Whether you are preparing to store your battery for the season, or if you keep your golf car in storage for extended periods of time throughout the year, it’s important to remember that properly preparing your golf car batteries for long-term storage is critically important if you want them to perform when you’re ready to hit the course or road again.
Charging is one of the most important yet most misunderstood components of deep-cycle battery maintenance, and is affected when storing a golf car for prolonged periods of time. To achieve maximum performance, capacity and life, deep-cycle batteries must be charged on a regular basis. However, when not used on a regular basis, batteries will self-discharge which may cause irreversible damage to your deep-cycle batteries resulting in poor performance and reduced life.
The amount of self-discharge depends on the temperature of the storage location and the duration of time your batteries are not in use, plus any parasitic loads that might be on your golf car from added accessories. It’s important to either disconnect the batteries from the golf car while in storage to remove these parasitic loads, or based on the type of charger you have, keep the charger plugged into the golf car. Some chargers will check battery voltage automatically while the batteries are in storage and will provide the necessary boost charge when they are connected to your golf car’s battery bank. Contact your car manufacturer’s user’s manual for their recommended storage charging guidelines.
Always keep the batteries in a cool area and stay away from areas that are near heat sources such as radiators or heaters, since hot temperatures accelerate battery self-discharge. In addition, always avoid areas where freezing temperatures are expected during the storage period. The battery self-discharge chart below illustrates the specific gravity measurements in relation to the duration of storage.
Be sure to monitor voltage every six weeks while the batteries are in storage, and give the batteries a boost charge when they are at 70 percent state of charge or less. For instructions on determining the batteries’ state of charge, view Trojan’s video tutorial “Determining the Health of a Deep-Cycle Battery” at www.trojanbattery.com/trojan_tips.
Always recharge your batteries before putting them back into service. Before beginning any charging procedures, always refer to your car manufacturer’s charging specifications to confirm the proper techniques for your particular golf car batteries. Start by checking the electrolyte levels in flooded battery cells to ensure they are at the proper level to charge. If not, ensure you follow the proper watering procedures prior to charging.
Ensure your battery connections are tight to prevent poor connections which impacts charging, and check that vents are completely installed to avoid excess water loss and to prevent hydrogen gas from escaping. Batteries will “gas” while charging, so be sure the location has good ventilation to avoid gas buildup. Also, never charge a frozen battery and avoid charging in temperatures over 120˚ F.