A golf cart battery deals with a lot, with the constant charging and discharging, especially when it is one of the course’s fleet. This continuous charging seriously damages the lead acid batteries used in these carts. But you can’t just replace them every other day, considering the price of these batteries.
However, with proper maintenance, a golf cart battery can last up to 4 or even 5 years in some cases. But if the battery is acting up before that, there might be some other issues; however, you don’t have to worry. There are ways you can refurbish your golf cart battery alone and save some bucks.
When working with lead-acid batteries, personal safety needs to be your utmost concern. Make sure that you are wearing safety gloves and safety glasses because the battery acid is highly corrosive. If you come in contact, this can lead to serious burns. Also, make sure that you are working in a ventilated area and that there is no flammable thing or flames near the batteries.
However, before we jump in the wagon to refurbish the batteries of your gold cart, don’t forget to gather the following essentials.
Tools You’ll Need
- Epsom salt
- Plastic funnel
- Baking soda
- Distilled water
- Crescent wrench
- Three-phase battery charger
- Safety glasses
- Safety gloves
Step 1. Carefully Get to The Battery
First, locate the batteries. Most cart batteries can be found under the two front seats, and these seats will first need to be carefully lifted if anyone wants to access the battery. Some carts, however, have hinged seats which are easier to lift up. Once you have located the batteries, you need to carefully lift them out. Surprisingly, you will have to locate which battery has gone bad since there is a very low chance that the entire battery pack will run out of juice at the same time. This, obviously, will require some extra steps.
Step 2. Get Rid Of Corrosion
To take the batteries out, first, disconnect the red (positive) wire and then the black (negative) wire with a crescent wrench. Once you’ve taken the battery out, you need to get rid of the corrosion on the battery. Also, be careful while removing the cell caps to drain the fluid out (use an acid-resistant material to collect this battery fluid).
Carefully mix 2 tablespoons baking soda with almost 1 liter ( 0.96 to be precise) water and mix well. Using a paintbrush or even a toothbrush (though a wire scratch brush is ideal for this), carefully apply this liquid to all those areas where there is corrosion on the battery.
Pay special attention to the terminals since this is a common site that blocks the charging voltage when corroded. Also, the battery acid and baking soda are going to bubble up a little when they come in contact, so don’t be startled by this. Using the same brush, clean the battery with fresh water and repeat f there is corrosion left. Then wipe the battery using a paper towel and let the battery air dry completely.
Pro tip: Make sure that no baking soda enters the battery.
Step 3. Careful Look for Defects
A lot of times, the actual problem is not the corrosion or the battery water but with the battery itself. Thoroughly check the battery for any cracks or dents. If you notice any cracks, especially if the crack is causing the battery acid to leak into the storage area, you will have to change the batteries. However, if there are no signs of cracks, dents, or any such damage, then move on t the next step.
Step 4. Add Distilled Water
Using a screwdriver, remove the caps covering the cells. Using a turkey baster, pour distilled water into the cells in which the plates are coming in contact with the air. Make sure that the amount of distilled water covers all the plates.
Step 5. Charge the Battery
The battery should be charged using a three-phase charger. Reconnect the charging wires, with the red first and the black second. Once it is securely attached, plug the battery in and turn it on to start charging. It should take the battery roughly 12 hours to fully charge. If it requires an automated setting, be sure the charger is working at the appropriate voltage. The voltage should be set between 2.3 and 2.35 volts.
Step 6. Check the Battery
If you’re using a hydrometer, add electrolytes to it repeatedly so that it can get used to the electrolyte’s temperature. Then, take note of the value. A drained battery will test out at roughly 1.145. However, a healthy and charged battery will show a reading of 1.280, which shows the water to H2SO4 (sulphuric acid).
Also, take note of the electrolyte’s color. When your battery is getting close to its expiration, it will start to turn gray or brown. Multimeters can also be used if you don’t have a hydrometer. Take a measurement across each terminal.
For a 6-volt battery, the battery charge should be a little bit higher than 6 volts but no more than 6.3. If the reading is lower or higher than this, then one of the batteries has short-circuited. Run this test on every battery and mark the potential for repair or refurbishment.
Step 7. Rinse the Battery
Drain about half of the liquid from the faulty golf cart battery or batteries into an acid-resistant container. Rinse off any remaining acids from the container, being careful not to get any water inside the cells. A container should be used to collect the acid, and all safety precautions should be strictly adhered to. Just use the previously used brush.
Step 8. Pour Epsom Salt Solution.
Dissolve 4 oz. Epsom salts into 0.5 liters of distilled water. To speed up the dissolution process, heat up the purified water on a low flame but make sure to take it off of the heat before it comes to a boil.
Once the solution is ready, fill it in the cells and slightly shake it to ensure even distribution. Carefully pour this solution into the battery or batteries until the cells are completely filled. Then place the caps of the batteries back, making sure they are properly sealed.
Step 9. Charge Again!
Let the battery recharge for about 12 hours. The Epsom salts ought to get rid of any residues on the cell plates that were preventing it from charging fully. After completely charged, examine the battery. The battery is now ready for use, so you can restart your golf cart and go for a ride. Restore the cell caps if the battery has been charged, then use your cart as usual. If the battery still doesn’t charge, you will have to simply replace the batteries entirely.
Whether you have a new golf cart or an old one, taking care of your golf cart battery can and will go a long way when it comes to extending the battery life. The battery might even run for over 5 years if cared for properly.
The top of the batteries must always be dry and clean and you can do this with a simple baking soda mix and a toothbrush (don’t forget to take some safety precautions for your own good).
Another option is to use a specially prepared spray. When cleaning is complete, the batteries need to be dried. Next, you should use an anti-corrosive spray to secure your wires as well as terminals. This layer will help in guarding against accumulation and corrosion on the terminals that could result in a reduction in performance and even cable damage.
Always charge the batteries as per mentioned in the instructions of the chargers. After you’ve finished, use your cart during the day, and recharge it overnight. You should allow the batteries a sufficient charge regardless of whether you used them for hours or only for a few minutes.
The charger should be turned off before being connected to the battery to avoid sparking. Additionally, it’s important to wait for a battery to be at room temperature prior to charging it. If the battery feels too cold or too warm, wait for it to reach the normal temperature.
Never put tap water in your batteries. Check to see that the water levels cover the tops of the plates before charging. Batteries should never be charged if the plates are exposed to air.
A battery should be topped off with fluid once it has finished charging to ensure the plates are soaked in an electrolyte and to ensure the water level does not exceed the covering vent. Also, never add water just before charging. Always wait a couple of hours before putting the cart on charge after watering the batteries.
Refurbishing a golf-cart battery is not only a simple task but is extremely useful to increase the overall life span of the batteries. With a few simple steps, the batteries could be up and running in no time. However, safety should always be a priority when dealing with batteries. Also, always make sure to properly care for the batteries to lessen the chances of such issues.