If you live in a region where cold temperature is a real thing, you need to think carefully about golf cart maintenance.
I often hear a common and important question:
Will Golf Cart Batteries Freeze?
Yes, golf cart batteries can freeze, but it is not common. A fully charged golf cart battery has a freezing point of about -80° Fahrenheit (that’s -62°C for all you cool kids out there). As long as you keep your cart hooked up to the battery charger, you don’t need to worry about your batteries freezing.
However, here’s why the question is still worth asking. A fully discharged battery can freeze at just 20°F.
In my home state, 20 degree winter nights are pretty common. If you’ve Googled “will golf cart batteries freeze,” you probably live in a freezing temperature zone. As an electric golf cart owner, that means you need to plan accordingly.
So here’s my advice.
If you’re trying to save a few bucks by unplugging your golf cart during the winter, don’t. You’ll actually end up costing yourself more money in the long run.
When the battery cell electrolyte freezes, it expands just like water. That expansion can crack the battery case which will lead to a leak (best case scenario) or a complete battery failure (more likely scenario).
My first golf cart was a real fixer-upper. The previous owner left it unplugged during the winter, so when I first got the machine in my possession, I had to deal with battery acid leaking all over the battery compartment.
Keep your electric golf cart hooked up to the golf cart battery charger during the periods of cold prolonged storage.
The charge cycle will run automatically if needed, and it’s not going to kill your electric bill.
Since you shouldn’t replace just one battery on golf cart, losing one battery would most likely require an entire set of golf car batteries. That’s a $1,000+ investment.
Side note: If you’re trying to get some context for negative 80°F, the South Pole’s monthly mean temperature during the winter is negative 76°F. That’s crazy!
Other Winter Battery Maintenance Tips
- Make sure each battery is properly filled with distilled water before winter storage. This will extend battery life. Never use tap water for this task.
- Make sure each battery terminal is tight and free from corrosion. This will result in better charging.
- Take the cart out for a spin every once in a while. Use up some of that battery capacity, then plug the cart back in for a full battery charge.
- Check the water level of each battery at least once during the winter.
- Avoid a dead battery at all costs.
Battery storage isn’t rocket science, but it does require you taking some simple preventative measures.
Does Cold Weather Affect Golf Cart Batteries?
I know you didn’t sign up for this, but you’re going to be a battery expert by the time its all said and done.
Yes. Cold weather will reduce the rated capacity of golf cart batteries, especially a traditional flooded lead acid battery.
If the ambient temperature is less than 65°F, you’ll be operating at 10% less than the battery’s normal capacity.
The rule of thumb is that for every 15-20 degrees below 80°F, the battery loses 10% of its capacity.
Plan accordingly and don’t venture too far from the homestead (or the clubhouse).
Related Golf Cart Battery Questions
Can I leave my golf cart plugged in all winter?
Yes, you can leave your golf cart plugged in during the winter, and you should. A fully-charged deep cycle battery won’t freeze, but a fully-discharged battery is susceptible to freezing at just 20°F.
I wrote an article covering the question: Should I leave my golf cart plugged in all the time? Check out that post for further explanation.
Can you leave golf cart batteries outside in winter?
I wouldn’t suggest leaving your golf cart batteries outside during the winter. If you could somehow keep them on a charger and safe from moisture (like under a carport for example), then leaving them outside would be fine.
However, if you’re going to let your cart get covered by snow (or rain) and you don’t have a way to maintain a fully charged battery, you’re asking for trouble.
I wrote an article covering the question: Can golf cart batteries get wet? Check out that post for some additional thoughts.
At what temperature will golf cart batteries freeze?
Golf cart batteries will freeze at -80 F (-62°C) if they are fully charged. If they are low on battery charge, they can freeze at just 20°F.
The best way to save lead acid batteries from freezing is to keep them on the golf cart battery charger. This is true for an old or a new golf cart.
Are lithium ion batteries better in the winter?
If you have a lithium battery in your golf cart, you have a different set of challenges to think about, especially when it comes to charging. However, there is a strong case to be made the lithium ion batteries have a better capacity in freezing temperatures than a lead acid battery.
So from a performance standpoint, lithium ion batteries can do more in cold weather.
I’ve tried to be thorough here without boring you to death, but if you have other related questions that you’d like me to address, feel free to post them in the comments below.