How To Keep Your Golf Cart Stored For Winter

Posted February 07, 2022

A key part of owning an electric golf cart is maintaining it through the winter months. With temperatures dropping below freezing, the elements can take a toll on how your cart performs when it’s time to bring it back out and hit the fairway. or the neighborhood. Follow these steps when prepping your electric golf cart for winter:

  1. Clean the vehicle
  2. Park the vehicle in a covered, dry location
  3. Fully charge the battery
  4. Disconnect battery cables
  5. Check the tire pressure
  6. Turn the key switch to the OFF position and remove the key
  7. Turn the power switch under the seat to the TOW position

Where you should store your golf cart for winter

You should store your electric golf in a covered dry area, away from any water exposure. A golf cart storage shed would be the best place, but if you don’t have a small storage building with a door, make sure you place it under a shelter, and away from where the elements can get to it. In milder climates, it should be ok to use a golf cart cover. A protective cover for your cart is a wise and inexpensive investment and can be bought online for around $40. At a minimum, any large canvas cloth will be better than not covering it at all.

Will your batteries lose charge by sitting for long periods of time in cold weather?

Batteries naturally self-discharge. Lithium batteries have a much better discharge rate than lead-acid. They will only discharge at about 2% of the charge per month. During the winter months when you won’t be using the cart, you would have to charge your batteries once every 2 weeks. Over enough time, a lead-acid battery could fully discharge to a point that you can't simply plug in the battery charger to get them charged when the time comes to take your cart back out in the spring. Temperature affects any battery's rate of discharge but lithium-ion batteries don't lose trivial amounts of energy to self-discharge when they’re put in storage. They can easily store for an offseason and/or up to 12 months without needing attention.

Golf Carts In Storage

Will leaving your charger connected all winter hurt your batteries?

It is acceptable to leave our batteries connected to the charger over the winter. However, it is best practice to leave the batteries off the charger and the vehicle in TOW mode. It may be obvious but you’ll be surprised by the number of people who will disconnect but forget to turn the vehicle switch to the TOW position. While some will disagree, it’s never the best idea to leave your golf cart plugged in charging for long periods of time. This principle goes for any electronic device that uses a battery, or battery pack.

Nearly every battery - whether lead acid or lithium - requires a more involved charging process when the temperature begins to drop. Both lead-acid and lithium batteries need to be within their specified temperature ranges and must be charged at a slower than normal rate. For example, when charging lithium iron phosphate batteries (LiFePO4) in cold weather, specifically when temperatures are below 32°F, the charge current must be reduced to 0.1C, and when charging your LFP batteries below 14°F, the charge current must be reduced to 0.05C. Failure to do so can cause irreversible damage to your battery.

How often you should check your batteries during winter storage

Considering lithium golf cart batteries have a much lower rate of discharge than lead-acid, it’s a general rule of thumb to check them once every 3 months. Lead-acid batteries would need to be checked every 2-3 weeks to make sure they stay at a sufficient charge capacity. The RELiON InSight 48V golf cart battery has a discharge rate of only 2.8% per month so there would be almost no need to charge it over the winter seaon.

Should you charge your batteries before storing them for winter?

The best practice is to leave the batteries partially charged during storage (between 50-80% SOC). The next good practice is to charge the batteries fully before putting them in storage. It is discouraged to store batteries that are very discharged (<50% SOC). Plug it into the charger until the charger turns off if you have an automatic charger - which most of them are.

Can you disconnect the batteries to avoid monthly maintenance?

Yes, disconnecting the batteries from the vehicle or other loads, and turning them completely OFF during extended periods of non-use is the best practice. If you want to throw the battery in storage for the winter and bring it out again when warmer temperatures come out, you won’t need to waste any time worrying about having enough charge in your batteries. If your batteries for the golf cart are not staying in the car, place them on a wood pallet or on a shelf rather than on the ground to help maintain their charge better, and in a cool dry area.

What is the best battery for electric golf carts?

Lithium batteries outperform lead-acid in every way and have boosted the overall experience of driving a golf cart. Lithium has a long list of advantages over lead-acid but comes with a higher retail price. A quality lithium-ion battery doesn’t need to be refilled with water and typically lasts owners up to 10 years, several times the life span of the average lead-acid battery. A common misconception about lithium batteries is that they don’t tolerate the cold well. Like all batteries, lithium battery performance degrades the colder it gets – however, in temperatures down to 32°F (0°C), RELiON LiFePO4 batteries will still deliver about 90% of their rated capacity. Additionally, our batteries will deliver about 70% of their rated capacity in temps as low as -4°F (-20°C). Temperatures below the 32°F mark will noticeably reduce both efficiency and usable capacity of lead-acid batteries, providing just 70 to 80 percent of its rated capacity at 32°F.

To ensure quality performance and optimal life span, it’s important that the lithium golf cart battery you choose is the right size for your application. RELiON's InSight 48V battery doesn’t modify existing lithium battery technology to work best in a golf cart, but rather was designed from the ground up to be the best lithium battery available for any golf cart. Golf carts are speed limited, but the higher voltage of a lithium battery provides more power, which increases golf cart acceleration. Lead-acid and other lithium batteries need to be connected in series so you can get 48 volts from your entire battery bank. The InSight 48V battery is connected in parallel, which means that you can connect additional InSight batteries to customize how much battery capacity to meet your desired mileage range.

RELiON lithium golf cart batteries

With the proper care, your electric golf cart will be in optimum shape coming out of storage from the winter months. Having the right equipment and taking the right precautions can help you maintain your cart's battery life for many years to come. Contact our team if you have any questions about how lithium batteries can benefit you.