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Maintaining your Golf Cart Batteries
Questions and Answers about how to maintain your golf cart batteries
- What voltage are my batteries
- How often do I have to put water in my batteries
- What do I put in my batteries?
- How do I know if my batteries need water?
- How do I put water in the batteries?
- When should I add water to the battery?
- What is that powdery stuff growing on my battery posts?
- Is it important to remove corrosion and keep the cable connections tight?
- How often should I check my battery cable connections
- How do I know if my battery cables are bad?
- How do I replace my battery cables?
- Does it hurt the batteries to let them run out of water?
- Can't I just replace those 6 volt batteries with 12 volt car batteries?
- Can I repair a battery post that has melted off?
Q: What voltage are my batteries
6 volt, 8 Volt, and 12 volt batteries are all used in various golf cart applications. The easiest way to tell what voltage your batteries are, is count the caps or holes in the top of the battery. In lead acid batteries, each cell is 2 volts, and each cell has a cap or hole. 3 caps is a 6 volt, 4 caps is an 8 volt and 6 caps is a 12 volt. Once you know what voltage of each individual battery, just multiply that voltage by the number of batteries in your cart and you will have the total cart voltage.
Q: How often do I have to put water in my batteries
It really depends on how much you use your cart, but you should be checking your battery water once per month.
Q: What do I put in my batteries?
Distilled Water. Nothing else! Some folks are saying that tap water is ok, but I don't believe it. Use only distilled water.
Q: How do I know if my batteries need water?
The water must always be covering the plates in the cell. There is a ring in the neck of the cell. That is the upper limit.
Q: How do I put water in the batteries?
Remove the caps from the top of the battery. If the cell needs water, use whatever means you like to fill the battery to just below the ring in the cell neck. There are battery fill bottles available on this website.
Q: When should I add water to the battery?
Always add water to a charged battery. If you fill before you charge, it may overflow when you charge it and make a big mess on your garage floor. If you can see the plates in your battery, fill it just above the plates before you charge it, then top it off after the charge is completed.
Q: What is that powdery stuff growing on my battery posts?
That is corrosion. You need to keep that cleaned off. It will eventually cause the cable to loose contact with the battery and the cart will not run.
Q: Is it important to remove corrosion and keep the cable connections tight?
Very Important! a clean terminal with a tight connection is critical to the efficient and safe operation of your golf cart.
Q: How often should I check my battery cable connections
Your should check the connections on the top of the batteries each month when you water your batteries. remove any corrosion, replace any damaged cables, and tighten the nuts on the cable terminals.
Q: How do I know if my battery cables are bad?
You can see the corrosion that accumulates on the battery connection, but there is also corrosion going on in the cable under the insulation. The best way to check is to try to bend or flex the cable. Healthy cables will be flexible. Internal corrosion will make the cables very stiff. If the cables are stiff, chances are they are corroded inside and need replacing.
Q: How do I replace my battery cables?
Before you remove any cables from the batteries, draw a diagram and take a picture. It is best to only remove and replace one cable at a time. It is easy to get the connections wrong if you are not real careful. Remove the cable, clean the corrosion off the post and install the new cable by replacing the nut and tightening it up. Replacement battery cables are available in this website. I always increase the cable size from the standard 6 gauge up to 4 gauge when I replace cables. They are not much more expensive and they will usually improve performance a bit.
Q: Does it hurt the batteries to let them run out of water?
It sure does! If you find dry cells in your cart, fill them back up with distilled water to cover the plates and then recharge the batteries. After the charge, top off the water. Use the cart and see how long it runs. run time may increase a bit over time, but you won't see much improvement after few charge cycles. If you have lost significant run time on your batteries, you will have to think about replacing them. Damage to the batteries from letting the cells run dry can not be reversed.
Q: Can't I just replace those 6 volt batteries with 12 volt car batteries?
Run time on your golf cart is directly related to the amount of lead in the batteries. The more lead, the longer the run time. Golf cart batteries are designed to give you the maximum run time. Replacing your golf cart batteries with any other battery or combination of batteries will reduce your run time.
Q: Can I repair a battery post that has melted off?
It the battery is a good quality battery it is usually repairable. First, make sure there is not a hole burned through the top of the battery. If there is, you can plug it up with some epoxy putty. Loctite has an excellent product. Right next to the battery post is a lead slug about the size and shape of a quarter. Find the center of that slug and drill a 5\16 hole down into it. You can go about 1" deep without drilling through it. It probably would not be good to drill through it. After you have a 5/16" hole in the slug, tap it out with a 3/8 standard tap. Go slowly and back up often to clear the cuttings. Tap the hole all the way to the bottom and remove the tap. You will need to either replace the cable terminal with one that has a 3/8 hole or drill out the existing terminal out to 3/8" Now, put a 3/8 lock washer on the slug and bolt the terminal down with a 3/8 x 1" bolt. If you didn't get the hole deep enough, add another lock washer. You can not drill it again after you tap it. Carefully tighten down the bolt until the lock washer is fully collapsed and the terminal is tight. Remember you are working with lead and it is soft. Do not over tighten. I have used this method many times with good results. Keep the repaired terminal clean and tighten it carefully each month when you check all of the battery connections