26th May, 2021
Golf carts are an integral part of the golfing activity. As golf is quite prevalent both as a professional sport and a recreational activity, it is important to understand the key elements of maintaining a golf cart so that there are no undue interruptions.
One such element is taking care of golf cart’s battery. For the benefit of our vendors, Enertec realizes the need to address this specialized field of golf cart batteries so that they can help their retail customers get the right product.
To create a comprehensive guide, different pertinent questions would be answered so that most queries can be addressed.
There is an important prerequisite check that needs to be made before answering the question. One must know the type of the golf cart before deciding upon a specialized deep cycle battery or regular deep cycle battery for the golf cart.
There are 2 broad categories of golf carts: a combustion engine-based golf cart and an electric golf cart. The combustion engine golf cart needs an SLI or automotive battery since it runs on petrol. Therefore, the above question only applies to electric golf carts specifically.
After that clarification, the main question can be answered. The short answer is yes. A regular deep cycle battery can be used to power your golf cart. The role of the deep cycle battery in an electric golf cart is to provide the power needed to drive the golf cart.
As long as the battery meets the specifications such as a 12V battery rating, it should work fine. That being said, it is better to choose a battery which is specifically designed for golf carts. This is because during the design process, the necessary considerations like keeping the battery as light and small as possible would have been made. A specialized deep cycle battery would therefore offer an optimized user experience with lesser inconsistencies in performance.
Furthermore, most regular deep cycle batteries are lead acid batteries which are cheaper but have greater maintenance needs. On the other hand, specialized batteries are AGM and lithium ion which are more expensive but have longer lifespans with lesser maintenance needs. The choice can ultimately come down to factors like frequency of use and the available budget.
This question can be interpreted in two different ways, but both are quite relevant to the discussion. The first interpretation is that this question is asking the duration the battery would last in a single charge. If that is the case, then there are certain estimates that can be made.
For an average golf cart with a 12V battery, it can cover around a distance of 10 miles on a single charge. This distance translates to about 2 golfing sessions or about 1-2 hours of regular driving.
The second interpretation is that the question is asking about the overall lifespan of the battery. Again, a ballpark figure can be given which can give a fair idea about the battery’s lifespan. With proper care and maintenance, a golf cart battery should last around 3-4 years. The type of the battery plays a part as well. Cheaper variants like the lead acid and the VRLA have shorter lifespans while more expensive options like AGM and lithium ion last much longer.
A natural concern about golf cart batteries is the approach towards charging. Unexpected delays can cause a hassle if one finds out that the battery of the golf cart is not charged just before the start of a golfing session. That is why many feel it is best to leave the charger always plugged in to avoid this situation. However, some remain concerned about the impact this choice may have on the battery in terms of its lifespan.
The reality is that whether leaving the charger plugged in at all times is a good decision or not depends on the type of charger used. If a regular charger, without any protective circuitry, is used then it is not recommended to leave the charger plugged in. This is because it would lead to overcharging which can cause permanent damage to the battery.
However, if a smart charger is used, then there should be no problem leaving the charger plugged in at all times. The protection features of the charger ensure that the charging stops once the battery reaches full capacity. It also monitors the battery level so in case of any self-discharge, the battery is recharged back to its full capacity.
Despite the improvement in the battery technology, it remains a replaceable component with a limited lifespan. A dead battery can prove to be problematic especially if it dies when it was not expected. That is why it is wise to keep track of the signs that may indicate that the time to replace the battery might be near. It is always better to be proactive and replace the battery beforehand so that it still has some salvage value, and it does not cause any issues for the user.
The first way to tell that battery is still good is its age. If it is 1-2 years old, the battery is expected to be in functioning condition. A better indicator of the battery’s efficacy is its performance. If the golf cart takes longer to start and it is unable to reach its top speed despite being fully charged, then it may suggest the need for battery replacement. If the golf cart has any lights and they are dimmer than usual, then that too can imply that the battery is no longer good.
Furthermore, if the golf cart struggles to move with the standard load in terms of people and luggage then that could also mean that the battery is not in good health and needs to be replaced.