HOW LONG DO GOLF CART BATTERIES LAST?
At Cart Mart, we get this question all the time. Unfortunately, it is one of the hardest to answer. The correct answer is: “It all depends on how you take care of them.” Why is this? Well, deep cycle battery packs require some basic maintenance which includes maintaining the correct electrolyte (water) levels while ensuring the battery pack is fully charged and never left in a discharged state (plugging it in after each use or round of golf).
Aside from maintenance practices affecting the life span of golf cart batteries, usage becomes the next biggest factor. Battery packs in golf course fleet applications get much higher usage on average than a golf cart owned by a private owner. Fleet carts get used for 2-3 rounds of golf per day during the peak seasons while private carts tend to be 3-5 rounds of golf per week (sometimes more depending on the number of golfers using the cart). That all being said, properly maintained battery packs in fleet carts tend to last about 4-6 years while private owners tend to get about 6-10 years out of their battery packs.
Other major factors include the type of options on the cart that may increase the draw from the battery pack. Options such as headlights and taillights or an optional top speed code can really affect the overall range, life span and performance of deep cycle golf cart batteries.
If you live on or near the golf course in a golf course community and drive to and from the golf course, this also greatly affects the battery pack. In some instances, driving to the golf course, doing the round of golf, and then driving home is the equivalent to 2-3 rounds of golf for a fleet cart. Owners who use their cart in this manner tend to see shorter battery life spans.
HOW DO I KNOW WHEN IT IS TIME TO CHANGE THEM?
Golf cart batteries are more powerful than ever. They allow you to roam freely regardless of terrain, listen to your music, and enjoy better lighting irrespective of the time of day.
However, all batteries must be replaced eventually. Astute golf cart owners will be able to notice the signs of a failing battery. Sometimes, though, the symptoms aren’t so simple.
Review the following situations carefully and if you notice your golf cart has any of these issues, it may be time to replace your batteries.
Small Hills Become a Challenge
Golf carts are not designed for climbing mountains, but they should be able to handle smaller hills and slopes. If you notice your golf cart struggling to make it up an incline, it could be a sign the cart is not getting enough power.
Pay attention to changes in the way the cart handles to pick up on this issue. You might find that you have to push the accelerator pedal all the way down to the floor for it to go on non-flat surfaces. As you crest the hill, the golf cart might start coasting due to a loss of power. If you notice any of these signs, as well as other apparent indicators that your cart is not getting enough power, replace your golf cart battery immediately. Doing so will prevent you from getting stuck in precarious situations or getting stranded too far from help.
The Cart Takes Far Too Long to Charge
A standard golf cart battery in optimum condition can take a full night to completely charge. Any longer than this means your cart will soon need a new battery.
Rechargeable batteries have become pillars of modern convenience. Certainly, they’ve changed the way we keep ourselves entertained, the way we work, and the way we transport ourselves. However, the reality is that rechargeable batteries are constantly being drained and charged. The chemicals in the battery only last so long through these cycles. Therefore, all rechargeable batteries will eventually need to be changed out.
You should be able to travel several miles in your golf cart before you need to charge it again. In other words, a full battery charge easily tackles a trip around the golf course or through the neighbourhood. There’s nothing worse than your game or joyride being interrupted by a dead battery, which happens as the battery’s charging capacity declines. If you’re nine holes in and your battery starts getting weak, then you’ll want to check it.
Delayed Acceleration and Loss of Top Speed
Today’s golf carts are designed with advanced technology, which allows them to be comfortable and responsive to your “command.” When you command speed by pressing your foot on the accelerator, you should feel it respond almost instantly. The longer it takes to respond, the more likely it is that it’s time to look at a new golf cart battery. Additionally, if you notice your top speed has reduced since you purchased your golf cart, this could also be a sign of an old and/or failing battery. Have your golf cart checked by your trusted technician to determine whether it is the battery or another acceleration component. Then, replace them accordingly.
Braking is Not Responsive
Losing acceleration and top speed is frustrating. For the most part, it means you will get to your final destination later than you expected. However, losing braking can be much more dangerous than that, and it is a possibility if your battery isn’t functioning well. Golf cart brakes should be a priority for all golf cart owners. Once they stop responding, they instantly put you and others at risk. At the first sign of brake issues, ensure the golf cart is looked at. If the braking problem is determined to be caused by your battery, visit East Coast Carts to purchase a new golf cart battery.
Accessories Acting Up
Keep an eye on your golf cart accessories. If your battery is failing, your accessories will start failing or cutting out with more frequency. This includes your sound system, interior lighting, air conditioning, and more. You may have had all of these running at the same time with zero issues in the past. But each use drains the battery a little more, and it can add up over time.
Physical Battery Issues
Many of the signs above are gradual, meaning it might be hard to notice them immediately. However, the most serious indicators of a battery that is failing are physical and visible flaws. These include:
Bulging, Expansion, and Cracks: If your battery’s housing is distorted, cracked, or bulging in any way, that means the internal components of your battery are having significant issues. Your battery’s cells likely won’t charge up all the way or even hold a charge. Worse, a bulging battery could cause physical harm. Always replace the battery at the first sign of bulging, expansion, or cracks.
Leaks or Corrosion: Battery corrosion is an irritating but frequent issue that all batteries face. Unfortunately, even a small bump along your journey can cause shortages of power due to corrosion. Cleaning your battery can often take care of the corrosion problem. Unfortunately, even with a good cleaning, the corrosion will typically worsen over time. When corrosion becomes frequent and hard to keep under control, you likely need a new battery. The same goes for leaks. Batteries that leak acid are an environmental and safety hazard and need to be disposed of properly and replaced immediately.
DON’T NEGLECT YOUR BATTERIES
They are the powerhouse that allows you to accelerate, brake, and enjoy your favourite accessories. Consider the warning signs above and order replacement batteries if you notice any of them.
Depending on the make, model and age of your cart, you could also give consideration to upgrading your batteries to maintenance free Lithium Batteries.