How to Charge Golf Cart Batteries

By Larry Parr

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Golf cart batteries usually are lead acid batteries, similar to the battery in your car or truck. The difference is that a golf cart battery is a 6-volt battery whereas the battery in your car or truck is 12 volts. There's another important difference; the battery in your car or truck is constantly recharged as you drive, but the battery in your golf cart can be almost fully drained by the end of the day, depending on how much it has been used. Draining a battery can lead to a shorter battery life, so it is important to properly recharge your golf cart batteries on a daily basis.


Difficulty: Easy
  1. Put on your safety goggles and gloves. Remove the plastic filler caps from all of the battery's cells. Inspect each cell and use a turkey baster to add distilled water to any cell that is low. The water should just cover the top of the plates in the battery; do not overfill. An overfilled battery can boil over during charging.
  2. Inspect the battery for leaks, cracks in the container and other damage. The smell of rotten eggs is a sign of leakage. Charging a leaking battery can be very dangerous.
  3. Plug in your battery charger and connect the red charging wire to the positive (+) post of your golf cart's battery and connect the black charging wire to the negative (-) post of the battery.
  4. Set the charger's voltage to charge a 6-volt battery (on some chargers you will need to manually set the voltage at 2.3 or 2.35 volts) and turn on the charger.

    An 80% recharge can be accomplished in two hours but the last 20% can take six or more hours.

    If your battery has a manual time, charge the cart for two to three times longer than you drove it. For an automatic device, charge overnight for best results.
  5. Check each cell to see if any need to be refilled following the charging process since the charging process sometimes causes water evaporation from the cells. Only used distilled water and only fill each cell until the water covers the tops of the plates. Do not fill the water all the way up to the caps. Replace the filler caps.
  6. Charge your golf cart batteries every night after the cart has been used. If a cart is not used for several days, the battery should still be charged at least twice a week.

    Do not run your batteries all the way down. The newer variety of batteries chargers will not work on dead batteries.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always wear protective goggles and gloves when working with a battery.
  • Do not allow any of the liquid from a battery's cell to touch your skin or clothing, as the powerful acids can cause burns.
  • Battery maintenance is critical. An overheated lead-acid battery can actually explode.
  • Some battery chargers are designed to work with multiple brands and types of batteries. Check the list of compatible batteries before charging your golf cart.
  • Use only distilled water to fill batteries. Minerals in tap water damage the battery plate.
  • Always remove the plastic caps from each cell of the battery before charging; otherwise there can be a dangerous buildup of gases.

About the Author

Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for TV, everything from SMURFS to SPIDER-MAN.