Fall is a beautiful time of year but soon, your golf cart won’t be able to tackle the snow and sub-freezing temps in Southwest Michigan! Time to polish up the cart, prepare it for storage, and give it the tender touches it needs to survive a cold Michigan winter.
We asked our Club Car expert advisers what’s MOST important when preparing for winter and here’s a short list of things you need to do to prepare your gas or electric golf cart for winter storage:
Inspect and Charge the Battery—Inspect and fill water levels in your battery if needed. Check to be sure cables are in good condition. Clean the battery terminals and use a battery tester to see if the battery needs replacing. You don’t need to unhook your battery; it should be able to hold a good strong charge for the chilly months. Once all the details are complete, charge your battery completely.
Top off the Tank and Add Fuel Stabilizer—Fuel stabilizers and gas treatments contain powerful additives that neutralize acids, prevent gas from oxidizing and coat metal surfaces to prevent corrosion. For the absolute best results from your golf cart’s engine, top off your tank with fresh fuel just before you put it away or just let the vehicle run out of gas.
Change Your Oil and Air Filter—Or get your cart to an authorized service center to check the oil and the air filter. It’s also a good time to consider replacing the fuel filter since just a little dirt in your fuel line will affect the performance of your cart come spring.
Replace Spark Plug—Our experts recommend an annual spark plug change to keep your engine performing at top speed. Poor firing spark plugs can cause your cart to sputter or cut out while you’re driving it. Have your authorized Club Car dealer check your spark plugs before you store your cart for the winter.
Check the Battery Cell Electrolyte Levels—Make sure each battery has the right electrolyte level. Don’t charge your battery until the electrolyte level is equal to or higher than the tops of the battery plates. BUT, don’t add water just before charging as that will not allow sufficient time for the water to mix with the electrolytes. Add distilled water if needed, then drive the cart around to mix the water into the acid below. Charging it without the proper electrolyte levels could cause irreversible damage to your battery and shorten the capacity and life expectancy of your power cells.
Charge the Batteries—Check water levels, terminals and cables for any corrosion or damage. Then, charge your batteries to their fullest before storage. You don’t need to unhook your battery; it should be able to hold a good strong charge for the chilly months. Once you’ve charged the batteries to their fullest, plug the battery charger into the cart. Leave the charger plugged in while your golf cart is in storage; the system will automatically activate the charger when needed. If you leave your cart plugged in, be sure to check the battery levels at least once a month to avoid later problems.
Place the TOW switch into the TOW position—If you have a traditional 48 volt Club Car Precedent or DS model prior to 2014, place the Run/Tow switch into the TOW position to remove the load off the braking system from the battery pack. If not done, the battery could lose a great deal of its charge in a very short time keeping the brakes engaged. If your cart has (6) 8 volt batteries, we suggest that you remove the #6 negative cable connection, if you have (4) 12 volt batteries, remove the #4 negative cable connection. Tuck the cable end below the level of the batteries to ensure it does not contact metal surfaces. The vehicle is now in the best possible condition to handle the cold temperatures of winter. We suggest you unplug and re-plug charger once a month and make sure that the charger turns on. Interruptions in electrical lines can disrupt the computer’s ability to effectively charge the batteries, by unplugging and re-plugging in the charger, you eliminate this potential problem.
Either Gas and Electric Carts
Check Tire Pressure—Whether you drive gas or electric, you’ll want to check the tire pressure. Inflation to 18-20 psi is suggested (check your manual or ask your service provider) and will help prevent flats as tire pressure lowers during cold weather.
Disengage the Parking Brake—Leaving your parking brake engaged during extreme temperature swings can cause the stretching of brake cables. If your golf cart will be stored for more than a month or two, this could help add to the life of your brake cables and entire braking system. Chock the wheels to prevent any unwanted movement of your cart.
Windshields and Bag Protectors—Store your golf cart for the winter with the windshield in the upright position. Open the bag protector to the down position to prevent cracking of the vinyl window panel. Wipe and clean the windshields and plastic window with a soft cloth.
Clean Your Cart—Dust and grime will accumulate in even the best storage facility so give your cart a nice, clean head start on the winter by washing the cart, cleaning the seats and floor and storage bins, and the undercarriage. Any dirt still clinging to your cart is going to be MUCH harder to remove in the spring, so do it now! If you want, you can buy a cart cover which will help prevent dust from accumulating.
If you have a Club Car Precedent or Tempo with the new E.R.I.C. charging system, consult your Owner’s Manual or contact US Golf Cars for instructions. If you have an older 36-volt system (6) 6 volt batteries, and no type of attachments that stay on continually (possible digital charger meter), you do not need to unhook anything, just charge the unit, unplug the charger and park it. Not all brands of golf cars are winterized the same, contact us for other brand suggestions.
So, in addition to everything on this list that you can do yourself, it is a good idea to have your golf cart professionally serviced at least once or twice a year by a certified Club Car dealer. US Golf Cars offers full-service on-site and mobile repair services to help answer your questions and keep your cart running smoothly. Get the full list of important things to do from Club Car here: http://bit.ly/2yrCfcf
So, get out there and enjoy the rest of the fall weather and the time you get to spend in your golf cart. And remember, when you need parts or service, choose US Golf Cars for your golf cart needs. Call our service department at 1-800-321-9616 to schedule your tune-up today!