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How To Test Your Golf Cart Batteries

How To Check If Your Golf Cart Batteries Are Still Good

This will be an ongoing How To article because it is important to note the proper way to do something does not mean everyone has the tools required to do so. Surely not the average electric golf cart owner that is starting to experience performance issues with their golf cart. So they start to ponder possible options – which human instinct would suggest oh… great I will just replace the batteries. This is until you call to get someone to do the job for you as it is kinda overwhelming to a novice or someone who has never seen so many batteries in one place before much less wired together, oh and the size and weight…. Jeez those batteries look heavy. Average golf cart battery weight is 60 lbs ea… Then the shocker – the cost associated with replacing your golf cart batteries with a quality battery. Heck even the cheapest of cheapest made in Mexico/Korea black boxes will cost you 90-100 bucks each for a 6 volt, 100-120 each for an 8 volt, and even more for 12 volt batteries.


Golf Cart Battery Testing Methods

So back to square one… my golf cart is not running right or providing good range – Example – cannot complete a full 18 holes of golf. How do you determine what is wrong and if or how can you fix it?

Digital Volt Meter Test

A digital volt meter is only going to get you so far in the event you want to check the health of a battery. The digital volt meter test is great for checking voltage and testing a circuit for power when wiring things to power up, but for this purpose they will only determine if the battery in fact has some electricity in them. I will check the battery bank as a whole to confirm power. Then I will check batteries individually to see how they stack up or if one battery might be the culprit vs the bank as a whole.

Testing Your Batteries With A Hydrometer

Check the electrolyte specific gravity with a hydrometer. If the specific gravity measures between 1.100 and 1.220, the battery must be
recharged. If the specific gravity is between 1.225 and 1.265, the battery is ok to test. If the hydrometer has a temperature correction chart, be sure to adjust the reading for the battery’s temperature. Variance of specific gravity between cells is not significant on discharged batteries (batteries with specific gravity below 1.225).

Special Note – If there is a variance of 50 points (0.050) in a battery whose specific gravity is 1225 or more, that battery is bad and should be replaced.

Battery Load Test

For example – On a full charge a good set of golf cart batteries will allow you to surely play a few rounds of golf. Using a 48 volt Club Car for example you can play a round of golf with a new set of fully charged batteries and after round is complete the cart will still be above the 48 volt threshold on the battery banks capacity. One because the start / stop load not very demanding vs all out start stops continuously without letting the golf cart or batteries catch their breath per se… Though this is also because a fully charged 48 volt cart with say 6x 8 volt batteries will be around 51 volts not 48 volts.

Proper Procedure For Load Testing A Golf Cart Battery

  1.  Charge the batteries completely. If the batteries do not take a charge this is a good indication they need to be replaced. Unless your golf cart battery charger needs to be replaced or repaired because it is in fact the problem and why the cart is not performing as it should.
  2. To get an accurate assessment you will need to make sure they are fully charged ( No Exceptions) and slightly rested ( Cool to your touch-Room Temperature)
  3. Check voltage before each test with Digital Volt Meter or If you purchase the Load tester Pete recommends it has a volt meter on it to help facilitate a proper test.
  4. Apply the load required based on Quick Guide below
  5. Load the batteries to the advertised Amp Hour Ah rating at 20 hrs…. This information can be found on the top of all golf cart batteries – See learn how to interpret a Battery Information Sticker.
  6. Test results you will want to see. See Golf Cart Battery Load Testing Results Explained below… the following to confirm they are still in good shape.

Quick Golf Cart Battery Capacity Guide –

  • Average 6 volt golf cart batteries are 210-225Ah,
  • Average 8 volt golf cart batteries are 165-170Ah, and
  • Average 12 volt golf cart batteries are 150Ah….

Golf Cart Battery Load Testing Results Explained

  • 6 volt battery will need to maintain 5 volts for 15 seconds at the advertised 20hr Ah rating,
  • 8 volt battery will need to maintain 7 volts for 15 seconds at the advertised 20hr Ah rating, and then the
  • 12 volt battery will need to maintain 11 volts for 15 seconds at the advertised 20hr Ah rating.

Lester Charge/Discharge Tester


Reasons For Battery Failure

Age of Battery: If the date code on the battery indicates it is fairly old, the failure may be due to natural causes.

Incorrect Installation: Loose battery hold-downs cause excessive vibration, which can result in damage to the plates and internals of the battery. Especially important with new batteries as the lead has not cured yet and is very soft.

Improper Maintenance: Low electrolytic fluid and corrosion on battery connections can greatly reduce battery life and performance.

Overcharging: Overcharging caused by a rogue battery charger can cause excessive gassing, heat and water loss.

Undercharging: Undercharging caused by using a cheap golf cart battery charging system ( One that does not apply enough amperage in the charging cycle) can cause lead sulfate to gradually build up and crystallize on the plates greatly reducing the
battery’s capacity and ability to be recharged.

Wrong Battery For Your Application: Wrong size battery may not have inadequate performance rating for vehicles electrical system and specifications. (This is for those people thinking they can save a few bucks by putting 3x 12 volt batteries in a 36 volt golf cart that usually uses 6x 6 volt batteries.)

Battery Testing Safety Precautions

Wear eye protection when working around batteries.

Keep sparks, flames, or cigarettes away from batteries.

Provide adequate ventilation to remove battery gases.

In extremely cold temperatures, check for frozen electrolytic fluid before applying load. Do not attempt to Load Test or charge a
battery under 20 degrees. Allow the battery to warm to room temperature before testing or charging.

Be sure each test is completed before removing load clamps to prevent arcing and potential explosion from battery
gasses. Never remove load clamps while testing.

17 thoughts on “How To Test Your Golf Cart Batteries

  1. My batteries are 4 years old. I have made sure the batteries are full of water. I have never had problems with the operation of the club car until today. I put the charger on and normally it charges and then shuts off. I happen to check on the charger after a couple days and notice that the charger stays at 5 and does not move. It started out at 12 two days ago. Very strong smell coming from the batteries. Can you tell the problem i am having.

    1. Sounds like they are starting to become stubborn with sulfation ( build up on the plates of the batteries. Or if just out of the blue might be something going on with the OBC if your Club Car is still so equipped… ( 1995-2013 Models ) Or if you are using the PowerDrive Charger then it does have one… Basically the charger is just looking for a number ( voltage level ) once achieved it will shut off. Though even if not achieved in 12 hours it should shut off regardless…. obviously did not happen – makes me think OBC going weird. I would unplug charger let batteries rst for a few hours… check voltage of battery bank and each individual battery if still low try to cycle them again… if all reflect a full charge I would load test to confirm. If all is still looking good – I would double check all wires completing the circuit.

      These basic tests and checks should uncover the problem.

      Power On…

  2. I have a 2012 club car 48 volt system. Every once in awhile it just goes dead. If you work the foot feed it will start and might go 18 holes before it starts to buck. The batteries are original and I replaced the solenoid. Could it just be batteries are getting weak that causes it to go dead?

    1. Yep…. Sounds like batteries – especially if they are 7 years old…. Though sounds like your MCOR is going as well. Full Charge the batteries and perform a load test on the batteries to be for sure…. As for the MCOR Does it cut out while driving? IF so start to feather or repeatedly lift foot and press go pedal quickly to see if the rapid foot movements make the cart want to move again… If so the MCor is on the way out as well.


  3. I have a 94 Club Car with 4 year old Trojan Batteries (always properly maintained) and a fairly new Lester charger. The charger will never run for over 4 hours and only charges the batteries to around 70%. I tried a friends charger and got the same results. Any suggestion?

    1. Thank you for your inquiry… What are you basing the incomplete charge on? Do you have a digital volt meter on the bank while charging? Check prior to charging , during, and after charge complete? Voltage should read over advertised operation voltage always… 36v or 48v systems …. while charging well above that number ( say 2-5 volts ) … When bank is fully charged a 36v system will read between 38-40 volts, 48v systems will read 50-52 volts…

      A proper load test will determine state of charge and health of batteries…. Note – the load tester will need to be big enough to put a load on the batteries equal to the advertised amp hour (Ah) rating on the battery.

      Power On…

  4. Great website information first of all! My question is regarding battery meters or gauges for the dashboard to monitor how much charge is left before I am stranded! Can you recommend one that is effective? I run 6-8 volt batteries in my 2011 Ez-Go Cart. Currently the cart will be almost unable to go much farther by the time it gets down to 33.2 volts overall but is not totally dead yet.
    Thoughts? And thank You!

    1. Mark – Thanks for the inquiry. Here is a link to the site section with Battery Meters – State of Charge Indicator to monitor the current voltage in your carts battery bank. View Items Now.

      Pete’s team

  5. I have a question on my batteries. I have a 36 volt cart that has a set of batteries that are not a year old yet, as is the charger.
    He is my problem, on a full charge the cart is not as quick as it was when I purchased it (Oct. 2019) and it seem to struggle going up a small grade (drive way 30′ long) regardless of charge.
    I have noticed that it has been slowing down more and more each day (again short distances…less the 2 miles it can barely make it home).
    So I checked each sell with a hydrometer and found batteries 1,3 & 4 with 50%, battery 2 with 75% and batteries 5 & 6 with 100%. Non of that makes sense to me as I believe that they are to be within a equal range of one another.
    So next I did a volt test, battery 1 – 6.1v 2 -6.33v 3- 6.03v 4-6.33v 5 & 6 – 6.0v each. I then did a total volt test across all 6 batteries and got 37.35.
    Well I still didnt believe what I was seeing, so I did a draw test on all 6 bateries and the voltage dropped to 24 volts within 10 seconds.
    I smell a rat some where what do you make of this?
    Sorry this is so long but I wanted to give as much info as I had.
    Thx for reading,


    1. Similar cart and problems. What say you Pete?

  6. I am new to an electric cart. I have a 1996 EZGO that I just installed new Rolls batteries. I checked the voltage the other night before taking a ride and I had 38.5 volts. My wife and I and the dog took a ride about equal to 9 holes of golf with the headlights on. As we were heading for home the cart started slowing down and then died altogether. I had to tow it home. Once at home I checked the battery voltage and it was about 37.3 volts. I checked each battery independently and they all checked good. Any ideas what could have happened?

  7. I have a 1996 EZGO 36 volt cart that I just bought and installed 6 brand new Rolls batteries in it. They were fully charged at 38.2 volts. We took it out last night and had 2 adults and a 70 lb dog on it. We road around with the lights on for about the distance of a 9 hole golf course. 1/2 mile from home I started noticing the power diminishing until it finally quit altogether. I towed it home and checked the battery voltage and it was at 37.2 volts. What am I missing here? I thought that with new fully charged batteries it should go a lot further.

  8. I have a 2009 Yamaha G29 YRDE ..Batteries 2.3 years old ..Each battery fully charged on digital meter reads approx 12.97 …There are two of us in cart …I struggle to complete 18 holes…..Batteries ?? or something more sinister …Solenoid???…. Thanks

  9. i have a 48 volt 2008 club car new batteries new charger i charge after 9 to 18 holes is this ok?
    I can hear the water bubbling inside the batteries ? is this normal after 4 hours of charging. seems to take forever for charger to shut off.

    1. Hello,
      Thank you for reaching out! You can charge as much as you want just do not over charge the cart! Using a accusense charger is best as it will turn off when the charger is complete and will not charge if there is enough voltage! Always make sure that the water is topped off before the charge session! Your charger could be old which is why it is charging long and hot ( bubbling the water)

      I hope that this helps,
      Pete’s Team!

  10. I’m new to electric but just recently traded my gas for one. I have a Yamaha 48 v 2008. The batteries are a month old. The first round in them they started struggling on hole 10 and died altogether on 17 and I had to tow it home. I had the batteries checked and they showed good. The closest place is an hour and I am trying to avoid that since I do not have a trailer, any ideas on what the issue may be?

    1. Hey,
      Thank you for reaching out! It sounds like possible bad batteries! You need to do a load test on these to really know!

      Thank you,

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