In the world of electric golf carts, there are two basic battery types – lead acid and lithium. While lead-acid is the more common of the two for golf carts because they’re cheaper, many people replace their lead-acid batteries with lithium ones. However, just as with lead-acid batteries, it’s essential to properly store and prepare your lithium golf cart batteries for the winter.
To store your lithium golf cart batteries for the winter, it’s important to clean, prep, and charge the battery to about 80% before storing. Store your lithium batteries in a warm, dry enclosed area and off of the floor. Check and recharge the batteries as needed to maintain a full charge.
Storing your lithium golf cart batteries for the winter is very similar to storing lead-acid batteries. The main difference is that lithium batteries don’t contain water, which means you don’t have to maintain the water levels. However, because of how expensive lithium batteries are, it’s a bigger deal when they get ruined because of improper winter storage.
How to Store Your Golf Cart’s Lithium Batteries for Winter
To ensure that your golf cart’s lithium batteries stay safe and operational during winter, here’s how to store them properly.
Clean the Battery and Terminals
For starters, you should thoroughly wash, clean, and dry your battery before storage time. In a bowl or bucket, mix together one gallon of water and one cup of baking soda. You can even throw a splash of vinegar in for good measure.
Use a rag and the baking soda/water mixture to wipe down the exterior of the battery. Next, use a soft scrub brush to clean the terminals, using the same mix. It’s common for corrosion to form on the terminals, and removing it is crucial before putting the batteries into storage.
Finally, ensure that the battery is completely dry by wiping it down with a towel or rag. Any moisture left on the battery could potentially freeze and cause damage to it when spring arrives.
Warm the Battery Up
A unique feature of lithium batteries is that they don’t always charge when the temperatures are too cold. Therefore, you may have to hold a heat lamp near the battery to warm it up enough to charge fully. You’ll also have to warm the battery up if you change your mind and decide to take your golf cart for a spin in cold weather.
Charge the Battery
As with all golf cart batteries, you should fully charge your lithium battery before putting your golf cart into storage. However, it’s not a good idea to leave the charger hooked up to the battery throughout the winter. Doing so could drain the charge and cause the battery to die sooner.
Keep it in a Warm Location.
While lithium batteries handle cold temperatures better than other battery types, they still don’t prefer them. Ideally, you should keep your battery in a location where the temperatures are between 32 degrees and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prolonged exposure to sub-freezing temperatures will increase the internal resistance of your battery and reduce its charge capacity. Essentially, it won’t charge as fast, hold a charge for as long, and will die more quickly.
Check the Battery Periodically
It’s vital that you check your lithium golf cart battery at least once per month to see if it’s holding a charge. If the charge drops below 50%, you should recharge it until it’s about 80%. A major advantage of lithium batteries is that they are more resistant to cold weather and don’t lose their charge as easily. However, it can still happen, which is why regular checkups are important.
Should You Take Batteries Out of an Electric Golf Cart During Winter?
If you store your golf cart in a warm, dry area, there’s no reason to remove your lithium batteries during winter. However, if you don’t have a heated building where you can store your golf cart when temperatures drop below 32 degrees, it may be necessary to remove your lithium batteries and move them inside.
How do You Store Electric Golf Cart Batteries in the Winter?
The most crucial component to storing your electric golf cart batteries in the winter is keeping them warm, but not too warm. Cold weather will kill your lithium golf cart battery and reduce its charging capacity, but so will high temperatures. Therefore, it’s essential to store your battery inside in a conditioned area where the temperature remains between 50 and 80 degrees.
Is It OK to Leave Lithium Batteries in the Cold?
If you can help it, you should never leave lithium batteries outside in the cold during winter. As we said before, lithium batteries handle cold weather better than lead-acid ones, but they’re still prone to damage from the cold.
If you choose to leave your lithium batteries in the cold, you should invest in a thermal or electric battery blanket. You should also have a heat lamp near the battery to provide a source of warmth.
Can Lithium Golf Cart Batteries Freeze?
Because lithium golf cart batteries don’t contain water and have a different internal chemistry than lead-acid batteries, they don’t typically freeze. However, even if they don’t freeze, cold weather will damage lithium golf cart batteries. Damage and a reduced charge will get compounded when you attempt to charge a lithium battery in temperatures below 32 degrees.