Electric golf carts are a great tool for golfers. The golf cart allows for golfers to get around the golf course fast and eliminates the task of carrying heavy golf sets all around the golf course and makes it easier for seniors to get around and for those who cannot walk long distances. Although great, there are some common things that can go wrong with an electric golf cart.
There are quite a few common things that can go wrong with an electric golf cart. These common issues include rapidly depleted batteries, worn machinery behind ignition, damaged ignition switch, blocked motor just to name a few. Read on to find out the twenty most common things that can go wrong with your electric golf cart.
Many golfers buy electric golf carts to use at the golf course because they are functional, comfortable, and easy to maintain. Besides, you can use the golf cart for different purposes outside of the golf course. However, intensive, prolonged use and lack of proper maintenance can cause malfunctions, of which we should be aware.
Golf Cart General Introduction
The popular definition for a golf cart is that it is a small vehicle designed to carry two or more golfers and their equipment around the golf course or desert pathways to avoid walking effort. The American National Standard Institute (ANSI) classifies golf carts propelled by gasoline engines or electric motors as golf cars since carts are not automotive. Seat capacity varies, according to the manufacturer, but the standard models are usually designed for 2, 4, and 6 seaters.
The general dimensions of a golf cart are about 8 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 6 feet high, and weigh about 900 to 1000 pounds. A golf cart is designed to transport golfers and their clubs on short distances with an average speed of up to 15 mph, but different modifications can also be seen. Such modifications include upgraded motors or speed controllers, especially if the owner uses the golf cart on other terrains besides the golf course. (1)
Other modifications refer to the accessibility and functionality of the small vehicle. Companies produce so-called adaptive golf carts with one adaptive seat for disabled individuals. Another model is the customized golf cart, which gains more and more popularity with its UTV and ATV characteristics.
Electric Golf Carts
The two main types of golf carts driven at the golf courses are gasoline and electric golf carts. Both of them function on the principle of a regular, less powerful gasoline or electric car, with some insignificant differences. Electric golf cars are popular with their environmentally friendly mode of operation.
An electric golf cart is a golf cart propelled by an electric motor powered by several batteries. The purpose of the electric cart is to carry players’ golf clubs and other stuff, eliminating the need to walk around the golf course during the game.
The motor of an electric golf cart is powered by 4 to 6 batteries with a total power of 36 or 48 volts. The batteries are rechargeable; you have to plug the cart into a wall outlet at home or your garage. Nowadays, most advanced electric golf carts have solar panels installed on their roofs to charge their batteries.
Just like gasoline carts, electric golf carts also come in various models, formats, and modifications depending on the manufacturer. Some brands, for example, return to metal structures of their golf carts since the fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) that is typically used for making the modern carts cannot be repaired and causes pollution. Below we provide some overall characteristics of such a bit more luxury model of the electric golf cart.
- Product name: Small Electric Golf Cart
- Model: GMDL08
- Fuel Type: Electric
- Motor: AC Motor
- Battery: 8*6V/180AH
- Battery Voltage: 48V
- Controller: INPOWER
- Charging time: 8-10h
- Max. Speed: 18mph
- Endurance Mileage: 62 miles
- Loading Capacity: 1411lb
- Seats: 5/8/11
List 1 Electric Model T Cart Golf Cart, Source 2
Common Things That Can Go Wrong With An Electric Golf Cart
Buying and driving an electric golf cart, you should be aware that, just like other cars, it has a lifespan, and its parts also wear out. Some golfers perceive their carts as small, funny vehicles that can drive them around the golf course forever. However, golf carts also break down, and below, we present you a list of 20 everyday things that can go wrong with your electric golf cart.
- Rapid Battery Drain
- Depleted Batteries
- Worn Machinery Behind The Ignition
- Damaged Ignition Switch
- Wiring Issues Of The Ignition Switch
- Blocked Motor
- Burnt Motor
- Motor Housing
- Loose Wire On The Solenoid
- Broken Solenoid Coil
- Corroded Solenoid
- Faulty Direction Switch
- Speed Controller Wear
- Cracks Or Loose Connections On The Controller
- Faulty Potentiometer
- Charger Issues
- Broken Cables Or Frayed Wires
- Brake System
Rapid Battery Drain
Rapid battery drain often occurs due to a recurring improper battery charge. Losing power and even stopping in the middle of the golf course during the game may be pretty upsetting. To avoid such situations and extend batteries’ lifespan, you need to charge them after each use and stop using them before the battery dais. (3)
Improper charging and poor maintenance that make batteries drain fast can easily lead to depleted batteries. Batteries should be one of the first things to check out if you cannot ignite your golf cart. Every electric cart has installed a voltmeter, which will show how much your batteries are depleted when you try to start the cart.
Worn Machinery Behind The Ignition
When you use your golf cart regularly to move around the golf course while playing golf or other transportation purposes out of the golf course, you most likely ignite your cart several times per day. The long and extensive use of the ignition will cause wear and tear of the machinery behind it and will interrupt the ignition process. Regular inspections of the ignition will save you any surprises of this nature.
Damaged Ignition Switch
Similarly, the long and extensive use can damage or break your ignition switch even without noticing that. A damaged ignition switch is a serious problem and needs to be replaced in a repair shop, depending on the cart brand. Just like the previous ignition problem, a timely check is a key to flawless driving.
Wiring Issues Of The Ignition Switch
The ignition switch and the machinery behind it may be fine, but the cart still has a problem with the ignition. In this case, you need to inspect the wiring of both devices. Any cut or burnt cable can prevent the golf cart from successful ignition.
Blocked motor sounds scary, but actually, it is a less severe motor problem that can occur. In this case, you need to remove the cover of the motor and look for a small red button located somewhere around the main power supply. It is a restart button, and its purpose is to help to start the motor again.
If the restarting does not help, then the problem is more serious, and the motor is most likely burnt out. You can test it with another fully charged battery to make sure whether it works or not. In many cases, the cause can be worn brushes, field coils, or damaged bearings in the motor that, with proper tools, can be repaired at home.
When motor housing and armature are damaged, this can lead to more severe problems with the motor. Motor housing protects the motor from dust and external impacts, and any violation of its integrity can cause direct damage to the motor body. Generally, any motor issues are better to be repaired in a repair shop.
Loose Wire On The Solenoid
The solenoid is a coil of wire in a spiral shape wrapped around an iron plunger. It is an electromagnet that powers the starter of your electric golf cart. A loose wire on the solenoid can cause a loss of power necessary for the starter to work.
Broken Solenoid Coil
In case the starter of your electric golf cart works properly, you should hear a clear click sound when you try to ignite the cart. If you do not and the cart does not ignite, the problem, almost for sure, is with the solenoid. A broken solenoid coil is one of the most likely causes of this issue.
In many cases, the issues with the starter are caused by corroded solenoids. In order to avoid such problems, the solenoid should be inspected and cleaned regularly. If the corrosion has damaged the solenoid irreparably, the only solution is to replace it in a repair shop.
Faulty Direction Switch
Another thing that can go wrong with your electric golf cart is the direction switch. Every time you use it to switch the direction from forward to back and vice versa, it wears and tears more and more. It is correct that these switches are projected to withstand thousands of manipulations, but if you drive a second-hand golf cart, the time of the switch may have come and should get it looked at by a mechanic.
Speed Controller Wear
The function of the controller, as per its name, is to control the speed of the golf cart. A speed controller wear will turn the gas pedal into a non-functioning part. The cart will not accelerate when you push it, and even if it does, you will not be able to maintain the same speed.
Cracks Or Loose Connections On The Controller
Identically, cracks that may appear on the controller due to the long wear and tear can affect the speed control. The cart will start and move, but no acceleration will be possible. Loose connections on the controller can also cause a loss of speed control.
Another issue that can cause speed problems is the potentiometer. The potentiometer regulates the velocity of your electric golf cart, and when it fails, you cannot maintain the speed anymore. The best solution, in this case, is to replace the faulty potentiometer.
Another prevalent problem with electric golf carts is the charger. Extensive use or corrosion can loosen its connections or damage its wires. Additionally, a power surge can cause the circuit breaker to fall or diodes inside the charger to be damaged. (4)
If your batteries do not charge, the reason most likely is in the charger. It is also good to test the power outlet where you usually plug the charger to ensure it is in good condition.
Broken Cables Or Frayed Wires
Generally, like every electrical device, the electric golf cart can go wrong due to broken cables or fried wires within its overall electrical installation. Corrosion, wear, high voltage or other factors can cause the issues. If you cannot find the problem, call a professional to inspect the cart.
If you do not pay so much attention to the maintenance of your electric golf cart, the brake system can also fail. It would be very clear that something is wrong if you cannot stop at the place you want on the golf course, and you have to try extra hard to stop. Incidents are also possible, so you had better maintain your brake system properly.
Flat or worn tires are also a common issue for golf carts. The problem relates again to the proper maintenance and regular checking of tire pressure. Many golf cart owners do not pay enough attention to the condition of their tires, which besides possible issues, reduces their lifespan significantly. (3)
Golf is not played at nighttime so you don’t have to worry so much about headlights. However, do not forget that many people use golf carts out of the golf course. Working headlights are mandatory for off-road use in the countryside or just for moving around the neighborhood. However, issues with the bulbs and wiring are prevalent for the golf cart headlights.
How To Avoid Or Mitigate The Issues
The key to avoiding or mitigating possible electrical golf carts malfunctioning is, as already mentioned a few times above, proper and regular maintenance. Golf cart owners should perceive their small electric vehicles as regular cars with a more restricted use range. With this mindset, they can perform timely maintenance and annual checks of their golf carts.
To make sure your golf cart will not surprise you with any of the above-pointed issues, you also need to check the battery for corrosion or damages monthly, as well as the wiring and electrical connections. Additionally, check the tire pressure, the brake system, and other elements of your golf cart every time before driving to save yourself headaches in the future.
Another essential part of electric golf cart maintenance is checking the water level in your batteries regularly and topping them up if necessary. Clean the connections of your batteries very carefully, and inspect the charger. Ensure proper lubrication to your golf cart and check the cart in a professional repair shop annually.
The Elite Of The Electrical Golf Carts
Pointing out so many common issues with the electrical golf carts may leave you with the wrong impression that they are pretty problematic vehicles. Let’s clarify that technical issues are typical for the used carts but are quite unusual for new carts with a warranty. Below we present you a short list of the top electrical golf carts for 2021, which will satisfy every taste.
- E-Z-GO Freedom RXV Golf Cart
- Club Car Precedent Golf Cart
- Yamaha Drive PTV Golf Cart
- E-Z-GO TXT Golf Cart
List 3 Source 5
Electric Golf Carts FAQ
How Do I Know If My Electric Golf Cart Motor Is Bad?
To determine whether your electric golf cart motor is bad or not, you need to test it first. Sometimes the problem is easy to detect, but sometimes you need to check the entire electrical system. If this is the case, start with checking the socket in which you charge the batteries, then continue with the batteries, the motor itself, the wires, and the terminals.
Why Is My Electric Golf Cart Shuddering?
The reasons behind shuddering may vary, but if the problem is electrical, it is, most likely, related to the batteries. It might be a bad battery cable connection or one bad battery. To localize the problem, you need to check all the connections on the top of the batteries, and if they are fine, the voltage of all batteries.
Should I Leave My Golf Cart Plugged In All The Time?
If you use an automatic battery charger, it is better to leave the batteries plugged in all the time. Plugging in will keep them fully charged and ready to go in the moment you decide to mount them on your cart. However, if you leave batteries for storage, do not leave them plugged in; recharge them from time to time.
- Wikipedia, “Golf Cart.” Wikimedia Foundation, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golf_cart Assessed June 8, 2021
- “Classic Design Electric Model T Cart Golf Cart.” Guangdong Yatian Industrial Co., Ltd., https://gdyatian.en.alibaba.com/product/60353494700806820651/Classic_design_electric_model_T_cart_golf_cart.html Assessed June 8, 2021
- Berberović, Mersad. “8 Mistakes New Golf Cart Owners Should Avoid Making.” Medium, Medium, August 3, 2016, medium.com/@mecoberbo/8-mistakes-new-golf-cart-owners-should-avoid-making-be3e258576a7 Assessed June 8, 2021
- Miller, Robert. “Troubleshooting Your Electric Golf Cart Motor.” DoItYourself.com, www.doityourself.com/stry/troubleshooting-your-electric-golf-cart-motor Assessed June 9, 2021
Bestcovery, Review: Best Golf Carts, Los Angeles Times, www.latimes.com/bestcovery/best-golf-cart Assessed June 9, 2021