How to Repair a Broken Battery Terminal Post on an Electric Golf Cart

Updated on April 14, 2016
Pcunix profile image

I was born in 1948 and spent most of my career as a self employed computer trouble shooter for Unix systems.

We are able to drive golf carts on the private roads where we live. It's a great convenience for running down to the postal center or the clubhouse.

That convenience came to a sudden halt one day. I pulled into my driveway after a trip to get our mail and noticed that my battery meter was fluctuating on and off as I hit small bumps.

Well, that's easy. Something is loose, right? Probably just the clips to the meter. I pulled open the seat to take a look.

I felt around with my finger and found that one terminal was very hot. I could also feel that the nut was loose, so I went to get a wrench and came back to tighten it. I have to check these things every now and then; they don't usually loosen up, but I wasn't concerned. That is, until I found that I couldn't tighten it down with the wrench. It just spun, because the thread it was attached to was spinning loose in the lead of the battery lug.

How to Repair Broken Terminal Post

Follow these steps carefully.
• Remove battery (use strap if you have one).
• Disconnect battery cable.
• Drill pilot hole in battery post no deeper than 3/4 inch.
• Use appropriate size screw and washer to secure cable tight.
A normal battery post and cable.
A normal battery post and cable.

You can see what a normal battery terminal looks like in the picture to the right. There is a threaded lug that sits in a lead tab. That is what had come loose.

In the table above you'll find a summary of the steps I took to repair the loose lug. For more detail and photos, here is where I went to find instructions. It was obvious that these were the correct steps to take, but I was in a hurry and took some shortcuts. I'm going to go back and "do it right" before long, but I was able to get the cart going.

The problem was that I couldn't find my tap set. That's not something I use very often. I might have lent it to someone and forgotten about it, or maybe it just disappeared when we moved. For all I know it got sold at our yard sale along with other tools I thought I would never need again. Who remembers? Not me.

Secret Male Removal Methods

I called a poker buddy who lives up the street and asked if he had a set. He'd misplaced his also (I nominate tap and die set as the most commonly lost tools in our community), and suggested just setting a screw into the lead.

Lead is soft. Why not? Drill a little pilot hole no more than 3/4 inch deep (deeper and you'll be into the acid) and screw in a screw. Not great for maintenance, but it sounded like a plan. My poker pal drove down to help.

I have a lifting strap I bought from Buggies Unlimited. I think it would have been almost impossible to remove the battery from the carts without it. I highly recommend buying one of these.

Of course we couldn't easily disconnect the cable. There wasn't any way to grab the bolt to keep it from turning, so I disconnected the cable from the other battery instead and then pulled the battery to get it out where we could work on it.

We fussed with it for half an hour, trying various futile schemes. I even tried sawing it with a hacksaw. No luck. We finally gave up and I applied the time honored traditional secret male removal technique: brute force. I tore the damn thing out of the lead with my very angry bare hands.

More Broken Stuff

We were now ready to make a hole for the screw.

As I said, lead is soft. It's sticky when you drill into it, and that caused me to snap off my first drill bit. Fortunately, it didn't snap off flush, so we were able to grab it with pliers and coax it out. I tried again with a slightly larger bit and did it again almost instantly.

Sheesh. We were off to a good start!

I went one size larger, reasoning that would be harder to break, and handed the drill to my friend to let him have a crack at ultimate battery destruction. He managed to drill the necessary hole without breaking another bit. Later in the week when we were at poker and it came my turn to deal, I pointedly did not deal a game he doesn't like. My attempt at payback failed; he lost that hand anyway.

After repair.
After repair.

Fixed!

We found an appropriate screw and a brass washer of the right size and screwed that cable down tight.

Yeah, I know it will probably come loose but that might be some time from now. These batteries don't last forever, anyway. They say 2-7 years, with the longer life coming if you avoid discharging them fully between charges and maintain them religiously. I do that, so I might be good for another five years with some luck.

If it does come lose, I'll either put in a slightly bigger screw or try to find somebody here who still has a tap set. We can't have all lost everything we ever had, right?

Epilogue

A few days later I drove down to our garden to pick some squash. Imagine my delight when I got back in the cart and found the battery meter flat at zero. Of course I cursed myself for taking the easy fix and called my wife to come get me.

While waiting for her and kicking the ground petulantly, I opened up the seat to see how bad it was. To my surprise, the screw repair was holding firm. That wasn't the problem. Wiggling cables while watching the meter led me to the true source: the other battery terminal!

In our haste to put everything back and my joy at fixing the problem so easily, I had only hand-tightened the opposite, positive terminal, and had put away my wrench without ever snugging it down. That had worked loose from the comforting jolts of a golf cart suspension.

I didn't have a wrench with me, but I had my fingers, so I applied the Secret Male Brute Force Bare Finger Tightening Technique. This actually worked well enough to get me home—with my wife following, just in case. Once home, I tightened it down, still cursing softly under my breath.

For some reason my poker buddy thought that was rather funny when I saw him again the following week. Guess which game I plan to deal every time it is my turn?

It's been two weeks now and I have had no more problems. If I do, and can't find anyone with a tap set, I'll apply another Secret Male Technique that involves going to the store and buying an overpriced tool that I may never need again other than to lend to someone and then promptly forget all about it—until I do need it again, of course. But by then I won't remember who I lent it to.

BANG!
BANG!
New battery in place.
New battery in place.

Update

I was driving back from picking some late tomatoes at our garden when a loud POP from under the seat startled me. A few feet later, the cart drifted to a halt.

The battery had blown, as seen in the picture to the right. No, not the post I repaired, the other post. I thought I must have been careless about pushing down on the cap after checking the water; bubbling hydrogen gas and a little spark paid me for my sloppiness.

Nope, that wasn't it. See bad cable causes expensive battery replacement for the real story.

That was a $148.00 lesson in battery maintenance.

I'll also have to get a new cable; the insulation burned away. I patched it with tape for now, but will need to pick up a new one.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

    Submit a Comment

    • Pcunix profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Lawrence 

      4 years ago from SE MA

      The local auto parts store will order them in for me.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      4 years ago from Texas

      Tony (Pcunix) Where do you find batteries. We bought a used cart and we will need to replace them before long. This is interesting. Growing up with a brother who is a mechanic, I learned all kinds of tricks like the one you just mentioned.

      Voted up UAI, and shared

    • Pcunix profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Lawrence 

      8 years ago from SE MA

      And then in September it blew up. See update above

    • Pcunix profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Lawrence 

      8 years ago from SE MA

      And it loosened up again today. I socked it down much harder this time.

    • Pcunix profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Lawrence 

      8 years ago from SE MA

      And often get me in trouble too :-)

    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 

      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Live and learn. LOL Your repairs are creative and unusual.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, axleaddict.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://axleaddict.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)