How To Use A Golf Cart Trickle Charger (5 Steps)

When the golf season comes to an end, or you are heading out of town for an extended period, a golf cart trickle charger is the perfect solution. Your electric golf cart can sit in a secure location without any damage occurring to the batteries. 

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use a golf cart trickle charger. This is not an extensive process, and you should be able to set this up independently. 

How To Use A Golf Cart Trickle Charger (Step by Step)

5 steps to using a golf cart trickle charger graphic

Before purchasing a trickle charger for your golf cart, make sure you are getting something compatible with your particular cart. Most chargers are universal, but you will need to know the voltage of your golf cart. 

💡 Taking care of your battery is one way to make golf cart batteries last longer.

Step 1: Prep The Cart And The Area

Golf carts with the area cleared, ready for trickle charger

The first part of this process is to ensure you are leaving the area safe before you plug the cart in to charge. The problem with extended charging is that if not done properly, there could be excess heat or gases created that can be dangerous. 

I always like to make sure I clean the cart first and remove any debris that may be on there. If there are extra golf shoes, gear, or even beach towels, put it all away and let the golf cart be free of debris. 

In addition, check the area surrounding the golf cart, just like you would if you were jacking up your golf cart.

Make sure there is no way for water to get near the cart or animals that can disturb this charging process while you are out of town. 

Step 2: Ground The Battery 

Showing where the negative terminal is on a golf cart battery

While you are setting up your golf cart battery to charge, make sure you have the golf cart off. There is no reason to even have the key in during this part of the process. 

At this point, it’s essential to ground the battery for safety during this charging process. 

This is probably the most complicated step of this process but one that is worth taking. 

Read More: Icon Golf Cart Review: Are They Any Good in 2022?

Take a wire from a negative terminal of the battery and run it to an area of metal somewhere on the golf cart. You will then attach this to the golf cart with a rubber clip. 

When doing this, ensure not to ground the wire to the other terminal on a battery, as this is not a way to ground the battery correctly. 

This part of the process helps with any potential sparks that could occur while the cart is left unattended. However, the trickle charger is usually quite good about ensuring the charging process is safe. 

Step 3: Attach The Charger 

Attaching trickle charger to golf cart battery

At this point, you are ready to attach the charger to your battery. 

One thing to point out here is that the grounding step is not always necessary. In fact, sometimes, when I do this, I don’t ground the battery. 

However, it is a smart idea for many people just to ensure proper safety is followed, and there are no potential issues. After all, golf cart batteries are expensive, and you will want to ensure they stay in good shape. 

The attachment of the charger is easy. 

You simply take the positive from the trickle charger and attach it to the positive on the battery. Then you will take the negative and attach that or attach it to the grounding location. 

Either way will work; it all depends on whether or not you have grounded the battery or you chose not to. Some golf cart owners struggle with the grounding because there is not always much metal on a cart, making it difficult to find a spot to do it. 

Each trickle charger has different requirements, so it’s always smart to check those out as well and see what is considered standard for that charger. 

Step 4: Ensure Connection 

When using a trickle charger, you will likely be leaving the cart unattended for quite some time. My mind always goes to what will happen if these connections get loose or fall off. 

I always try to make sure that the connections are strong and held in place. One additional step that some golf carts may need is a quick cleaning of the battery terminals. 

If you have not kept up with monthly maintenance procedures, the terminals could have issues with them that will make it incredibly difficult to charge the golf cart batteries properly. 

Step 5: Test and Check 

Person holding golf cart trickle charger in hand

Now you can plug your trickle charger in and wait for it to show that it is charging. Most trickle chargers will have an indicator or display that lets you know they are working and where in the charging process the charger is. 

With a trickle charger, you won’t have to worry about your golf cart batteries depleting completely before being charged again. Instead, the trickle charger keeps the battery fluctuating at a safe level of charge and improves the overall longevity of the battery.

Some people will leave their trickle chargers for several months. 

It’s best to have someone check on the golf cart at some point to make sure all connections are still in place and that there are no additional issues with the functionality of the charger. 

I know that golf cart accessories add up quickly in price but buying a trickle charger you can trust will likely pay off in the long run. 

Tips For Golf Cart Battery Charging Safety 

Now that you have the basic process of how to use a trickle charger, there are some safety tips that you should be well aware of. Again, the fact that you are installing a trickle charger is smart, but you must ensure that your setup is safe before you leave it. 

  • Always clean your golf cart and batteries before installing and ultimately leave the trickle charger unattended. 
  • Hydrogen gas can be emitted when golf cart batteries are charging; therefore, some ventilation in the charging area is necessary. 
  • Sparks, open flame, or smoking near a golf cart battery can cause an explosion; always take precautions to avoid this. 
  • Check the water in the golf cart batteries prior to starting this charging process. 
  • Golf cart batteries can be charged with the trickle charger while in the golf cart, or you can move them out to a clean, dry location where they can sit level and charge. 

Why Use A Golf Cart Trickle Charger? 

When leaving your golf cart unattended for a few months at a time, serious damage can be done to the battery. A traditional charger will charge the battery fully and let it sit there. 

The traditional charger won’t turn back on when the battery starts to lose power. Essentially it has done its job of getting to full charge, and from there, it stops. 

With a trickle charger, a very low voltage charge will be continually applied to the battery so that it never reaches empty or even low. 

One of the best steps to help improve overall battery health and longevity is to never let your golf cart batteries go below a 50 percent charge. Keeping them charged will ensure better longevity and functionality. 

A golf cart trickle charger makes this process easy and hands-free, and it will help you prolong the life of your batteries. 

If you have a golf home in Florida that you leave for the summer, the golf cart trickle charger is a must-have tool. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

The first time you set up your trickle charger for a golf cart, you may have quite a few questions about the process and the safety. Once you get this down, you will see that it’s a rather simple procedure; it’s just a matter of following a few initial steps. 

Here are a few questions we have gotten through the years about a golf cart trickle charger. 

Can I use a trickle charger on a golf cart battery?

A trickle charger is perfectly acceptable on a golf cart battery; find one built explicitly for golf cart batteries and matches the voltage levels you need. 

How long does a trickle charger take to charge a golf cart battery?

A trickle charger could take 14 hours or more to charge the battery; it is a slower process than a traditional golf cart charger. 

Do you disconnect the battery when using a trickle charger?

All golf cart batteries can remain connected together when using a trickle charger so that you can charge them all at the same time. Without doing this, you will end up just charging one battery. 

Final Thoughts 

At this point, you should be ready to trickle charge your golf cart without any issues. This process is one that you will need to get used to if you leave your golf cart unattended for extended periods of time. 

If you will leave your golf cart for one week or more, a trickle charger is a good idea. However, this is most important when leaving the golf cart for months at a time.

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