Golf Cart Batteries Bubbling When Charging: Explained

Published on: July 22, 2023
Written by Ian Carter / Fact-checked by Baten Khalil

Golf cart batteries producing a bubbling noise during charging can be a consequence of an internal process, specifically gas generation. This typically happens as the amperage during the charging surpasses the natural absorption rate of the battery. Excessive amperage can potentially lead to overheating and subsequent battery damage.

Bubbling is not an uncommon phenomenon in golf cart batteries, particularly those of the lead-acid variety. In fact, a small amount of bubbling or gurgling sound might indicate a normal charging process. The reason lies in the chemistry of these batteries. During the charging phase, electrolysis of water occurs, leading to the formation of hydrogen and oxygen gases. These gases are what cause the bubbling sound you hear. But if it becomes excessive or is accompanied by an unusual smell, it might signal an overcharged or malfunctioning battery.

golf cart batteries bubbling when charging

Many golf cart owners often question the practice of keeping their carts plugged in all the time. If you use an automatic charger for your golf cart, leaving it plugged in is not an issue as these chargers are designed to switch off once the battery is fully charged. This reduces the risk of overheating and prevents any adverse effects on the battery’s performance and lifespan.

On the flip side, it is unusual if your battery is not bubbling while charging. If your battery is quiet, it might indicate that it is not charging properly. This could be due to several reasons such as a faulty charger or a damaged battery.

Sounds can also emanate from your battery when your vehicle is turned off. A car battery making bubbling noises when it’s turned off might be a sign of a current leak or an internal short circuit. Either situation calls for immediate attention to prevent further harm.

In essence, sounds from your battery can offer valuable insights into its health and functionality. Being vigilant about these signs can prevent potential battery failure, saving you time and cost.

Golf Cart Batteries

The Essence of Golf Cart Batteries

Golf cart batteries act as the primary power source for your golf cart, facilitating its movement and powering any onboard accessories. Depending on the type of golf cart, different batteries with varying capacities might be required. Regardless of the type, keeping the batteries in optimal condition is crucial for maintaining the performance of your golf cart.

Variety of Golf Cart Batteries

Many types of golf cart batteries are available in the market. The most common are flooded lead-acid batteries, absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries, and lithium-ion batteries. Each type offers different advantages, with some providing more power, others having a longer lifespan, and others being more environmentally friendly.

Battery Charging: Basic Insights

The Fundamentals of Battery Charging

Charging golf cart batteries involves converting electrical energy from a power source into chemical energy within the battery. This process restores the power that the battery has drained during use. Following proper charging guidelines is crucial for ensuring battery health and longevity.

Essential Gear for Charging

To charge your golf cart batteries, you’ll need a suitable charger compatible with your battery type. Most chargers come with built-in safety features to prevent overcharging. Using a compatible charger will maximize battery life and ensure safe charging.

Bubbling Phenomenon: Details and Implications

Root Causes of Battery Bubbling

Bubbling in golf cart batteries can occur during the charging process due to a chemical reaction known as electrolysis. This reaction produces gas, causing the electrolyte to bubble. Bubbling is more noticeable during the final stage of charging, known as the gassing stage.

Effects of Bubbling on Battery Performance

While normal bubbling is an essential part of the charging process, excessive bubbling can lead to water loss and damage the battery plates. Consequently, this may decrease battery efficiency, shorten its lifespan, and in severe cases, cause a battery failure.

Bubbling: Normality vs Concern

Normal Bubbling: The Gassing Stage

In the gassing stage of charging, bubbling is a normal occurrence. This stage ensures that the electrolyte is mixed well, preventing stratification and maintaining battery performance. In this stage, gas bubbles rising through the electrolyte indicate the battery is nearing full charge.

Signs of Trouble: Abnormal Bubbling

Abnormal bubbling usually involves excessive gassing, which can lead to water loss and, in turn, damage the battery plates. Indicators of abnormal bubbling include fast, violent bubbling at the beginning of charging, unusually loud gurgling sounds, and the battery becoming hot to touch.

Factors Influencing Battery Bubbling

The Role of Charging Voltage and Current

Charging voltage and current play a significant role in battery bubbling. High voltage or current during charging can cause excessive gassing and hence, more bubbling. Maintaining appropriate charging parameters can minimize excessive bubbling and extend battery life.

Influence of Battery Age and Condition

Older batteries or those in poor condition are more likely to experience excessive bubbling. Over time, batteries lose their efficiency, and the internal resistance can increase, leading to higher heat generation and more bubbling during charging.

Coping with Bubbling Batteries

Safety Measures During Bubbling

While dealing with bubbling batteries, safety is paramount. Always wear protective gear like gloves and safety glasses, and ensure the area is well-ventilated to disperse any gases produced during charging. If excessive bubbling or overheating occurs, disconnect the charger immediately and consult a professional.

Adapting Your Charging Strategy

Adapting your charging strategy can help deal with abnormal bubbling. This could involve using a charger with a lower voltage or current, charging in a cooler environment, or charging more frequently but for shorter durations. Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper charging practices.

Optimizing Performance of Golf Cart Batteries

Strategies for Regular Inspection and Maintenance

Routine inspection and maintenance are key to maximizing the performance of golf cart batteries. Regularly check the electrolyte level and top up with distilled water if necessary. Also, keep the battery and its terminals clean and free from corrosion.

optimizing performance of golf cart batteries

Tips for Proper Battery Storage

Proper storage of golf cart batteries can help prolong their lifespan. Store the batteries in a cool and dry place, ideally at a temperature between 32°F (0°C) and 70°F (21°C). Also, keep them fully charged, as storing discharged batteries can lead to sulfation and shortened battery life.

Case Studies: Real-world Experiences

Contrasting Normal and Troublesome Bubbling

John, a golf cart owner, noticed slight bubbling towards the end of the charging cycle. The batteries were operating normally and the golf cart showed no performance issues. On the other hand, Mike experienced violent bubbling at the start of the charging process. His golf cart was struggling to maintain power, suggesting that his batteries were likely damaged.

Success Stories of Battery Maintenance and Longevity

Jennifer has owned her golf cart for seven years. Regular battery inspection and maintenance, coupled with mindful charging practices, has helped her maintain the batteries in excellent condition. The batteries continue to deliver great performance, with only occasional mild bubbling during charging.

Comparison Tables

Signs of Normal vs Abnormal Bubbling

Normal BubblingAbnormal Bubbling
Occurs towards the end of chargingOccurs at the start of charging
Bubbling is mildBubbling is violent
Battery temperature remains normalBattery becomes hot to touch

Checklist for Battery Care and Maintenance

Battery Care and MaintenanceCheck
Regular inspection of the electrolyte level
Topping up with distilled water if necessary
Cleaning battery terminals
Maintaining proper charging voltage and current
Storing batteries in a cool, dry place


Can Golf Cart Batteries Give Off Carbon Monoxide?

Yes, golf cart batteries, specifically lead-acid types, can produce small amounts of carbon monoxide during charging. It’s due to the process of electrolysis which also generates hydrogen and oxygen gases. That’s why proper ventilation is crucial during the charging process.

What Causes a Battery to Bubble?

The bubbling you notice in a battery during charging is due to electrolysis. It’s a chemical reaction within the battery that produces gas, causing the electrolyte to bubble. It’s usually a normal part of the charging process, particularly towards the end.

Why Is My Car Battery Bubbling?

Your car battery is bubbling due to the gassing stage of the charging process. This phase involves electrolysis, a chemical reaction that produces gas and causes the electrolyte to bubble. It’s a normal occurrence if it happens towards the end of charging but could indicate a problem if the bubbling is excessive.

Are Golf Cart Batteries Supposed to Bubble?

Yes, golf cart batteries typically bubble during charging, especially in the final stages. This is known as the gassing stage where electrolysis occurs, producing gas and causing the electrolyte to bubble. However, if the bubbling is excessive or occurs at the beginning of the charging process, it could indicate an issue.

Does My Golf Cart Smell Like Gas Because of Battery Bubbling?

A gas-like smell from your golf cart could be the result of battery bubbling. If the bubbling is excessive, it could be releasing more gas, which could create a smell. If you detect such a smell, check your battery for any signs of excessive bubbling or overheating.

Why Is My Battery Bubbling When Charging?

The bubbling you observe when charging your battery is due to electrolysis. It’s a chemical reaction that produces gas, causing the electrolyte to bubble. This typically happens during the gassing stage of charging and signifies the battery is near full charge.

Do Golf Cart Batteries Make Noise When Charging?

Yes, golf cart batteries can make a gurgling or bubbling noise during charging. This noise is usually due to the release of gas bubbles in the electrolyte solution during the gassing stage of charging. It’s generally normal but if the noise is loud or occurs at the beginning of the charging process, it could signal an issue.

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