Can You Replace Just One Battery On A Golf Cart?

When it comes time to replace the batteries in your golf cart, you may be tempted to just replace just one battery on a golf cart that has gone bad instead of all of them. Each person has their own reason for trying to save money, especially when it comes to hobbies or weekend activities as they can get quite expensive. While it may make sense to only change the battery that needs replacing, is it the best idea to only replace one battery on your golf cart?

Golf carts have 4-6 individual batteries that make up the main battery. Technically you can change just the battery that has gone bad, it is not recommended as it can cause permanent battery damage. When a single battery goes bad and needs replacing, always change out all of the batteries.

It may seem daunting to have to replace all of the individual batteries at the same time when only one really needs to be replaced, but this is actually the best course of action as it can save you money in the long run.

Failing to replace all of the batteries can result in many more issues which could cost you more money than if you had just replaced all of the batteries.

Charging issues, poor battery life, and battery imbalance are common issues that can arise from not replacing all of the batteries at the same time. Knowing when to replace your batteries and understanding why it is recommended to replace all of the batteries and not just one will help maintain the overall function of your golf cart.

There will be times when it is appropriate to change only one or two batteries, but they occur only after you have replaced all of the batteries first.

Why You Shouldn’t Replace Just One Battery on a Golf Cart

Charging Issues and Poor Battery Life:

Replacing just one or two batteries in your golf cart battery pack can result in difficulties with charging and a shorter lifespan for the new ones you just purchased. When it comes time to charge your batteries, the total voltage will be measured instead of each individual battery, which can and will cause the newer batteries to overcharge, resulting in a shortened lifespan and poor performance.

Due to the charging issues that result from just replacing the batteries that “need” it, the newer batteries will accept the charge and finish faster than the older batteries, resulting in the newer batteries overcharging and burning out long before they should.

Signs that your golf cart batteries are experiencing charging issues and a shortened lifespan include:

  • Decrease in top speed
  • Decrease in acceleration capabilities
  • Longer charging times
  • Inability to “keep up” with your daily activities like it could before

In order to get the most out of your battery pack and be able to enjoy your golf cart in the way you would prefer, it is highly recommended that you replace all of the batteries at the same time in order to prevent any further issues.

Battery Power Imbalance:

Replacing only one or two batteries instead of all of them can cause an imbalance in the power released by the batteries. Newer batteries will exert more power, whereas the older batteries will not be able to due to age and the amount of resistance they will experience.

You are likely to experience a lag in acceleration and an underwhelming amount of speed if your batteries are imbalanced. If you have replaced all of the batteries and you are still noticing an imbalance in the power of your golf cart and the batteries, a voltage test can be done to pick out the specific battery that is causing the issue.

It is always recommended to replace all of the batteries at the same time but in this case replacing only one or two would be acceptable, so if you have replaced all of the batteries and find it is only one that is causing issues, replace that battery.

When You Should Replace Your Golf Cart Batteries?

When you are experiencing increased charging time:

Older batteries will experience an increase in the amount of time it takes for them to reach a full charge. The charger cannot differentiate between new batteries and old batteries and will continuously charge until the batteries have reached their full charge, resulting in a longer charge time for older batteries.

For instance, if your golf cart normally takes 5 hours to fully charge and now it is taking 8 hours or 10 hours, it is most likely time for new batteries.

If your golf cart has a decreased battery life:

Once you begin to notice that your golf cart is not able to keep up with a full day of golf like it used to, it will most likely be due to the batteries. If you have become accustomed to your golf cart running all over the golf course or for several miles during the day without losing charge, and now it can barely get through half of a day, changing the batteries will generally fix your problem.

If you have already gone through the process of replacing all of the batteries in your battery pack and you are still experiencing this issue, it would be wise to check your charger and to run a test on the batteries in your pack in order to rule out or confirm the possibility of one or two bad batteries.

Decreased Acceleration in your Golf Cart:

Once your batteries begin to age and start lose their power and the amount they can exert for your golf cart, this can cause a decrease in acceleration and in speed. Your golf cart requires a certain amount of “juice” aka amperage in order to produce the amount of speed you have grown accustomed to; older batteries will be unable to produce this power due to the amount of resistance placed on the batteries, resulting in a slower golf cart. You may be experiencing a decrease in your acceleration if:

  • It takes longer for your golf cart to take off
  • It takes longer for your golf cart to reach its top speed
  • Your golf cart is struggling to climb an otherwise simple hill or incline

Considering battery powered golf carts are able to keep up fairly well with their gas powered relatives, experiencing slow or lagging acceleration can be indicative of needing to replace your batteries, an as aforementioned, it is highly recommended to replace all of the batteries in the pack at the same.

Acid Leak:

With age, even in your batteries, comes expansion and sometimes leaking. As your batteries wear down and age they will expand within their casings. This expansion will allow the acid from the batteries to leak out through the cracks in the casings or caps. If you begin to notice liquid around your battery pack or in that general area, it could certainly be battery acid and time to change your batteries. Battery acid also has its dangers and should be taken seriously; these include but are not limited to:

  • Toxicity
  • Corrosion, ie. it can burn your skin and eat through other components of your golf cart
  • Flammable, battery acid releases a gas that is highly flammable and combustible

If you suspect you have a battery acid leak, it is extremely important to replace all of the batteries and clean the acid away from any component of your golf cart it may have leaked on.

Melted Cables:

If you have a melted cable on your golf cart and aren’t sure what caused it, this article explains the 9 reasons why and one of them is in fact a dead battery in the lot.