How to recondition a golf cart battery
This step-by-step guide will show you how to recondition a golf cart battery. It should be so easy to follow, that it turns you and your caddie into battery reconditioning experts!
If you’re a keen golfer, a golf cart is an essential part of the experience. Spending your weekends driving around the golf green, placing your clubs in the back, and motoring serenely from hole to hole: it’s a pretty idyllic image.
What’s less idyllic is when your golf cart batteries die and you have to renew them – and all of a sudden, you’re left having to shell out between $800-1,500 for a total set replacement. Golf cart batteries can be astronomically expensive to replace in full – and constantly disposing of them is a huge strain on the environment.
This is why learning how to recondition a golf cart battery may be the cleverest choice you ever make.
Reconditioning a battery – taking a used battery and restoring it to health using a simple process, instead of buying a new one – is easy, cost-effective, and satisfying, and can be performed on many different types of battery, including golf cart batteries.
By mastering the simple process of battery reconditioning for a golf cart battery, not only will you save yourself an enormous amount of money, but you’ll also be helping the planet – and you could even turn your new-found skills into a steady side hustle. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you just how easy reconditioning a golf cart battery can be.
A quick guide on how to recondition a golf cart battery
A golf cart battery is like a smaller version of a car battery: they’re 6-volt lead-acid batteries, with a lesser capacity but a similar cell to your standard 12-volt car battery. Typically, a golf cart will need between 4 to 8 individual batteries to operate.
Golf cart batteries run down pretty fully throughout the day, and need full recharges overnight. This cycle can be tough on the battery, though, and their effectiveness reduces a lot over time – and even the best golf cart batteries will eventually need either replacing or reconditioning.
Why not just buy new golf cart battery?
Sure. It seems like the easiest option, right? The first problem with buying new golf cart batteries when your run dry, though, is the price involved. As golf carts run on multiple batteries, replacing them all could cost you up to $1,500. An enormous amount of money. Particularly if you’re rightly aiming for buying the best golf cart batteries available.
Instead, learning how to recondition a golf cart battery means that you’ll be saving hundreds of dollars at a time, amounting to thousands in the long run. Plus, you’ll be gaining up to a year of extra time on your batteries, all by performing a simple process.
Another reason to recondition instead of just buying new batteries is an environmental one: constantly throwing away old batteries is hugely damaging to the planet. Lead-acid batteries in particular, like golf cart batteries, can be extra harmful as the lead and acid in the electrolyte solution contained in the battery can leak into soil and groundwater, entering the food chain as well as the environment. Reconditioning can severely reduce the number of times you need to throw batteries away.
A final reason to learn how to recondition golf cart batteries? Your income! As golf cart batteries are so uniquely expensive to replace, learning how to recondition them means that you could sell this skill on, and charge to recondition other people’s – which could mean a nice little extra money coming in from your friends at the golf club!
How to recondition a golf cart battery?
What you’ll need
Before you start the reconditioning process, make sure you have the following things to hand:
- A plastic apron
- Rubber gloves
- Safety goggles
- A wrench
- Baking soda
- Distilled water
- A toothbrush
- Sandpaper or steel wool
- A flathead screwdriver
- Two buckets
- A small funnel or turkey baster
- Epsom salt
- A battery charger
- A battery load tester or voltmeter
Precautions before you begin
- Before performing any reconditioning process, make sure the area you’re working in is cool and well-ventilated. Golf cart batteries are lead-acid, and you want to avoid any nasty fumes.
- Ensure that you have all personal protective equipment ready, and put on fully before handling the battery.
- When performing this process, only used distilled water – never tap water. The chemicals in tap water will negatively affect the battery.
- Don’t completely discharge the battery. A complete discharge causes sulfate build-up on the lead plates in the battery, corroding them and blocking electricity flow.
How it works: Step-by-Step
Step 1: Before you begin, put on your protective equipment – your apron, gloves, and goggles.
Step 2: Using the wrench, safely remove the battery from your golf cart.
Step 3: Next, mix 2 parts baking soda with 1 part distilled water, to make a paste-like solution. Make sure you mix well. If it’s a little thin, add more baking soda; if it’s too thick, put it in a splash of water.
Step 4: Put the paste on your toothbrush, and then use it to brush off any corrosion that’s formed on the battery terminals. If you have any particularly stubborn corrosion, you can use the steel wool/sandpaper to remove it. Once you’ve done this, wipe clean with a non-abrasive cloth.
Note: while you’re doing this, if you notice that the battery is cracked or leaking, your battery may not be suitable for reconditioning. Instead, replace any defective batteries with new ones.
Step 5: Using your flat head screwdriver, carefully remove the battery caps – slip them underneath, and they should come off easily. Place them carefully to one side.
Step 6: Take your bucket and, making sure to pour away from you, drain the old electrolyte solution from the battery into it. Repeat the same process for the other golf cart cells.
Step 7: In the other bucket, prepare a solution of Epsom salt and distilled water – around 12-15% of Epsom salt to water will do (or, around 8 oz. of Epsom salt to 2 quarts water). Mix well until totally liquid. It can help to lightly warm the water, to help the salt fully dissolve.
Once it’s ready, take the funnel or turkey baster, and refill your empty battery cells with the solution. Once full, put the battery caps back on firmly. The Epsom salts in the solution should remove any deposits on the battery plates – these deposits are what stops the battery from charging fully.
Step 8: Now it’s time to recharge the batteries! Take your battery charger and set the charging phase to a slow amp rate (on some chargers, you can set it manually to between 2.3 – 2.35 volts). A slow amp rate could last for around 12 hours. Make sure the battery terminals are correctly connected to the charger – red wire to the positive pole, black wire to the negative pole. Once it’s connected, switch on to charge.
Step 9: Check the charge after around 12 hours. If the charger indicates that the battery’s taken a full charge, you should be good to go – but to be certain, use the battery load tester or voltmeter to check the voltage of the battery. If the voltage reading is at, or slightly above, the voltage of the battery, then the battery is fully charged and ready to use.
FAQ - Frequently asked questions
What’s the life span of my golf cart battery?
How do I know if there’s a problem with my battery?
If the battery is cracked or damaged, it may not be suitable for reconditioning – this is your first sign.
The other way to check – and a good way to know whether it needs reconditioning – is to check its volt reading with a voltmeter. Charge the battery to full capacity and then check with the meter. For a 6-volt battery, it should read between 6.2-6.3V. If the reading is close to 4V or less than that, and the battery either needs replacing – as it is past saving – or reconditioning. If you recondition the battery and it still has a low reading, it will need replacing.
Do cold temperatures affect golf cart batteries?
As you can see from this guide, learning how to recondition golf cart batteries is a breeze – simple, hugely cost-saving, and even fun. If you’re getting a headache over the price of a new set of golf cart batteries, give reconditioning a spin!
To learn how to virtually every kind of battery, EZ Battery Reconditioning is your go-to program. The comprehensive chapters in EZ Battery Reconditioning can teach you how to recondition all different kinds of batteries and could end up saving you a huge amount of money for years to come. Find out more today!