The best golf cart batteries can last for 6-10 years. However, once these batteries reach a specific point, their performance starts declining, and they need to be replaced. But how can you tell if your golf cart battery is at the end of its life?
Testing golf cart batteries’ performance and capacity is what you need to do. However, it’s not an easy task, especially for newbies. No worries, as in this guide, you will learn the simple ways to check the batteries without any professional assistance.
Generally, there are three ways to test the golf cart battery’s power and voltage. You can use a voltmeter, hydrometer, or load tester to test your golf cart batteries. Using these tests, you can determine how long a golf cart battery will last.
Golf Cart Batteries
Before we get into how to test golf cart batteries, it’s important to understand what type of batteries they are. Most golf carts use lead-acid batteries, which are composed of lead plates and sulfuric acid. These batteries are rechargeable and provide the power needed to operate the cart. Furthermore, these batteries have a lifetime of 4-6 years.
How to Test Golf Cart Battery: Tools for Testing Golf Cart Batteries
Here are the prerequisites for testing golf cart batteries:
- Safety goggles and gloves
- Golf cart battery chargers
- Load tester
- Distilled water
- Baking soda
- Wire brush or sandpaper
How to Test Golf Cart Battery with a Voltmeter
A voltmeter is a device used to measure the electrical potential difference between two points in an electrical circuit. Here’s how to use a voltmeter to test golf cart batteries:
- Ensure your golf cart is turned off and the keys are removed.
- Put on safety goggles and gloves to protect yourself from acid or electrical shock.
- Set the voltmeter to the DC voltage setting.
- Attach the red lead of the voltmeter to the positive terminal of the individual battery and the black lead to the negative terminal.
- Read the voltage on the voltmeter. A fully charged golf cart battery should read between 12.6 and 12.8 volts. If the voltage is lower than this, the battery may be tested low on charge and need to be recharged before further testing.
How to Test Golf Cart Battery with a Hydrometer
Hydrometers measure the specific gravity of liquids. In the case of a golf cart battery, the specific gravity of the battery’s sulfuric acid can be used to determine the battery’s state of charge. Here’s how to use a hydrometer to test your golf cart batter:
- Remove the caps from the top of each cell in the battery.
- Use a syringe to extract a small amount of battery acid from each cell and place it in the hydrometer.
- Check the hydrometer reading against a chart to determine the state of charge of the battery. A fully charged battery will have a specific gravity of 1.265 or higher, while a battery that needs to be charged will have a specific gravity of less than 1.225.
How to Test Golf Cart Battery with a Load Tester
A load tester is a device used to apply a controlled load to a battery and measure its output voltage. Here’s how to use a load tester to test your golf cart battery:
- Turn off your golf cart and remove the key.
- Connect the load tester to the battery, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Apply a load to the battery (push the pedal) for a specified amount of time, typically around 15 seconds.
- Read the voltage on the load tester.
- With a load applied, the battery’s voltage will change. It is generally considered a bad battery if the voltage changes by 0.5 volts or more.
Signs of a Failing Golf Cart Battery
Before testing your golf cart battery, it’s important to know the signs of a bad golf cart battery, like:
- Slower acceleration
- Dimming headlights or other electrical components
- Reduced travel distance on a single charge
- Corroded battery terminals
- Swollen or bulging battery case
If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to test your golf cart battery to determine if it needs to be replaced.
Maintenance and Care for Golf Cart Batteries
To keep your golf cart batteries in good condition, it’s important to follow some basic maintenance and care tips. These include:
- Keeping the deep cycle batteries clean and dry.
- Checking the water levels regularly and adding distilled water as needed.
- Use a battery terminal cleaner and wire brush or sandpaper to remove any corrosion from the terminals.
- Recharging the battery bank after each use and avoiding deep discharges.
- Store the batteries in a cool, dry place when not in use.
The last thing you want is to have to manually push the cart around in the middle of the game because the battery died. To avoid this, you better test your golf cart batteries.
In this article, we’ve discussed how to test golf cart battery in three simple and easy ways. Please do let us know if you find this article helpful.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I test my golf cart batteries?
It’s a good idea to test your golf cart batteries at least once a month to ensure they’re in good condition.
Can I overcharge my golf cart batteries?
Overcharging your batteries can damage them and reduce their lifespan. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging your batteries.
Can I use tap water to fill my golf cart battery cells?
No, tap water contains minerals and impurities that can damage your batteries. Use distilled water instead.