Golf cart batteries are the centrepieces of your electric cart. The battery health directly affects the quality of your golf cart’s performance. That is why it is critical to ensure that the batteries are in excellent condition so that you can get the maximum out of them.
Besides, batteries are pretty expensive and are more of an investment, so any golfer would want their golf cart batteries to last for a considerable period of time.
Regular maintenance is often projected as the sole factor that affects the battery lifespan and health. However, charging practices and habits are equally important as maintenance, if not more.
In this article, we’ll be discussing some of the most relevant golf cart battery charging tips and how you can get the maximum benefit from them.
Before going deeper into the tips and suggestions, it’s essential to know what are the different types of golf cart batteries, which we have explained below.
Types of Golf Cart Batteries
Electric golf carts typically use two types of batteries, namely, Lead-acid batteries and Lithium-ion batteries. Of these, Lead-acid batteries are more common than their Lithium-ion counterparts.
This is because they are cheaper, easy to manufacture, and the technology is tried and tested for more than a century. On the other hand, lithium batteries require advanced technology and are more expensive.
Lithium-ion batteries are on the rise and are proliferating at an unprecedented rate. As the technology required for mass production of lithium batteries gets cheaper in the coming years, lithium-ion batteries’ growth is also expected to rise.
Moreover, they are more environmentally friendly and are much smaller and compact than lead-acid batteries, which further supports their cause.
Lead Acid Batteries
These are traditional batteries that are used in several other vehicles and appliances besides golf carts. These use an electrolyte and convert chemical energy to electrical energy. Lead Acid Batteries are further classified into three sub-types.
1. Gel Lead Acid
These batteries are much safer, durable, and require minimal maintenance. They have a thickening agent that keeps the electrolytes still, thus enhancing durability.
2. AGM Lead Acid
Absorbent Glass Mat or AGM batteries use a fiberglass separator for electrolytes and are much more durable, efficient, and safer than others.
3. Flooded Lead-Acid
These are non-sealed batteries and use lead plates and sulphuric acid. These batteries are usually cheaper but require regular maintenance.
Golf Cart Battery Charging Tips
On paper charging a golf cart battery sounds like an elementary task; you only need to plug in your charger and it’s done. However, as simple as it sounds, it’s not always so straightforward.
If you want to get maximum performance and longevity from your golf cart battery, you must follow some best practices. Here are some golf cart battery charging tips and suggestions.
1. Know about your golf cart battery charger
Golf cart battery chargers usually come in two configurations: rapid charging and trickle charging. The names are pretty much self-explanatory.
Rapid charging sounds very convincing and attractive, as it will charge the battery very quickly and help in saving time. On the other hand, as the name suggests, trickle charging is much slower and takes a lot of time to charge the battery fully.
They essentially maintain a charge equal to the self-discharging rate of the battery. To get the best performance and durability from your battery, you must have a thorough understanding of your charging equipment, including your golf cart charger.
2. Don’t leave the golf cart battery charger plugged in even after a full charge
This is the most common mistake that people make when charging their golf cart batteries, sometimes intentionally. Leaving your charger unattended for too long can significantly damage your battery and puts other golf cart components in jeopardy.
This damage will be much more severe in the case of rapid chargers as they continuously pump the battery with high voltage. Trickle chargers can also do significant harm if left unattended for too long; however, it is gentler than rapid chargers.
Lately, companies have rolled out smart chargers that charge the battery in three different phases, namely, bulk charging, absorption, and float charge. These are much safer and prolong the battery’s lifespan considerably.
Bulk charging charges the battery for about 80% of its capacity, then the absorption phase kicks in that charge the remaining 20%. The final phase, float charging, its job is to keep the battery at full charge.
3. Charge your golf cart batteries after each use
Another mistake that golfers make regularly is not charging their golf cart battery after each use. Many of them are under the notion that batteries should be charged once they’re fully discharged.
However, leaving the batteries in a low charge state for long can decrease their lifespan, durability, and performance.
We recommend that you charge your batteries even if you used the golf cart for merely five minutes. The best practice is to leave the charger on overnight so that the golf cart is ready for full use the next day.
But as we mentioned earlier, you should ensure that you’re not overcharging the battery, as it can have negative effects of its own.
4. Use branded golf cart battery chargers
The brand name plays a critical role in determining the health and performance of any product. Particularly for electrical and expensive items like a golf cart battery charger, the importance of a good brand name is worth noting.
You should always purchase a battery charger from a reputable brand that has a good track record. Also, make sure that the charger you buy is compatible with your battery type, both in terms of voltage and plug-type.
Batteries are hazardous, particularly the lead-acid ones. Therefore, storing them carefully is a high-priority task. Also, if these batteries remain inactive for too long, it impairs their performance and lifespan.
The best place to store a golf cart battery is a cool and dry place that is protected from the elements. You should also charge the battery before storing it for a significant amount of time.
Most importantly, the battery should be never be kept in a place where temperatures can drop below the freezing point. This causes irreversible damage to the battery’s plates and container, rendering it useless. Also, keep it away from direct sunlight or any other heat source like radiators.