It’s quite normal for golf cart batteries to feel a little warm while in use or during charging. This comes as no surprise as a large amount of energy is being transferred when using your golf cart. However if your battery or charger feel too hot, or even worse you smell an odor, it’s time to stop and troubleshoot the issue.
Why do golf cart batteries get hot? Loose battery connections and dirty terminals are the main reason why your golf cart battery will get too hot. A battery that feels too hot while charging usually means that the water level is too low.
Troubleshooting a Hot Golf Cart Battery
Safety Disclaimer: If you’re worried about the smell, heat or the overall health of your battery, you should always contact the manufacturer or dispose of the battery. I believe it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Troubleshooting your battery will depend on the type of battery and its age. Warmth is expected, but when the battery feels hotter than what is considered normal, you need to take quick action.
Before buying your new battery, please follow the next steps to help diagnose and troubleshoot any problems.
- First of all, ensure that the battery cables are correctly connected. A bad connection can cause the battery to become overheated, which will make the charger hot too.
- Failing to maintain optimal water levels will certainly create overheating issues! Every battery should show a line marked. This marker clearly shows how much water you need to correctly maintain the battery and avoid overheating.
- The golf cart battery needs some space to breathe. Ensure wires are free of its surroundings and lay the charger flat on a hard surface. Failing to create a good environment for the battery will likely cause overheating.
Why Do Golf Cart Battery Terminals Melt
The terminal of a golf cart battery will usually melt when connections become loose or dirty. To avoid terminals melting, ensure you use the correct size wires, and that limps, nuts and bolts are tightened securely.
The terminal post of the golf cart battery is attached with the cable using a stainless steel. The post is associated with the cell plates of the golf cart’s battery. This helps in the transferring of power from battery to the engine of the golf cart.
Remember that leaving connections loose or dirty can easily lead to some resistance. Batteries and resistance don’t mix well, often causing excessive heat or melting.
- Resistance is the last thing you ever want in this type of connection and can easily be transferred to heat. Each golf cart battery terminal has a resistance power and cannot cover more. Any excessive heat can quickly destroy the connection and terminals.
- On the other hand, if you end up tightening the connection more than what is required; you’re actually stretching the threads and pulling the posts out of the leads. This is another way to eventually loosen up a connection, leading to resistance and excessive heat.
According to the majority of the golf cart battery manufacturers, the torque required falls between 85 to 100 and 5-inch pounds. Depending on the brand of golf cart you have, you can find the torque requirements for a specific battery via a Google search.
Correctly torquing the cable to the stud connections of the battery is very important. This one simple step can increase the lifespan of your battery without melting the terminals away.
Why Do Golf Cart Batteries Get Hot When Charging
There are so many reasons for golf cart batteries to become hot while charging. As electrical power runs from one terminal head to another, feeling a small amount of warmth is normal. However, overcharging the battery might force the battery to get too hot.
Generally, charging the battery for a few hours will make the battery work just fine and last the whole day. There are some brands, whose chargers will turn off automatically after getting charged for about 16 hours, which will prevent the batteries from getting hotter.
Remember it’s crucial that you regularly check the water level in your battery. There is a line marked on the tank that indicates how much water is needed. If the amount of water in your battery is too low, then you’re working with a dry battery. Using your cart with a dry battery will cause heat damage quickly!
Maintaining optimal water levels is a must. If you find your batteries becoming hot soon after charging, it may indicate low water levels.
Don’t forget to check the cable connections as well. Overly tight, loose or dirty connections can cause the golf cart batteries to become hot while charging.
Why Do Golf Cart Batteries Smell Bad While Charging
Don’t worry too much if your golf cart battery smells bad during charging. This foul odor which I often describe as “rotten” eggs is completely normal during the battery charging cycle.
When you buy a new battery off the store shelf it will contain an extra high level of acid. It’s completely normal for gas to be released.
In fact you may continue to smell a small amount of this odor throughout your batteries life. Hydrogen Sulfide is a by-product of heavy charging which causes a bad smelling gas to be released.
Even though some people get scared when the charger becomes hot to touch and produces a bad odor, to some extent it’s normal. Based on the type of charger you’re using and how long you have been running it, the temperature and smell will vary.
- If you’re using a charger with more power than what is needed, it will become hotter.
- Based on how long the battery has been used, the temperature of the charger will vary. If the battery is old it can take longer to become fully charged. That means the charger is getting overworked which may result in extra heat being produced.
How To Prevent Golf Cart Battery Getting Warm
Here are some easy steps to make your charger last longer and reduce the chances of heat problems:
- First check the water level inside the battery. As mentioned earlier in this article, if you do not maintain the right water level in the battery, then the temperature of the battery will increase more than usual.
- Next, you must check the cable connectors of your battery. The joints, wires and bolts must be tightened up well. Try to avoid using an extension cord. If you feel the need to use one, then go for a heavy-duty cable. Cheaper versions of the extension cords will overheat the charger.
- Lastly, your charger needs some breathing space. It should remain on a hard surface like the garage floor.
Why Water in Wet-Cell Batteries Keeps Boiling While Charging
There are multiple reasons for the water in wet cell batteries to boil. Sometimes, you may have more water in your golf cart batteries than what is needed. According to some studies, there should be a gap of ¼ inch above the plates.
Sometimes, your golf cart batteries are old and worn out. Such batteries fail to work efficiently and will eventually die. These factors will force your charger to add more pressure on the batteries to get them completely charged.
So, it’s essential to check the connection point of your golf cart batteries at regular intervals. It will help you understand the problems and take actions accordingly.
Does Warranty Cover Melted Batteries?
It’s difficult to say whether your warranty covers the melting of your golf cart battery or not. Usually the answer is no. This all depends on the brand of the battery and type of warranty you have.
Primarily, the manufacturer’s warranty will only cover the battery’s working functions.
If anything happens to the golf cart battery without the user’s knowledge or intervention, then the manufacturer’s warranty may cover the damages caused. But if the battery gets misused or not adequately treated as per the instruction manual, then the warranty won’t take any responsibility for the damage occurred.
Melted batteries are signs that the user has failed to take proper care of the battery. Checking the cable connections from time to time, or working on the water level of the batteries are some points which the users have to check at regular intervals. While purchasing the golf cart or its battery, the manufacturer will introduce some maintenance tips to the buyers.
Even after getting the proper instructions, if the users fail to check the battery’s quality and end up with melted batteries, then the warranties will not cover such damages. Users need to pay separately to get the batteries replaced with new ones, as repairing them is not worth the difficulty.
When to Replace Your Golf Cart Batteries
It becomes difficult for novices to know when they have to replace old golf cart batteries. Are you confused and not quite sure of when to replace the golf cart batteries? Here are a few points to help identify when golf cart batteries should to be replaced.
- A battery taking twice the normal time to become completely charged is a sign that the batteries are getting old, and need to be replaced with a new one. With age, the batteries fail to hold power like before and end up taking longer to charge.
- Another sign you need to replace your battery is when it’s entirely dead soon after charging! As far as I know, a dead battery has never been able to power a golf cart!
- At some point your golf cart will not accelerate as fast as it used to. If this occurs, then something is wrong with the batteries. Have your battery checked or replaced if needed.
You have to keep these tips in mind to know when you have to replace old golf cart batteries. The manufacturer’s manual might come handy as it has all the points mentioned throughout this article.
Similarly, you can ask other golf cart holders about their own experience with the batteries and charging their golf carts.
I personally I tend to stay on the side of caution. When I have any doubt about my batteries condition I just throw them out. This has always served me well and ensures that I can ride my golf cart as safely as possible.
Leaking batteries is another issue golfers face while using their golf carts.
Read my guide Why Golf Cart Batteries Leak