As a golf cart owner, you need to know how to keep your battery in great shape.
Without a powerful charge for your battery, your cart will run poorly and struggle to run.
As a result, some people may keep their battery plugged in all the time.
Is this a good practice?
We take a look at everything you need to know.
Should I Leave My Golf Cart Plugged in All the Time?
A golf cart battery is made up of a number of cells that can hold a strong electrical charge for a lengthy time.
However, this charge eventually dissipates and leaves your battery without any juice.
As a result, you may need to plug it in to the charger frequently, especially if you use your cart frequently.
However, some may think of leaving their battery plugged in at all times to keep the battery strong.
You should not do this because your battery is designed to discharge and recharge.
It is good for the battery to lose a charge and charge back up again – it can strengthen its operation and make it more capable of powering your battery for lengthy periods.
So, it isn’t good to keep it at a constant state of full charge.
Beyond this issue, a golf cart battery is also not designed to be plugged in constantly.
In the past, before automatic chargers, this step could cause the battery to overcharge and damage its cells, triggering long-lasting problems that could be hard to fix.
Thankfully, automatic chargers have a function that turns it off once the battery has reached full charge.
As a result, you typically won’t experience damage to your battery if you leave it plugged in accidentally after a full charge.
That doesn’t mean, however, that your battery won’t get damaged or cause problems.
For example, people who leave their cart plugged in all the time may cause the circuit breaker to trip.
When this happens, the automatic turnoff function may not work.
As a result, your battery will get a constant flow of electricity that will cause damage to its structure.
This problem is not an uncommon one and should be avoided at all costs to keep your battery as strong as possible for your needs.
That said, there are times when you might need to keep your battery plugged in for extended periods long after it has reached a full charge.
This situation only happens in the winter or when you aren’t using your cart for months at a time.
And it requires a specialized charger that is designed to keep your battery at full capacity without causing any damage to its cells.
And this device is a trickle charger and should be something every golf cart owner possesses for proper cart maintenance.
The Trickle Charger Exception
A trickle charger is a specialized battery charger that is designed to provide a steady charge to a battery when it is being stored.
The level of the charge is much lower than a normal battery charge, which is important because it isn’t high enough to damage your battery.
When used properly, it helps to keep your battery at full capacity throughout the winter or during months that you aren’t using your golf cart.
To use this type of charger, you typically take your battery out of the cart and into a temperature-controlled area, such as a storage room in your house or a warmed garage.
The trickle charger typically sits on a table or on the floor, and you place the battery on its charging station to activate it.
At this point, the charger sends a steady flow of low-level electricity to your battery that keeps it charged and also performs other types of maintenance steps.
Typically, this low-level charge helps to keep the cells in the battery active by triggering them at a low level.
In this way, the battery doesn’t lose a charge because it remains somewhat active while it sits.
This step is crucial because a battery left to sit for too long can gradually lose a charge, even when not in use.
And this loss of charge may also damage the cells and cause them to hold power less effectively, making your battery and cart less powerful and long-lasting as a result.
By contrast, using a trickle charger will not only retain the charge in your battery but help to keep it as strong as possible.
Cart users who charge with this device find that their battery lasts for years longer than anticipated and is stronger and more capable of handling various types of driving situations.
This benefit is significant because golf cart batteries can cost hundreds of dollars and may be a heavy investment for some people who may not have a lot of money.
When seeking out a trickle charger, it is important to find one designed for the specific golf cart model that you own.
Though you can probably use other types of trickle chargers, you want one for a golf cart battery because they have a unique charging pattern.
And when you’re not using trickle chargers – such as when you’re regularly riding your cart – make sure that you unplug your cart when it is fully charged and follow the proper battery charging cycle to avoid complications.
Proper Charging Cycles are Important to Follow
There is a pretty specific cycle that you have to follow when you are keeping your battery charged.
First of all, you need to make sure that you don’t charge your battery up again after it has been fully charged.
This step is important – if you try to charge it up before the battery has fully discharged, you aren’t allowing the cells the chance to fully expend their electricity, which can damage the cell and cause issues with battery operation.
Many people make this mistake and end up costing years off of their battery’s life.
Instead, you should run your cart until the battery is fully discharged.
Watch the charge meter on your cart to get an idea of how close you are coming to the end of its cycle.
You want to make sure that you are close to your charging station when the battery runs out of juice.
The reason for this is understandable – having to haul your cart back to your home after the battery has discharged is going to be annoying and potentially embarrassing for you.
Then, you need to plug in your battery and let it fully charge before you ride it again.
Do NOT ride your cart with a partially charged battery.
You should always let the battery fully charge before you drive the cart again.
Obviously, you’ll be riding a cart with a partially charged battery after you reach a full charge.
However, reaching the full charge helps to strengthen the cells and keep them in proper operating order before you run the cart.
Typically, this cycle should take several rides on the cart – often, you can get two or three 18-hole golfing experiences in before needing a recharge.