Why Does My Gas Golf Cart Battery Keep Dying? 8 Troubleshooting Tips

We’ve all been there before. We’re out playing the round of our life when suddenly your gas golf cart starts slowing down when starting. As this happens, you notice that it also doesn’t have as much pep in its step as it did at first. Unfortunately, you’re the victim of a golf cart with a dying battery. While a dying battery can get fixed with a quick charge, there may be something else going on if the problem persists. 

Your gas golf cart battery might be dying for the following reasons: Your battery might be old and giving out, your cart might be drawing power even while the cart is turned off, the battery might have loose contacts, the water level may be low, or several other things could be happening. 

Rapidly and frequently dying golf cart batteries are extremely inconvenient with gas golf carts. Unfortunately, they’re also extremely common because of how finicky golf cart batteries are. They aren’t meant to last forever, and there are many things that can malfunction. In this article, we’ll tackle each of those issues and explain what to do. 

Why Does My Cart Battery Keep Dying? 

Here are some of the top reasons why your gas golf cart battery keeps dying. 

Loose Battery Terminals 

If you have an older golf cart or recently worked on the battery, it’s possible that the terminals are loose. The leads must be tightly fastened to the battery terminals in order for it to charge and provide power. If they’re loose, it will result in a partial charge, less battery power, and inconsistent operation. 

What to Do 

First, you should check the terminals to ensure that a loose connection is the problem. If it is, you can use a ratchet set or wrench that’s the right size and tighten the bolt connecting the lead to the terminal. 

Golf Cart Draws Power While Turned Off 

One of the less common but still possible problems is that your cart is drawing power, even when the golf cart is turned off. This often happens when there is an electrical short or loose wiring somewhere in the engine. Also when you install aftermarket radios, lighting, and other accessories can draw phantom power that kills your battery.

When we installed a light kit on our battery, there is some phantom draw that slowly kills the batteries. Look below to find out how to fix it.

What to Do 

Unfortunately, the issue of your engine drawing power when the cart is turned off is a difficult problem to diagnose. You’ll need a multimeter to press one side to the battery and the other side to various parts of the engine. You’ll have to check each part to see where the drain is and whether or not it’s happening. Because of the difficult nature of this repair, it might be best to take your cart to a professional. 

If it is an accessory that is drawing power when off, consider installing a master switch between your battery and accessories. This will ensure that you will not draw down your battery.

Dead Battery Cells 

Your golf cart battery is filled with cells. These cells are responsible for storing power and transferring it to your motor for power. If some of these cells start dying, your battery will have less charging capacity. Therefore, it will die sooner than normal, even if everything else is working perfectly. 

What to Do 

When battery cells start dying, the only thing you can do is replace it with a new battery. While you have the option of replacing dead cells with new ones, this process is expensive, difficult, and timely, and you’re better off buying a new battery. 

Corrosion on the Terminals 

Corrosion on your battery terminals can happen for a number of reasons, including moisture, old age, and lack of care. Regardless of what the cause is, however, you’ll have to remove the corrosion to get your cart charging again. Corrosion interferes with the connection between the leads and terminals and results in less power. 

What to Do 

To clean your battery terminals, here’s what you need to do. 

  1. Disconnect the leads from the terminals. 
  2. Use baking soda and vinegar or water, and mix it together. 
  3. Use a soft brush with the concoction on the bristles to gently scrub away at the terminals. 

Cold Weather 

If you live in a northern area or somewhere with a cool climate, cold weather is a stone-cold battery killer. Cold weather kills your battery’s cells, which are important for helping it maintain a charge. When this happens, the battery will die faster and won’t fully charge. 

What to Do 

There isn’t a whole lot you can do about cold weather outside of storing your golf cart in a controlled climate. However, not everyone has the money or space to invest in a heated garage, pole barn, barn, or outbuilding. If your battery cells start dying, your only option is to buy a new battery and install it on your cart. 

Your Battery Charger Isn’t Working 

One of the easiest problems to fix is the issue of a battery charger that isn’t working properly. In most cases, battery chargers don’t simply stop working and will give you signs that it’s giving out. One of these signs is that it either doesn’t charge your battery as quickly or fails to charge it completely. So, the problem might not be that your battery is dying too quickly. It might actually be that it’s not charging properly. 

What to Do 

When this happens, it’s important to check both your battery and the charger. If the charger has any frayed wires, makes a clicking noise, or the light doesn’t come on, it’s probably the problem. You should also check the battery by determining its charge level, even after keeping it plugged in for a long time. You can also try charging it with a different charger and seeing if that makes a difference. 

Low Water Level 

The most common issue with a golf cart battery that’s constantly dying is that the battery has low water levels. Most people don’t even realize that there’s water in their battery, which is a big part of the problem. You have to constantly check the water levels and make sure they’re never too high or too low. When they get too low, your battery loses its charge quicker than normal. 

What to Do 

Batteries can lose water because you’re running the cart too hard or because of normal evaporation. When this happens, you simply need to locate the battery and determine which side of it takes water. Then, add the appropriate amount of distilled water to the battery, and it should retain its charge once more. 

Overcharged Battery 

One of the most common problems with a golf cart battery that keeps dying is that you’re overcharging it. This happens when you leave your golf cart plugged in around the clock, even when you don’t use it regularly. The same problem happens with phones and other electronics that you leave hooked up to a charger for long periods of time. Eventually, it damages the battery cells and causes your battery to die sooner than normal. 

What to Do 

If this is the problem, you have two options. You can either unplug the charger as soon as the battery is charged or invest in a trickle charger. Trickle chargers allow you to keep your golf cart plugged in around the clock because the charger will turn off automatically when the battery is full. 

Best Battery for Golf Carts

If you need to replace your battery, consider Yuasa batteries. I have used these in jet skis and they have lasted 10 years of jarring around.

What Could be Draining My Golf Cart Battery? 

If your golf cart battery is getting drained when the engine is turned off, it could be because of loose wires or electrical shorts. It could also be caused by things such as leaving the radio or lights turned on. 

How Long Does a Battery Last in a Gas Golf Cart? 

Gas golf cart batteries are surprisingly durable and actually last longer than most traditional car batteries. If you check it and maintain it regularly, your golf cart battery can last up to six years. However, it’s important that you clean the terminals, check the water levels, and never overcharge the battery. 

Why are My Golf Cart Batteries Not Holding Charge? 

The most common reason for your golf cart battery not holding a charge is because of dead battery cells. However, it could also be because of corrosion on the terminals or loose terminal connections. You can check and repair these issues using the methods listed above.