Golf Cart Batteries Bubbling When Not Charging: What You Need to Know

Published on: July 19, 2023
Written by John Stevens / Fact-checked by Hashim Manna

Golf cart batteries are built to be secure and resistant to leakage. Bubbling can be an indication of an overcharge or overheating event in your golf cart battery. Moreover, bubbles may suggest the presence of gas build-up inside the battery, which often stems from incorrect charging procedures.

These batteries, like any other lead acid batteries, can exhibit an observable phenomenon known as ‘gassing’. This is the process where the battery begins to release hydrogen gas as a byproduct of the electrochemical reaction that happens during charging. This gassing event usually corresponds with the ‘bubbling’ sounds or even a noticeable smell during charging. Such a sound can become more pronounced if the charging voltage exceeds safe limits.

golf cart batteries bubbling when not charging

To maintain the efficiency and longevity of your golf cart batteries, avoid overcharging, which can lead to bubbling after charging. An overcharged battery not only bubbles but might also produce an unpleasant smell due to the release of excess hydrogen gas.

Meanwhile, a battery not bubbling while charging can be a good sign, suggesting the charging process is occurring at the correct voltage and current. Yet, if your battery is making noise when turned off, this could hint at an issue that needs addressing.

Deep cycle battery bubbling while charging is a common occurrence due to their high energy density and charging patterns. It is a balance to manage these reactions and the charging procedures to ensure the bubbling doesn’t lead to detrimental conditions for the battery.

It’s commonly asked if one should leave their golf cart plugged in all the time. While regular charging is good for the battery’s health, leaving it plugged in constantly can risk overcharging, contributing to the unwanted bubbling effect. Thus, it’s advised to use smart chargers that halt the charging process once the battery is fully charged. By incorporating these best practices, you can maintain the optimal performance of your golf cart batteries, preventing unnecessary bubbling or noises.

Golf Cart Batteries Basics

Golf cart batteries provide the critical power needed to keep your cart running smoothly. There are primarily two types of batteries utilized in golf carts: lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries. Both these variants have their own unique features. Lead-acid batteries, the traditional choice, are known for their high-power output and lower cost, while lithium-ion batteries are lauded for their long life and lightweight structure. It’s essential to grasp the working mechanism of these batteries to deal effectively with issues such as non-charging bubbling.

The Charging Process: An Insight

The charging process of golf cart batteries is a chemical reaction. In simple terms, the charger sends electricity into the battery, reversing the discharge process. This reversal transforms the sulfuric acid and lead sulfate back into electrolyte fluid and lead. The effectiveness of this process can influence battery longevity. Thus, the charging process plays a pivotal role in keeping your golf cart batteries healthy.

Bubbling in Golf Cart Batteries

During charging, golf cart batteries often exhibit a phenomenon called ‘gassing’ or ‘bubbling’. This gassing is an expected byproduct of the chemical reactions that take place within the battery during charging. However, ‘bubbling’ might persist even if the battery isn’t in the charging state. This unusual activity could be a symptom of a more significant issue within the battery, warranting closer attention.

Risks Associated with Non-Charging Bubbling Batteries

Bubbling in golf cart batteries outside of charging states can pose risks. From a safety perspective, the bubbles are hydrogen gas, which is highly flammable. Additionally, constant gassing can lead to a loss of electrolyte fluid, reducing battery performance and potentially shortening its lifespan. Thus, timely identification and rectification of the issue are necessary.

Overcharging Golf Cart Batteries: Signs and Implications

Overcharging is a common problem that could result in your golf cart batteries bubbling persistently. Some of the signs of overcharging include excessive heat during charging, warped battery plates, and a strong, foul smell. Overcharging can damage your batteries by causing plate corrosion, excessive water loss, and in some cases, can even lead to a battery explosion.

Undercharging Golf Cart Batteries: Signs and Implications

While overcharging can be damaging, undercharging golf cart batteries isn’t advisable either. Some signs of undercharging include decreased cart speed, limited range, and sulfation of the battery plates. Undercharging can cause lead sulfate crystals to build up on the battery plates, resulting in reduced battery capacity and shorter battery life.

Unusual Causes of Batteries Bubbling

Apart from charging issues, several other factors could cause your golf cart batteries to bubble. An old or worn-out battery could bubble due to internal degradation. A defective charger can also cause overcharging, leading to bubbling. Moreover, damaged battery cells can generate gas, causing the battery to bubble.

Significance of Regular Battery Maintenance

Regular battery maintenance can help prevent issues like bubbling. This involves periodically inspecting the batteries for signs of damage or corrosion, cleaning battery terminals to prevent buildup, and ensuring the battery water levels are maintained. Insufficient water can expose the plates, leading to dry out and potentially causing the battery to bubble.

Correct Charging Practices for Optimal Battery Health

Following correct charging practices can prevent golf cart battery issues. Adherence to the manufacturer’s guidelines for charging is crucial. Giving batteries an adequate amount of charging time ensures they reach a full state of charge, thereby preventing undercharging. Also, keeping the charging environment temperature controlled can prevent excessive heat build-up.

Remedies for Bubbling Golf Cart Batteries

If your golf cart batteries are bubbling when not in the charging state, take immediate action. Start by inspecting for any damaged components. Ensure the charger is functioning correctly and is not overcharging the batteries. Maintain a balanced charging and discharging cycle. In case these remedies don’t work, it might be time to seek professional assistance.

remedies for bubbling golf cart batteries

Shifting to Contemporary Battery Options

With technology advancing, lithium-ion batteries have emerged as a reliable alternative to lead-acid batteries. These batteries offer longer life, are more lightweight, require less maintenance, and have a more consistent power output. But they do come at a higher cost. Hence, if you’re considering making a switch, factor in these aspects.

Comparing Different Battery Types

Battery TypeLifespanWeightMaintenanceCost
Lead-acid3-5 yearsHeavyHighLow
Lithium-ion5-7 yearsLightweightLowHigh

The choice between different battery types depends on various factors such as the frequency of use, budget, and individual preferences. By making an informed decision, you can ensure your golf cart performs optimally and you can enjoy a smooth ride every time.


Can Golf Cart Batteries Give Off Carbon Monoxide?

No, golf cart batteries, whether lead-acid or lithium-ion, do not emit carbon monoxide. They can emit hydrogen gas, particularly while charging or if they are damaged. It is always advisable to charge or store them in a well-ventilated area to avoid any risk.

What Causes a Battery to Bubble?

Bubbling, or gassing, in batteries is typically caused by the electrochemical process taking place during charging. However, if your battery is bubbling while not on charge, this might indicate an issue such as overcharging, undercharging, or a faulty battery component.

Why Is My Car Battery Bubbling?

If your car battery is bubbling, it may be due to excessive charging causing the electrolyte to heat up and boil. It might also be a result of an internal fault within the battery. Immediate professional consultation is recommended to prevent potential damage.

Does a Golf Cart Smell Like Gas?

Typically, electric golf carts should not smell like gas. If you’re noticing a gas-like smell, it could be indicative of a potential issue with the battery, such as overcharging or undercharging. It could also be due to damaged battery components, requiring immediate attention.

Are Golf Cart Batteries Gurgling While Charging Normal?

Yes, a gurgling or bubbling noise during the charging process is normal for golf cart batteries. This is due to the electrochemical reaction taking place. But, if this sound continues after the charging is complete, it could signal a potential problem.

What Does It Mean If a Battery Is Hissing When Charging?

A hissing sound from your battery while charging may be a sign of overcharging or internal damage. Overcharging leads to excessive gassing, which causes this hissing sound. If you hear hissing, it’s advisable to consult with a battery professional promptly.

Why Does My New Golf Cart Batteries Smell When Charging?

If your new golf cart batteries emit an unusual smell during charging, it could be a sign of overcharging or other internal problems. A rotten egg smell is particularly concerning as it might indicate the battery is releasing harmful gases. Consultation with a battery expert is recommended.

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