What To Look At When Buying A Used Golf Cart

Are you confused about how to buy a used golf cart? There are so many variations and different cars available these days, from basic to wildly modified. Knowing what to look for can save large expenses later. Therefore, know what you are buying before you write that check ….

Smooth Ride

- A well-maintained golf cart will move along quietly and smoothly. Any erratic movement or bumpy motion when traveling on a smooth and solid indicates a problem. This could be caused by a damaged wheel, or even worse, a bent shaft making the golf cart move up and down, depending on the speed travelled. Worn front end components would exaggerate the problem dramatically.


- Make sure the brakes are firm and can stop the vehicle quickly without grinding or squeaking. Replacement brake shoes are generally not a problem nor a big expense, unless the service has been neglected to the point where the drum is punctured or damaged. Rust and corrosion around the brake backing plates behind the rear wheels can be an indication of a lack of maintenance.


- Never buy a golf cart without taking it for a test drive. Try it out over some rough ground as well as solid golf cart paths and roads. A loose steering should be an immediate concern for you. It’s expensive to replace a worn “rack and pinion” steering box. If the “rack and pinion” is worn, you can also assume that the steering “rod ends” and spindle bushes are also likely worn. None of these components are cheap to replace. The steering wheel, pulling to the left or right could be caused by uneven tyre pressure or unmatched tyre sizes. If this is the case, check the tyre pressures first to see if the problem resolves itself. If unsuccessful, the spindle (on the same side that it pulls to) could have a defective wheel bearing causing dragging. You can jack up that corner of the golf cart and see if the wheel turns freely.


- Wiring must be neatly sheathed and protected from rubbing using factory mounts and terminals. Beware of changed wiring which does not look professionally done. Cobbled wiring can cause you a big headache if you’re not familiar with electrical systems. A wire shorting out on a golf cart can have seriously destructive consequences. Search for joints, seams and connections that have been taped up and don’t seem to be part of the electrical system.

The frame

- Steel frames are inclined to rust and corrode, especially under the battery compartment. Golf carts that otherwise look great, can break in half due to battery acid seeping on, and eating the frame. Some manufacturers, like Club Car, are now using fully welded aluminum frames which are not susceptible to rust. However, they can still corrode in the form of aluminum oxide (instead of iron oxide). Corroded aluminum has a heavy layer of white fuzzy powder, which is equivalent to rust. Decline any cart that you suspect has a frame problem because it’s not cost effective to fix it, in the long run.


- Have a look at the wear on the tyres and their general condition. Are they all the same brand and do they have similar and even wear? Uneven wear indicates alignment problems, from a bent frame or worn out steering mechanisms. Mixed brands tyres could mean that the golf cart may have been excessively used or possibly a rebuild of junk parts.

Strange noises coming from the drive train

- Turn off all radios and any other noise distraction when you take your test drive. Listen for strange sounds that may be present. Excessive whining , clicking sounds or grinding can help you identify potential problems with the golf cart.

Battery age

- Most manufacturers of golf cart batteries stamp the date of manufacture on top of one of the battery terminals. You can see a “08″ or “09″, etc even with the battery cable connected. Note that batteries more than three years need to be replaced as soon as possible. Expect to pay $600 or more for a set of batteries. Never assume that the batteries are of the same model year as the golf cart either. Be aware, batteries having different years in the same golf cart could be an indication that the golf cart could have been extensively used.

A well maintained golf cart can literally give you decades of reliable service. Taking time to select the right cart to fit your needs now, will pay dividends later.

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