Golf Cart Battery Basics

Golf cart batteries are vital to how well a golf cart runs. The more educated you are when purchasing golf cart batteries, the more worthwhile your purchase will be. The speed, acceleration and run time of your golf cart all depend on the battery system configuration you use. There’s a lot to know, so let’s get started.

Electric golf cart motors generally operate in battery systems consisting of 36 or 48 volts and attract between 50 and 70 amps of current. Sold in voltages of 6, 8 or 12, individual golf cart batteries tend to use 6-volt and 8-volt formats most commonly.

Voltage in a battery pack is all about power. A 6-volt battery will have the highest amperage capacity and allow for the greatest range in a 48-volt system consisting of eight 6-volt batteries. And while a single 8-volt battery has only moderate amperage capacity, a 48-volt system consisting of six 8-volt battery packs is among the most common.

If you can’t tell the voltage of your golf cart system, the answer lies in the batteries themselves. There are two volts of power for every water fill hole on a battery.

To prevent stalling, golf cart batteries must supply a steady flow of strong current for extended periods of time. When batteries drain below 50 percent, it stresses the battery, leading to a shortened battery lifespan and reduced performance.

Golf cart batteries are deep-cycle batteries, meaning they are specially designed to provide more deep discharge cycles than a typical automotive battery. Along with golf carts, deep cycle batteries can be found in boats, recreational vehicles, power wheelchairs, and more. Deep cycle batteries can handle a prolonged current output throughout the day and be deeply discharged on a consecutive basis.

How Much Do Golf Cart Batteries Cost?

Pricing for a golf cart battery pack runs from about $600 on the low end to upwards of $2,000 on the high end. Keep in mind, this is pricing per battery pack, not per battery. The US 2200 XC2 6-volt deep cycle battery sells for $175 apiece, for example, while US Battery’s AGM 8 Volt Group GC8 Battery sells for about $350 apiece. Be aware that the cheaper the batteries, the shorter their lifespan will likely be.

Golf cart batteries come in four types, including three kinds of lead acid batteries or lithium ion batteries. A lead acid battery pack usually costs between $900 and $1,500. Of the 48-volt systems, the four 12-volt battery system is often the least expensive, requiring only four 12-volt batteries. Even so, a system with 12-volt batteries also has the least range. A battery pack with more lead, and more weight, often costs more but performs better and lasts longer.

Extending the Lifespan of Golf Cart Batteries

On average, golf cart batteries should be replaced every five years, but maintaining them can preserve their lifespan all the more. The following suggestions will help you maximize the life of your battery pack:

Store unused golf carts in “tow” mode. If you don’t plan to use the cart for an extended period (think: two weeks or more), turn the switch to “tow.” This turns off the computer in the cart and prevents it from continuously drawing power from the batteries. In the winter, put the cart in “Tow” mode and charge the cart monthly. A healthy battery will not freeze if it is charged, and you’ll extend the life of your battery pack.

Maintain Proper Water Levels: Deep cycle batteries must be maintained to extend battery life and function optimally. Check water levels every two months by removing the caps covering each cell in the battery. Then peer down each cell to check the water level.

If the metal plates are covered with water, charge the battery pack and check the cells again. The water level after charging should be a quarter inch above the metal plates. If the cells are dry, cover the metal plates with distilled water, then go ahead and charge it. After charging, bring the water level up to about a quarter inch above the metal plates. The best time to refill the water in your golf cart batteries is right after fully charging them. Please note: Be careful not to overfill the battery water level. If you fill them to the top, they will boil over and lead to corrosion.

Maintain Battery Terminals: Cleaning battery terminals is crucial to golf cart performance and battery life. If corrosion starts building up around battery terminals, clean them off immediately.

Take some water and a little bit of baking soda, and scrub at the corrosion with a toothbrush. Once you’ve removed the built-up corrosion, you can rinse with water and apply a liberal amount of battery terminal protector to prevent additional corrosion.

Even with the best care, golf cart batteries will have to be replaced eventually. How can you tell when you should replace them? Here are four telltale signs:

Increased charge time. When it starts taking longer for your battery pack to fully charge, it may be the first sign that the battery has aged.

Loss of distance. A healthy battery should give you at least seven miles on a full charge. As the battery fades over time, the distance a rider can travel will lessen. When the distance covered on a full charge becomes an issue, it’s time to start looking for new battery options.

Acceleration. Carts with new batteries take off quickly, jump starting with a lot of power. As the battery weakens over time, the hot starts golf carts are known for become muted as well. When a golf cart struggles to travel uphill or accelerates slowly, it’s probably time for a new battery.

Signs of wear and tear. When you see signs of corrosion or bulges developing on a battery, it’s probably time to invest in a new battery. 

Jun 22nd 2021

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