Why Do Golf Cart Batteries Need Water? 

If you have a golf cart that uses traditional lead acid batteries, as most golf carts do, you might be aware that your golf cart batteries need water. Depending on the size of your golf cart battery, you will have between two and eight battery cells, and every cell has its own water compartment. 

Golf cart batteries need water in order to work properly. The water mixes with sulfuric acid inside the battery to generate an electrochemical reaction. Without water, the solution that causes the electrochemical reaction can’t form, and the battery won’t deliver voltage to the golf cart. 

While not all batteries use water, traditional lead acid batteries do, and they’re the primary type of battery that golf carts use. Unfortunately, most people don’t understand the purpose of water in batteries, and they neglect to maintain the necessary levels. The goal of this article is to explain how important water is to golf cart batteries, how to add it, and how often you should check your water levels. 

Why Do Golf Cart Batteries Use Water? 

The job of a golf cart battery is to generate constant electricity to provide power to your golf cart motor. Most eclectic golf carts use between two and eight batteries and form a battery bank. Each individual battery, depending on the voltage amount, will have two to eight battery cells. Every cell is responsible for generating its own electricity and transfer it to various parts of the golf cart. Here’s how the process works. 

  1. The bottom of the battery cells, the plates, must be submerged in both sulfuric acid and water. 
  2. Sulfuric acid and water mix together to form an electrolyte solution. 
  3. As the plates are sitting in this electrolyte solution, it produces an electrochemical reaction. 
  4. The electrochemical reaction generates electricity and voltage. 
  5. This voltage goes to your golf cart’s motor, which then sends it to various parts of the golf cart and enables it to operate. 
  6. As the plates are consuming the electrolyte solution and creating electricity, it diminishes the amount of water and acid in the battery. 
  7. As a result, you have to refill the individual battery cells with water so that it can continue to create the solution. 

While it isn’t its primary job, water also helps cool down the battery and keep it from overheating. The harder your battery works, the more heat it will produce and the more prone to overheating it will become. The presence of water helps lower the overall temperature of the battery and protect it. 

How Often Should You Add Water to Your Golf Cart Batteries? 

The simple answer to this question is that you should add water to your golf cart batteries as often as you need to. However, it’s not always obvious when your battery cells are low on water, which means it’s tough to know when they need it. Therefore, the only way to know if you need to add water to your golf cart batteries is to open the top of the cell and inspect the water levels. 

You should do this every couple of weeks or even more often depending on how much you use your golf cart. 

Why Do Water Levels Drop in Batteries? 

There are a number of reasons that batteries lose water. In general, however, the more you use your golf cart, the more water it will lose. 

During Operation 

As we touched on earlier, your batteries consume electrolytes in order to generate electricity and power your cart. Water plays a vital part in forming the electrolyte solution that the batteries need, which means that as you’re using the cart, it will lose small amounts of water. 

During Charging 

While golf cart batteries lose some water during operation, they lose a majority of their water while the batteries are charging. During charging, the batteries are constantly absorbing the electrolyte solution, which means they’ll go through quite a bit. Therefore, the more you charge your golf cart, the more often you’ll need to add water. 

Due to Evaporation 

If you live in hot or warm areas, your batteries are also prone to losing water due to evaporation. While they don’t lose very much because of the protection that the water container and battery casing afford, they will still lose trace amounts of water because of evaporation. 

How to Add Water to Your Golf Cart Batteries

Automatic Golf Cart Watering System
Golf Cart Automatic Watering System

Once a golf cart battery cell loses water, the only way it can get replaced is if you refill it. Therefore, it’s vital that you know how to add water to your golf cart batteries if you want them to have a long and healthy life. 

  1. Open the top of the battery casing to access the battery inside of it. 
  2. Lift the lid of each battery cell and check the water levels. 
  3. The water should be within roughly a half-inch of the top of the container. 
  4. If the water level is lower than the quarter-inch mark, you should add distilled water. 
  5. Always leave a quarter to half of an inch at the top of the container to leave room for expansion as the water mixes with acid. 
  6. You should only refill the batteries with distilled water because any other type of water can throw off the electrolyte balance and cause damage to your batteries. 
  7. You should only add water to batteries that are fully charged because adding water to batteries before charging them will cause them to overflow due to the surge of energy. 

Refilling your golf cart batteries with water isn’t difficult, but it IS important. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What happens if you don’t put water in golf cart batteries?

If golf cart batteries don’t have enough water, they won’t be able to form the electrolyte solution they need to generate electricity and voltage. Therefore, your batteries will become useless and won’t do their job of powering your golf cart. 

How often should you add water to golf cart batteries?

If you use your golf cart every day, you should check the water levels every week or two. However, if you use your golf cart sporadically, checking the water levels once per month is sufficient. 

Do all golf cart batteries require water?

In general, most golf carts have batteries that use water. 

What happens when a battery runs out of water?

If a battery runs completely out of water, it will dry out and cease to operate.