Winter is right around the corner! For many of you, that means it’s almost time to put away the golf cart for the season. If you don’t properly take care of your golf cart in the off-season, you may very well be faced with a golf cart that won’t start in the spring. Cold weather climates can wreak havoc on certain golf cart components such as the batteries and cables. That’s why it’s so important to prepare your golf cart for the impending cold weather this winter. If you’re not sure how to properly winterize your golf cart, here is a step-by-step guide.
1. Clean Golf Cart and Batteries
- Using soap and water, remove all dirt from the body of the golf cart. Be sure to wipe it dry, to prevent rusting.
- Using a battery acid neutralizer (1 cup of baking soda per 1 gallon of water), clean the battery packs and terminals. Use an old paintbrush if necessary to completely coat all terminals. After a few minutes, wash away solution using water, then dry the batteries completely with a towel.
2. Fill Golf Cart Tires
- Using a tire gauge, check the air pressure in each tire. Most golf carts require 18-20 Pounds per Square Inch (PSI).
- Add or remove air, based on air pressure reading.
- Repair or replace any tires with leaks.
3. Battery Maintenance
- Remove battery caps and check the water levels in each battery. If necessary, fill the battery cells with DISTILLED WATER ONLY.
- Cells should be filled to 1/4″ above the plates.
- Fully charge the battery, then remove the golf cart from the charger. (DO NOT leave charger plugged into golf cart all winter, unless using a charger with a winter storage mode, such as the Lester Summit Series Charger)
4. Prepare for Winter
- Turn the key switch to “off” position. Remove the key and leave the forward/reverse switch in NEUTRAL position.
- Make sure the golf cart is secure, and release the parking brake. Leaving the parking brake on all winter will strain the battery cable.
- Leave the Regenitive switch to “Run.” Leaving the golf cart in tow/maintenance mode will drain the battery.
- Tighten all the battery cable connections
5. Cover Golf Cart
- If you can’t store your golf cart in a garage or barn, then be sure to protect it from the elements with a Golf Cart Enclosure.
- Be sure to come back once a month and check and recharge the batteries and fill water levels.
- If you can’t check the cart once a month, unplug the first battery cable from the golf cart. This will isolate the battery pack from the golf cart, reducing engine drain.
Turn the key switch to the “off” position, remove the key, and leave the forward/reverse switch in the “neutral” position during storage. Then place the tow/run switch in the “tow” position. Note: since the battery warning light does not illuminate with the key in the “off” position and the tow switch in “tow,” do not use the warning light as an indication of the batteries’ charge state.
If cars are equipped with an onboard computer, the OBC will automatically activate the charger when needed. If the battery charger is left plugged in during extended storage, check the electrolyte level and the charger function at least once a month to ensure that proper operation is maintained. To check the charger function, disconnect the DC cord (stationary charger) from the vehicle or the AC cord (onboard charger) from the power source and wait five seconds before reconnecting. The charger is functioning properly if the ammeter indicates current.
If AC power is off for seven days or more, the OBC will not function or charge the vehicle again until it has been restarted. To restart the computer, make sure AC power has been restored, disconnect the DC cord (stationary charger) from the vehicle or the AC cord (onboard charger) from the power source, wait five seconds and reconnect.
Be sure to check the batteries and charger monthly to maintain the correct water level in the batteries and to ensure the charger is operating correctly during storage. Disconnect the batteries for the storage period if any of the following conditions exist: the charger cannot remain plugged in continuously, AC power will not be available during extended storage, or if electrolyte levels will not be maintained.