How Many Batteries in a Golf Cart? (Can You Use 3 x 12 Volts)

Golf cart battery

Determining your Golf Cart Battery Volts

Electric golf carts primarily rely on lead-acid batteries or lithium-ion batteries for their operation.

How many batteries are in the average golf cart? The average golf cart needs 4 to 6 batteries to operate correctly. In rare cases, you’ll find 8 batteries in a golf cart.

Golf carts are powered by a total of either 36 volts or 48 volt. A typical golf round requires the golf cart to run for about 40 minutes.

While buying a lesser number of batteries, each with a higher voltage can lessen upfront costs, the depth of discharge must also be taken into consideration.

Most golf carts use six x 8-volt batteries instead of four x 12 volts.


Steps to Determine the Voltage of a Golf Cart:

  1. Raise the seat of your golf cart upwards and find out where the battery compartment is located.

  2. Now that you have identified the location, check how many holes or cells there are on a battery. The number of holes you’ll see will either be 3, 4 or 6.

  3. Now, multiply this number by 2 to get the golf cart battery voltage. This is because each cell has a 2 volts rating.

  4. Multiply the golf cart battery voltage by the total number of golf cart batteries. This will help you arrive at the golf cart voltage.


Can You Use Three 12 Volts Batteries in a Golf Cart

Yes, a 36 volt golf cart that uses the original six 6 volt batteries can be replaced with three 12 volt batteries.

However, keep in mind that when you do this replacement, your golf cart may not run as much time as it did with the 6 volts batteries. The cart will also not be able to cover all 18 holes of a golf course.


How to Change Six – 6 Volt Batteries to Three – 12 Volt Batteries

This is how you can go about doing the battery change from six 6 volt batteries to three 12 volt rechargeable batteries using jumper cables.

  1. Disconnect the 6 volts batteries and remove them from the battery compartment in the golf cart.

  2. Place the three new 12 volts batteries in a row inside the compartment such that the jumper cable covers the distance between the positive terminal of one battery and the negative terminal of the adjacent battery.

  3. Connect the negative terminal of the 1st battery, to the positive terminal of the 2nd battery. To do this, slide the connectors on either end of the jumper cable over the two battery terminals and fix them in place.

  4. Next, you’ll need to connect the negative terminal of the 2nd battery to the positive terminal of the 3rd battery. For this step, use the same method mentioned above.

  5. Connect the positive terminal of the golf cart with the positive terminal of the first battery.

  6. Connect the negative terminal of the golf cart with the negative terminal of the third battery.

  7. Now you are ready to operate your golf cart.


Can you use Car Batteries in a Golf Cart?

Yes, you can use car batteries in your golf cart. However, it’s not recommended, as car batteries do not have sufficient reserve capacity to keep the cart in motion for a sufficient time.

Over a period, these batteries do not support the large flow of current that is needed repeatedly in the case of a golf cart.

A standard car battery is very likely to die out after a few cycles. This will call for frequent replacements which will turn out to be costly in the long run.


Can you use 12 volt Marine Deep Cycle Batteries in a Golf Cart

Yes you can use 12 volt marine deep cycle batteries in a golf cart.

Deep cycle marine batteries do not have the lifespan of typical golf cart batteries.

A 6 volts golf cart battery is almost as big as a 12 volts marine deep cycle battery.

However, it is designed with a purpose, in a different style, with bigger lead plates and so on. This prevents the golf cart battery from decaying fast, like a marine deep cycle battery.


Can you use Lithium Batteries in a Golf Cart?

Yes, you can use lithium batteries in a golf cart. While it’s not common to find golf cart batteries replaced with lithium-ion batteries, many golf cart owners can expect 50% longer battery life when using a lithium battery.

In my experience, I have seen many golf cart owners who have opted for this battery replacement.

If you are planning for a changeover from lead-acid to lithium-iron, you must first take safety precautions.

Disclaimer: Please speak with a qualified mechanic before attempting any battery changes.


Advantages of Lithium Batteries

  • Lithium batteries have about 10 times the charge cycle and 50% more life than the normal golf cart batteries. This means that you will not have to replace them as often as a standard cart battery.

  • Lithium batteries are much lighter than lead-acid batteries. The reduced amount of weight also decreases the weight of your golf cart, while making it easier for you to carry the batteries around. Furthermore, this helps the golf cart move smoother and faster; with lesser power being consumed.

  • There is no fear of acid spillage which sometimes happens as a result of the interaction between the electrolytes and the immersed plates in sulfuric acid. It’s a common problem with heavy usage.

  • Lithium-ion batteries are maintenance-free because they do not rust, as there is no possibility of corrosion. Also, since there is no fluid, you do not have to keep a check on the fluid level for a recharge.

  • These batteries are quite powerful and are capable of discharging energy very fast.


Disadvantages of Lithium Batteries

  • Lithium batteries tend to overheat due to overcharge and changes in the outdoor temperature. This makes them prone to the risk of exploding.

  • They require to be charged more often than the normal golf cart batteries.

  • These batteries are four times as expensive as the usual lead-acid batteries, mainly because of the cost incurred to produce them.

  • Often, due to manufacturing defects, some of the batteries do not reach even half their battery life. To make matters worse, this usually happens after the warranty period.


Can you use AGM batteries in a Golf Cart?

Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries are also known as sealed batteries. As the name indicates, these batteries come completely sealed in an enclosure.

The battery electrolytes are housed in between the battery plates.

There is a liquid that helps to keep the mat and the electrolytes wet. The liquid will not ooze out even if there is a crack or a break in the battery.

AGM batteries are indeed ideal for golf cart owners who want an alternative to lead-acid batteries which have to be kept topped up with water from time to time.


How AGM Batteries Work in a Golf Cart

AGM batteries encompass a mat with thin glass fibers woven into them to expand the surface area. The fibers in the mat do not have an adverse impact on the acidic electrolyte.

The fiberglass mat is also capable of absorbing the sulfuric acid in the battery.

After 2 to 5% soaking in the acid, the mat is wrung to make the battery spill-proof and safe for shipping. The plates have a flat design to make them similar to that of lead-acid batteries.

The batteries have low self-discharge and low internal resistance that make them capable of delivering high currents for an extended period. This will provide plenty of battery power to move your golf over all areas of the course! 

Please keep in mind that the battery topping must be changed once every 6 months to avoid sulfation on the plates.


Advantages of using AGM Batteries

AGM batteries come with several advantages that are worth considering for your golf cart. These are some reasons why you may want to opt for one.

  • The charge time is at least five times faster than a lead-acid battery.
  • The battery is capable of withstanding vibrations. It also works in cold temperatures.
  • The size is quite compact with a 30 to 100Ah rating.
  • The electrolyte count is lesser than a standard battery.
  • The sealed enclosure provides acid encapsulation that in turn makes the battery spill-proof.
  • The depth of discharge is 80%, which allows the battery to last for as long as three to five years. This may extend up to eight years if the batteries are properly maintained.
  • The chance of sulfation is less when compared to the usual batteries.


Gel Cell Vs AGM battery in a Golf Cart

Often AGM batteries are mistaken to be the same as gel cell batteries. This is not surprising because both of them have many common excellent traits that make them worth considering.

However, if you want to replace your current golf cart battery for either a gel cell or AGM model, you need to first know the differences between the two.

Both types of these batteries produce no spillage, can be mounted in any position, has low self-discharge, are deep cycle and can be kept safely in areas with less ventilation.


Differences Between AGM and Gel Cell Batteries

  • In a gel cell, the battery electrolyte is suspended in a silica type gel inside which the electrons flow between the battery plates.

  • On the other hand, an AGM battery uses a glass mat to keep the battery electrolyte in place between the plates.

  • Gel cells do not provide as much current flow and power capacity as AGM cells. This means golf carts will perform better using an AGM battery over gel cell.

  • Gel cells are physically bigger than AGM batteries making it a bit difficult to transport from place to place.

  • Gel cells have lesser life expectancy when compared to AGM cells.

  • Gel cells feature a slower discharge rate than AGM batteries.

  • Are your golf cart batteries leaking? Read my advice
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  • Do you need a new golf cart battery? Golf Cart Battery Price Guide


Ernie loves documenting interesting facts about golf.

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