Are you jumping into the world of golf cart battery maintenance? If so, welcome!
If you own an electric golf cart, there are a few important golf cart battery questions that you should explore.
Taking care of your golf cart batteries should be your first maintenance priority. A single battery failure means a large expenditure on your part, especially since it isn’t wise to replace just one battery on golf cart.
To help get you started on the journey, let’s address a somewhat common question:
Can Golf Cart Batteries Get Wet?
The simple answer is yes, golf cart batteries can get wet. Each deep cycle battery should have a protective cover that keeps dirt, debris and water from entering the cell, so a bit of water isn’t usually a big deal. However, you don’t want your batteries to get wet on a regular basis.
How do golf cart batteries get wet?
All of the top golf car manufacturers plan for their deep cycle batteries to to get wet at some point. This happens because operators:
- Drive through puddles and wet environments on the golf course
- Leave their carts out in the rain
- Wash their precious investment
So again, as long as your battery pack isn’t sitting in a constant state of moisture, you should be fine.
In fact, I think it’s wise to wash out your battery compartment at the beginning and end of each season. Keeping this area clean prevents battery acid from eating away at other important components of the cart and helps keep dirt out of the battery cell when it is refilled with distilled water.
That being said, when you get a lead acid battery wet, it’s important that the battery has a chance to dry. Standing water or moisture can lead to electrical shorts and corrosion.
How should I dry out the golf cart battery compartment?
Method A (my recommendation)
If it’s sunny out, my advice is to open this area up and just let it air dry. This method requires the least amount of work on your part. It’s also a pretty foolproof way to let things dry.
Method B (most thorough)
You can take things a step further by putting the cart in neutral, turning off the ignition, and removing the plug from the golf cart battery charger.
These steps should take the live battery voltage out of the equation and allow you to safely take a towel and wipe down the battery terminal and battery cable. It also gives you a chance to inspect the connections at each battery terminal. Make sure nothing is loose. You can take a wire brush to clean areas that show signs of corrosion.
Method C (fastest and riskiest method)
Some golf cart owners like to use a leaf blower to dry lead acid batteries quickly.
This method works, but there are some risks to consider.
Leaf blowers are powerful. If you start blasting air into this area, it’s possible that you can dislocate other important golf cart parts. You can also send water into places where it was never designed to go.
All that to say, if you’re taking this approach, go easy with the leaf blower. If something goes wrong, don’t say I didn’t warn ya!
The Risks of Wet Golf Cart Batteries
So back to the original question: Can golf cart batteries get wet? If you’ve read this far, you know the answer to that question is yes.
However, the key takeaway is that you don’t want them to stay wet for very long, as there are some potential risks that you should associate with wet golf cart batteries.
Risk 1 – “Regular” Water Entering a Battery Cell
If you’re running a standard electric golf cart (not running on lithium ion batteries), you probably have a series of six deep cycle batteries. Each battery is linked and has battery plates that need to be covered with distilled water.
If any of the batteries in your series has an opening or leak, you already have a problem on your hand, and water entering a battery is only going to make it worse. Regular water (water from the tap or from rain) contains metals and minerals that will lead to battery failure.
Pro tip: Check to make sure all the battery cap covers are tight. It takes less than a minute and prevents larger issues. If you’re running on a system with a sealed battery, this advice is irrelevant.
Side note: If you are new to battery maintenance on an electric vehicle or buggy, you need to check the water level on each lead battery regularly and refill with distilled water as needed. Nobody told me this when I got my first electric golf cart, so I’m sharing with you in case your own in the same boat.
Risk 2 – Corrosion
Water, metal and air don’t play well together.
With that as a backdrop, you don’t want water sitting on your battery terminals or at the cable connections. These are sensitive areas that are used to conduct a current.
Wet terminals and connections can lead to rust, electrical shorts and a shorter battery life.
Big Takeaways to Supercharge Your Maintenance
As a former public school teacher, I used to try to summarize each lesson at the end of class. Most of my 9th graders needed the recap. Sometimes I needed it too.
Here’s your recap.
Golf cart batteries can get wet. No big deal.
Batteries shouldn’t stay wet for extended periods of time. That will lead to bigger problems.
There are a few ways to dry and maintain your batteries. These methods don’t take long and they are totally worth the effort.
If you care for your batteries, those efforts will save you money and let you spend that extra money on cool golf cart accessories.
I realize that you may need to replace your batteries at some point, so I put together a detailed write-up that covers the best golf cart batteries on the market. You can see some photos of my first golf cart there.
And finally, if you’re tired of your traditional battery setup, you may want to read up on the lithium vs lead acid golf cart battery debate. A lithium battery setup does offer some real advantages.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to post any comments or questions below.