What to Look For In A Used Golf Cart: 8 Questions To Ask Before Buying

So, you’re thinking about buying a used golf cart! This can be a great investment, especially if you’re tired of lugging your clubs around the golf course the old-fashioned way. 

However, purchasing a golf cart (even a used one) isn’t cheap and there are plenty of things to consider before handing over your hard-earned dollars.

In this post, we’ll take a look at 8 things to look for when buying a used golf cart. Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

How To Choose A Used Golf Cart – 8 Things To Look For

How old is the cart?

Some things get better with age – like wine and cheese. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case for anything with mechanical components. 

That’s why it’s important you check the age of the used golf cart you’re thinking of buying. This will give you a good indication of how reliable it’s been in the past and how much juice it has left. 

But exactly how long do golf carts last?

The lifespan of a golf cart depends on the level of maintenance and care it receives. If you neglect to service your cart, expect it to last anywhere from 5-8 years. If you take the time to properly care for your golf cart, it can last up to 15 or 20 years, sometimes longer. 

Before buying a golf cart, it’s important to ask the previous owner what they’ve done to care for it over the years. This will give you a good indication of how long it will last in the future. According to Kansas Golf and Turf, here are a few routine maintenance tasks that every golf cart owner should perform on a regular basis:

  • Inspect the engine for any signs of oil leaks.
  • Regularly check engine oil levels and change oil at proper intervals.
  • Check and adjust valve clearance on motors that allow it.
  • Inspect drive, starter, and generator belts for excessive wear. Replace if needed.
  • Check starter belt tension. Tighten if needed.
  • Inspect linkages from the accelerator pedal to the carburetor.
  • Check engine compression.
  • Check spark plug for wear.
  • Clean or replace the air filter.
  • Replace the oil filter.
  • Check the fuel filter for debris.
  • Look for starter/generator brushes wear.
  • Check the points and condenser on older models.
  • Check and adjust timing, as needed, if running rough.

If the previous owner has no idea what you’re talking about when you ask if they’ve done the things above, it’s a good sign that they haven’t taken proper care of their golf cart and you should be hesitant to complete the deal. 

Who is the manufacturer?

Competition is a wonderful thing. It allows us to choose between several companies, all competing to create the best possible product. 

When it comes to golf carts, there are a few manufacturers that have risen to the top of the food chain and have been known to create the most reliable carts:

  • Club Car
  • Yamaha
  • E-Z-Go

However, that’s not to say the “Big-3” are the only options available. There are a few other lesser-known golf cart manufacturers.

  • Polaris – most well-known for their ATV products, Polaris also manufactures golf carts.
  • Garia – a relatively new company, Garia specializes in luxury golf carts.

Before purchasing a used golf course, be sure to do a quick Google search for the brand to get an idea of the quality of their carts. But don’t just look at the company website – try and find reviews from real owners too. 

This will give you the most accurate idea of what to expect if you purchase a particular brand of golf cart. 

But what’s the most reliable golf cart brand?

There’s a widely held consensus in the golf industry that the most reliable golf cart brands are Yamaha, E-Z-Go, and Club Car. These three have been top sellers for years and have an excellent track record for producing durable golf carts.

Because these are the best sellers, you’ll also find it much easier (and cheaper) to find replacement parts if something does break. Repairs for specialty brands like Garia and Polaris are generally more expensive. 

Is it gas or electric?

This is one of the most important considerations when buying a used golf cart. Some people prefer the smooth, silent acceleration of an electric golf cart, while others prefer a classic gasoline model. 

So, should you buy a gas or electric golf cart?

Some people favor gas golf carts because after a round of golf you can simply fuel it up and it’s good to go again. Electric golf carts generally take hours to charge, yet you don’t have the recurring cost of gasoline. 

The type of cart you select will depend on how you plan to use it. For example, if you play more than one round in a day, you might not have time to charge an electric golf cart and will be better served with a gas model. 

Here’s a chart depicting the pros and cons of gas and electric golf carts:

What features/accessories does it have?

Next, consider the features that are included with the cart. Here are just a few golf cart accessories that can add value to your purchase:

  • Mirrors
  • Extra tires
  • Heater
  • Speakers
  • Ball washer
  • Seat covers
  • Golf cart enclosure.

Keep in mind, you might be able to knock the price down a few hundred dollars by telling the owner you just want the cart and not any of these extra features. However, the features mentioned above tend to come in handy and are usually worth the extra money. 

What shape are the batteries in?

If you opt to purchase a used electric golf cart, it’s very important that you ask about the condition of the batteries. 

Take a quick look under the seat to see if any of the batteries have any corrosion or an excessive buildup of dirt and grime, as these things can weaken the battery power. 

You should also ask the previous owner if the batteries are still under warranty from the manufacturer. This could potentially save you hundreds of dollars in the future if the batteries were to stop working. 

Finally, ask about the age of the batteries. Anything less than two years should be okay for the next couple of years (depending on how much the cart was used). Anything older than two years and you might have to factor the cost of new batteries into your price negotiations with the owner. 

You also need to understand how to charge your electric golf cart after every round and what you’ll need to do so.

Are there any potential repairs that need to be made?

The costs involved in repairing a golf cart can add up very quickly. That’s why it’s important to ask the right questions before making a deal for a used golf cart. You need to figure out which components might require repair in the near future and factor this information into your price negotiations with the owner. 

Here are six of the most common golf cart repairs that you should watch out for:

  • Battery: $800-$2000+
  • Shocks: $300-$700
  • Clutch: $600-$1400
  • Speed controller: $300-$800
  • Directional switch: $100-$200
  • Solenoid: $20-$100

If you’re unsure about the function of any of these parts, I’d recommend reading up on them before you meet the seller. 

You don’t need to become an expert, but it’s very helpful to have a basic understanding of these parts so you can ask the right questions about their condition. 

Was it previously owned by an individual or a golf course?

When buying a used golf cart, it’s often better to buy from a golf course rather than an individual. This is because club-owned golf carts undergo regular maintenance check-ups from the golf course mechanic. 

On the other hand, individually owned golf carts usually only receive maintenance when something breaks. 

But how do you buy a used golf cart from a golf course?

Every time a golf course upgrades its fleet of golf carts, it will auction off its old fleet of carts. Because there are usually so many carts for sale, often there won’t be enough buyers. Luckily for you, this drives down the price so you’ll probably get a great deal!

In order to find these auctions, do a simple Google search for “Golf cart auctions [your state/city/province].”

Hopefully, the results will bring up plenty of used golf cart auctions near you!

What’s the asking price?

Arguably the most important consideration when buying a used golf cart is the cost. If you’re in the market for a used golf cart instead of a new one, chances are you have a strict budget. 

So what’s a good price for a used golf cart?

A good price for a used golf cart ranges between $500 and $5,000. Any more expensive than that, you may as well just buy a new golf cart. The cost of a used golf cart will vary based on the year, brand, and the overall condition of the cart as well as how many accessories are included. 

Keep in mind, you can always negotiate golf cart prices, especially if it’s a used golf cart. That’s why it’s important that your first offer is always lower than the maximum amount you’re willing to spend. 

Wait for the seller to make a counteroffer, and, if it’s in your price range, pull the trigger and make the purchase!

However, a word of warning – avoid placing lowball offers for used golf carts. For example, if someone’s selling a cart for $5,000, don’t offer them $1,000. This will only frustrate the seller and prevent them from making a deal with you, even if you raise your offer.

Instead, start out with an offer a little closer to their asking price. If they ask for $5,000, say you can do $3,500. They might counter with $4,500 or even $4,000. And guess what? That’s a $500-$1,000 discount on the original asking price!

The Takeaway – What To Look For When Buying A Used Golf Cart

In this post we shared the top 8 things to look for when buying a used golf cart:

  • How old is the cart?
  • Who is the manufacturer?
  • Is it gas or electric?
  • What features/accessories does it have?
  • What shape are the batteries in?
  • Are there any potential repairs that need to be made?
  • Was it previously owned by an individual or a golf course?
  • What’s the asking price?

Be sure to review the information above to help you make the right choice! 

Remember, just because a golf cart is cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re getting a better deal. It’s also important to verify the condition of the golf cart you’re trying to buy. 

Hopefully, this article helps you find a used golf cart that’s perfect for you. Happy shopping!

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