A golf cart is an essential part of golf, and keeping it running well is crucial. One way to ensure that your golf cart works well is by ensuring that the golf cart batteries are in excellent condition because they play the most considerable role in operating the small vehicle for all applications and performances on the greens. One way to ensure that the golf cart batteries are in excellent condition is by testing their charge or voltage.
Testing the golf batteries enables you to know whether they need replacing or if they are functional for day-to-day golf cart applications. The most common testing methods for golf cart batteries are using a multimeter or voltmeter, load tester, a hydrometer, and discharge testing. All the testing methods are reliable as they provide you with accurate golf battery testing results.
In this article, we provide you with a guide on how to test golf cart batteries using some of the easiest, inexpensive, and standard methods in the motoring industry.
Methods Of How To Test Golf Cart Batteries
When a golf cart comes to a standstill or refuses to start, the problem is often with the battery. The easiest way to determine that it is the battery charge with a problem is by testing it on another cart. You can also try to test another golf cart's battery on your cart to be entirely sure that your charger is the problem and needs recharging.
Before you embark on testing your golf cart battery, you should have an idea of how long it has been since the last charge. The reason for doing this is that the battery needs to have a minimal amount of voltage for the charger to kick them back to life. The minimum voltage the battery needs for the charger to start working is between 20 and 35 volts.
The items you will need to test the golf cart battery's power and quality are a load tester, a voltmeter or multimeter, and a hydrometer.
How To Test Golf Cart Batteries With A Multimeter
Before you start the battery-testing process, ensure that you wear safety clothing such as gloves and eyewear because the battery can get extremely hot and emit spark and gases. Your working area should be a no-smoking zone with adequate ventilation and no flammable materials. Do not use any metal tools with no insulation on the battery, and always ensure that your multimeter has a correct probe attached to the right terminal to avoid sparks.
Set the multimeter at 200V DC across each battery cell. While doing this, you do not have to disconnect the battery cells from each other but ensure that you check each of them individually.
Connect the multimeter or voltmeter to the charger's negative and positive clamps to check the amount of power generated by the battery charger. The voltmeter needle will move from left to right to provide you with a reading of the available amps. If the needle moves to the extreme left, it means that the battery charger has no amps or power. If it moves to the extreme right, it is an indication that the charger has maximum amperage.
If the voltage reading is less than what it should be, start charging the battery until you reach the required voltage. If you do not get the needed voltage, try charging the battery for at least six hours. If you still do not get the voltage, the battery needs to perform, replace it for a new one. Many of the golf carts use multiple batteries to achieve a power of 36 to 48 volts. The battery cells come in 4, 8, and 12 volts amperage. You should ensure that you test each of the battery cells separately. Once you achieve a voltage above the listed amount, it means that you have a fully charged battery.
How To Test Golf Cart Batteries Using A Load Tester
Compared to other battery testing methods, a load tester provides you with more insights into the golf cart battery and other battery cells. The battery testing option allows you to see the performance of the battery while it is on use.
One of the best precautions to take when using a load tester to test your golf cart batteries is never to do it in the cold weather. Using a load tester on cold weather below 20 degrees F can cause explosions and release poisonous fumes. The area that you choose for load testing your golf cart battery should have adequate ventilation to provide you safety from any possible battery leaks.
Load testing can create high temperatures in the golf cart battery; therefore, ensure that you turn it off immediately, after completion of the testing process. Maintain room temperature at all times when you are using a load tester. The testing method is also risky because of the heat and possible sparks, which means you, should protect your eyes and body by wearing protective gear.
Load testers come with clamps on each cable end that you use to connect to the battery terminals. Start by connecting the red clamp of the load tester to the golf cart battery's red terminal. If the battery has any protective cove, flip it up to find the lead screw of the battery terminal. After that, clamp the load tester's red probe to the red terminal of the battery and release the clamp's handles around the terminal.
After securing both clamps firmly, you can turn the load tester on. While you are affixing the red clamp, hold the black clamp away. Remove the plastic cover on the terminal and attach the load testers black clamp it on the terminal's black, ensuring that you tighten it with the screw. If your load tester has a green clamp, connect it to the tester's cable.
In the next step, you will need to see the battery voltage, and you can do this by hitting with 300 to 350 amps. The cold crank amperage (CCA) of the golf cart battery is between 600 and 700, making it safe to hit it with half amperage. Turn the load tester switch and dial on to the required amperage.
When performing a load test, you should expect a drop of about 1 or 2 volts from the original voltmeter or multimeter reading, which is fine. Still, if the fall is more than 3 or 4 volts, it is a sign that the battery will not maintain voltage even after achieving the required amount. The fall is also an indication that the golf cart battery is as good as dead, and you need to replace it as soon as possible.
Once you have a safe reading, turn off the load tester immediately to prevent the battery from heating up due to sweltering temperatures from both the tester and battery.
How To Test Golf Cart Batteries Using A Hydrometer
A hydrometer measures the golf cart battery's specific gravity. The concentration of sulphuric acid to water in a fully charged golf battery is 1.28, while a discharged golf battery is 1.14. To test the battery charge using a hydrometer, you need to draw electrolytes into the device. Give the thermometer a short period for it to adjust to electrolyte temperature.
Note the readings and observe the color of the electrolyte. If the color of the electrolyte displays brown or gray indicates that, the battery life is almost ending. Read the voltage of the golf cart battery by vertically holding the hydrometer at eye level. The reading should display on the spot where the electrolyte and float meet.
Write down the reading results of all the battery cells and compare them once you are through. If the reading on the display shows a 50-point disparity between two cells, you should prepare for a replacement because that is an indication of almost dying battery cells.
How To Test Golf Cart Batteries Using Discharge Testing
Discharge testing is one of the most expensive ways to test your golf battery unless you run a commercial repair shop. The discharge-testing unit hooks up across all the batteries putting them under resistance load that shows the rate and level of decay after a few minutes. The testing method helps determine how long the cart will run before three-quarters of the battery charge depletes.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace Golf Cart Batteries?
Golf carts come in either electric-powered or gas-powered models. Irrespective of the model, they all need batteries to start the engines. A battery of a gas-powered golf cart is smaller than that of an electric model, but all the batteries wear out eventually. Batteries wearing out means that replacing them is something you need to take into consideration before investing in a golf cart.
Replacing the batteries does not come cheap because you also have to consider the installation costs, among other expenses. You also have to contend with the fact that every five to seven years, your golf cart will always need a battery replacement for it to keep performing efficiently. Golf cart batteries are not a one type fits them all as they come in different types with varying costs.
The estimate of replacing a golf battery ranges between $ 750 and $2500 depending on several factors. The factors are battery voltage, installation costs, shipping fees, battery charger costs, and the battery's brand. The two most common battery brands are the Trojan Batteries and the US Battery.
The most expensive types of golf cart types are the Trojan Batteries. They are efficient and come with a two-year fill replacement warranty alongside a four-year limited warranty. On the other hand, the US Battery is slightly cheaper, and the quality is just as dependable as that of Trojan batteries. Another famous brand is Crown Batteries, which are less expensive than Trojan but with less impressive efficiency.
How Do I Know If My Golf Cart Battery Is Bad?
Replacing golf cart batteries is costly, but you will have no option but to do it at some point. The most prominent signs to look for that give you the indication that you need to replace your golf carts batteries are as follows: -
Unlike new batteries, older batteries lose the ability to hold much charge over the years. If you notice that charging them takes twice as long, it is time to replace them with new ones.
Another telltale that your golf batteries need replacement is if they start to lose their power rather too quickly.
Bulging batteries with leaking acid are deteriorating signs, which means you need to get rid of them.
If your golf cart's acceleration goes down, it could be another sign that the battery is underperforming. Electric-powered golf carts have fast acceleration, but a bad battery slows down the motion, which is an alert that you need to start thinking about battery replacement. The weak voltage of individual battery cells will also be an indication that you need to replace them.
Should I Leave My Golf Cart Plugged In All The Time?
It is proper to leave your golf cart plugged in all the time because by doing so, you will be reducing the effectiveness of the golf cart battery. Some golf battery chargers come with automatic shutting abilities, while others do not. Disconnect the golf cart immediately you have a fully charged battery because leaving the golf cart plugged in all the time decreases the lifespan and performance of the battery.
How Far Will A 48-volt Golf Cart Go?
A 48-volt golf cart offers you many more benefits than the 36-volt model does. The carts are ideal for hilly and rough terrains, and they can cover a range of between 40 and 45 miles because they have more power and pick up speed faster than the 35-volt golf cart.
Wrapping it up
If you want to get the most out of your golf cart, you should ensure that the battery is in its best because replacement does not come cheap. Having good batteries allows you to cover the greens or other distances without having to worry about the battery dying on you. The above guidelines on how to test golf cart batteries will help you ensure that your batteries give you a longer lifespan and better performance.