Just like with your other vehicles, golf carts also need to be regularly maintained in order to give you the best ride possible; especially considering all of the uses, other than just golf , that they can be used for!
Before you can begin any sort of maintenance or repairs on your golf cart, you first need to identify which type of golf cart you have. The two main ones are gas and electric. It's probably a pretty obvious observation that one runs on gas and the other on battery. However, there are a few more differences between the two that one should be aware of.
Gas carts typically use an "on demand" engine. This type of engine starts when you step on the gas pedal and shuts off when you take your foot off the pedal. This allows for fewer emissions, saves on gas, and also helps to cut down on noise. Gas golf carts can reach higher speeds than electric ones, and can also haul heavier loads. If you're looking for a custom-built option, gas powered carts would be the way to go. They can be fitted with more powerful motors, four-wheel drive, and improved suspension!
Electric golf carts are a great choice for those looking for a more environmentally friendly option. They are also much quieter and more affordable than their gas-powered counterparts. Maintenance costs and requirements are also lower and less demanding for electric golf carts.
No matter the type of golf cart that you have, it is highly recommended that you have the proper manuals on hand for maintenance and troubleshooting purposes. The different types of manuals you should consider include:
1. Owner's Manual: Included with the purchase of a new golf cart, it includes instructions on golf cart operations, general maintenance, and, sometimes, solutions for easy repair problems.
2. Golf Cart Parts Manual: Many of the online golf cart parts stores will provide parts information.
3. Golf Cart Repair Manuals: Not typically included with the purchase of a golf cart, it can be purchased separately if you wish to make repairs to the cart yourself. Your service manual will be a lifesaver when it comes to maintaining and repairing your golf cart, so make sure to keep it in a safe place!
When it comes time for your scheduled maintenance or when an issue suddenly occurs, here is a condensed checklist that may come in handy for what can and should be inspected:
The batteries are the brains of your electric golf cart and must be properly maintained in order for your cart to run smoothly and prolong its lifespan. Unkempt batteries are the most frequent source of problems for electric golf carts. Therefore, it is highly recommended that regular inspections and tests be done on your cart’s batteries to ensure they are in tip-top shape!
The two most common types of batteries used in electric golf carts are deep cycle and lithium-ion.
Deep cycle batteries are made up of two cells with lead and lead oxide, and are maintained by a water and sulfuric acid solution. This solution then produces an electrical current.
These types of batteries are the most economic choice for electric carts. However, they do tend to require routine maintenance and consume a considerable amount of water over their lifespan.
Lithium-ion batteries have recently become the most preferred choice. They are made up of cells in which during the charging cycle, ions move back and forth between the negative and positive electrodes. When the ions reach the positive electrodes, that’s when the energy is produced.
Lithium-ion batteries allow for prolonged use in between charges and, unlike deep cycle batteries, are free from any fluids, which require more maintenance and monitoring.
Here are some tips for safely charging a deep cycle battery:
If after all of this you still find your charger is not working, consult a professional; for troubleshooting battery issues can be quite difficult at times. Safety First!
Before you begin working on your golf cart’s batteries, make sure to put on your protective clothing – including gloves and goggles!
Most newer golf carts should have a Run/Tow switch. If your cart happens to have this feature, flip the switch to the “Tow/Maintenance” position and the key switch into the OFF position before beginning work on the batteries.
Equally important is to make sure to wrap your tools in vinyl electrical tape to prevent a shorting out of the battery, and possible explosion.
Batteries release water, hydrogen gas, and acid droplets into the air during charging cycles. These fluids then land on other components. If not treated, the droplets will cause damage to the components it comes in contact with.
In order to prevent this, you can spray a battery acid neutralizer made of 2 tsp. baking soda and 1 qt. water onto the batteries. The following are the steps you can take to clean the batteries yourself:
It is the combination of electrolytes and water that creates the electricity that powers your golf cart. Because of this, batteries consume a large amount of water over its lifespan.
Having too much or too little water in your battery cells can have a negative impact on the batteries. Too much water will cause the electrolytes to overflow and too little water will cause sulfation, which will cause permanent damage to the lead plates.
In order to prevent either of these from happening, we recommend using a battery watering system or a watering gun. These automatically stop filling the batteries once the correct water level is reached.
If you find you need to fill the cells with water, the correct time to do so is after the batteries have been charged, unless the plates are not covered by water. If they are not covered by water, add just enough water to cover the plates, completely charge the batteries, and then continue to add water to the correct level. Also do NOT use tap water as it will damage the batteries.
If you need to check the state in which your cart’s battery is in, we recommend using a hydrometer. A hydrometer measures the density of a liquid by way of its gravity. A higher gravity indicates a higher state of charge.
If you find it’s time to replace a battery, it is best to replace them all at the same time. Older batteries will reduce the life of the new battery and, since older batteries take a longer time to charge, the new battery will get overcharged and become damaged in the process.
If your golf cart’s engine isn’t starting, follow these steps to see if any of these common issues are the cause:
If the issue still persists, call a trained technician for an inspection.
Partially deflated tires consume more energy, limit the distance in which your cart can travel, and wear down the tires much more quickly. This is why frequent tire pressure checks, along with alignment checks, should be done on a scheduled basis.
If you own a street legal cart, you should also make sure that your cart is equipped with street legal tires that have a tread on them.
Most golf carts can reach speeds up to 25 mph, so just like with any other vehicle, brake inspections are absolutely critical in order to reduce injury. The brake shoes, cables, and brake fluid should all be inspected semiannually.
If your golf cart is street legal, it should be equipped with side mirrors and a light package. If this is the case, make sure to check your brake lights, headlights, and turn signals frequently and that your mirrors are securely fastened. If you find a light isn’t working, check your owner’s manual for the fuse location.
Golf carts also require regular suspension lubrication. Your steering wheel rack and pinion also need to be greased regularly. The frequency of these services varies by make and model, so check your owner’s manual for the recommended timeframe.
Your golf carts gauges allow you to monitor the amount of charge left in your batteries. When the batteries start to get older, the gauges become less accurate. Use a battery load tester to obtain an accurate reading.
While preventative maintenance can be handled by most cart owners, we recommend annual maintenance services be handled by trained technicians to assure that no underlying issues have been missed or forgotten.
If you're one of the unlucky ones that live in an area that actually has a winter season, you're probably going to need to store your golf cart somewhere for the season. Before you put it in storage for the winter season, some of the things that need to be done include cleaning the batteries, fully charging the batteries, airing up the tires, and more.
Or, if you’d rather, bring it into a trained technician and they’ll winterize it for you!
Following a routine maintenance schedule for your golf cart, whether it be for recreational or utility purposes, is vital for its performance. We get it - regular golf cart maintenance can become time-consuming and, at times, a headache. That’s why our professionals at Kansas Golf and Turf are here to help! We can handle any job you throw at us, no matter how small or large the task!
Come in for a visit or give us a call today to discuss your golf cart needs!