How to Repair Golf Cart Batteries

By Larry Parr

Golf cart batteries do not recharge as you drive the the golf cart. A cart that sees plenty of use will run down the battery charge almost completely each day and need an almost full charge each night. This constant discharging and then recharging is hard on a lead acid battery and can result in a shortened battery life. You can take steps to repair and revitalize your golf cart batteries when they show signs of age.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Step 1
Open the battery compartment. Since golf cart batteries are generally under the front seat this requires that the front seat be lifted out of the cart. On some cart models the front seat is hinged and the front of the seat is lifted straight up.
Step 2
Clean the corrosion off the batteries. Wearing gloves and eye goggles for protection, mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda into 1 quart of water. Stir well. Dip your paintbrush into this mixture and then liberally paint onto all areas where there is corrosion on the batteries, especially on and around the battery terminals. Expect the mixture to bubble and fizz where the baking soda and battery acid come in contact with each other.
Step 3
Wash your paintbrush and dip it into a container of plain tap water. Wipe all surfaces of your batteries with plain water until you have cleaned away all of the corrosion.
Step 4
Inspect the batteries for cracks or other defects. Remove and replace any batteries that have a cracked case, especially if it appears to be leaking battery acid into the battery compartment.
Step 5
Remove the plastic caps that cover the cells of the batteries. You may need to push the end of a slot screwdriver under the cell cap and pry upward to remove the caps. Inspect each battery cell and use a turkey baster to add distilled water to any cell in which the plates are exposed to the air. Add enough water to cover all plates.
Step 6
Charge the battery overnight with a three-phase charger set to charge 6-volt batteries. On some chargers you will need to manually set the charge between 2.3 and 2.35 volts. Attach the positive wire (red) to the positive (+) pole of the battery and the negative wire (black) to the negative (-) pole of the battery. Plug in and switch on the charger after it is connected to the battery.
Step 7
Check the charge in the morning. If the battery charger indicates that the battery has taken a full charge, inspect the cells and add more distilled water to any cells in which the battery plates are exposed to the air and then replace the cell caps. However, if the charger does not indicate that the battery has accepted a full charge, you need to take extra measures (see Step 8).
Step 8
Tip the battery on its edge and allow approximately half the battery acid to run out of each cell and into a plastic container. Clean the battery with your paintbrush dipped in a baking soda solution as described in Step 2. Rinse your battery with plain water, making certain none of the water gets into any of the cells.
Step 9
Mix 8 ounces of Epsom salts into 2 quarts of warm distilled water. Stir thoroughly. Use your turkey baster to fill each battery cell with the Epsom salts solution until the cells are completely covered.
Step 10
Charge the battery overnight as described in Step 6. The Epsom salts should remove deposits on the battery plates which previously prevented the battery from taking a full charge. Check the battery in the morning. If the battery still won't take a full charge, it likely cannot be saved. If the battery has taken a charge, replace the cell caps and use your cart normally. Put a trickle charger on the batteries every night to keep the batteries in peak condition.

Tips & Warnings

Use only distilled water inside your battery. Never use tap water as the chemicals in tap water will destroy your battery.
Do not get battery acid or the whitish or yellowish corrosion on the batteries on your skin or clothing as this acid can burn and destroy material in a very short time.
Always wear gloves and eye protection when working on lead acid batteries.

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.


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