Should Golf Cart Wires Get Hot? How Much Is Too Much?

Should golf cart wires get hot? You may find yourself asking this question during routine maintenance on your golf cart, an entirely common concern and luckily one with a simple answer. Through basic troubleshooting, you will be able to uncover the cause for your golf cart wires getting hot. If they are getting hot, should they be and how hot is too hot?

Should golf cart wires get hot?

Golf cart wires will get hot when you are driving them. This is caused by the resistance in the wires. They should not be too hot to touch for a period of time. If they are, then you may need to check your terminals to make sure they are clean and not causing excessive heat.

By going through a basic checklist of things to look for, you should be able to locate the cause of why your golf cart wires are getting hot. It is important to understand that if your cart or wires get too hot, they can cause your battery cables to melt, which could ultimately cause a fire or short out your batteries causing them to blow up. If you notice your golf cart wires are getting hot, it is highly recommended to take the time to search for the cause.

What Causes Golf Cart Wires To Get Hot?

Cable Corrosion:

Cable corrosion, which is a result of a battery leaking battery acid, can cause overheating in the wires on your golf cart.

The corroded cables will cause a higher resistance while transmitting power which leads to the heating of the terminals, cables, and batteries. This will cause premature failure of your batteries.

Overheating in the wiring of your golf cart can cause sparks and if you are experiencing a leak of battery acid, a spark can cause an explosion to occur.

If you notice your golf cart battery leaking battery acid, be sure to clean the entire area free of any and all battery acid. Battery acid can cause corrosion, melting of cables and casings, and can burn your skin if you come in contact with it.

Corrosion will generally begin where the cable connects to your battery and can consume the entire length of the cable and surrounding areas. It is important to replace any corroded parts with new ones, including cables or batteries in order to prevent any further issues with your golf cart. By using a protecting spray you can reduce the risk of corrosion in your battery, cables, and terminals and help protect your golf cart from overheating.

Dust or Dirt Build-Up:

Older golf carts can acquire a build up of dust and grime in the motor which can cause the wiring in your golf cart to overheat and possibly cause some instances of melting. The build-up of dust, dirt, and grime can put a strain on the wiring and cables in the motor which will overheat them and cause the motor’s efficiency to decline.

Help keep your golf cart and motor clean by using the following techniques (if you know how to breakdown your motor on your own that would give you better access for a better and deeper clean):

  • Exterior: Use a clean, dry rag to wipe any dust or dirt off the exterior of the motor. If you need a little extra help, use a degreaser to assist with those tougher spots. Avoid using water in order to avoid shorting out any electrical components.
  • Wires: Use a very fine sandpaper to brush away any dust or dirt in areas with wiring or cables. Do NOT use water in these areas as water can cause a short to occur and your cart may not run correctly or at all after that.
  • Interior: If you are able to break down your golf cart’s motor then use a clean rag with degreaser to wipe away dust and dirt on the interior parts of your golf cart’s motor. It is important to not use any flammable cleaner in this area and not get any degreaser on the wiring.

By having your motor cleaned on occasion, you will be reducing the possibility of any clogging or overheating that can not only cause your wiring to overheat but your entire motor and battery pack which could ultimately cause your golf cart to blow up.

Low/High Resistance Wires:

If the wiring on your golf cart is overheating, it could be due to its low resistance since a smaller gauge wiring will heat faster than wiring that has a higher gauge. You can use a multimeter to check the wires resistance, if any are low, replace them with a larger diameter wire to decrease the chances of overheating.

The opposite is also true though, the internal resistance of the wire could be too high which could also lead to overheating and/or melting. Use your meter to check the resistance, which should be zero at both ends. If you are experiencing a wire that is too high in resistance, then you will need to replace it with one that is lower in resistance.

Be sure to replace the wiring with one that is within the appropriate limits for the type of golf cart that you own. Welding cables are a popular wire of choice to upgrade your wiring.

Loose Connections:

With the way golf carts are built, you will more than likely have multiple batteries on your golf cart, resulting in multiple cable connections. If any one of these cables have a loose or poor connection, overheating can occur in the one that needs to be tightened or replaced.

Over time, battery connections can become loose, which results in overheating of the cable and wiring within your golf cart. Your cables can also accumulate dust, dirt, or grime over time, making it very important to keep your cables, wiring, and battery clean to prevent overheating and possibly a fire or explosion.

If you notice a loose connection, it is important to tighten it as soon as it is noticed; if dirty cables are noticed, be sure to clean them as soon as possible. By keeping your cables properly connected and clean, you will be decreasing your risk of your wiring getting too hot and possibly melting different components of your golf cart, ultimately costing you more money in the long run.

Wiring Gauge Thickness:

How thick or thin gauged your cables and wiring are will determine whether or not they experience excessive overheating as well. Any high current wiring or cables that have a lower gauge thickness can overheat if they are even 10 degrees warmer than surrounding temperatures. By utilizing the following guidelines, you will be able to decrease your possibility of having wiring or cables that get too hot, which could result in a fire, melting, or explosion. The appropriate guidelines for cables to reduce overheating include:

  • Thickness: If you notice a cable that is overheating, it is recommended that it is replaced with a higher gauge thickness, preferably a cable with at least a 4 gauge thickness.
  • Connections: A loose connection can cause battery acid to seep into the crimp, causing corrosion and allowing dust to continuously accumulate and build up.
  • Appropriate Wiring: It is extremely important to use wiring that is the correct size and type to prevent a complete meltdown of your wiring.
  • Type of Connection: Ensure that any and all wiring and cables on your golf cart are specifically meant for a golf cart and NOT an automobile.

By ensuring that you are using a high gauge thickness for your cables and wires, you are preventing a possible overheating issue which can in turn cause a disaster for not only your golf cart but possibly for you as well.