Life Expectancy of a Golf Cart Battery: How Long Does It Last?

By Todd Mrowice

golf cart on golf course

Your golf cart battery is vital to you getting around the golf course without issue. It's no different from your car's battery in that you should have a good understanding of how long you've had it and what it's been through. Let's take a look at some maintenance and factors that play into how long your golf cart battery should last.

Lifespan of a Golf Cart Battery

Batteries that are maintained and treated well will inevitably last longer. If the cart is part of a golf course's fleet, it should have a life of around five to six years based on wear and tear. If the battery in question is for your own personal golf cart, you could expect that battery to last up to eight years or more.

Things to Consider

Is your cart only for golf? If so, there are years of rounds ahead on a new battery. If you cart is for transportation and recreational use within a community, it obviously sees much more use.

Always take into account the extremes that your golf cart sees. If you live in a climate that has extremely high temperatures on a consistent basis (Arizona, Nevada, etc.) your battery will need some additional maintenance. The same can be said for climates that are high in humidity (Florida, Carolinas, etc.) as well as areas like the midwest which has variable temperatures.

Is your golf cart part of a maintenance fleet? If so, your hard work will also be hard on the vehicle and battery.

Proper Charging

Always charge your electric golf cart when you're done using it, whether you played nine or 18 holes. If possible, leave it charging overnight. Short-charging can make your batteries unbalanced and shorten their lifespan.

Water

Check your battery water level and add distilled water when needed. Don't use tap water, which contains minerals that will reduce battery capacity.

Winter Storage

If your golf cart gets stored at the end of the season it's important to make sure your batteries are taken care of before doing so. The batteries should be stored fully charged and disconnected from any circuit that could discharge the battery pack. Clean each battery and remove from the battery case.

Doing all of the above will save you from any major golf cart repairs and allow your batteries to have an extended life.

Golf Cart Battery Problems

The biggest killer of battery power is disuse, which will deep discharge them and affect their longevity. If not used, lead sulfate crystals form on the plates inside the battery and lower efficiency. This process is accelerated in hot weather, the climate in which most cart batteries are used.

Low water levels, acid buildup on the terminals, and leakage because of a cracked case are other issues that can cause a battery to malfunction.

How to Know When Golf Cart Batteries Are Dying

Hit the gas pedal smoothly after you turn on the golf cart with the key. If your battery is getting near the end of its life cycle, your starts will be slower than normal. You might notice more than a two-second delay from the moment your foot hits the gas pedal to the time the cart moves.

Put the cart in reverse to see if it cart maintains its charge. If you have a strong battery, going from "D" (drive) to "R" (reverse) should not cause any problems. But when the battery is dying, the act of shifting gears might drain the battery even further.

Watch your cart's performance on uphill holes. This is perhaps the biggest telltale sign. If you have to floor the gas pedal to get up a hill--and you feel like your cart is going to die, and you have massive relief when you have reached the crest of the hill and can start cruising--your battery needs to be replaced.

Check out the accessories on the golf cart. A personalized cart might include a radio, air conditioning, refrigerator and CD player. If your CD player slows or your refrigerator isn't keeping things as cold as it should, it could be your battery.

Drive from hole to hole without turning the cart on and off. If it starts to hesitate in the middle of driving even though it is facing no impediments, it is likely the battery.

About the Author

Todd Mrowice is a Staff Writer for GolfLink. He has been writing about golf for over 10 years including a long tenure at GOLFChicago Magazine. Todd has covered all aspects of the game including travel, products, business, and professional tours.