Buying a car can be tough but buying a golf cart may be even worse. You may not realize it, but there are multiple kinds of golf carts each with different features and styles that can make the purchase decision difficult. Because a golf cart is much smaller than a car, minor things may not be immediately apparent and certain features and issues can be overlooked.
If you golf or just take it around the neighborhood it’s important to know you’re getting the best value on a cart. Though buying a golf cart is no simple task. It is not something you can walk and determine a cart right away. It takes time, research, and knowledge to know whether you want a new one or used one. However, we are here to save you time and explain what to look for. Purchasing a used or previously owned golf cart is great option. Here are the top 6 things to know when buying a used golf cart.
The past can sometimes be a topic many people don’t want to, talk about. Same goes for a golf cart’s past. Depending on if the golf cart is new or used, the past of the golf cart matters.
When you buy a used golf cart, you should never ever overlook the past. It may look like it’s in mint condition, but little do you know, it was driven through a pond and its lifespan is limited.
When deciding on a used or refurbished golf cart, where the golf cart came from is vital. The number of years matter. The motor, batteries, controller, wheel alignment and more can have lots of wear and tear that may not be apparent just by looking at it. A refurbished golf cart can look great because of a new paint job and some new tires but what’s underneath it all and the past of the used golf cart is important to know when making the purchase. When you get specifics on where the golf cart came from, make sure it’s certified by a dealer or from someone you know and trust. As long as you know who you’re buying from, if something is overlooked or doesn’t pan out, you can go back and make sure it’s corrected. You don't want to risk purchasing a cart that will require additional repairs and end up piling up expenses that you didn’t want in the first place.
If you purchase a golf cart used, and it’s listed “as-is” make sure you’re inspecting its past intensely. If someone is selling it as is without repairs or updates, you may be saving money then, but find more costly issues down the road. Or you may find a cart that doesn’t have any issues, but after 7 years of use, it’s on its last leg and you don’t know just how many you have left. That’s not to say you can’t find a good, valuable used golf cart. As long as you find out the past of the cart, you can plan ahead thinking about the repairs, life-expectancy, and condition and determine whether or not it’s worth its asking price.
As we touched on this earlier, where the used golf cart came from is important, as is the condition. When we talk about condition, we mean age, model, and features. If the age dates back years ago, parts may not be available anymore. Perhaps that golf cart company is no longer around and there is no one to repair what needs fixing. The model is also important because you can do research on that model and find other carts of the same year and make and see how they panned out.
Just like a regular car, the mileage or hours used on the golf cart says something about the condition it’s currently in. If the AC unit is down or other special features seem to be malfunctioning, it may mean other parts of the cart are well on their way to dwindling down too. However, if the seller doesn’t have this information, it probably means the cart is too old and is one you want to avoid. If the condition of the cart seems okay but the exterior has a few bumps and bruises, ask to take it for a test run. Listen for noises and squeaks that sound of out the ordinary. When driving it for a test run around the lot or down the street, you can get a better feel for the value of the cart.
When you’re taking the cart or a spin or asking the previous owner of the past and current condition, ask about replacements. Perhaps they know of replacements that need done or possible repairs that will be needed in the future. This is vital to knowing if you should buy the used golf cart. You can get the best value because you can decide whether or not those repairs are costly enough to make the dealer reevaluate the price. You can buy the cart for less on the spot for a lot less and have minor repairs later.
Replacements, though, are not be brushed over. Just like you should know the past of the cart, if there have been recent replacements, be sure to check those out. If there are “new tires” on the cart, check out the brand of tires, where the tires were done and so on. Occasionally, you may come across a dealer or seller who skimped on good tires and will lead into more replacements for you in the future.
The battery life is also very important. Does the current battery have a warranty still good for some time? Is it a top of mind brand that has a great reputation? If you don’t recognize the brand of the battery or it seems to have noticeable damage and corrosion, reevaluate your purchase. A battery repair can get costly and you don’t want that added on to a purchase made four months prior.
Replacements and repairs also need cater to your needs for the golf cart. We’ll talk about special features you may or may need, but repairs and replacements can also be specific to your cart’s use. If you’re using you cart for transportation- around the neighborhood, pick up kids close by or so on- then you need to have a battery, tires, windshield, etc., for heavy duty travel. Golf carts for golfing or for leisure use do not need the strongest battery available, but the battery should be able to withstand weather debris and travel across different paths and surfaces. The repairs made on the cart prior or after your purchase should benefit your main use of the cart.
The features of a golf cart can be luxurious or a necessity. Either way, be sure to check out multiple used golf carts before purchasing. Carts can be electric or gas-fueled. Some options include an enhanced radio and sound system while others are equipped with windshields that can block anything that comes its way. Perhaps you want a fancy-looking cart with custom leather interior seats or maybe you golf all day and night and need headlights. Whatever it is, be sure to check out multiple carts before choosing one.
Our top choices of special features include radios, windshields, horns, and seats.
Radios are a fun and great addition to any cart. When purchasing a used cart, if the radio doesn’t work, that may be a costly repair you want to avoid. However, if it does work, this may be something worth noting. If you’re using a cart for transportation or leisure, a radio is a nice enhancement for enjoyment.
Windshields are essential to most carts for most purposes. If you live in a place with little debris and don’t plan on accelerating over 10 mph, then a windshield isn’t necessary but for most cases, it can be useful. It can block rain, wind, leaves and other debris while keeping you safe behind.
Horns are a great addition for safety. When driving around a golf course or on the roads, it’s beneficial for a horn system to alert others and keep you safe.
A luxurious feature of a golf cart can include the kinds of seats. Some carts can have multiple seats, leather seats, storage seats, and durable seats. If you look at a used cart and the seats look worn and torn, chances are, another golf cart has more durable seats.
On the top list of things to notice when purchasing a used golf cart, is the source of fuel. Multiple factors can influence you on which kind to purchase. We’ve broken it down to pros and cons of gas and electric carts.
Gas carts work just like cars and require tank fill ups with gasoline. Gas tanks are generally stronger and can withstand more. When traveling through rough terrain or trying to get from place to place in a golf cart, gas carts are the best way to go. Their horsepower can carry you quickly and efficiently. Not only will you have to refuel less than an electric cart, when you do have to refill, it takes mere minutes. Gas powered golf carts are ideal for those who need quick and easy and reliable.
However, there are cons to gas carts. They may be quick and easy in day-to-day tasks, but they require more up-keeping and maintenance with oil changes and replacements. It also can rack in the expenses depending on how often you need to fill up. If you’re an environmentalist or forward-thinking in your affect of the world, gas also is not ideal. Gas adds to pollution and build up. Some places, like California, have banned gas-fueled golf carts.
On the other hand, some golf carts are sold as electric-fueled carts. The rechargeable battery plugs in and fills up in energy, just like your cell phone, headphones and more. These carts typically are less expensive and don’t have added costs. Another great positive of electric carts is the environmental benefits. Also, these carts are essentially silent when driving so you don’t have to worry about noise or disruption when driving.
On the flip side, electric carts only last so long with power. They must be recharged daily and plugged in whenever possible. These carts don’t carry as much weight or go near as fast as a gas cart, it’s a difference of five to ten horsepower. Though you save money not using gas, the batteries can get costly, especially if not cared for over the years.
Though both gas and electric carts have pros and cons, find the cart that best caters to your needs and wants. Also consider all your options and where/ what you’ll be using the cart for most. One recommendation we give, is to spend a week thinking about your activities and when you would use the cart. Write down throughout the week if you would use the cart and what the activity is. By the end of the week, you can weigh which cart would be used for which activity and see which one would be used more.
As you know with all things purchased, the worth or value of the product may or may not reflect the product. A golf cart can fluctuate in price as well as value. As we mentioned earlier, do your research. Find new carts in your area and find their base pricing. You can eventually get to an average and then when buying a used cart, you can see if you’re paying too much for used or if it seems too good to be true. Golf carts can vary, so it’s important to find a base-point to refer to when looking for a fair price on a cart.
The price may seem perfect but be sure to factor in possible repairs when it comes to used carts. In the present, there may not need to be replacements, but if it’s a more high-end cart, the parts that will need replaced can get expensive.
Depending where you live, a golf cart of any kind no matter the great price, may not be legal. Every state and city varies in legalities, just like any law. Many restrictions can be written and that can ultimately keep you from buying a golf cart or purchasing a different kind of cart. The legal questions you need to consider would be:
You may need to ask yourself a few more questions in order to remain in good standing with the law. Some cities have laws on which roads you can drive on, like which roads do not exceed a 30mph limit. Other legalities include time and purpose. Possible questions to think about include:
Golf carts are a great addition to many households for many reasons: transportation, leisure, fun, toting, loading and more. Whatever your reason for thinking about a golf cart, be sure you’re getting the best deal. Often times, used golf carts offer the best price and value compared to a new one. Do you research in advance. Consider all the questions you need to ask and what options provide you the most effective and efficient golf cart.
When finalizing a purchase on a used golf cart, be sure you covered all the bases and you’re not leaving with any unanswered questions. Be sure you know:
Golf carts are fun and can be a great asset as long as you know what you’re getting. Happy carting!