Can You Use 3 12v Batteries On a 36v Golf Cart?


If you have a 36v golf cart, you can use three 12V batteries. The 36V is the rating of the total charge that the cart would require to operate optimally. All you need to do is connect the batteries to give a total power output of 36V.

However, to get the best performance with 3 12v batteries, you must ensure all the batteries are in good condition. Their power output should be stable and equal. Otherwise, your cart will develop serious charging problems that could eventually damage the batteries. 

But before you use the 3 12v batteries on a 36v golf cart, you should understand the type of batteries used in your cart and why they are used. This will help you understand the kind of batteries performing best when installed on the cart. 

Top Factors to Consider Before Using 3 12v Batteries on a 36v Golf Cart

The performance of your golf cart will depend on the due diligence you take before changing its batteries. That’s why you must pay attention to some factors that would directly affect the performance of your batteries on a golf cart. 

  1. Types of Batteries On Golf Carts 

When you think of installing a 3 12v battery on a 36v golf cart, you must ensure that you use the type of battery the cart was originally sold with. This is because these batteries will determine the performance of your cart. Your golf cart batteries should have similar specifications to the original batteries. 

The following are the main types of golf cart batteries. 

  • Flooded Lead Acid (FLA) Batteries 

These are batteries that are also used in cars. They aren’t sealed because they require regular topping up of the acid to keep them operating at the highest performance. 

  • AGM Lead Acid Batteries 

These are other types of golf cart batteries that are sealed. They are mostly preferred as compared to FLA because of their life span. AGM lead acid batteries don’t require constant maintenance like FLA batteries. 

  • Gel Lead Acid Batteries 

This is a valve-regulated battery. It’s a mixture of electrolyte, sulphuric acid and silica. The mixture becomes a stationary gel substance and hence the name. They are perfect when used on golf carts because of their supply of consistent power. 

  • Lithium-Ion Golf Cart Batteries 

Lithium golf cart batteries are smaller as compared to traditional lead acid batteries. They reduce the weight of the golf cart. This means that the cart can reach a higher speed without getting sluggish. 

So, as you decide whether to use 3 12v batteries on your 36v golf cart, first think about the type of batteries that were originally installed. If possible, install the same batteries as the ones already in place. 

  1. Deep Cycle Batteries 

When choosing your batteries, they should always be deep cycle. This means they can be charged and allowed to run for a long time without the need of charging them again. This is why when you remove your 36v battery, you should replace it with 3 12v batteries. This is the only way you will have enough voltage that could run your cart without the need of charging again. 

  1. Amp-Hours On Your Batteries 

Amp per hour is simply the amount of power that a golf cart would deliver within a single hour. This is a critical element to think about at all times. So, when you’re choosing 12v batteries, ensure that they will deliver the same output as a 36v battery. If you don’t consider this factor, your cart won’t have enough power to run it. 

Step By Step Process of Installing 3 12V Batteries on a 36V Golf Cart 

If you have a 36v golf cart running on 6v batteries, you can easily replace them with three 12 volts batteries. To replace the batteries, follow the steps below. They will give a better performance. 

Step 1: Inspect the Battery Wiring

Start by opening the battery compartment and checking the wiring of the golf cart. Most golf carts use series wiring. This basically means that the negative cable from the first cable goes to the positive cable in the second battery. But the positive cable of the golf cart should be connected to the positive terminal of the first battery. On the other hand, the negative terminal should be connected to the negative terminal of the last battery. 

Before removing the existing batteries, note how these cables are connected. Note the negative and positive cables so that you can connect them properly after installing the batteries. 

Step 2: Disconnect and Remove Existing Batteries 

Use pliers or a spanner to loosen the nuts that connect to each battery. Ensure you remove all the batteries sequentially. Meaning the first battery would be first removed, then moved to the second and thirds battery. Do this until all batteries are disconnected. 

Carefully remove the batteries without damaging the cables. You would need to use the same cables that were connected to the old batteries. 

Step 3: Arrange Properly Your Three 12V Batteries 

Insert and arrange the 12v batteries in the compartment. Leave enough space between the batteries to allow the cables to connect to the terminals and the golf cart wiring. This should be an easy task to do. There are no specific distance. As you insert them, you will see how the batteries can easily connect. 

Step 4: Assign Numbers on Each Battery And Connect Them 

Make the batteries #1, #2, and #3. And connect battery #1 to #2 and #2 to #3. Do this by connecting the negative of preceding number to the positive terminus of the following numer. For instance, if you connect negative terminal on #1, the cable should go to the positive terminal of #2 and then negative terminal of #3. Repeat the same pattern to the positive terminal. 

This series connection combines the three batteries to give a total of 36v power. 

Step 5: Connect the Batteries to the Cart 

In this step all you need to do is connect the positive cable to the positive terminal of battery #1. The negative cable of the golf cart should go to the negative terminal of #3. This will complete the circuit of the three batteries and give a total of 36v. 

After getting to this step, your golf cart should be ready to begin working again. You would have connected all the power as required. 

Final Step: Test Your Golf Cart 

After installing the batteries test your golf cart and see if it’s working properly. The cart should ride at the highest speed because the batteries are already in place and delivering enough power. 

But in case your golf cart doesn’t work, it could be two issues. 

  • First Check Wiring Connection

Check if you have connected the wiring in the right order. Refer to step four to ensure every battery is connected in a series and not parallel. If the connection is not correctly done, the total voltage output would be different. So, connect it well to get total power output once the circuit is completed. 

  • Check If The Batteries Are Charged 

If the wiring is done properly and the cart doesn’t work, then it could be because the batteries are not charged. So, go ahead and charge your cart. Use your golf cart charger and recharge the batteries. After the batteries are fully charged, they would be able to run your golf cart. 

  • Check if the Batteries are in Good Condition 

In case the golf cart doesn’t charge, then the problem could be your batteries. If you didn’t use new batteries, then inspect every battery and ensure they are okay. One bad battery could damage all the other batteries. It could also affect the performance of your cart. So, check the bad batteries and replace them. 

  • What If the Cart Still Doesn’t Work? 

If, after checking all the above things the cart doesn’t work, then it could be other issues. The cart powering system might be defective. Or it’s entire wiring system might not be working. At this point, you can’t do anything unless you’re a mechanic. Consult with a golf cart professional to help you. They will troubleshoot your golf cart and identify areas that need to be sorted. A good mechanic will easily identify the problem and get it done for you. 

Parting Shot 

Can you use 3 12v batteries on a 36v golf cart? The answer is yes. You can use three batteries instead of the six 6v batteries that are installed on your golf cart. All you need to do is ensure you understand the type of batteries that you need on your cart. And following the above guide, then you can install these batteries on your own. You don’t need any prior experience to do this job. 

So, get yourself the best golf cart batteries and get the job done. But incase the golf cart doesn’t work after installing the batteries consult with a professional mechanic for golf cart troubleshooting. You would easily get the job done. 

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