The strength of your golf cart batteries determines the strength of your golf cart.
Proper battery care is the most proactive thing you can do to keep your golf cart going strong.
Golf cart batteries usually come in packs of 36 Volts or 48 Volts. And the battery pack is broken up by the number of batteries it holds. For instance:
- Six 6-Volt Batteries = 36V
- Six 8-Volt Batteries = 48V
- Eight 6-Volt Batteries = 48V
For the most part, golf cart battery packs come in either 36 or 48 Volts. And you will need the proper charger for either one. A 36 Volt charger is necessary for a 36 Volt pack, and a 48 Volt charger is necessary for a 48 Volt pack. Without a charger there is no way to control the amount of voltage going to the battery.
A 48 Volt battery pack generally out performs a 36 Volt pack in terms of speed, torque, and run time, but this also depends on the age and quality of batteries used.
Golf carts use deep cycle batteries which means they provide a steady current over a long period of time, as opposed to normal car batteries that provide a very large current over a short period of time.
Trojan Batteries are usually considered the best in the industry and have a great cycle life, which means the number of times one can charge and discharge the battery within its life span.
If you are not sure how old your batteries are, there is a date code system that is common among manufacturers, and it breaks down like this:
For instance, G4 would mean that the battery was manufactured in July of 2004.
If one of your batteries goes bad when the others are only a year or so old, then it is okay to change the one battery. But if the rest of your batteries are seven or eight years old, then you would probably want to change them all.
This is because having one great battery in a pack of mediocre batteries doesn’t do anything for performance. The performance of the one great battery will be brought down to the level of the mediocre batteries.
It is very common for golf carts to come with a 36 Volt pack, probably because of manufacturing costs, and most of the time this is sufficient for the needs of the owner.
But many golf cart enthusiasts would agree that a 48 Volt upgrade is one of the best things one could do for performance.
There are several ways to do this, and people will argue over the best way. But the consensus seems to be by adding two more 6 Volt batteries for a total of eight 6 Volt batteries. You will need to purchase an additional 12 Volt charger for the two new batteries while keeping the 36 Volt charger for the original six batteries.
Although it may seem easier to replace the six 6 Volt batteries with six 8 Volt batteries, six 8 Volt batteries does not get as much run time as eight 6 Volt batteries. Not only that, the cost of purchasing six new 8 Volt batteries and a 48 Volt charger can get pretty expensive. A 12 Volt charger costs a lot less than a 48 Volt charger.
The only down-side to this method is finding the space to add the two new batteries. Most people make it work by modifying the bag well, you just gotta get creative.
Additional golf cart battery information:
You should charge your batteries after every use and you should know how to use your golf cart charger so that you don’t over charge them. Over-charging and under-charging can both cause damage to your golf cart batteries.
Electrical golf cart accessories require power from your golf cart batteries. There are multiple ways to keep them charged, some more efficient than others.
If you live in a really cold environment a charged battery will help keep itself from freezing. But you should not charge a frozen battery.
An innovative way to squeeze a little extra run-time out of your battery life is with regenerative brakes. Regenerative braking helps charge the batteries as the golf cart slows or goes down hill.
Another idea is to install solar panels on the roof of the cart. Many people believe that the extra run time isn’t worth the extra cost, but a company called Cruise Car claims an extra 30% run time on a single charge from their golf cart mounted solar panels.
Electric carts use standard lead-acid batteries. This means that battery acid can bubble and leak over the batteries. To clean, you can use a professional acid neutralizing solution or a simple baking soda wash, just be sure the caps are secure.
To recycle your old batteries you should take them to a retailer who recycles old batteries for resale. Most retailers that sell lead-acid batteries also take used batteries because it is required by most state laws.