When the sun comes out, avid golfers start thinking about the first round of the season. They start to clean their clubs and turn to their garages to unleash the golf carts.
But, before turning on that cart and it’s EV battery loose on the course, take a moment to make sure your golf car battery is as ready as your swing.
From checking ports to watering the battery, there are a few checks you should make after taking your golf car out of storage and before taking it for a spin.
First Things First
Before going any further, it’s important to note that your battery should have been stored with a full charge and periodically checked to make sure it maintained that charge. If your vehicle’s battery voltage is too low when connected to the charger, the charger may not even turn on.
You will also want to make sure that you flip the Tow/Maintenance switch to “Run” before getting started. If this switch has been left in the run position all winter, the car’s battery voltage may be too low to move the car, or even hold a charge.
Check the Water Levels
The fluid levels in your battery are extremely important and should be checked before running or even charging your battery. When it comes to watering your battery you should take advice from Goldilocks and get it just right. Overwatering and under watering can both be detrimental to your battery.
Before attempting to fill your battery, it should be completely charged. Only add water to a discharged battery if the battery plates are exposed, in this instance only add water to cover the plates. During charging service, a battery’s electrolyte density solution will increase so if you add too much water before charging, the increased electrolyte density will cause the battery to be overfilled. After the battery is fully charged check the electrolyte levels, then add water as needed to bring them up to the correct level.
Do not use Tap Water
When filling your battery, regular tap water isn’t going to cut it. Your tap water contains minerals that are harmful to your battery and, even if the amounts are small, adding it consistently over a long period of time can slowly cause damage. This is particularly true for water softened by water softeners which contain chlorides. To be safe, always use distilled water, a much less significant investment than a new battery.
Check Terminals and Cords
Before powering up your golf car, take a look at the battery. Is there corrosion on the terminal? Your terminals should be clean and free of corrosion - so any discoloration or residue could indicate the terminals are beginning to corrode. If they look dirty remove buildup or corrosion by cleaning with a mixture of water and baking soda, and try a toothbrush to get the real tough stuff. The terminals will often corrode long before the battery fails and this corrosion can lead people to think their battery is dead when really it just needs to be serviced.
You will also want to check the cables for corrosion; inspect each battery terminal, cable and connectors to make sure they are clean and secured. During the inspection, ensure there is no free or loosened movement of the connections to the battery terminals. Loose connections or corroded terminals can contribute to a low flow of energy, will create excess heat – and can create safety issues.
Don’t forget about your battery’s vent caps and your vehicle’s battery compartment. To ensure safe and reliable performance from your car – you need to make sure both caps and batteries are secured and free of any damage that may affect operator safety.
If you’ve completely inspected your deep cycle battery, your golf cart will be ready to carry you and your golf game through the Golfing Season!