Here are some tips for storing your golf cart batteries over the winter. Batteries naturally self discharge. Over time they can fully discharge to a point that you can't simply plug in the battery charger to get them charged when spring comes. Temperature affects the rate of discharge - the warmer the temp the quicker the discharge.
1. Batteries can be left in the cart for winter storage.
If they are not, they need to be wired in series so that they can be connected to the charger.2. Batteries need to be dry and free of any corrosion and debris.
Batteries need to be kept clean and dry to prevent self discharge. Dirty batteries can cause a trickle of small current that can slowly discharge your batteries. Dirty batteries discharge faster than clean batteries.
3. Check the water levels in all of the battery cells. Use distilled water to fill the cells past the plates.
4. Check all of the cable connections. They need to be tight and secure. However, overtightening the terminals can result in post breakage, post meltdown, and fire.
5. If your batteries for the golf cart are not staying in the car, place them on a wood pallet rather than on the ground. This helps prevent them from self discharging.
6. Before storing your batteries, have them fully charged.
7. Store them in a cool area. Batteries will discharge at a slower rate in cooler temperatures. The cooler the storage temperature the less the standard loss discharge.
According to the Club Car manual, "batteries stored at 0 degrees F will discharge very little over a 4-month period. Batteries at 80 degrees F. will have to recharged every few weeks."
8. Periodically check the charge status.
9. Do not leave the charger plugged into the cart. Once the batteries are fully charged, unplug the charger from the wall and from the golf cart.
10. How frequently do stored batteries need to be charged? It depends on the temperature. As a general rule, check the charge every month. Plug it into the charger until the charger turns off if you have an automatic charger - which most of them are.
If your batteries need to be recharged, the Club Car manual recommends that the area be heated to at least 60 7/8 F prior to charging. Just as batteries do not discharge quickly in cold temps, they don't charge very well either when it's really cold.
After batteries have sat for a long period of time they will lose their charge. How long it will take for them to "die" depends on the age of the batteries, the condition of the batteries and the temperature.
The worst thing you can do to your golf cart batteries is to allow them to sit in a less then fully charged state for a few months. It will shorten the life of your batteries which means you will need to replace them sooner than later.
If a deep cycle battery is allowed to completely lose it's charge, it may not recharge. If the charge drops significantly and the storage temperature is below freezing the batteries can freeze. According to the Trojan Battery website:
"The only way that a battery can freeze is if it is left in a state of partial or complete discharged. As the state of charge in a battery decreases, the electrolyte becomes more like water and the freezing temperature increases. The freezing temperature of the electrolyte in a fully charged battery is -92.0oF. At a 40% state of charge, electrolyte will freeze if the temperature reaches approximately 16.0oF."
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