One of the most challenging decisions electric golf cart owners who don’t live in the south have to make is how to store their golf carts for the winter. While cold weather doesn’t typically damage the body of an electric golf cart, it can wreak havoc on certain vital components.
You can store your electric golf cart outside, but the most significant risk is that cold weather is bad for batteries. It doesn’t matter if you have lead-acid or lithium batteries because they’re both prone to damage from cold weather and will lose their ability to hold a charge.
Additionally, lead-acid batteries can freeze when you leave them outside during the winter. Therefore, the only way to safely leave your electric golf cart outside in cold weather is to remove the batteries. Aside from the batteries, nothing on your electric golf cart will suffer irreparable damage because of cold weather.
Can I Store My Electric Golf Cart Outside in the Winter?
If you have an alternate option, it’s always best to store your electric golf cart inside rather than outside during the winter. However, you might not have access to things like a heated garage, barn, or shop, depending on where you live. Even if you do, it might be full of other things, leaving no room for a golf cart.
If you’re forced to store your electric golf cart outside in the winter, here’s how to do it correctly.
Move the Golf Cart to Your Storage Location
If you don’t have the option of storing your golf cart in a heated building, you should at least move it under a shelter or overhang. Doing so will protect it from snow, rain, debris, and falling objects due to high winds. Move the cart to your desired location before prepping it for storage.
Clean the Golf Cart and the Batteries
Give your golf cart a thorough cleaning on the inside and out. Remove any trash and debris from within the golf cart, and take time to scrape away dirt, bird poop, and other grime from the body of the cart. You should also take this time to inspect the frame and body of the cart for rust, corrosion, or chipped paint and make repairs as needed.
Finally, clean the battery thoroughly with a mixture of water and baking soda. Focus extra time on the terminals and remove any corrosion or green debris that’s present on them.
Fully Charge the Batteries
When your batteries are cleaned and dried off, reconnect the cables to the terminals and charge the batteries fully. Completely charged batteries, whether lead-acid or lithium, will retain their health and charge better the following year. You should never let the charge of the batteries drop below 70%, which means you’ll have to check them periodically throughout the winter.
Remove the Batteries and Bring Them Inside
Because your batteries are more prone to damage from the cold than the rest of your cart, you should remove them and bring them inside your home. Place them in a cool, dry location where the temperature stays between 50 and 80 degrees. You should also store them on a shelf or elsewhere off the floor to protect them from moisture.
Check and Adjust Your Tire Pressure
Next, go back to your electric golf cart and finish prepping it for winter storage. Check the tire pressure and fill them to the appropriate psi. For most golf carts, the tires should be between 20 and 25 psi. You should also ensure that the tires are in good condition, have decent tread, and are firmly tightened.
Place a Golf Cart Cover Over the Cart
The last thing you should do before storing your cart away for winter is to invest in a special golf cart cover. While you can optionally use a tarp to cover your golf cart, actual golf cart covers are a better option. They’re designed to fit tightly around your golf cart to protect it from dirt, moisture, snow, and other elements.
Does Cold Weather Affect Golf Cart Batteries?
Regardless of what type of golf cart battery you have, cold weather will negatively affect them.
- Cold Weather on Lead-Acid Batteries
Lead-acid batteries are more common on both electric and gas golf carts than lithium batteries. Lead-acid batteries have individual battery cells that contain distilled water and electrolytes, which are prone to freezing in cold temperatures. Cold weather will kill these battery cells, which reduces the charging time and capacity of your batteries.
- Cold Weather on Lithium Batteries
Lithium batteries are quickly becoming the industry standard for electric golf cart batteries. They’re more resistant to cold weather, more durable, and require less maintenance than lead-acid batteries. However, lithium batteries are still negatively affected by cold weather. Temperatures less than 32 degrees will make it impossible to recharge your lithium battery and will cause it to discharge more quickly.
How Do You Store an Electric Golf Cart for 6 Months?
Ideally, if you’re going to store your electric golf cart for six months or more at a time, you should keep it in an enclosed, conditioned building. However, if that isn’t an option, then you should follow the steps laid out above to protect your golf cart during these prolonged storage times.