One of the most frequently asked questions by a golf cart owner we at Eco Planeta is about golf cart batteries is how long do golf cart batteries last? Golf cart batteries are one of the more expensive parts of a golf cart so the question is an important one.
And the answer about the golf cart battery’s lifespan depends for a large part on which golf cart battery type your golf cart uses.
Most golf carts still have traditional lead acid batteries. But newer electric golf carts tend to have lithium batteries installed.
This article will show, what the average lifespan is per golf cart battery type.
How long do lead acid batteries last on a golf cart?
Lead acid batteries tend to have a much shorter lifespan than lithium batteries. The lifespan of a lead acid battery is usually not more than 3 to 5 years. Or 300 cycles.
Lead acid batteries are the cheapest batteries on the market and that is why they are so popular with golf cart owners. One of the bigger battery manufacturers is Trojan Battery Company. Electric Yamaha golf carts are for example offered with Trojan batteries.
How long do Absorbed Glass Mat batteries (AGM) last on a golf cart?
AGM golf cart batteries usually last around 4 to 6 years. AGM batteries have a life expectancy of around 500 cycles with a depth of discharge of 80%.
AGM batteries are less frequently used than lead acid batteries. One reason is that AGM batteries are more expensive than lead acid golf cart batteries.
One of the advantages of AGM batteries is that they don’t need regular maintenance. That means you don’t have to monitor the water level of the battery and watering them like lead acid.
How long do gel batteries last on a golf cart?
Gel deep cycle batteries last between the 4 to 6 years. Or around 500 cycles with a depth of discharge of 80%. Gel golf cart batterie have roughly the same battery life as AGM batteries do.
Gel batteries are more expensive than AGM batteries. That is way of all the battery types mentioned in this article, gel batteries are used the most infrequently as golf cart battery.
One of the advantages of gel golf cart batteries is that gel batteries don’t need maintenance. There is no need to worry about the correct water levels in the battery cells. Never try to open a gel battery.
How long do golf cart lithium batteries last?
Lithium batteries can last up to 10 years or 3000 to 5000 cycles depending on the battery manufacturer. That makes lithium golf cart batteries have a much longer lifespan than traditional batteries like lead acid.
Besides a longer lifespan, lithium batteries also have more power and a higher energy capacity than lead acid. This means that golf cart owner will have for example a better climbing capacity and a longer range.
Charging times of lithium batteries are also faster compared to lead acid. Lithium batteries usually charge below 4 hours compared to 8-10 hours.
One disadvantage however is that lithium golf cart batteries are more expensive. But that is only when you compare purchase costs. If you compare the total costs during the life time of a golf cart, lead acid is probably the most expensive due to the low life span and high maintenance.
For a full overview of lead acid battery manufacturers see this list.
How to extend the life of your golf cart batteries
The golf cart owner can have a huge impact on the lifespan and optimal performance of his golf cart batteries. Regular maintenance and usage recommendations by the manufacturer’s guidelines can significantly extend the lifespan of golf cart batteries.
Prevent deep discharges
Deep discharges of your golf cart battery can negatively impact you battery life span and battery performance. Make sure if you are using lead acid, AGM or gel batteries that you don’t discharge below 80%. Always when driving your golf cart keep an eye on your battery meter.
Lithium batteries are better resistant to deep discharges below the 80% border. You can normally discharge them for almost 100% without effect on battery performance.
Drive with care
Usage patterns have a lot of effect on the lifespan of a golf cart battery. Using your golf cart for an extended period with full speed and a lot of hill climbing will lead to a shorter life span. Especially if you combine it with the earlier mentioned deep discharger.
If you store your golf cart battery, make sure you do it the correct way. This is especially important for lead acid, gel and AGM batteries.
Avoid storage locations where freezing and cold temperatures are expected. Freezing can lead to damage of the battery case and plates, that are not repairable. Storing lead acid batteries with an high state of charge also helps preventing the batteries from freezing.
Avoid storage locations close to a heat source to prevent extreme heat, like a radiators and heaters. High temperatures accelerate the discharge rate of lead acid.
Also keep in mind that lead acid, gel and AGM batteries need to be stored with a full state of charge. And always check the state of charge every 2 to 3 months, because if the state of charge drops below 70%, you need to charge the battery again. And if you pull the battery out of storage for usage, always make sure to first fully charge.
Lithium golf cart batteries you can store with partial state of charge, but it is always recommended to store it with full state of charge as well. A lot of lithium batteries have a sleep mode that engages after a certain time to prevent the battery management system from draining energy during storage. After storage you have to press the on button to activate the battery.
Avoid extreme temperatures
Not only with storage, but in general it is best for battery life to avoid extreme cold temperatures and extreme hot temperatures. You should not charge for example batteries during extreme temperatures. And in general with cold temperatures the capacity of the battery is lower than normal during usage. Using your golf cart during extreme high temperatures can lead to battery damage and shorten its lifespan.
Use compatible battery chargers
To prevent the golf cart battery from overcharging or undercharging you need a golf cart charger with a compatible charging profile for your specific battery type. The wrong charging profile can lead to permanent damage to your batteries and shorten its lifespan
Proper maintenance routines
The life span of a golf cart battery is highly impacted by how well it is maintained. The maintenance requirements of lead acid batteries are the highest.
Check your batteries regularly for visible signs of damage. A battery leaking acid leaking or a failing battery with cracked terminals should be repaired or replaced. This also helps prevent corrosion in the rest of your golf cart if you are using lead acid.
Proper water levels
If you are working with lead acid batteries you need to check water levels of all battery cells. If it is below the minimum level, add more distilled water. Please note, use only distilled water.
If you are using lead acid, gel or AGM batteries you need to clean them regularly. Especially lead acid batteries, because acid can escape through the vents and can make a mess of your golf cart. Yes, they say that gel or AGM are zero maintenance, but this is only related to the watering and not to cleaning the terminal and batteries.
Through time the batteries can become very dirty. It is very important to clean the battery terminals with a mixture of baking soda and water. When you are done with cleaning the batteries and you have reconnected all cable clamps to the terminals, you can spray the terminals with an anti-corrosive spray or silicon gel.
Correct torque values
If you are done with cleaning and you are connecting all the cables to the terminals make sure that you use the correct torque values (use manual for exact values). When you don’t use the correct torque values you cable can become lose and create friction and heat. It is then possible that during usage of your golf cart the terminal melts and the battery causes fire. You also want to prevent that the torque is to tight and causes the terminal to crack, this can lead to the same issues.
When you are done with cleaning the batteries and you have reconnected all cable clamps to the terminals, you can spray the terminals with an anti-corrosive spray or silicon gel. This helps you prevent corrosion in your golf cart.
Which golf cart battery type lasts longest?
Lithium golf cart batteries has the the longest lifespan of all golf cart battery types. Lithium batteries last around 8 to 10 times longer than lead acid batteries and around 6 to 8 times longer than gel and AGM batteries.
2. Gel and AGM
3. Lead Acid
Because of the lifespan, lithium batteries are becoming more and more popular, especially with new electric golf carts even though they are the most expensive golf cart batteries. At least that is based on purchase cost.
During the lifetime of a golf cart, lead acid batteries are probably the most expensive, because you need to frequently maintain them and replace them multiple times.
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