That’s a lot of carts to produce and sell–and a lot of carts to maintain. Whether you drive your cart for a round of 18 or around your hometown, eventually you’ll experience some electric golf cart problems.
Troubleshooting electric golf carts may seem daunting at first, but it doesn’t have to be. In this post, we’ll consider five common electric golf cart issues and how to resolve them.
1. Troubleshooting Batteries
Like any electric vehicle, the battery is often the root of the problem. If you go to start your golf cart and nothing happens, this is the first place to check.
Use a voltmeter to see if your battery is depleted (and how much). Some cart models use a small amount of electricity even when not in use. If the cart has been unplugged for a long time, the battery may lack the minimum voltage required to restart.
Batteries also lose their efficiency with age. This is something to consider if you bought the cart used or have owned it for many years. (If you’re looking to buy a used cart, be sure to ask about the age of the battery.)
Back to the issue at hand–getting your battery up and running again. Golf cart batteries need water added regularly. There should be enough to cover the conductive plates without filling the water all the way to the cap.
If necessary, add water and/or electrolytes to your electric golf cart’s battery. Keep in mind that the battery contains acid, so be sure to wear gloves and protective eyewear. Avoid spills if possible and immediately clean anything that does spill.
What if you notice any corrosion around the terminals? Gently clean it with a soft brush and a solution of water and baking soda. This is also an ideal time to check for any broken cables or frayed wires.
The best way to preserve your battery’s life is to fully charge your cart after every use.
2. Ignition or Motor Issues
If you’ve charged and cleaned your battery and you’re still having electric golf cart problems, your next step is to check the motor.
Believe it or not, it may be as simple as pressing a reset button. Use a screwdriver to expose the motor. Look for a small red button located near the main power supply.
Press the button and put your cart back together before hooking it up to charge. In many cases, this will solve the problem.
If it doesn’t, try removing the motor and testing it with a separate, fully charged battery. If nothing happens, the motor is probably burned out.
Hope is not lost, though. Most cases of motor burnout result from poor traction or excess resistance to grade or weight. If you haven’t already, uninstall the motor and inspect it for any worn brushes, field coils, or damaged bearings.
If you find something in need of minor repair, you may be able to fix the damage yourself. If you lack the right tools (or patience), you can always take the motor into a golf cart repair shop.
What if you find a problem with the motor housing or the armature? Unfortunately, these electric golf cart issues aren’t so easy to fix. You’re probably better off replacing the motor than trying to salvage what’s left of it.
3. Solenoid Woes
In case you’re not familiar with the term, a solenoid is a coil of wire used as an electromagnet. They’re most commonly used to power a switch–such as the starter for your golf cart.
Like the starter on a car, you should hear a distinct “clicking” sound when you turn the key. This is the solenoid providing the motor with the power it needs to move the cart.
If you try to start your cart and don’t hear that “click,” it’s likely an issue with your solenoid. If you’re lucky, the problem could be as simple as a loose wire or a broken coil. In some cases, corrosion can also be a factor.
If you suspect a faulty solenoid, your best bet is to take your cart to a repair shop. A mechanic can diagnose the problem and replace the solenoid if necessary.
4. Faulty Direction Switch
Every time you switch your cart from forward to reverse, you place more wear and tear on that little direction switch.
Of course, these switches are made to be used thousands of times before they need repairing. But if you bought your cart used or have driven it for a while, you’ll eventually start having issues with the direction switch.
Again, this is a repair best left to the pros.
5. No Speed Control
What if your cart starts up like a dream but doesn’t have the giddy-up it used to?
If you’re having trouble maintaining speed–or getting up to speed in the first place–it could be a faulty potentiometer. This little switch regulates your cart’s speed, but it’s notorious for causing problems over time.
The two biggest culprits are cracks and loose connections. Even if you locate the problem, it’s tricky to diagnose and repair yourself. Unless you can easily reach and tighten the connections, it’s best to bring your cart into a shop for repair.
Fixing Electric Golf Cart Problems: Now You Know
So, which of these electric golf cart problems are you facing?
With the right parts and a bit of work, you should have your cart up and running again in no time!
Of course, once it’s running like a champ, you want to keep it that way. Check out our post on golf cart maintenance tips so you never miss a day on the course.