Even in the offseason, understanding how to care for your battery (and checking how old it is) means you’ll be that much more prepared when it warms up again. If you have ever had to replace a golf cart battery, you know that it’s not a cheap endeavor. It can be a frustrating task as well unless you know exactly what you’re looking for. So best to start looking now.
When maintaining and shopping for a golf cart battery, there are a few things you need to pay attention to – different than if you were shopping for a car battery.
Knowing the difference between amperage and voltage – and even how old your battery is – can make all the difference in making sure you get the battery you need.
Voltage vs. Amperage
A golf cart battery that is the same voltage as your old one may not work the way you would hope. With golf carts, amperage is very important. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two.
Voltage, we all know, relates to horsepower in our cars. That’s true for golf cart battery packs as well. The voltage on the battery pack relates to the amount of power the golf cart will have. However, a battery pack with greater voltage doesn’t always mean that all of that power will be delivered to the cart.
That’s where amperage comes in. There is a controller in the golf cart limits the amount of amperage that can be delivered from the battery (thereby crushing your dreams of winning the cross country golf cart race by simply changing your battery).
While the voltage determines how much power your golf cart will have, the amperage measures out how far you can go on a single charge. Hence, the need for the controller.
If the controller just allowed all of the amperage created by the voltage to be delivered in one fell swoop, you’d have a cart that went really fast for a short time and then, nothing. So if the voltage is power, the amperage is fuel.
You can have all the power in the world, but no fuel (or inadequate amperage) means no motion.
Recap: Voltage is great but amperage is great too. Make sure you know how exactly what the manufacturer’s recommendations are for your golf cart and understand the voltage and amperage that it can handle. Trying to shove a higher voltage battery into your cart and expect to last longer or have more power is just going to leave you stranded.
How old is your battery anyway?
Understanding the age of your golf carts battery can help you determine how much life it has left and help you prepare for the “changing of the guards”.
If you are looking at purchasing a used golf cart, you’ll really want to know how to tell the age of the battery pack. No one wants to sit in the driver’s seat only to find out they need the battery replaced (and could’ve done it during the offseason).
If you know where to look, you’ll be able to spot the age immediately. Most battery packs have a stamp or sticker somewhere on the battery. If it’s a stamp, it will usually be found right on the terminal.
At first glance, it will look like a letter and a number, big deal. It may look something like J – 7. It’s the holy grail l if you know the code.
The letter correlates to a month, like so:
A – January
B – February
C – March
D – April
E – May
F – June
G – July
H – August
I – September
J – October
K – November
L – December
The number you’ll see relates to the year. So, using our example of J – 7, the battery was produced in October of 2017. While it’s possible that the battery date could be October of 2007, the odds are extremely low. Rarely would a battery last for 10 years, and getting them looking clean enough to pass for newer would be nearly impossible.
Now that you know how your golf cart battery works and how to tell its age, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your fleet in perfect condition!