How to Troubleshoot & Repair a Golf Cart

By Bill Herrfeldt

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When golf carts first hit the scene, you typically would only see them on the golf course. Today, golf carts seem to be everywhere. Golf carts are used by people working on construction sites or farms, or by people in retirement communities who use them to go to the store or to visit a neighbor down the street. Sale of golf carts in 2008 topped $1 billion, a testament to their popularity both on and off the golf course. But golf carts are just like other modes of transportation that need occasional repairs. Here are some things you can do to keep your golf cart in good condition.


Difficulty: Moderate
  1. Check your golf cart's batteries, particularly if it is electric powered. First, look at the cables attached to the batteries to make sure they are not corroded or loose. If they are corroded, buy an inexpensive wire brush made expressly for cleaning cables. They are sold in most auto parts stores. Remove the cables with a screwdriver, ream them out until they are clean, then replace them. If your cables are beyond repair, they will need to be replaced either by you or a trained mechanic.
  2. Make sure the batteries have water and that the plates inside are completely covered. Also confirm that the batteries don't show signs of leakage. Remove the caps from each, and if the batteries need water add only distilled water, filling to the top. Make sure not to overfill the batteries. Look at each battery closely, checking for any leaks of battery acid. Ordinarily, battery acid leaks are the result of cracks in the batteries caused by an accident or the cart being driven over rough terrain. Leaking battery acid not only will cause the batteries to fail, it also is a serious health hazard, so any batteries leaking acid should be replaced.
  3. Check the tires on your golf cart. Just like those on your automobile, they will become bald over time and need to be replaced. By checking the tires on your cart frequently and replacing them as needed, you will avoid having a blowout at an inopportune time.
  4. Check the spark plugs on your golf cart if it is gasoline powered. Spark plugs ignite the gasoline that enters your golf cart's engine and gives the cart power. Often, spark plugs become fouled and will either make your golf cart hard to start or will cause the engine to run roughly. Your local auto supply store has both spark plugs and a wrench that will make the task easier for you.
  5. Finally, check the brakes on your golf cart. Many golf carts manufactured today have brakes that are relatively easy to adjust or replace. Read your instruction manual for further information.

About the Author

Bill Herrfeldt specializes in finance, sports and the needs of retiring people, and has been published in the national edition of "Erickson Tribune," the "Washington Post" and the "Arizona Republic." He graduated from the University of Louisville.