Quick Tips for Extending the Life of Your EV Golf Cart Batteries

Extending the life of golf cart batteries is crucial for maintaining the optimal performance of your EV golf cart. Remember that golf cart batteries have specific usage patterns, so their maintenance requirements may differ slightly from other batteries. 

By implementing a few key practices, you can ensure that your batteries last longer and provide reliable power.

Water the Batteries with Distilled Water

One of the essential maintenance tasks for golf cart batteries is checking and replenishing the water levels. Battery cells have reservoirs that need to be filled with distilled water. It’s important to use distilled water to prevent impurities and minerals from affecting battery performance. Regularly inspect the batteries, at least once a month, to determine if they require water. Be cautious not to overfill them, as excessive water levels can lead to acid overflow and potential damage to the battery and surrounding areas.

Use a Proper Charger

Using the correct charger is vital for maximizing battery life. When connecting the battery to a charger, ensure that the positive lead is attached to the positive pole and the negative lead to the negative pole. It’s recommended to charge the battery after each use to maintain its optimal capacity. By following this practice, you can prevent the battery from being drained excessively, which can lead to reduced performance and a shorter lifespan.

Open While Charging

When charging your golf cart, leave the seat open to allow for better ventilation and prevent excessive heat buildup. Heat and fumes can accelerate battery deterioration. You can use a simple wedge or prop to keep the seat slightly open during the charging process, which helps reduce corrosion and keeps the battery casing in better shape.

Charge Fully and Often

It’s best to charge your golf cart after each use, even if it’s just a short ride. Avoid letting the batteries sit without charging, as it can be detrimental to their health. Additionally, try not to continuously run the batteries down to zero charge before recharging. Make it a habit to plug in the cart every time you return from a ride. Avoid leaving the cart plugged in overnight for safety reasons.

Trickle Charge for Storage

If you plan to store your golf cart for an extended period, consider using a trickle charger. This type of charger provides a low and continuous charge to the battery, preventing it from fully discharging. Alternatively, a solar charger can also be used to maintain the battery’s charge during storage. Trickle charging helps prolong the battery’s life and ensures it’s ready to use when you need it.

Prevent Corrosion

Corrosion of battery connections and posts is a common issue that can significantly impact battery performance and lifespan. To minimize corrosion, avoid discharging the battery beyond 70% of its rated reserve capacity. When a battery takes longer to recharge, it generates more heat, which can lead to plate erosion and increased corrosion. By practicing proper battery usage and avoiding excessive discharging, you can reduce the risk of corrosion and extend the battery’s life.

Invest in Quality Batteries

While the upfront cost may be higher, investing in quality golf cart batteries can provide long-term benefits. Quality batteries are designed to withstand demanding conditions and offer better longevity compared to cheaper alternatives. With proper maintenance, these batteries can last up to 10 years, making them a cost-effective choice in the long run. Additionally, keep an eye out for any tax cuts or incentives related to renewable energy projects, as golf cart batteries are often used in such applications.

Prevent Corrosion

To further protect your golf cart batteries from corrosion, it’s recommended to apply anti-corrosion measures. Using a non-hardening sealant on wire lugs, terminals, nuts, and bolts creates a barrier that inhibits corrosion. Applying a thin layer of pure Vaseline or petroleum jelly on the battery terminals also provides additional protection against corrosion. Additionally, sealing any exposed wires at the terminal lugs with submersible rubber tape helps maintain the battery’s integrity.

Clean and Inspect Regularly

Clean and inspect your golf cart batteries at least once a month. Look for signs of corrosion, bulging, or cracks. Ensure the cables are properly attached, and the terminals are securely connected. Use a mixture of baking soda and water to clean off corrosion, and consider using a toothbrush for scrubbing. Take precautions to contain the mess while cleaning.

How to Clean Golf Cart Batteries 

When it comes to cleaning golf cart batteries, the focus is primarily on cleaning the battery terminals rather than the battery itself. 

First, turn the cart off.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to cleaning the terminals:

  1. Use a protective barrier: To prevent a mess, place cardboard underneath the batteries before cleaning. This will catch any drips or debris. Once you’re done and the batteries are dry, you can discard the cardboard.
  2. Prepare the cleaning mixture: Mix warm water with a small amount of baking soda in a cup. This solution will be used to clean the terminals.
  3. Apply it gently: Use an old toothbrush to carefully apply the baking soda mixture to the battery terminals. Make sure to cover all areas of the terminals. 
  4. Scrub the terminals: Gently scrub the terminals using the toothbrush. You’ll notice bubbling as the mixture reacts with the corrosion on the terminals, helping to remove it.
  5. Wipe the battery: Once you’ve finished scrubbing, use a dry cloth to wipe the battery and remove any remaining residue or dirt.

It’s important to note that you should avoid using anything harsher than a toothbrush to clean the terminals, as more abrasive materials could damage the battery. Additionally, be cautious and ensure the cleaning process is conducted in a safe and well-ventilated area.

While there are stronger commercial products available for battery cleaning, using a baking soda mixture as described above is a commonly recommended and effective DIY option.

About Ultimate Carts

Ultimate Carts is the EV golf carts arm of the Ultimate family of luxury vehicle dealerships in greater Central Florida and its coasts. The business group includes Ultimate Auto and Ultimate Marine, offering a highly personal service model that includes in-house custom manufacturing capabilities and a white-glove delivery experience. All are overseen by CEO Joe Labon, who started the first Ultimate Auto shop more than 30 years ago in Orlando. 

Service areas for Ultimate Carts include Orlando, Winter Park, Tampa, New Smyrna Beach, and The Villages. Ultimate Marine serves Sarasota to Clearwater on the West Coast, and Cape Canaveral to Jacksonville on the East Coast. Ultimate Auto is headquartered in Orlando.