How To Test Golf Cart Battery Voltage With 3 Detailed Methods (And 2 Bonus Ones!)

Imagine yourself pushing the golf cart around the course when all of a sudden it bulges and stops moving. What has happened? Possibly failed batteries. But do you know if it’s a battery failure and not something else that’s about to stop the next rounds of golf?

To help you determine what’s wrong with the cart, this article aims to teach how to test golf cart battery voltage using a series of methods ranging from the use of a voltmeter to even testing a single battery at a time. 

To prevent your day on the golf course from being ruined, here’s what you can do.

How To Test Golf Cart Battery Voltage: 3 Methods

Here, three mostly used methods have been discussed in detail to help you pick your desired method of operation to maintain voltage reading to see if old battery cells are functioning properly:

1. Using A Hydrometer To Test Golf Cart Batteries

Using A Hydrometer To Test Golf Cart Batteries

To test your golf battery most accurately, this is the method you can use. It makes use of a hydrometer that measures the specific gravity reading and density of the electrolytes in the battery acid for you to comment on. 

Comparing the specific gravity to a user’s chart, you can tell if your batteries are under-charged and need something to be done about them. Here are the steps you can follow for this:

Step 1

Using A Hydrometer To Test Golf Cart Batteries 1

Start by disconnecting the old golf cart battery and then remove it from the electric golf cart entirely. Then, prepare it for testing. But before that, let the battery rest for some time to dissipate the heat and to ensure accurate readings on the hydrometer.

Step 2

Now, remove the caps from the respective battery cell and observe them for possible leaks. If you don’t want to burn your hands from it, make sure you are wearing protective gloves before you do this step.

Step 3

Now it is time to measure the specific gravity of the liquid acid present in each of the cells. Take the reading for every cell by letting the hydrometer probe sink in the fluid for some time. After that, squeeze the bulb and then release it to let the fluid flow completely into the device.

Step 4

Compare the readings from each of the cells to a specific gravity chart of the manufacturer to find where the battery charge lies at that point and if it needs changing or just charging.

  ​2. Using A Digital Voltmeter or Multimeter To Test Golf Cart Batteries

Using A Digital Voltmeter or Multimeter To Test Golf Cart Batteries

Just like the specific gravity test, this one here too gives accurate results to check the battery voltage of golf carts, no matter what their battery life has been. However, this is a more professional method.

Step 1

Using A Digital Voltmeter or Multimeter To Test Golf Cart Batteries 1

Set the device to read up to 20 DC volts. When you give it a default reading, you can take the subsequent readings and make notes and assumptions on the actual condition of the battery.

Step 2

Once your multimeter is configured, it is time to test the battery. Connect the positive and negative ends/terminals of the device to the respective battery terminals.

Step 3

With the reading from the devices, compare this with the circuitry information from the manufacturer’s website. It will give you a clearer and decent understanding of how much charge is left in the battery. 

If the reading on the cells is lower than what should be, you need to assume that the battery has had poor quality cells for a long while and it was left discharged like that, so it needs to be changed immediately.

3. Using A Load Tester To Test Golf Cart Batteries

Using A Load Tester To Test Golf Cart Batteries

The final method in this section uses load testing to detect the voltage of the battery with only a little load. Comparing this load to the chart reading you can understand the charging position of the battery.

Step 1

This is where you will connect the clamps of the usable load tester to the terminals of the golf cart battery. You can start with the red one of the clamps. 

All you have to do is flip the protective cover, find the lead screw of the battery terminal, and then clamp the probe of the testers around the battery terminal. When you have firmly and safely clamped both sides of the terminals, you can turn on the load tester.

Step 2 

The amperage that you will use now needs to be half of the cold cranking amperage of the battery itself. The information on the CCA will already be printed on the car battery. 

This should be between 600 to 700. Since you are dealing with golf cart batteries, then you will be able to use as much as 300-350 amps. You can turn on the dial of the load tester and then you will be able to reach the required amperage on it.

Step 3

There may be a drop of 1/2 volts when you are doing the load test. However, if you see a drop by 3 or 4 volts, then you need to understand that the batteries can no longer maintain their voltages when electricity passes through them, even if they are capable of producing more voltage. So the batteries definitely need replacing after the battery load test.

Other Useful Methods

There are two other methods that you can use for testing all golf cart batteries and all the battery cells of your golf cart batteries and to decide on the battery replacement. They include:

Using A Discharge Machine

This being an expensive method is only employed by dealers to be used in their offices, and it isn’t something you do at home. What is done here, is that the positive and negative terminals of the lead-acid batteries are joined together with a heating coil of the discharge machine where they get load amps upon discharging the battery. 

As a result, you get to see the length of time till which your golf cart can run within a certain load limit. This can help you conclude whether or not to change the batteries.

Looking at Individual Batteries

In a golf cart compartment, there isn’t a single battery in a single housing. Instead, you have multiple individual batteries that can be accessed. 

Under this method, you check each of the individual batteries completely using a voltmeter or hydrometer to see if the entire set needs replacing or if there has been just one bad battery that has been ruining the gold cart runs for you on behalf of the rest of the failing batteries.

How to Tell If Your Golf Cart Battery Has Gone Bad

So how can you tell if your golf cart batteries have actually gone bad to prevent the failure beforehand? Here’s how:

Charging Takes Too Long

Over time, the performance of rechargeable batteries only deteriorates; since they are all made of chemical components that have a certain shelf life. If you are using the device or machine more frequently, the shelf life will obviously lessen. 

This is when you start to see that the battery is taking longer to charge from its battery charger after each cycle. So it is time to get a new one for stable and continuous performance.

Full Charge Runs Out Quickly

If the battery on your golf cart is running out even before your round on the course runs out, then something is fishy. You should get a new battery and replace the old one for its warning signs. 

A golf cart battery typically covers 7 miles before you need to refuel it. If you can’t get less than that or even close to it from your battery and instead, it stops abruptly before the run is over, it is time for a change. No right golf cart battery weakens after you just pass the 9th hole.

No Acceleration

A good golf cart battery only needs to get up and keep going on the course. When you press on the gas pedals, your golf cart should run fast and speed along gently forward. 

If you want it to speed up your cart more, your golf cart should be able to do that too. But if it can’t, then it is time for the battery to be changed or replaced.

When batteries lose their initial strength, that is when you start seeing less acceleration from them. So you can no longer drive the golf cart at the speed you want, but at the speed your batteries can at max deliver, being weak themselves. So to move on without trouble on the course, the batteries need replacing!

Wrapping It Up

With that, you learned a thing or two about how to test golf cart battery voltage no matter whether you want to do it at your home or at the garage. 

For easily doable options, the voltmeter, multimeter, and load tester are there. Again, if you are a professional, you may choose to do it using the discharge machine.

Whichever method it is, remember that replacing golf cart batteries doesn’t come cheap. So always invest in good batteries and give them proper maintenance to ensure long runs on the golf course.

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