Winter Storage For Golf Carts With Lithium Batteries
If you recently bought an electric golf cart, or if this is the first year you have a model with a lithium-ion battery instead of an older lead-acid model, you may not be sure how to prepare your cart for the winter. No matter what type of cart you have, maintaining it throughout the winter months is an essential part of keeping it running and lasting throughout the years.
While winter storage for golf carts with lithium batteries is a somewhat more straightforward process with less work and hassle, it’s still good to know what to expect. BigBattery is here to help guide you through every step of the process and help ensure your cart remains in solid condition throughout the winter.
Preparation Before Storage
If your cart isn’t equipped for snow days, or you simply don’t plan on taking it out much during the colder months, there are several helpful steps you can do to get things ready for storing your cart and its batteries over the winter. The first thing we suggest is giving everything a thorough cleaning. Washing the exterior of your cart and ensuring everything is clean is always a good idea before putting it into any long-term storage, winter or otherwise.
Throughout storage, your golf cart will likely collect dirt and dust, so giving it a thorough cleaning beforehand helps keep it in better condition when stored away. We also recommend cleaning the battery by wiping it down with a lightly dampened cloth. Unlike lead-acid batteries, lithium batteries are easy to clean and maintain from the outside, but it’s always smart to give them an extra wipe-down, particularly if your lithium batteries have open terminals.
When preparing your golf cart and battery for winter storage, the best option is to fully charge the battery before putting it away. If not fully charged, a charge of around 60-80 percent is acceptable. It’s not a good idea to store a battery that is less than 50 percent charged, as it’s typically quite harmful to the long-term performance of the battery when left at such a low charge for extended periods.
Where To Store Your Golf Cart
One of the most vital steps in winterizing your golf cart is finding a proper place in which to store it. The absolute best place to keep your cart is in a completely covered shed. You want a dry and protected area to keep your cart and the battery free from the outside elements.
If you don’t have a full shed in which to store your cart, other helpful options exist. We still suggest keeping the cart underneath some sort of roof, such as a carport or porch, to keep rain, snow, and direct sunlight off of it. In colder regions, you may also want to invest in a protective covering to place over the cart and reduce exposure to exterior elements.
How Your Battery Drains During Winter
One of the distinct advantages of winter storage for golf carts with lithium batteries is that lithium batteries, unlike lead-acid models, drain much slower in a neutral state. Many lithium batteries in storage may drain as low as only 2 percent of their total charge per month, meaning you may not need to charge the battery at all throughout the season if you take proper precautions.
Removing the Battery From the Cart
A common practice with carts that use lithium batteries is removing the battery entirely before putting them away in storage. Covering your golf cart and storing it properly is still the recommended option, but if you don’t plan on using your cart at all during the winter, you can choose to remove the battery. The best place to store a disconnected battery is in a cool, dry area, potentially the same as the cart, but on a shelf or countertop rather than directly on the floor.
Leaving the Battery on a Charger
Many people wonder if it’s safe to leave a lithium battery on a charger throughout the winter months, or truly for any extended period of time. Thankfully, many battery chargers designed for lithium battery packs operate on smart technology that works to prevent the battery from overcharging and causing the kind of long-term damage that you might see with a lead-acid battery.
While you may not suffer any noticeable consequences, there’s no real advantage to leaving your battery connected to a charger. Because lithium batteries have such a low rate of self-discharge, as long as the battery has a decent charge before going into storage, you shouldn’t need to connect it to a charger throughout the season.
How Temperatures May Affect Your Battery
Lithium batteries have a much wider range of temperatures where they can safely operate and not encounter any negative effects during charging or discharging. However, it’s possible that you may live in an area with regularly below freezing temperatures and need to take some special precautions when charging and storing your battery.
If you live in an area that commonly drops below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit) and need to charge your battery, it’s a safe option to do so at 10 percent of the battery’s maximum rated charge current. If the temperature drops much lower than that, stick to a 0.05C charge current. Most lithium batteries are highly stable but failing to charge them safely when in freezing temperatures may cause long-term damage.
Checking Your Batteries
A well-charged lithium battery can stay in storage without powering on for several weeks. Depending on how long you plan to keep it in storage, you may only need to check your battery once throughout the process. If you elected to take your battery out of the cart, clean it off before reconnecting it to your golf cart.
Once everything is connected, test your golf cart by turning it on and ensuring everything is in working order. While your cart is idling, this is a good opportunity to test the radio, lights, and other factors affected by the battery to see if everything is running smoothly. Lithium batteries may remain in storage for around three to six months without needing to be checked due to their low self-discharge rate and overall stability, so this process is dependent on how long your cart or battery will need to stay in storage.
Winter months can be rough on golf carts, particularly those still using lead-acid batteries. However, investing in lithium-ion golf cart batteries makes winterizing your cart and batteries easier than ever. BigBattery has a wide selection of products and battery packs that are perfect for your cart. If you have any questions, our friendly staff is available to help you find the right options for your cart. Contact us today to get the most battery power out of your vehicle.