, and the batteries will not last long on the road because they will discharge faster.
It is also not advisable to leave your golf cart batteries plugged in all the time. If you do not have an automatic charger, ensure you unplug your batteries immediately after fully charging.
How Long Should You Charge Your Golf Cart Batteries?
It takes about 8-10 hours to charge your golf cart to 100%. If your batteries are completely dead or discharged, it will take up to 14 hours for them to be fully charged. Remember, you should always charge your golf cart after every use. It does not matter whether you have used it for five minutes or two hours. Always recharge your golf cart batteries after every use.
How do You Know Your Batteries are Fully Charged?
If you are using an automatic charger, it will turn itself off when your cart batteries are fully charged. However, installing a battery meter on your golf cart is a good idea if you do not have this luxury. A charge indicator or meter works the same way as a car gas meter.
The meter will show you how much you have and warn you when you are low. Similarly, it will let you know when your batteries are fully charged by showing a green light.
How to Care and Maximize Performance of Your Golf Cart Batteries
Golf cart batteries can last you up to ten years if you take good care of them. Below are some tips to help you prolong your cart’s battery lifespan.
- Always charge your golf batteries to full capacity before using your golf cart.
- Charge your golf cart after every use regardless of how much time you have used it.
- Do not discharge your batteries to lower than 50%. It will damage and reduce the longevity of your batteries.
- Check your water levels regularly. If you are low on water, refill using distilled water up to plate levels. Water above plate levels will lead to corrosion.
- Always water your batteries after they are fully charged unless the water is below plate level; you can fill before charging.
- Use an automatic charger to avoid overcharging your batteries. If manual charging set a timer or invest in a charge indicator.
- Always turn off your golf cart when charging your batteries.
- Do not mix new and used batteries in your golf cart. When replacing your batteries, always replace all of them.
- Take your golf cart for regular maintenance and service to a professional golf cart service.