How to keep golf cart batteries in full swing

Spring is here, and that means longer days on the green. But for a golf cart, that means an increased demand on the battery – and unless you’ve maintained your golf cart batteries during the quieter winter season, you could end up unexpectedly walking the back nine.

But don’t worry, maintaining your golf cart is simple: it all comes down to understanding how to properly clean, charge, water and store your batteries.

Cleaning your golf cart battery
Important note before you start: close all vent caps on the battery to keep the inside dry.

To keep your battery operating ‘under par’, make sure the battery terminals are clean by following these simple steps:
1) Use a toothbrush and a combination of water and baking soda to scrub the terminals and the top of the batteries gently.
2) Rinse off the solution with water and dry the batteries with a paper towel or cloth to remove the remaining residue.
3) Apply an anti-corrosive spray or silicone gel to the terminals, clamps and cables to keep rust and corrosion at bay.

When to charge
Frequent use is good for battery life (a great reason to plan next weekend’s game) but take care not to let your battery lose more than 80% of its charge; rather keep it at 50%.

The amount of time a battery spends charging depends on how much charge it has lost, but, in general, batteries with a 50% charge will need about 6-8 hours to charge fully.

Deep cycle batteries should always be fully charged to maximise capacity and longevity and remember, before charging the batteries, ensure that all connections are tight.

If you have any doubts, rather ask a battery specialist to determine the appropriate charging requirements for your batteries.

Keep the battery watered

The rising heat can take its toll on your golf cart battery, especially if you have a deep cycle battery as it will lose water or electrolytes during the charge cycle.

Batteries should be fully charged before you start topping up the cells; add deionised battery water up to the maximum level indicator (or enough to cover the plates) but don’t overfill.

You should check the water levels every two weeks, and you must always wear protective clothing, gloves and goggles when adding water to your batteries.

Other battery top-up tips:
• Keep flames, sparks and metal objects away from the batteries.
• Never charge batteries that are either frozen or at temperatures over 49ºC.
• Make sure there is adequate ventilation to avoid gas build-up.

And remember: always top up your battery with deionised water only, never with acid.

Store away to swing another day

When you’re done for the season, charge your batteries and then disconnect them to prevent corrosion as storing discharged batteries could cause irreversible damage.

Here are some excellent battery storage tips:
• Storing fully charged batteries will maximise battery life and capacity.
• Avoid exposing the batteries to extreme cold and hot temperatures.
• Monitor battery voltage every six weeks while in storage and then give them a boost charge when they are at a 70% charge or less.
• Always recharge batteries before putting them back into service.

A quick battery test will tell you all you need to know about your batteries and set your mind at ease for the upcoming season.

But for the best advice and ultimate peace of mind when it comes to your golf cart battery, visit your nearest Battery Centre to speak to the battery specialists.