How to Test Golf Cart Batteries? – Basic Troubleshooting

clamps for golf cart batteries

How to test golf cart batteries? How to troubleshoot golf cart batteries? In the sport of golf, having a functional golf cart is valuable commodity that brings comfort and speed to your golf round. However, golf cart batteries prove to be quite finicky at times, and you might get frustrated with troubleshooting them. In this article, we have you covered for any issues your cart batteries might have! Keep reading below for the best techniques to troubleshoot your golf cart batteries!

We cannot stress enough that you should not attempt to fix your golf cart yourself because there is a serious risk of injury or fatality. We are not responsible for any issues that may arise, no matter how serious. You always need to do your own research, and consult the relevant professionals, such as electricians, mechanics, and more. Let the professionals fix your golf cart.

How to Test Golf Cart Batteries?

There are multiple possible issues your golf cart batteries can run into, listed down below. Accordingly, there are also multiple techniques to test golf cart batteries, and they involve the use of certain tools described below. If you find that some of your battery parts are defective, do not hesitate to replace them.

Issue #1: Your Battery Cables are Defective

Verify the cables for your batteries. Examine the cables closely for corrosion, swelling, and heat shrinkage. If you notice any of these defects, replace the cables.

For each cable, grab the middle in one hand, and the end in the other hand. Pull on the end of the cable, wiggle it around; the connection should be strong, and there should not be much shifting occurring between the parts. You do not want the wires inside the cable to come lose.

Next, attach the cables to your battery, and make sure the cables are not pivoting. Make sure the cables are firmly attached and secure.

Replace the cables if you have any doubt about them. Your safety, as well as the health of your cart battery, are more important than a few dollars for a cable.

Issue #2: Your Battery is not Getting any Voltage

Tools required: voltmeter

Take out a voltmeter, and push its probes deeply into the lead of the battery. Put the red probe on the positive terminal, and the black probe on the negative terminal. Read the battery voltage displayed on the voltmeter to see whether the battery is charged. The voltage should broadly match the nominal voltage of the battery.

For example, for a 12V golf cart battery, you should read a voltage somewhere between 11V and 13V if the battery is fully charged. Of course, if the golf cart battery is older, especially after 5 years of use, you might find lower numbers because a battery deteriorates over time.

Issue #3: Your Battery is not Getting any Current

Tools required: battery load tester

Sometimes, golf cart batteries can have voltage, but no current. Therefore, you can verify the current with a battery load tester.

First, look at your golf cart battery’s specifications sheet to find its capacity (in amp hours) and its cold cranking amps (CCA).

Use a battery load tester; attached the red clamp to the positive terminal, and the black clamp to the negative terminal. On the battery load tester, send to the battery half as many amps as the CCA number the battery is rated for.

Look at the voltage dial on the battery load tester. You do not want the voltage to vary much; the needle should hold rather steady without dropping. After a few seconds, stop sending current to the battery. Watch out for the heat generated in the battery load tester, and the battery itself.

For example, for a 12V golf cart battery with a capacity of about 30 amp hours might have around 150 cold cranking amps (CCA). You should then attach the battery load tester to the battery, and send around 150/2 = 75 amps of current to the battery. Look at the voltage dial: it should hold rather steady and not drop much below 11-12V. Stop sending current and unhook the battery load tester from the battery.

Issue #4: Your Battery is not Charged

Tools required: voltmeter

This might be obvious for most people, but some people do not know that batteries drain over time, even if they are not in use. If the battery is drained, meaning not charged, it will obviously not function.

You need to charge your golf cart batteries about 1 to 2 times a month, when you are outside of golfing season. During your golfing season, assuming you will be riding the golf cart more than twice a month, simply charge it the night before every time you will be using it.

If you are unsure whether your batteries are charged, or how charged they are, you can use the voltmeter method described in issue #1 to verify the charge level.

Issue #5: The Top of Your Battery is not Clean

Tools required: voltmeter

Make sure the top of your battery is clean of certain contaminants like dirt, oil, salt or more. These contaminants may channel some of your battery’s electricity through them, thus lowering the performance of your battery.

You can use the voltmeter’s probes on top of the battery where there are contaminants, and you might find there is a voltage, even though you are not probing the battery terminals directly. If you do find a voltage, clean the top of your battery.

Issue #6: Your Battery Dried Out

Tools required: hydrometer

Completely detach the battery from any other apparatus, remove the battery caps and verify the electrolyte levels. Ideally, you would want the plates to not be dry; it would be ideal for there to be good levels of electrolytes.

If the plates are completely dry, the battery is likely dead, and you should purchase a new one.

If the plates are moist rather than completely dry, with the water level under the optimal level, you can attempt adding distilled water. Add distilled water up to the top of the plates and replace the battery caps. Next, attempt to save the battery by charging it.

Alternatively, you can place a hydrometer in each battery cell to check the specific gravity. When you compare the values given by the hydrometer for each cell, they should ideally be similar. If the values for specific gravity from one cell to the other vary significantly, then it might be time to replace your battery.


After reading this article, you have hopefully found what you needed to test your golf cart battery and troubleshoot it. Take the right precautions before fixing your battery yourself, and be sure to replace any components that are defective! Happy golfing!

Did you find your fix? Let us know down below in the comments! Maybe we can help you or direct to someone who can help.