The following is a reference of tips to help you maintain and take care of your cart to ensure the best performance possible.
When should I water my batteries?
Brand new batteries will use very little water at first, but with average use, will need water about every
other month. During the summer please check your batteries once a week. The humidity and extreme
weather will evaporate water at a faster rate than during cooler months. As the batteries get older, it
takes longer for it to reach a full charge, thus using more water more frequently.
What is proper Battery Watering?
Although they need significantly less maintenance than automobiles, golf carts still require a certain amount of upkeep. You may not realize it, but your golf cart batteries require maintenance throughout their life to keep them running reliably. One integral aspect of this maintenance is battery watering. Unless you have a sealed battery, you should check the water level of your battery at regular intervals, usually about once a month, to ensure it is within the recommended range. If it is below the plates, you should add water, since consistently low water levels can result in damage and necessitate replacement of the battery. Be sure to use pure, distilled water and don’t overfill. Also, to avoid corrosion, keep the plates from being exposed to the air.
To ensure you correctly and effectively fill your battery, follow these steps:
- Open the vent caps to check the fill wells; the minimum level for the solution is the top of the plates
- If the level is below the plates, then add just enough water (distilled preferred) to cover them.
- Charge the battery completely, and check the electrolyte level again
- Add distilled water (the level should end up about 1/8” below the bottom of the fill well)
- For best results, clean all vent caps before replacing them. Be sure they are tightly secured into place.
- Use only distilled water (preferred) for golf cart batteries. Throughout their lives, electric vehicle batteries may use up to a full 16 quarts of water. Using non-distilled water results in a buildup of minerals in the batteries that can negatively affect performance and lifespan.
Do you ever add acid to a battery?
Under normal operating conditions, you never need to add acid. Distilled water is recommended but tap water works just fine as well. Once filled, a battery will only need water added periodically.
Common Golf Cart Mistakes:
Leaving the golf car inactive for over 2 months will reduce the battery life. If you are going to leave a cart inactive for an extended period of time, IT IS IMPORTANT TO LEAVE THE CART ON THE CHARGER. Continually operating the battery in a partial state of charge, or storing the battery in a discharged state result in the formation of lead sulfate compounds on the plates.
Sulfating reduces the battery’s performance and may cause premature battery failure
In a deep cycle lead acid battery, water is lost during the charging process. If the electrolyte (water/acid) level drops below the top of the plates, irreparable damage may occur, as the plates will get hot, warp, and crack leaving the battery weak and inefficient. Water levels should be checked and maintained routinely.
Excessive watering of a battery results in dilution of the electrolyte, overflow, reduced battery performance, and unnecessary maintenance which may be messy and damage the floor.
How can I tell if a battery is bad?
The first indication of a battery problem is reduced performance. Allow the battery to stand on open circuit for about one hour. Measure the voltage of each battery in the system. If the battery voltage spread exceeds 1.5 volts for a 6 volt battery, a problem is indicated. Battery voltage does NOT confirm a problem. When the voltage spread indicates a problem, confirmation is accomplished by taking electrolyte specific gravity readings by using a hydrometer. If the specific gravity readings show a spread greater than.30, corrective action should be taken. The appropriate corrective action is to give the batteries an equalize charge. Call Bulldog Golf Carts for expert assistance.
Is it very important to remove corrosion and keep the cable connections tight and a clean terminal with a tight connection is critical to the efficient and safe operation of your golf cart. You should check the battery cable connections on the top of the batteries each month when you water your batteries. Remove any corrosion, replace any damaged cables, and tighten the nuts on the cable terminals.
You can see the corrosion that accumulates on the battery connection, but there is also corrosion going on in the cable under the insulation. The best way to check is to try to bend or flex the cable. Healthy cables will be flexible. Internal corrosion will make the cables very stiff. If the cables are stiff, chances are they are corroded inside and need replacing.
Water works just fine and use a micro-fiber towel. Plexi-glass windshields scratch very easily. Do not use any chemicals other then water or Plexi-glass cleaner.
Service and Lubrication:
All golf cars will require some type of service and lubrication.
-There is several grease fittings located on the front end (for all steering linkages and ball-joints) that need to be greased, recommended every 6 months.
-Brakes should be cleaned and adjusted, recommended every 6 months or when you feel the vehicle is not stopping with normal brake pedal pressure.
-The differential should be checked for proper oil level, and the linkages and wear points need to be lubricated with light oil on a recommend annual basis.
Your battery charger weighs approximately 20-50 lbs, depending on the type. Make sure that if you are setting it on a shelf that it can handle that extra weight. You can set the charger on the floor, but we recommend that you elevate off the ground 4 inches or so. This is to be on the safe side, as sometimes the hot water-heater can overflow, or a pipe can break, or you may hose the floor down on occasion.
IMPORTANT: Do not get the charger wet!
Always remember to turn off your key switch when you are finished operating your golf cart. Your accessories (stereo, air top, blowers, brake lights, etc) may drain the batteries if the key is left on for any extended period of time. This will result in having to separately charge the two accessory batteries. This may result in not completing a full round of golf. Always keep your golf cart in the neutral position with the key off when the cart is not being used.
- 70% of golf cart issues are related to batteries and or connections.
- If your cart is going to be left unused for an extended period of time make sure to leave the cart on the charger
- Check battery charge before use of cart. We always recommend a battery meter be installed on your cart to give you a better idea of the state of charge of your batteries.
- Keeping a clean set of batteries can help extend battery life. One way of doing this is to add battery protector to you battery post once a month.
- Tire pressure can put a drag on the speed of your cart and stress on your electrical components.
- When cart is not in use, remember to turn your key switch in the off position, engage park brake, and set forward and reverse switch to neutral.
- Let us service your golf cart at least once a year to insure proper service. Preventative maintenance means less money out of your pocket in the long run.
Thank you for choosing Bulldog Golf Carts for the purchase or service of your golf cart. We hope these tips have helped answer questions that you may have. If you require additional information we will be happy to help. Call us at 706-353-8448 or stop in and visit us at 2920 Atlanta Hwy Athens, Ga 30606