If you own a golf cart, you might ask, “Should I leave my golf cart plugged in all the time.” Perhaps you are wondering whether this will extend the battery’s life or cause it to wear out sooner.
Golf cart batteries are different from those used in cars. They can’t recharge while driving. In other words, you can’t simply take your golf cart out for a spin and expect the battery to recharge as you go. Instead, you need to recharge the battery manually using a charger designed specifically for golf cart batteries. The best battery for a golf cart typically takes around 8-12 hours to charge completely.
In this article, we’ll answer these questions and more, providing you with the information you need to maintain your golf cart properly.
How did this Confusion Over Golf Cart Batteries Charging Start?
Golf cart brands are primarily responsible for this confusion about whether the battery should always be plugged in. Different brands give varying instructions in this regard.
For instance, E-Z-GO recommends unplugging golf carts when they are being stored for an extended period of time. In contrast, Club Car recommends plugging in the golf cart during extended storage.
Because of this, people follow varying practices, and no one fully understands which one is the right one for a golf cart. That’s why we decided to settle this issue once and for all.
Factors to Consider Before Leaving Golf Cart Batteries Plugged in for longer Duration
Here are some factors that should be taken into consideration before keeping the golf cart battery plugged in for an extended period:
The first factor to consider is the type of battery you have. Leaving a traditional flooded lead-acid battery plugged in all the time can be harmful to it. These batteries can overcharge, leading to the electrolyte boiling and the battery losing water. As a result, the battery can become permanently damaged over time.
On the other hand, gel or sealed batteries can be left plugged in all the time. Unlike other batteries, these are designed to Should I leave my golf cart plugged in all the time be more durable and can be plugged in longer without overheating.
Another factor to consider is the type of charger you are using. With a manual charger, you must be careful not to overcharge the battery. This means monitoring the charger and disconnecting it once the battery is fully charged. On the other hand, you don’t have to worry about overcharging if you use an automatic charger. These chargers make it easy and safe to maintain your golf cart battery since they automatically switch off once it is fully charged.
Frequency of Use
Finally, you should consider how often you use your golf cart. You can leave it plugged in all the time if you use it regularly and the battery is frequently drained. By doing so, you will ensure that the battery is always charged and ready to use. On the other hand, if you only use your golf cart occasionally, leaving it plugged in all the time may not be necessary. In fact, it may be better Should I leave my golf cart plugged in all the time to charge the battery as needed and then disconnect the charger to avoid overcharging.
Why Should I Leave My Golf Cart Plugged in All the Time?
In this section, we will explore why it is better to keep your cart plugged in at all-time. Here are some of these reasons:
First of all, batteries self-discharge slowly when not in use. The condition is known as a standby loss, and it can differ with the type of battery you use. Golf carts are rarely used in the winter. So, if the cart is not used and not plugged in for a long time, the batteries will completely drain. Uncharged batteries can easily freeze in the winter.
The lifespan of your golf cart battery largely depends on your charging practice. If your golf battery gets discharged completely on a regular basis, this will reduce its life expectancy. These discharge cycles affect the battery’s health and capacity to hold a charge— known as capacity fade. Plugging in the cart at all-time is a good strategy to extend the battery’s life.
Leaving your golf cart plugged in all the time ensures that the battery is always fully charged. This means that you can use your cart anytime you need it without worrying about the battery being dead.
Why Shouldn’t I Leave My Golf Cart Plugged in All Time?
Leaving the golf cart plugged in makes sense since the battery will be fully charged. Even though it offers the convenience of use, continuously plugging in the charger may have the following adverse effects:
Circuit Breaker Issues
A common problem people experience when leaving their cart plugged in is a tripped circuit breaker. Should I leave my golf cart plugged in all the time When the automatic switch-off function of the charger stops working, it can overcharge your battery due to the consistent flow of current.
By keeping the cart plugged in, the battery stays full at all times. As a result, battery health can be compromised, and degradation can occur, requiring early replacement. When the battery is always full, it undergoes a process known as cell polarization. This results in the breakdown of the cells, reducing the battery’s capacity and power.
Many golf cart battery chargers have an automatic switch-off function that stops charging when the battery reaches full capacity. However, even these charges start malfunctioning after being plugged in for a long period. Over time, you will Should I leave my golf cart plugged in all the time notice that these chargers have become less efficient and take more time to charge the golf cart batteries.
Risk of Fire
When batteries are overcharged, they emit highly flammable hydrogen gas. It is possible that such an overcharged battery can catch fire and damage not only the batteries but also the cart, charger, and shelter.
Should I Leave My Golf Cart Plugged in all the time in Winter?
Maintaining golf carts in the winter is essential to keep them working properly. It is suggested to park these carts in Should I leave my golf cart plugged in all the time an appropriately shelter. Further, you should winterize your golf cart batteries to keep them healthy. Your golf cart manufacturer will specify whether leaving it plugged in all winter is recommended.
Several factors determine whether you leave your golf cart plugged in all the time. It is convenient to leave your golf cart plugged in at all times, but there are some risks as well, such as overcharging and a shortened battery life. You should follow the manufacturer’s instructions on whether to always leave the cart plugged in.
How often should I charge my golf cart?
It is recommended to charge your golf cart battery regularly, even if you don’t use your cart frequently. This helps prevent deep discharging and can extend the battery’s lifespan.
Can I use a fast charger to charge my golf cart battery?
No, it is not recommended to use a fast charger to charge your golf cart battery, as it can cause the battery to overheat, which can damage the battery and reduce its lifespan.
How can I store my golf cart battery properly?
To store your golf cart battery properly, you should keep it in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.
Can I use a car battery charger to charge my golf cart battery?
A: No, you should never use a car battery charger to charge your golf cart battery. Car battery chargers are not designed for deep-cycle batteries and can cause damage to your golf cart battery.
Can I overcharge my golf cart battery with a smart charger?
No, a smart charger will automatically shut off once the battery is fully charged, so you cannot overcharge your battery with a smart charger.
How often should I add water to my golf cart battery?
A: If you have a lead-acid battery, you should check the water level in each cell once a month and add distilled water if necessary. If you have a sealed or maintenance-free battery, you do not need to add water.
Can I use my golf cart battery in the winter?
A: Yes, you can use your golf cart battery in the winter, but cold temperatures can reduce the battery’s performance. If you live in a cold climate, consider using a battery blanket or keeping your golf cart battery indoors when not in use.