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This article will cover common golf cart problems and how to troubleshoot golf carts. For general maintenance on your golf cart, we will examine all three most important safety features, brakes, tires, and lights, as well as the most critical powertrain component, the batteries.
No matter whether your golf cart runs on gas or electricity, all four of these components are extremely important for proper operation, so it’s important to keep an eye on them if you want them to run smoothly.
Golf Cart General Maintenance
The brakes on your golf cart are the biggest safety feature and are vital for stopping your cart. Brakes can be hydraulic or electric, but regardless of the design, they should be inspected when you check the oil level and tire pressure.
It’s important that they are in good working order because if your brakes fail, you will lose control of your vehicle and have trouble stopping it.
Parking brakes, which use a cable to mechanically hold the vehicle in place, should be checked more often than disc brakes, which use pads to apply friction to an aluminum disc located near the wheel hub.
Most newer models have disc brakes as opposed to drum brakes, which use pads as your car does. Discs are faster and more efficient than drums; however, they can get damaged easily if you drive on dirt and gravel roads because the dust from those roads gets into the calipers and stops them from working properly.
Make sure that your brake rotors aren’t cracked or warped (the flat part that touches the pads). This could be a sign of overuse or damage if a rock got wedged in between the wheel and brake rotor.
If this happens, all of your braking power will be lost. If there are no cracks, then make sure that your brake pads aren’t worn down; if they are, they won’t slow down your cart when you hit the brake.
If your tires are thin, it could be related to bad brakes; if you try to apply the brakes hard when you have thin tires, the wheels will just spin and wear out faster. Make sure that you have enough air in them so that they aren’t getting too thin and cracking on the inside.
You should also make sure that your parking brake works properly. Most newer models have a button on the dash or a lever under the seat to engage the parking brake.
If you find that your parking brake doesn’t work, then you should take it to a golf cart shop and have it fixed. The parking brake is important because you always want to be parked with your wheels straight up and down so that they don’t get damaged if something bumps into them while you are not around.
Next up is tires. Tires have to be in good shape if you want your golf cart to run smoothly and stay on the road. They allow for proper cornering, steering, and braking. Tires are covered by a thin skin.
That skin is filled with molecules called polymers that absorb water. When it rains, all of the water that you see on the ground is absorbed by those polymers and then released as it heats up, which can cause blowouts when water expands inside of the tire’s casing.
- Take your tires off so that you can inspect them properly
- Look at the tread depth to make sure it’s not worn down too much across any part of the tire
- Check for bulges in the tire that may indicate that the tire is going to blow out.
- Make a note of any uneven wear on the tread or sidewalls.
Make a note of any cracks in the rubber or sidewalls, which could be a sign of something more serious but might also be normal wear and tear thing rather than an immediate concern.
You should replace your tires if you notice tears in them, however, and make sure you’re only using light pressure when you drive; do not attempt to race with thin tires, only use them on paved roads (not dirt or gravel), and never drive across water.
Check for punctures in the tire, which can be caused by metal objects embedded in the tread or sidewalls.
If you see any bulges or cracks, get out your tire repair kit so you can patch them up. If there aren’t any bulges or cracks, you can just check for bubbles; if you pull up the rubber flap on your tire stem and see lots of tiny bubbles, then you have a leak, and your tire is going to go flat at some point in the future.
You can also do this test when filling with air to see if your pump is working properly. If that happens, inflate it slowly and press down on the small bubble. If it pops, you have a leak. To fix a tire without professional help, you can buy a tire patch kit which is basically like glue with patches inside, or buy new tires.
Finally, ensure that your tires are inflated properly; the pressure value on the sidewall of every golf cart tire is specified in Pounds per Square Inch (PSI) or Kilopascals (KPA).
If your tires are low, then they will wear faster because there isn’t enough air rubbing against the road and causing friction. Check your tire pressure once every three months and fill it up if the pressure is too low.
Make sure that all of the lights on your golf cart are working properly. Some newer models have LED lights, which are more expensive than regular lights but last longer and require less energy.
Your headlights should light up the road in front of you so that you can see obstacles. Make sure that your headlights are clean; if there is a yellow tinge to them, this could suggest that they are about to die. You can buy lens-cleaning kits for cheap from most auto parts stores.
Your taillights should also be working properly and in good condition. If you have a cart with a rear bumper, make sure that your stop, brake, and reverse lights are working. The three lights should come on when you go in reverse and should go off when you release the brake lever when parked.
Your turn signals should also be working properly. If they’re not, take them off and check to make sure that the wires are connected properly.
Make sure that your headlight switch and taillight switch work properly too. These switches allow you to turn on/off your lights by moving a lever up or down. If something is wrong with either of these switches, the lights won’t turn on or off properly.
If you are using a golf cart with a lead-acid battery, you should check and maintain it regularly. Lead-acid batteries require that you check the electrolyte levels in them every month and need to be topped off occasionally during use.
If your golf cart has a sealed battery, which is becoming more common, you won’t have to worry about checking or topping off your battery.
You will need to hook up your voltmeter or multi-meter to measure the voltage of your battery. To do this:
1. Check the amperage settings on your multimeter and adjust it down if necessary (most models have a range of 200 Amps to 10 or 20 Amps).
2. Make sure that the clamps on your multi-meter are clean and free of any corrosion. If they’re dirty, just wipe them off with a cloth and a little rubbing alcohol.
3. Connect one wire to the positive terminal of your battery and connect the other wire to the negative terminal of your battery (never touch both terminals at the same time).
The voltmeter will measure the voltage when you do this. Most golf carts have a 12-volt battery, so if your multi-meter measures below that, then you will need to charge it up until it gets above 12 volts (you can find a charging guide in chapter eight).
4. If you’ve measured the voltage of your battery after it has been charging for a while and it still isn’t at 12.8 volts, then you might need to have a professional come out to look at your cart if you can’t find the problem on your own. This is especially important if your battery is ten years old or more.
5. Check the voltage again after about half an hour of driving around to make sure that it holds its charge. If not, then you may need a new battery.
6. If the battery test is good, then you may need to replace the alternator.
7. If the alternator is good, then your charging system may be shorting out. You should check your electrical components for damage and also clean any corrosion off of them as well as the cables that connect them to each other and to the car.
8. If none of this works, then it’s time for a new car!
Avoiding Battery Damage on a Winter Night
It’s always tempting in cold weather to leave your lights on overnight when parking in an unheated garage or outdoors in a light snowfall. Rather than risk damaging your car battery, protect it by turning on a light for just a few minutes every hour or so.
Electric golf carts use all of the same basic components as gas-powered carts. They have brakes, tires, lights, tires, power steering, and regular maintenance requirements. In addition, they have an electric motor and batteries.
As with any other type of vehicle, it is important to ensure that these components are well maintained in order to provide safety for yourself and those around you.
The batteries in an electric cart should be checked regularly to ensure that they hold a charge and are properly maintained.
If you haven’t had your cart for very long, then most likely, you haven’t had any tune-ups done yet. A tune-up consists of oil changes, air filter cleaning, spark plug cleaning, and other maintenance on your electric motor and/or gas engine.
When your battery isn’t producing as much power as it used to or when you find that your cart is having trouble starting up in the morning, this could be a sign that a tune-up is needed.
Most shops charge about $200 to do a full tune-up on a golf cart; however, if you shop around and do it yourself at home, it will probably cost only about half as much.
If you have to do it yourself (which is possible, although not necessarily easy), then when you are done, you should take your golf cart to a shop so that they can check everything out and make sure that the work was done properly.
If you park your golf cart outside for any length of time, then it’s important to cover it up with a cover. If coverings are not available, then a tarp or plastic sheet can be used to make sure that the weather doesn’t hurt your golf cart. One of the most common problems that happen when a golf cart stays outside is rust on the frame and other metal parts.
It’s also a good idea to check the fluids on your golf cart every so often. Most companies recommend that you use their own brand of oil and batteries, even though some people say that they do just fine using the less-expensive generic ones.
One of the best things about a golf cart is that it isn’t very expensive. After all, most of them start out at less than $2,000. That means that for a few hundred dollars, you can get a new ride without having to use or rely on a car whenever you want to go somewhere.
Common Problems With Golf Carts And How To Troubleshoot Them
As you may have realized by now, the golf cart is a very complex piece of machinery. It has more parts and controls than a car, and all of these parts have to be working perfectly at the same time in order for your golf cart to operate properly. What happens when one part isn’t working right? Well, that’s what this section is all about.
Before we go over any specific problems, we need to go over some very important tools that will help you fix any problem your golf cart may have on the road or in your garage. First of all, you’ll need a voltmeter (or multimeter) to test batteries and switch coils.
Secondly, you’ll need a set of socket wrenches and screwdrivers.
Thirdly, a socket set with a ratchet is necessary for removing certain parts.
Fourthly, a load wrench is helpful to get the really stubborn nuts and bolts removed from your golf cart.
And finally, you’ll need a small shovel to dig out any debris that happens to get stuck in your golf cart’s gears and bearings.
Amp measurement should be done before each use as it can indicate loose or broken wires if the value is too high or too low for several minutes after use. The correct value should be in the 30-60 amp range.
1. The Battery Won’t Hold its Charge
– If the battery is old, it may need to be replaced.
– If the battery does not seem to be in a charge at all, check if the belt that connects the battery is loose or worn out. If it is loose or worn out, replace it with a new one (be careful not to touch the cart’s positive and negative terminals as this will result in electrical shock).
Then, charge the battery for about two hours (this can also be done while on the golf course). If your battery does not hold its charge after that, then you will need to have a replacement.
2. The Cart Won’t Startup
– If the battery is not fully charged, charge it until it holds a charge for six hours without being connected to the cart. If this does not help and the cart still won’t start, then you may need to buy a new battery.
– Make sure that your battery is connected properly.
– Check to see if the fuse in your golf cart is blown. If it is, you’ll need to replace it.
– Check your battery leads to see if they are corroded or loose. If so, you can replace them with new ones.
3. The Cart has Trouble Turning
– If it feels like the front tires don’t have as much traction on the ground as normal, check to make sure that the tires are pressed in all the way (you may need a jack to do this). If that is not the problem, check your brake pads and make sure that they are not worn out and/or leaking fluid.
– Make sure that your wheels are not locked up in any way.
4. The Cart is Having Trouble Going Up Hills
– Make sure that your tires are not worn out. If they are, replace them.
– Check your brakes to make sure that they are not worn out. If they are, replace them.
– Make sure that the gears are not stuck; maybe there is something stuck in there. You might need to remove the transmission and clean it or free up the gears with a little help from a friend (or a professional mechanic).
5. The Cart’s Engine Won’t Start
– Make sure that the key/ignition switch is on (you can check by pushing down on the detent).
– Check to see if there are any loose wires that are shorting out.
– Check to see if there is any corrosion on the cables that are connected to the engine.
6. The Cart is Having Trouble Shifting Gears
– Break down the gears by shifting them up and down while you’re on an even surface and see if they’re loose or worn out. If so, you’ll need to replace them.
– Make sure that none of the gears are jammed. If so, you might need to take your transmission apart and clean it out (this should be done by a professional mechanic).
7. The Cart’s Power Steering Malfunctioned
– If the belt that connects the battery to the cart is loose or cracked, then this can lead to a variety of problems with power steering. Make sure that it is connected properly and that it has not come off of its track. If this doesn’t work, then you may need a replacement belt or a new battery.
8. The Lights are Out or Dim
– Check the fuse box under the seat for a defective fuse and replace it with a new one if necessary.
– Replace burned-out bulbs (make sure to test them before installing them in case they’re bad).
– Always turn off your headlights when you are parked in a golf course parking lot or road because they will drain your battery very quickly while sitting still.
9. Turn Signal or Brake Light Doesn’t Work
– Make sure that the bulbs are properly installed and have power to them (change bulbs if needed).
– Make sure that all wires are connected (loose connections can be fixed by tightening them down).
– Check if the brake light switch is in working order
10. The Electric Motor is Not Working
– Make sure that the fuse hasn’t blown; if it has, then replace it.
– Make sure that your battery is plugged in and charging (you can charge your battery while you ride around on the golf course).
If you want to learn about Golf Cart Parts & Accessories To Improve Performance, read this article.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. My golf cart won’t start. What could be wrong?
If the battery is dead, replace it. Also, check for loose or corroded wires.
– If the battery is in good condition, but the cart still doesn’t turn over, your starter motor could be faulty. Change the starter motor and see if that helps.
2. Upon turning on my golf cart, all of my lights are dim, and/or I hear a clicking noise from under my seat. What should I do?
Check to see if all of your wires are connected properly and that there is nothing else causing interference with your wiring (such as a bad bulb or shorting out a fuse).
– If your wires are all connected, and everything seems to be working, then it is most likely that your alternator is not working properly. Remove the alternator and replace it with a new one or have a professional mechanic take a look at it.
3. My golf cart’s engine won’t start. What could be wrong?
Check to see if the battery has enough charge to turn over the motor.
– If the battery will not hold a charge, check your fuses and make sure they’re on, also check for loose wires.
– Make sure that there is nothing jammed in between any of the gears or in the transmission (this will cause the cart not to move).
4. My current golf cart has a problem with its tires and wheels. What should I do?
If your cart’s tires are worn out, change them with new ones.
– If the tires are new, but the wheels still give you trouble, tighten the lug nuts down on your wheels.
Thanks for reading! I hope we have helped you with some of your concerns about troubleshooting problems that may pop up with your golf cart. As you can see, most of these problems are relatively easy to fix on your own; however, without the proper equipment, it could be very time-consuming and difficult to do the repairs properly and correctly.