Golf Cart Troubleshooting Tips

Golf carts have come a long way from the links over the years. Available in gas or electric models, golf carts are now used as neighborhood runabouts, security vehicles and even for hunting and fishing. If your cart is giving you trouble, a little golf cart troubleshooting could have you back on the links-or the street, or the game trail or wherever you ride your cart.

Resources For Golf Cart Troubleshooting
Your owner's manual should be the first stop when you have problems with your golf cart. Most manuals have troubleshooting checklists that can help you narrow down the source of your problem. Don't have the manual? Check with a local dealer or on the manufacturer's website. Many golf cart companies have electronic versions of their manuals available for download.

If a walk through the owner's manual doesn't solve the problem, consider going online. There are several active Internet forums devoted to golf cart ownership and maintenance. Buggies Unlimited has a forum that supports a wide range of cart manufacturers as well as customization and maintenance information. offers a similar site with support for many of the major brands of golf carts. Your golf cart insurance plan might also have some resources to exploit.

Tips For Electric Golf Carts
Typically, the biggest problem you'll have with an electric cart is the batteries. Golf carts use rechargeable, acid-based batteries. If you're having trouble starting your golf cart, start troubleshooting by checking the batteries:

  • Are the terminals secure and clean? Loose or dirty terminals can limit or halt the flow of electricity. Wearing gloves, clean your battery terminals with a mixture of baking soda and water.
  • Check the water level. Lift the caps of each battery and check the water level, making sure the plates are covered with water. If you need to add water to your batteries, use only distilled water.
  • Is your charger working? When you plug your golf cart into the charger, check the meter on the charger. If the meter is not reading in the 15 to 20-amp range, then you could have a problem with your charger.

Tips for Gas Golf Carts

  • Check the solenoid. The main switch between the key and the engine is the solenoid. To test this part, you'll need a voltmeter to see if electricity if passing through the solenoid. Clip the red lead of the voltmeter to one of the smaller solenoid terminals and clip the black lead to the ground terminal. Turn the key in the ignition and press down on the gas pedal. If the voltmeter shows current, but you don't hear a clicking sound from the solenoid, then the solenoid will need to be replaced.
  • Got spark? If your golf cart hasn't had a tune-up recently, clean and check the spark plugs for proper gap adjustment. If in doubt, replacing the spark plugs is a cheap and easy golf cart fix.
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