Buying A Used Electric Golf Cart
Finding and buying a high quality used golf cart can be challenging. Used golf carts, depending on their age, can have a number of possible mechanical issues. Many of these issues are not evident until the purchase has been made and you are putting miles on your new (to you) golf cart. The following list will give you some items you can check visually and things you can quickly check during a test drive. This list is by no means everything that could possibly be wrong with a used golf cart, but it could help you avoid unexpected and costly repairs after you've made your purchase!
Refurbished vs Used Golf Carts
The term "refurbished" is often used to make a used golf cart appear to be a better quality golf cart than a standard "used" cart. A truly refurbished golf cart will have been thoroughly inspected and have any cosmetic or mechanical issues fixed before being sold. If the golf cart you are looking at has worn tires, cosmetic blemishes, worn seats, or old batteries, it most likely has not been refurbished. This doesn't mean it is a bad cart, it just means the price should reflect a used golf cart and not one that has been refurbished. At Performance Golf Carts, our refurbished carts go through a thorough inspection, cleaning, and repair process and are backed with a warranty to ensure you are getting a used golf cart that is safe and reliable for years to come.
Choosing a refurbished golf cart will cost slightly more money up front, but will likely have fewer issues than a used golf cart of the same model year. Once you have decided if you want a refurbished or used golf cart, the following items should be inspected visually and on the test drive.
Determine The Age Of The Golf Cart
Determining the age of a golf cart is not difficult...once you know where to look! All golf cart brands and models will have a serial number located on a plate or sticker on the golf cart. Where this information is located will vary depending on the year and manufacturer of the golf cart. Below are the locations of the serial number listed by manufacturer and model:
- The first 1 or 2 letters of the serial number determines the model
- The next 2 determine the year
Club Car DS 1982 - 2000.5
The serial number is found just under the passenger side glove box
Club Car DS 2000.5 - Present
The serial number is located on a sticker located just behind the accelerator pedal mounted to the frame
Club Car Precedent 2004 - Present
The serial number will be on a sticker inside the passenger side glove compartment or just under the passenger side glove compartment on the kick panel
Marathon, Medalist, and TXT Models:
- The manufacturer number will have 1 letter followed by 3 or 4 numbers
- 2 of the grouped numbers will indicate the year of production
The model and serial numbers can be found on the plate located under the passenger side glove compartment
The Medalist serial number is located on a plate located inside the passenger side glove compartment
The TXT serial number is located on a plate inside the passenger side glove compartment
Yamaha golf cart serial numbers are more complex to decode. Once you locate the serial number, your best bet is to contact a reputable golf cart dealer and they can advise you of the production year of your cart. Below are the serial number locations for each Yamaha model.
Yamaha G1 began production in 1979. The serial number is located near the drivers side rear tire underneath the golf cart.
The Yamaha G2 began production in 1985 and the serial number can be located in one of two places. Either under the seat towards the front of the golf cart, or under the front bumper on the frame of the golf cart.
The serial number on a Yamaha G3 Golf Cart is located near the passenger side rear tire underneath the golf cart.
The Yamaha G5 was introduced in 1990. The serial number can be located underneath the front bumper area on the frame.
The Yamaha G8 serial number is located under the passenger side seat towards the front of the golf cart.
The Yamaha G9 serial number location will be underneath the seat towards the front of the golf cart.
The Yamaha G11 serial number is underneath the seat towards the rear of the golf cart.
G14 & G16
The Yamaha G14 & G16 serial numbers are located underneath the driver side seat toward the front of the golf cart. Some models may have the serial number located inside the driver side glove compartment as well.
The Yamaha G19 serial number is inside the driver side glove compartment or under the rear bumper attached to the frame.
The Yamaha G22 or G-MAX began production in 2003 and the serial number will be inside the drivers side glove compartment.
The Yamaha Drive began production in 2007. The serial number is on the passenger side near the seat from 2007-2010. In 2011 and up the serial number is located underneath the seat towards the rear of the golf cart.
Battery Age and Condition
The batteries of an electric golf cart are the most important and expensive part of the cart. You can determine a lot with a simple visual inspection. Batteries that are bulging on the sides or on top, near the battery posts, are a red flag. These batteries are extremely close to failing and even with a full charge, will not give you much run time.
Batteries that are low on water indicate a lack of maintenance, this too is a red flag. Golf cart batteries that have not been properly maintained will absolutely fail prematurely.
If the batteries look good and have been properly maintained, the last thing to check is the age. Most batteries will have a date sticker on the side or top of the battery. Some may also have the date code stamped into the lead post. The date code will be a letter and number combination. For example, a date code of A8 would indicate a manufacture date of January 2018, B8 would be February 2018, and so on. Even the best maintained golf cart batteries only last 4-6 years. If the batteries in the golf cart you are looking at are near or beyond that age, you should plan on the expense of replacing them in the very near future.
Steering components that are worn out can be easily overlooked when buying a used golf cart. During a slow speed, short test drive, the steering may seem fine. Once you buy the cart and start driving at full speed, you may find that the golf cart wanders left and right when driving straight or that the steering feels "sloppy" or loose. These are indications that some or all of your steering and suspension components are worn out. Pay close attention to the feel of the steering during the test drive and do not be afraid to do a thorough test drive of the cart. This is also a good time to pay attention to the braking distance and check for proper feel and stopping power of the brakes.
Worn golf cart tires can be an easy way to quickly determine if the golf cart you are looking at might have steering or suspension issues. If the tires are simply worn out, meaning they look worn evenly across the entire tire, it may mean they just need replaced. If the tires are worn only in the center or only on both outer edges, this is a sign of improper air pressure and new tires should wear fine once the air pressure is properly maintained. The red flag will be tires that are extremely worn on only the inner or outer edge. This indicates either an alignment problem or a suspension issue. If the tires on the golf cart you are looking at look like this, you will need to check all of the suspension components before investing in new tires.
Should You Buy A Used Golf Cart?
The answer to this question is ABSOLUTELY! Used golf carts can be a great bargain over buying brand new. There are many used golf carts sold everyday that are in like new condition. This article is not meant to scare you away from a new or refurbished golf cart, it is simply to help you avoid the pitfalls and expense of buying a used cart that may need significant work done on it. At Performance Golf Carts, we thoroughly inspect every used golf cart before it goes on our lot. You can shop our entire selection of used golf carts HERE. Not in our local area? No problem! We can ship your golf cart to you anywhere in the country with free nationwide delivery!