Bobby Postlethwaite of Best Golf Carts suggests the following strategies for winterizing your golf cart, or for when it will be sitting for an extended period of time. Most of this information is from clubcar.com:
- Turn the key switch to the “off’ position, remove the key, and leave the forward/reverse switch in the “neutral” position during storage. Then place the tow/run switch in the “tow” position. Note: since the battery warning light does not illuminate with the key in the “off” position and the tow switch in “tow,” do not use the warning light as an indication of the batteries’ charge state.
- Clean the battery packs, tops and terminals using a battery acid neutralizer (1 cup baking soda per 1 gallon water). Check, clean, and treat battery terminal connections with a battery terminal protector spray. Tighten all battery cable connections.
- Check the water levels in each battery cell. If water is required, fill the cells to cover the plates, charge the set, and then use distilled water to top off each cell at least ½ inch above the plates or to the level indicator.
- Plug the battery charger into the car. Leave battery chargers plugged in during storage. If cars are equipped with an onboard computer, the OBC automatically will activate the charger when needed.
- If the battery charger is left plugged in during extended storage, check the electrolyte level and the charger function at least once a month to ensure that proper operation is maintained. To check charger function, disconnect the DC cord (stationary charger) from the vehicle or the AC cord (onboard charger) from the power source and wait five seconds before reconnecting. The charger is functioning properly if the ammeter indicates current.
- If AC power is off for seven days or more, the OBC will not function or charge the vehicle again until it has been restarted. To restart the computer, make sure AC power has been restored, disconnect the DC cord (stationary charger) from the vehicle or the AC cord (onboard charger) from the power source, wait five seconds and reconnect.
- If any of the following conditions exist, disconnect the batteries for the storage period:
1. The charger cannot remain plugged in continuously
2. AC power will not be available during extended storage
3. If electrolyte levels will not be maintained
(I asked Bobby how to disconnect the batteries, and he said, “take one battery cable off the terminal to interrupt the flow of electricity, making sure it is not near any battery terminal posts during this process.”
- Check tire pressure and inflate to 18 to 20 PSI, or as called for in the owner’s manual.
- Perform all semiannual lubrications.
- Thoroughly clean the front and rear body, seats, battery compartment and underside of vehicle.
- Make sure the facility has adequate outside ventilation.
- Do not engage the park brake, but secure the car from rolling.
I wrote him back and asked him a few clarification questions about Dewees-specific concerns. In addition to the one above, I asked what he would recommend for Dewees long distance owners who leave their carts under their homes. Here is his answer:
As for leaving the golf car plugged in, the charger is set-up to be plugged in continuously. Ideally, if someone could charge the car every 4-6 weeks and then unplug the charger that would be best. That way if you had a storm and a power surge the golf car would not be plugged in and out of danger. Since the unit is not being driven the water levels would only need to be checked about every other month. Evaporation is what lowers the water/electrolyte level. Heat increases evaporation, so in the winter months, evaporation is not as much of a concern.
Summer heat, frequent driving, and charging the batteries all generate more heat and thereby increase the evaporation rate, which means the water and electrolytes need to be checked and replenished more often.