Buying a Used Golf Cart
Buying a used golf cart is certainly a viable way to go when considering your own. A new golf cart will cost a minimum of $4,000, whereas buying used can hover anywhere between $2,000 – $4,000; or more if its already been customized.
If you plan on customizing your golf cart yourself, then purchasing used can save you extra cash that can go toward such things as a golf cart lift kit or some extra horse power.
If you really want to keep it cheap then you might get lucky and find a golf cart salvage, or at least some cheap golf cart parts, from your local junk yard or salvage yard. Otherwise, golf cart auctions are a great place to find a good deal.
Whether you are buying used electric golf carts or gas, there are some basic things that you should consider before you do.
How old is the golf cart?
Just like when buying a normal vehicle, the age of the golf cart helps you gauge how much it may have been used, which is helpful when determining its present condition. The original serial number should let you know the age of the used golf car. If the original serial number is missing this may be a red flag that it may have been stolen or been in a bad accident.
Where does the golf cart come from?
Many private golf courses and country clubs update their fleet of golf carts every few years, which means there are often many decent used golf carts on the market.
Golf Cart Fleet
Consider the location from where the golf cart is coming from. For instance, if it is from a region where the sport is played all-year round (think Southern California and Florida), then it may have been used more often than a region with a shorter golfing season (think Oregon and Washington). This little bit of information may save you repairs (and money) in the long run.
NOTE: If you are having a the cart shipped from somewhere else, be sure to get the shipping and freight information and costs upfront and in writing – you don’t want any surprises.
What accessories come with the golf cart?
When speaking with a seller or reseller, get a written statement detailing all that will be included in the cart. This is especially true if you are purchasing from out-of-state and having the used golf cart shipped to you.
What are the typical price ranges for used golf carts?
The prices normally range from $2,000 – $4,000 USD. Anything less than $2,000 will probably need additional repairs and may not be very reliable – although using your best judgment may land you a screaming deal.
If you are comfortable repairing golf carts yourself, then you may save some money by learning what repairs are needed on the cheapest golf cart you can find.
Can I test drive the golf cart?
If are you able, it is recommended that you do test drive the golf cart. Try to get a handle on how it would handle for what you intend to use it for. If you plan on using it to haul equipment – test it out to see how it would handle heavy loads. If you plan on driving it on a hilly environment, then how does it handle driving uphill?
What is the condition of the used golf carts being sold?
Used golf carts are often sold one of two ways: “As Is” or “Reconditioned.”
“As Is” usually means that the seller or reseller did not do a comprehensive inspection on the golf car and you are purchasing the golf cart with any malfunctions it may have. On the other hand, if you are mechanically inclined you may be able to save a bundle by doing the repairs yourself.
“Reconditioned” means that the seller or reseller has done a thorough inspection of the golf cart and repaired any problems that the cart may have had. These often come with a limited warranty or guarantee.
Do used golf carts come with a warranty?
If they are sold “as-is” they often do not come with a warranty or guarantee. If they’ve been “reconditioned” may come with a limited warranty or guarantee of 30-90 days after the sale date.
These are some basic questions that should be considered when looking into buying used electric golf carts or used gas golf carts. Use sound judgment when considering a used golf cart and visit different places both in person and on-line to evaluate when and where you can get the best bang for your buck.
Proper Care and Maintenance of Deep Cycle Batteries
New batteries should be given a full charge before use.
New batteries need to be cycled several times before reaching full capacity (50 – 125 cycles, depending on type). Usage should be limited during this period.
Battery cables should be intact, and the connectors kept tight at all times. Systematic inspection is recommended.
Vent caps should be kept in place and tight during vehicle operation and battery charging.
Batteries should be kept clean and free of dirt and corrosion at all times.
Batteries should be watered after charging unless plates are exposed before charging. If exposed add just enough water to cover plate tops by 1/8″. Check acid level after charge. The acid level should be kept 1/4″ below the bottom of the fill well in the cell cover.
Water used to replenish batteries should be distilled or treated not to exceed 200 T.D.S. (total dissolved solids…parts per million). Particular care should be taken to avoid metallic contamination (iron).
For best battery life, batteries should not be discharged below 80% of their rated capacity. Proper battery sizing will help avoid excessive discharge.
Battery chargers should be matched to fully charge batteries in an eight hour period. Defective chargers will damage batteries or severely reduce their performance.
Avoid charging at temperatures above 120°F or ambient, whichever is higher.
Deep cycle batteries need to be equalized periodically. Equalizing is an extended, low current charge performed after the normal charge cycle. This extra charge helps keep all cells in balance. Actively used batteries should be equalized once per week. Manually timed charges should have the charge time extended approximately 3 hours. Automatically controlled chargers should be unplugged and reconnected after completing a charge.
In situations where multiple batteries are connected in series, parallel or series/parallel, replacement battery(s) should be of the same size, age and usage level as the companion batteries. Do not put a new battery in a pack which has 50 or more cycles. Either replace with all new or use a good used battery(s).
Periodic battery testing is an important preventative maintenance procedure. A hydrometer reading of each cell (fully charged) gives an indication of balance and true charge level. Imbalance could mean the need for equalizing; is often a sign of improper charging or a bad cell. Voltage checks (open circuit, charged and discharged) can locate a bad battery or weak battery. Load testing will pick out a bad battery when other methods fail. A weak battery will cause premature failure of companion batteries.
Always use a matched voltage charger and battery pack system. An undersized charger will never get the job done, no matter how long you let it run. An oversized charger will cause excess gassing and heat; this situation could cause explosions or other damage.
As batteries age, their maintenance requirements change. This means longer charging time and/or higher finish rate (higher amperage at the end of the charge). Usually older batteries need to be watered more often. And, their capacity decreases.
Lead acid batteries should be brought up to full charge at the earliest opportunity. Avoid continuously operating batteries in a partially charged condition. This will shorten their life and reduce their capacity.
Extreme temperatures can substantially affect battery performance and charging. Cold reduces battery capacity and retards charging. Heat increases water usage and can result in overcharging. Very high temperatures can cause “thermal run-away” which may lead to an explosion or fire. If extreme temperature is an unavoidable part of an application, consult a battery/charger specialist about ways to deal with the problem.
Inactivity can be extremely harmful to all lead acid batteries. If seasonal use is anticipated, we recommend the following:
Completely charge the battery before storing.
Remove all electrical connections from the battery, including series/parallel connectors.
Store the battery in as cool a place as possible. However, do not store in a location which will consistently be below 32°F. Batteries will discharge when stored, the lower the temperature the lower the self discharge.
When not in use, boost every two months.
Golf Car and Electric Vehicle Maintenance Procedures
Most Important check the battery water level every couple weeks
If needed add water slowly and be careful not to overfill the batteries. The proper water level is ¼” below the fill ring. Remember to fill batteries after vehicle has been fully charged. Distilled water is recommended to prolong the batteries life.
Never charge the batteries when plates are exposed. This will cause sever and permanent damage to the batteries. First add just enough water to cover the plates then charge the vehicle.
Battery compartment, tops of batteries and battery terminals need to wash down and cleaned every few weeks. DO NOT use high pressure hose to clean batteries.
Vehicles should be charged on a daily basis and if possible charged at different discharge intervals to maximize battery performance and life.
Make sure batteries are being charged at a rate of 12-20 amps on your charger. This means batteries are being properly charged. If not check wiring and connections.
Make sure to “Equalize” the batteries once every 2 weeks. Automatically controlled chargers should be unplugged and reconnected after completing a full charge. This will keep the batteries in balance and maximize battery life and performance.
Check tire pressure once a week to make sure tire is properly inflated. The proper tire inflation is located on the side of the tire and is usually 22-30 PSI.
Inspect Brake pedal and accelerator and lubricate if necessary
Inspect wiring for rupture or dirt and repair/clean if necessary
Lastly consult your owner’s manual for any all other service issues needed.