Should I Leave My Golf Cart Plugged in All the Time?
Based on the instructions from manufacturers (and my personal experience with ), I would argue that yes, you should leave your plugged in all the time.
Why, you ask? If you are using the that came with your , then it is designed to optimize the life of your batteries.
Does everyone agree on this take? No, in fact, there are two distinct approaches on how to maintain and .
I’m going to cover both suggested approaches to improving . This will allow you to make a decision for yourself.
The Case for Always Charging Your Batteries
Whether you’re using your when the isn’t being used. daily or setting it aside for , you should keep it on a
An utilizes a special that the manufacturer designed for one purpose — to keep your where it needs to be.
This won’t overcharge your (contrary to some urban myths). Instead, it will set you up to hit the ground running (or rolling) with a system.
Evidence to Support the Case
There are basically three manufacturers that rule the marketplace: , E-Z-Go, and Yamaha. This is one of the reasons why are so expensive.
If you’re trying to address the question “ ,” then it makes sense to consult the experts.
Here’s what they have to say:
used to offer a 36v (I owned one of these). Many of their current carts have a 48v .
Regardless of which model you own, you should take this advice from a owner’s manual:
Leave plugged in during storage. The onboard computer will automatically activate the when necessary.
Ready for ? Plug in your .
E-Z-Go offers a variety of models to choose from with varying . They even offer a series of carts powered by a .
for advice specific to their model. owners can explore their documentation or check with their local
Here is a word of advice from an E-Z-Go TXT owner’s manual:
The may be left connected to the vehicle to maintain a full on the batteries, provided the is plugged into an active electrical source.
Yamaha is the only weirdo in this group.
Obviously if you’re using your on a regular basis, you should stick with the normal charging process.
However, if you’re planning a , Yamaha wants you to:
Remove the batteries from the and store them in a cool, dry place that stays between 0°C (32°F) and 30°C (90°F).
That’s not convenient or practical, but it gets even better…
Yamaha wants you to make sure that your batteries are kept fully charged (even when they are disconnected from the ). To accomplish this, they want you to recharge your disconnected batteries every 60-90 days (with a , I assume?).
This charging process is inconvenient to say the least.
A Few Important Notes
As I said from the get-go, you should leave your plugged in all the time (or as often as possible).
However, there are three important caveats.
1. Make sure you are using the (or an OEM replacement). A is different than a , so the for is specific to each make and model. that came with your
2. Make sure your will stay connected to throughout the charging process. If you store your in a location where power goes out regularly, this can be a problem. More on that in the Counterargument section.
3. You must keep the electrolyte solution in your batteries at the proper levels. As the batteries discharge and recharge, fluid levels will drop, so make sure you keep distilled water on hand and add it as needed.
I believe that leaving your plugged in is that best approach, but the three notes above are really important.
Counterargument: The Case Against Always Charging Your Batteries
As a mentioned before, there is some debate around the best charging process for an .
It would be unfair for me to ignore those arguments altogether. After all, a replacement is an expensive investment, so one should pursue all the facts before making a decision.
Leaving your batteries plugged in all the time can actually be detrimental to the life of the batteries.
Batteries are designed to and discharge, so maintaining a state of full isn’t good for long term health.
Evidence to Support the Case
Yamaha’s unique advice for long term storage (cited above) seems to hint that both and newer batteries benefit from a full charging every 60-90 days.
It logically follows that these (or even a ) may not benefit from being fully charged every day.
Another problem is . If you have your sitting on the and the power goes out, the may actually begin to drain the power from your batteries rather than boost it. This isn’t a big deal if power is out for a few hours, but if the goes without electricity for a few days, it could damage the batteries.
A final issue with the “always the covered. it approach” is need to check water levels in the batteries. When a stays on the , electrolyte levels will drop. Owners need to make sure that they keep adding distilled water to keep
If you aren’t charging the all day, every day, these levels should stay in a safe place.
A Few Important Notes
Those that argue this case would say that you should unplug the from the once it is fully charged. That makes sense.
However, opponents would argue that if you plan on storing your long-term, you need to make sure you batteries are never fully discharged.
A fully discharged set of batteries could be a much bigger problem than batteries that are charged regularly.
So What’s the Best Way to ? My
I’ve given you both arguments so you can make a decision for yourself. My recommendation would be to leave your plugged in all of the time — as long you pay attention to the three caveats I listed earlier.
We can all agree that a new set of is not the most enjoyable way to spend $1,400, so choose the charging approach that you think makes the most sense and stick to it!
Or, pursue option 3: Go buy a gas 😉
Other Battery Charging Questions
Should golf cart batteries be charged after every use?
Yes, and that’s all you need to know. Get your batteries back to a full charge after they’ve been used.
Can you leave your golf cart plugged in all winter?
Yes, and I am of the opinion that you should. There is some debate about the best approach to long term storage. Read the rest of the article above to understand both sides of the discussion.
What is the maximum time you can leave a cart unplugged without damaging your batteries?
It depends on the health of the batteries, but it’s safe to assume a discharge rate of about 2% per day. Using that guideline, you can probably leave your cart unplugged for 42 days or 6 weeks without damaging the batteries. Make sure they are fully charged first and that the electrolyte levels are covering the cells of each battery before you leave them for that long.