Maintaining a healthy golf cart battery

How to keep golf cart batteries in full swing…

Summer is here and it’s time get your golf game ready for tee off. To conquer the ups and downs of South Africa’s most challenging golf courses, make sure your golf cart batteries are amped-up for the challenge. Consider Trojan’s deep-cycle batteries for superior performance, durability and reliability, to power you through an 18-hole course.

It’s not difficult to maintain deep-cycle golf cart batteries but it can quickly slip your mind until flat batteries leave you stranded on the course. The key to golf cart battery maintenance begins with understanding how to properly clean, charge, water and store your batteries.

Cleaning in a jiffy

Before you start, make sure you close all vent caps to keep the inside of the batteries dry at all times. Use a toothbrush and a combination of water and baking soda to clean the terminals and the top of the batteries. Rinse off the solution with water and dry the batteries with a paper towel or cloth to remove the remaining residue. The final step is to apply an anti-corrosive spray or silicone gel to the terminals, clamps and cables to keep rust and corrosion at bay.

To charge or to discharge

Frequent use is good for battery life so there are no excuses to neglect your game. Take care not to exceed an 80% discharge and best practice is to keep a shallow discharge of 50%. Deep-cycle batteries should be fully charged to maximise capacity and life. Before charging the batteries, ensure that all connections are tight. The duration of required charge depends on the amount of discharge but in general, batteries with a discharge of 50% will require about 6-8 hours to fully charge. When in doubt, check with a battery specialist to determine the appropriate charging requirements for your batteries.

Water – the lifeblood of batteries 

The South African heat can take its toll and it is essential to keep yourself and your golf cart batteries hydrated for optimum performance. Deep-cycle batteries will lose water or electrolyte during the charge cycle, which makes watering essential. It is essential to top up electrolyte with deionised water only, never with acid.

Batteries should be fully charged before you start watering the cells. Add deionised battery water up to the maximum level indicator but don’t overfill them. For flooded batteries, make sure there is enough water covering the plates. If the level is low, add just enough deionised battery water to cover the top of the plates. Consult your battery manual or contact a battery specialist for detailed information on the watering of batteries.

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

Store away to swing another day

When the heat subsides and you’re done for the season, give the batteries a good charge and disconnect to prevent corrosion. Storing discharged batteries could cause irreversible damage. Storing fully charged batteries will maximise battery life and capacity. If you intend to keep the batteries in the golf cart during storage, check with a battery specialist for appropriate charging guidelines.

The rate of discharge during storage depends on time and temperature. Be mindful where you store your batteries and avoid exposure to extreme cold and hot temperatures. It is advised to monitor battery voltage every six weeks while in storage and to give batteries a boost charge when they are at a 70% state of 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.

For assistance on golf cart batteries or for more information on Trojan deep-cycle batteries, locate your nearest Battery Centre to speak to the battery specialists.