Most golf carts nowadays utilize the power of electricity, juicing up and cruising around at minimal expense to the environment. But for all the benefits of deep-cycle battery power, there’s no avoiding the inevitable expiry date. No battery can last forever. But when, exactly, is this expiry date? How long do golf cart batteries last?
To give an unsatisfactory answer, they can last for as little as a few months, and as long as ten years. A battery’s lifespan depends on a range of factors. If the stars align, you could enjoy a decade’s use of a single battery. But if things go wrong, you could be forced to replace it way before its time.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the main factors that affect golf cart battery lifespan. This should give you an idea of how long your battery can last you.
Things That Affect Golf Cart Batteries’ Lifespan
One of the main killers of golf cart battery lifespan is the act of overcharging the batteries. This basically when the charger continues to pump power into the battery even when it is fully charged, over-cooking the internals. If this becomes a regular habit, it will drastically affect the lifespan of the battery.
Fortunately, most chargers are now automatic, meaning that they are programmed to switch off whenever the battery reaches full charge. Assuming that nothing goes wrong with the charger or power supply, this means that you don’t have to worry about overcharging.
However, many chargers don’t have an automatic switch-off function, in which case it is highly recommended to use some sort of alarm clock. By ensuring that your batteries never overcharge, you’ll be giving them a much better chance of lasting you for longer.
Maintenance, or lack thereof, is also one of the biggest contributors to a battery’s lifespan. The main thing to consider is that the batteries need to be watered regularly – once a month, at least. And it’s absolutely crucial that you use DISTILLED water, NOT tap water. Tap water will do all kinds of damage. You should also make sure that they are fully charged before checking them and filling them up.
Battery maintenance also includes cleaning. Over time, you may notice a build-up of corrosion around your battery terminals. This should be cleaned as soon and as thoroughly as possible in order to prevent significant damage. For more information on how to clean golf cart batteries, check out this guide.
Other practices of good battery maintenance are related to the manner in which you charge them. As a general rule, you should recharge your batteries every time they are used. Leaving them empty for long periods of time isn’t good for them. Going through a regular cycle of discharge and charge is healthy for a battery, and will help to prolong its lifespan.
Also, be sure to charge them in a well-ventilated area. This will prevent them from overheating.
Brand / Quality Of The Battery
As with most things, when it comes to golf cart batteries, you pretty much get what you pay for. Sure, there are some budget options out there that are more than capable of lasting for a number of years. But if you really want a battery that could last you for as long as ten years, you’re probably going to need to fork out some of the bigger bucks. For a round-up of the best golf cart batteries for longevity and price, click here.
Frequency Of Use
Some golf carts are used much more frequently than others, and this inevitably has an influence on the batteries’ longevity. The battery packs of golf cart fleets get a much higher usage – usually two to three rounds of golf per day – than the average, privately owned golf cart. If properly maintained, the batteries of these fleet carts tend to last about 4-6 years.
A privately owned golf cart that is used for an average of three rounds a week is likely to last longer than this, simply because the battery is being used less. The batteries of privately owned golf carts can be expected to last between 6 and 10 years.
Golf Cart Features
Another factor that affects battery longevity, albeit a lesser one, is the number of extras the golf cart has. For instance, some may be fully decked out with headlights, horns, and windshield wipers (as well as any other components that make a golf cart street legal) – features that put a bit more strain on the battery, affecting its longevity.
However, this effect is quite minimal, and should not put you off adding the accessories that you need to your golf cart.
If you’re storing your golf cart battery away for long periods of time, make sure you keep it somewhere cool. Long exposure to hot temperatures will have a deadly impact on your battery’s longevity.
While cooler temperatures are undoubtedly best for battery storage, you’ll want to avoid storing it where freezing temperatures are expected. It’s also recommended that you monitor your batteries’ voltage every six weeks or so and that you give them a boost charge when they are at 70% charge or less. For more information on golf cart battery storage, check out this Trojan article.
How Long Do Golf Cart Batteries Last?
Considering all of the above, how long can you expect your battery to last?
Let’s look at a worst-case scenario. If you buy a cheap battery, frequently overcharge it, neglect its maintenance, and store it incorrectly, you would be lucky to get three years out of it.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you buy a quality battery, adhere to a good charging routine, frequently clean it and manage its water levels, use it less than five times a week on average, and store it in cool temperatures, there’s no reason why you couldn’t get ten years out of it.
That little bit of extra care could save you hundreds of dollars in frequent battery replacements.
Deep-cycle batteries are complicated devices, and there are a number of factors affecting their longevity. It’s impossible to say for sure exactly how long one will last. But if you buy from a reputable brand, and take good care of it, you can easily enjoy up to ten years of use out of a single battery.
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Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.