Owning a golf cart means enjoying leisurely days and easy traveling around the course. It’s probably one of your favorite vehicles. Unfortunately, like any vehicle, there are numerous problems you might encounter from the engine to the tires. The way you care for it will determine how often you run into these problems, however, sometimes people make mistakes or run into unpredictable circumstances that can damage a golf cart and potentially keep it from starting.
Golf cart batteries can in fact get wet, but it is not a good idea to get them soaked or get them wet on a day to day basis. Some water from the rain, driving through a puddle, or power washing is OK, but if you store your cart outside, you want to make sure your batteries aren’t getting wet on the regular.
If you’re wondering what to do in case you run into this issue or how to keep it from happening to you, you’re in the right place. No matter where you live, moisture can potentially cause damage to the battery, so it’s important to know how to care for it. Read on to discover the problems, solutions, and preventative measures associated with golf cart batteries getting wet.
What Happens When Golf Cart Batteries Get Wet
Luckily, golf cart batteries come with protective covers, so a little bit of water isn’t going to cause any damage. If a battery is exposed to too much water, however, then the terminal may emit sparks and potentially start a fire. It’s worth noting that in any case, too much water will cause the battery to fail.
Water can get into the cells
The worst thing that can happen if your battery gets wet is if the water gets inside the cells of your cart. Only distilled water is supposed to enter the cells. If normal water gets inside, the minerals can cause battery failure.
Water Can Short items out
Water getting on your batteries can lead to a short in your electrical system. In the case of electric carts or even gas, this can be catastrophic and lead to permanent damage.
Short Battery Life
Water on your terminals can lead to premature wear and cause your batteries to fail sooner than expected.
How Did your Golf Cart Batteries Get Wet?
The most common reason that golf cart batteries get wet is heavy rain. A lot of people assume that because a golf cart can handle light rainfall that it will do the same for a bigger storm. This is not the case and will likely cause a battery issue. You’ll get the same effect driving your cart through deep puddles. Because golf carts have more exposed parts than a car does, particularly electrical parts underneath, it is prone to more water damage.
You might even notice that the battery stopped working after power-washing or hosing down the golf cart. Either way, you’re allowing far too much water to get near the battery by doing this if it’s not properly encased.
What to Do If the Battery Gets Wet
If your golf cart isn’t starting because the battery is wet, you might only have to dry it out and it will start working again. Usually, you can wipe down the exterior of the battery to dry it, but if that doesn’t work a lot of people simply park the cart in the sun and wait a couple days before trying again. Others use fans or blow-driers to speed up the process.
It Might Be the Solenoid that Failed if your Batteries got Wet
If the cart is completely dried out and it still isn’t working, you should test the solenoid to see if the problem is there. You can do this by using a ½” wrench and a multimeter or voltmeter.
First, turn the golf cart off and put it in neutral position. Disconnect any cables from the battery terminals. Once you’ve done that, attach a multimeter or voltmeter probe to each one of the big terminals. It’ll read at 0 ohms.
Put the cart in the forward position with the key on and gently press down on the accelerator. Your next steps are determined by a clicking sound.
- If you hear a clicking sound from the solenoid, place the voltmeter or multimeter probes onto the large terminals again and check the reading. If it’s between 0.0-0.4, the solenoid is working. If it’s higher, then it needs to be replaced.
- If you don’t hear a clicking sound, set the voltmeter or multimeter to DC Volts at 200 scale and place the leads on the smaller terminals instead. With the key on and the cart in the forward position, press down on the accelerator. Full voltage means the solenoid coil needs to be replaced. Zero voltage means the problem is elsewhere.
If your solenoid is working but the battery still isn’t, consider taking the cart in to a mechanic for further inspection so they can diagnose and fix the problem.
Once the problem is solved, consider waterproofing your golf cart to add some extra protection from the elements. This is very simple and is explained below.
How to Waterproof Your Golf Cart
Storing your golf cart in a dry place is definitely important, but it is even better to have it waterproofed for when you do take it out of storage, especially if you live in a rainy area. You can do this by fitting your golf cart with a rain cover or enclosure and using waterproof golf bags.
Golf cart covers or enclosures usually cost anywhere from $400 to $1,200 depending on the quality. As for waterproof golf bags, the majority of the ones on the market cost somewhere in between $70 to $350.
That’s a Wrap
Besides staying up-to-date on the weather and avoiding puddles, proper storage and waterproofing your golf cart are the best ways to keep the batteries from getting wet. Just like any other vehicle you own, knowing how to prevent and treat problems will save you a lot of time and money that you could be spending on more important things like new clubs and equipment.