How to maintain your golf cart batteries
Golf cart batteries are very important in running your golf cart or electric trolley. Ensure that you maintain them properly. This article explains their function, operation and maintenance.
A lack of knowledge about basic golf cart battery maintenance can lead to all kinds of problems. Some users assume that the batteries that operate their golf carts are maintenance-free. However, the key to achieving optimum performance and long life is a solid golf cart battery maintenance program.
It is recommended that you obtain following equipment for use in golf cart battery care and maintenance: A wrench; distilled water; a voltmeter (an instrument used for measuring the voltage between two points in an electric circuit); a hydrometer (a tool used to measure the specific gravity of the electrolyte solution); a post cleaner; some baking soda; petroleum jelly and possibly the most of all Ė goggles and gloves.
Always wear protective clothing, acid proof gloves and goggles when handling lead acid batteries and remove all jewellery. Itís important to have lots of water and baking soda nearby as this will neutralise any acid spills from battery refilling and prevent further corrosive damage. Remember, the electrolyte is a solution of acid and water, so skin contact should be avoided and, do not smoke near batteries and never add acid to a battery. Golf carts are typically powered by six lead-acid batteries mounted beneath the front seat.
First of all, examine the outside appearance of the batteries. You should look for cracks in the container and the top of the battery. Posts and connections should be free of dirt, fluids and corrosion. You should replace any damaged batteries. Check that all vent caps are tight. Then clean the battery top with a cloth or brush and a solution of baking soda and water ensuring that any cleaning solution or any other foreign matter does not get inside the battery. Then rinse with clean water and dry with a clean cloth. Solvents or spray cleaners should not be used. Then clean the battery terminals and the inside of the cable clamps with a post and clamp cleaner. Reconnect the clamps to the terminals and thinly coat them with petroleum jelly. Always keep the area around the batteries clean and dry.
Water should only be added after fully charging the golf cart battery. Prior to charging, there should be enough water to cover the plates. If the battery has been discharged (partially or fully), the water level should be above the plates.
Some important things to remember are: Do not allow plates to be exposed to air and do not fill the water all the way up to the cap. Do not use water with a high mineral content. You should use only distilled or deionised water. Check water levels in each cell of each battery weekly to ensure that the leaded plates in the battery are submerged in liquid. Don't fill the cell all the way up -- add just enough water to cover the plates. Lastly, please follow the manufacturer's instructions for maintaining your golf cartís batteries.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ken Mackenzie is a Marketing Consultant with an interest in golf. For additional information on golf cart batteries including how lead acid batteries work; how to use a hydrometer; changing batteries and troubleshooting golf cart batteries, please visit http://www.YourGolfCartBatteries.com