Fall is Here – Winter is coming. Is your golf car ready?
Golf cars aren’t just for golf courses anymore. In many states, communities are cropping up where the golf car is the new wave of year-round transportation. However, the northeast and much of the Midwest must plan for winter. Golf cars are just not made for their inclement weather. Winterizing and maintaining your vehicle is critical to being ready to ride in the spring.
Following are a few tips for maintaining your electric golf car over the winter months.
Winterization is an excellent time to scrub down your pride and joy inside & out to prepare it for storage. Why bother, you might think, I’m not going to be using it anyway. Firstly, this step will help prevent dirt and grime from building up on your golf cart. Secondly, think about your car when bird poop or winter salt sits a little too long. It can cause corrosion and the paint to peel. Finally, the longer the grime sits unattended, the more scrubbing is required to remove it. Your golf car is no different. Save yourself the future headache and wash your vehicle now. You’ll be glad you did in the spring.
Also, as a friendly reminder, remove all garbage and perishables. They belong in the trash, not in your golf car.
Inflate the tires
Again, just like your car, checking your golf car’s tire pressure is another important step. The average golf car tire pressure is typically between 15-25 PSI. It’s best to check your owner’s manual or see if the recommended PSI is noted on the tire’s sidewall. Too much or too little air pressure can shorten the lifespan of your tires.
General Inspection the brakes
Preparing your golf car for winter is a good time to do an overall “vehicle maintenance health check”. Do a once-over inspecting for any type of damage. Test the brakes and any other controls to ensure they’re working properly. Make any necessary repairs before putting your cart away for the season.
The battery is the heart of your electric golf car (and admittedly, where FSIP can assist in your winterization process). As with one’s own heart, it should be checked regularly. For golf cars, this means (ideally) a monthly check-up.
Battery Cleaning – Neutralize the Battery Terminals
Debris and acid left on the battery can lead to a conductive environment. Conductive environments promote your battery to bleed energy. Therefore, FSIP recommends using a Battery Cleaner. With the cleaner and a wire brush, gently clean off the terminals and top and sides of the battery. Once complete, wipe down the battery to remove any remaining cleaner. This spray will neutralize acid build-up and help clean away any debris from your seasonal activities without any harsh chemicals or phosphates.
Elements like downtime, lack of use, and cold temperatures can cause parasitic drain where the voltage slowing bleeds from the battery. This could really “stall” your first spring ride/game of the season. To help ensure against a “dead” battery come springtime, it’s important to fully charge your battery before putting it into storage. Devices like the ChargePlus Universal Charger featuring a float mode will help maintain the health of your battery, extending its useful life. Be sure to follow your manufacturer’s charging instructions for this step.
Oh, and don’t forget! Disconnect battery cables to ensure against any electrical problems that may occur while in storage.
Battery Watering – Check the Water Levels
Usage and temperature can directly affect water levels within a lead-acid battery. After fully charging your golf car batteries and they’ve cooled down, check to see if any additional water is needed. A tool like the BasicBlinky battery watering monitor is an accurate, low-cost solution for electrolyte monitoring. If water is needed, only use distilled water to ensure proper function.
Only top off your battery while it’s in a fully charged state. To fill, open each battery cap, and top off with distilled water. Again, there are products available like the Deionizer System and Watering Gun that can help simplify the process. Water levels should be approximately 1/8” below the fill well. Avoid thinking that more is better. Overfilling your battery can result in electrolyte dilution or more severely “boiling over” leading to corrosion, reduced charging capacity, and potentially damaging your battery.
When planning your winterization, don’t forget a place to store your beloved vehicle. Whether that be a garage, a portable carport, shed or cover. The important thing is to keep the golf car out of the elements. While in storage, ensure the transmission is set to neutral (or if the car has a tow/maintenance switch under the seat, set it to “tow”), block the tires to prevent movement (rolling), and release the parking brake.
One final item, before you walk away. Remove your keys from the ignition and store them in a safe location until you need them next.
Batteries lose their charge in cold weather. It’s best to check your batteries periodically, especially if they’re not connected to a battery charger like the ChargePlus mentioned above. The ChargePlus features a float mode, which keeps your battery fully powered without affecting the battery capacity nor boiling your electrolyte or overcharging your battery.
Taking the time now to perform proper winter maintenance will ensure your cart is ready to ride in next season.
We hope you found this article helpful. ‘Til next time.