If your golf cart is electric, then you already know it has a beating heart inside known as your batteries! And because golf cart batteries can be expensive, they are the one item our customers with electric carts worry about replacing the most when it comes to maintenance. But today we are going to flip your perspective and teach you everything there is to know about golf cart batteries so that you can make educated purchasing decisions, and so that when it comes time to replace your batteries (or buy a new cart) you are informed and happy knowing you are getting the very best out there.
One question we continually get from our customers is: are electric carts more expensive to own/maintain than Gas carts? The short answer is: no. And when we break down the cost of batteries over their lifetime for an electric cart vs. filling up with gas and maintaining a gas-powered cart; the costs are surprisingly similar.
Electric golf carts have many other benefits as well: they are operated noiselessly (necessary for hunting and use at many country clubs), they provide instant torque, they don’t require gasoline, oil or fuel filters to be replaced, and they don’t smell (great for indoor facility use).
In the section below, we are answering any questions you might have about golf cart batteries, voltage, lifespan, cost, battery chargers and more!
When standard lead-acid golf cart batteries are properly maintained, with the use of a golf cart battery charger, your batteries should last you up to 6 years with regular use. A high-quality golf cart battery charger / maintainer (like the ones we sell on our site) will deliver the correct electrical flow when charging your cart's batteries and will also feature an auto shut-off function (so that you don't fry your cart's batteries from over-charging).
Lithium-Ion Batteries should last you 20 to 30 years!
When it comes to Lead-Acid golf cart batteries, the industry standard brand is Trojan Golf Cart Batteries. But don’t take our word for it... Club Car, EZGO and Yamaha Brand carts all use Trojan batteries straight from the factory! These OEM cart brands have tried and tested battery types from all battery companies available on the market, and all choose to use Trojan time and time again.
Founded in 1925, and based in the USA, Trojan Battery Company has become the world’s leading manufacturer of deep-cycle Solar and Motive batteries. With a broad range of deep-cycle flooded, AGM, Gel and lithium batteries, and close to 100 years of manufacturing experience, Trojan has shaped the world of deep-cycle battery technology.
More recently, Lithium Golf Cart Batteries have taken the golf cart world by storm. The best brands of Lithium Ion golf cart batteries are Allied Lithium, RELiON, ROYPOW, and Samsung. To learn more about lithium batteries, read our article on why Why Lithium Golf Cart Batteries are the Future.
Golf cart batteries are one of the more expensive maintenance costs you will have throughout your golf cart’s life, but as we mentioned in the beginning of this article you ARE saving on gas, oil, filters and other maintenance costs you would otherwise have if your cart was gas.
It is very important that you don’t try to skirt around replacing your golf cart batteries with trusted high-quality replacements. Purchasing off-brand batteries or used batteries will still cost you a pretty penny, and will likely leave you feeling very upset when they die after only a short while. Worse yet, some knock-off battery brands can pose a fire-risk for your golf cart.
You will indeed get what you pay for when it comes to golf cart batteries!
There are a four types of golf cart batteries available on the market:
Most golf carts on the road today have traditional Flooded Lead-Acid batteries, but that is rapidly changing as Lithium Batteries are increasingly offered on new carts by all major manufacturers. But traditional deep-cycle lead acid batteries still work well for most all golf cart applications you can imagine (including off-roading, and more), and are still offered as standard equipment by all the major golf cart makers.
Very few carts use AGM or Gel batteries, but because they are lead-acid batteries as well, they work very similarly to Flooded Lead Acid batteries. They just tend to cost more without providing any additional power output or charge-time benefits.
The most explosive growth in the golf cart battery world these past few years has been Lithium Golf Cart Batteries. This is evidenced by the fact that almost all carts offered by EZ-GO and Club Car these days are offered with Lithium-ion Batteries. This was not the case when we first wrote this guide a number of years ago, but lithium has quickly proven itself to be the best power solution for golf carts; and we anticipate all carts will use lithium battery power in the future.
Golf Cart Lithium Batteries are different than those lithium batteries found in cell phones and other small devices. The type of deep-cycle Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFeO4) batteries used in golf carts are one of the most stable and safe forms of Lithium-Ion batteries, and are optimized to provide a steady current.
Lithium-ion batteries still cost slightly more than Lead-Acid batteries do up front, but they provide some major benefits:
Benefits of Lithium Golf Cart Batteries
If you’re interested in purchasing Lithium-Ion batteries for your cart, we carry Drop-in-Ready Lithium batteries for golf carts from Allied Battery and Relion.
You absolutely cannot use car batteries in your golf cart. Regular car batteries are not used to power the entire car (the combustion motor does that job). A car's accessories (lights, radio, etc.) are then powered by its alternator once the car is running, which converts the combustion motor's mechanical energy into electrical energy. Car batteries are mainly used to simply get the car started and to power accessories from time to time (when the car is not running).
Because car batteries are designed to run at a much lower discharge rate than deep cycle batteries, you cannot use them as the primary power source for your golf cart.
The quickest way to determine what type of batteries your cart has (and what voltage) is:
When replacing batteries in your golf cart, be sure to us the proper 6-volt, 8-volt or 12-volt golf cart batteries after inspecting your setup.
Example: 36-Volt Golf Cart (w/ 6, 6V Batteries system):
3 acid holes x 2 volts per hole = 6-volts
6 volts x 6 total cart batteries = 36-volt cart
Example: 48-Volt Golf Cart (w/ 6, 8V Batteries system):
4 acid holes x 2 volts per hole = 8-volts
8 volts x 6 total cart batteries = 48-volt cart
Example: 72-Volt Golf Cart (w/ 6, 12V Batteries system):
6 acid holes x 2 volts per hole = 12-volts
12 volts x 6 total cart batteries = 72-volt cart
To learn more about your cart’s voltage or the different batteries and charger types, follow this link to QUICKLY determine your golf cart battery voltage.
Regular Golf cart batteries (lead-acid) work in a series, meaning the electrical flow works its way from the first battery in your setup through to the last and then distributes power to the rest of your cart.
Lower-voltage batteries (6V) typically have a higher amp-hour capacity than a higher-voltage (8V, 12V) alternative. For example, see the 48-Volt golf cart example below:
The reason that an 8-batteries 48V system will have a longer run time than a 6-batteries 48V system (even at the same overall voltage) is because using more batteries with lower-voltage overall will lead to less discharge across the series of batteries during use. While using less batteries with higher voltage will provide more power and discharge quicker.
Checkout our guide on How to Get The Most out of Your Golf Cart Batteries.
You will also want to make sure you are buying “fresh” golf cart batteries.
Just like with fruit, when it comes to golf cart batteries: ‘The Fresher They Are, The Better’. Batteries work the best when they are fresh! All battery manufacturers (Trojan Battery included) stamp the production date somewhere on their new batteries (this date code is federally required). It is wise to stick to buying batteries that are no older than 6 months old.
When it comes to reading date codes on Trojan Batteries, it is simple:
There is a 3-digit date code printed on each battery. If the code reads: D19, for example, the letter represents the month the battery was manufactured. The two numbers indicate the year the battery was manufactured. So according to the chart of month codes below, D19 would indicate that the battery was manufactured in April of 2019.
Here are the month codes from Trojan, for your reference:
A – January
B – February
C – March
D – April
E – May
F – June
G – July
H – August
I – September
J – October
K – November
L – December
Keep your eyes peeled for battery corrosion. Golf cart batteries are filled with an acid-and-water solution. The acid inside your batteries can cause a white crusty film to form on the top of your batteries, and at your battery contacts. This corrosion should be cleaned off thoroughly or it may cause your batteries to short, leaving your golf cart without power.
Do NOT jump start your deep cycle lead-acid golf cart batteries using your car. There is a very good chance you will destroy them. This is a big fat NO-NO.
We hope this article has been helpful and informative for you! Please remember, we are always here to help with any questions you might have about your golf cart batteries Just call 1-844-422-7884 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're looking to purchase EZGO batteries, Club Car batteries, or Yamaha Golf Cart batteries - we are here to help today!
Written by: Alex Sturwold of the Golf Cart Expert Team