Your Top 10 Golf Cart Questions Answered!

February 22 2022 – Brandon Burkey

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We field a lot of questions about golf carts mainly because of the golf cart mats we sell. From customers wanting to know which golf carts we recommend to how to best take care of off-road carts, we’ve heard it all over the years. Thankfully, we’re as passionate about golf carts as you are! Whenever we have the chance, we’re happy to get into conversations about everything golf cart related.

We wanted to put our answers to all of the most frequently asked questions about DIY golf cart care, golf cart maintenance, and more in one place — so here it is!

Answers to the 10 Most Frequently Asked Golf Cart Questions

How to paint a golf cart?

The first step to your DIY golf cart paint project is sanding the whole body. For most carts, you can use fine-grit sandpaper in a circular motion to get the paint off. Of course, if you’re not planning on painting your whole cart, just sand the parts you’re wanting to paint. While it’s tempting to skip this step, this sanding process makes applying your paint a whole lot easier. And, because your paint will adhere better to your cart, your paint job will last longer, too.

After you’ve finished sanding, wash off all of the dust so that you don’t have granules in your paint, which will make your paint job look rough and bumpy. Let your cart dry completely before moving on to the painting process.

Just like you would when you go to paint anything in your home, you want to make sure that you don’t get paint on anything you don’t want to be painted. Take some time to seal off all the areas on your golf cart you don’t want to be painted. You can use plastic bags and masking tape to do the job. 

Once you have your cart sealed, you can start painting by applying a thin coat of primer. The spray paint versions of primers are the easiest and fastest. While you don’t want to apply too much primer to your cart, you will want to use a little more if you’re trying to paint a light color over a dark color. After the primer has dried completely, you can apply the actual paint, which is most likely acrylic or plastic fusion spray paint. Remember, how your cart looks after one coat of paint isn’t how it will look after several more coats of paint. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not happy with the first coat — just keep going! Be sure, however, to wait in between coats so that each layer can set properly. 

If you want to take extra good care of your new paint job, you’ll want to add a sealant once you’ve finished. This sealant goes on top of your finished paint job just the same way you applied the paint. And, if you’re going for a glossy look, it’s a must. 

Once you’re totally finished, let your cart dry for at least 24 hours before using it.

Sound like a lot of work?

woody paint job for golf cart

DIY golf cart re-paints can be tricky. You can bypass the whole paint process by applying a body wrap to your golf cart. A lot of these are just like big stickers, making them super easy to put on so that you can instantly enjoy a whole new look. You can find a large selection of designs and colors online. 

How to charge golf cart batteries? 

Caring for your battery is one of the most essential pieces of DIY golf cart maintenance you can learn about. There are two different types of batteries for golf carts, lead-acid and lithium-ion. The first step to charging your golf cart battery correctly is knowing which one you have. To make sure you do everything right, always refer to your battery’s guide and review the instructions before getting started. Remember, you want to plan ahead when it comes to charging your battery so that you’re not left in a pinch. Street legal golf carts will often require larger batteries that hold a longer charge, while recreational carts can get by with smaller batteries. Knowing when and how you want to use your golf cart, and how much charge is left on your current battery, is essential for avoiding frustrating situations.

Lead-Acid Golf Cart Batteries

If you have a lead-acid golf cart battery, you’ll want to be sure that you always charge it in an area that is well-ventilated. Gases can build up while your battery charges so this is important. Also, if the temperatures are too high, you’ll want to wait to charge your battery if possible. If the temperature is above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, then you’ll want to compensate according to your battery’s instructions. Lastly, always double-check your battery’s water levels and tighten all vent caps before using them. 

speed battery meter

Lithium-Ion Golf Cart Batteries

Just like charging lead-acid batteries, you’ll want to avoid charging a lithium-ion battery if the temperature is too hot. And, if the temperature is too cold, you’ll also want to avoid charging your battery. The next step is to make sure that your golf cart is turned off while the battery is charging. This will make sure that the battery in your cart gets saturated properly. Unlike lead-acid batteries, you actually don’t want to fully charge your lithium-ion battery. Less, in this case, really is more. Monitor your battery as it charges. If you notice that it, or the cart itself, starts to heat up during the charge, pause the charge to allow a resting period. Not all lithium-ion batteries are the same in terms of indicators, so refer to your instructions as needed to know how much of a charge your battery has received. 

How fast does a golf cart go?

On average, golf carts can handle a maximum speed of about 15 mph. Some models can hit a top speed just under 20 mph. Street legal golf carts often travel even faster.

street legal golf cart

How much is a new golf cart? 

When brand new, the most basic golf cart models start around $4,000. Of course, these models don’t come with any fancy features or extras. If you’re wanting a new golf cart that will do more than get you from one hole to the next, expect to spend somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000.

How much is golf cart insurance? 

If you’re just looking to insure your standard golf cart, you’ll be happy to know that it’s very affordable. Most golf cart owners can expect to pay somewhere between $10 and $15 each month. If you drive a speed-modified or street legal golf cart, however, you’ll need to pay more for golf cart insurance because you’ll either need to have an auto policy or a special golf cart policy. These types of policies range from a few hundred to a thousand dollars each year. The total cost depends on a few different factors, including your driving record. 

Are electric golf carts street legal? 

All types of golf carts, including electric carts, can be street legal golf carts. In order to drive them legally on streets, however, they have to meet several requirements for registration (including VIN), insurance, taxes, and inspections. Even carts driven on neighborhood streets need to meet these requirements in order for them to be legal. Street legal golf carts also need to have:

  • Seatbelts
  • Headlights
  • Turn Signals
  • Rear and Brake Lights
  • Windshields 

How to clean golf cart seats? 

Keeping your cart clean is one of the most essential parts of golf cart maintenance. How you clean your golf cart seats depends on a few factors. First, you’ll want to know what kind of material they’re made of in order to take care of them properly. You’ll also want to take a good look at how the seat cushions are made. Some golf cart seats can be removed, making them easier to clean.

In general, the best method for DIY golf cart seat cleaning is combining liquid laundry detergent (you just need a couple of drops) and lukewarm water. Soak a sponge in this mixture and then use it to clean your seats. Then, rinse the sponge (or get a new one) so that you can wipe all of the soap completely off your seats. Use a towel to dry your seats completely.

If you’re dealing with stains, especially on white seats, try putting some rubbing alcohol on a paper towel and treating the stain before cleaning with the laundry detergent mixture. 

How to change a golf cart tire? 

No DIY golf cart maintenance guide would be complete if we didn’t tell you how to replace a flat tire on your cart. If you know how to change a regular car tire, then you’re in luck, as changing the tires on both recreational and street legal golf carts follow the same basic principles. The main difference is that you’ll want to use a small floor jack that fits under your golf cart, rather than a standard jack you would use with a car. These smaller jacks not only get underneath lower-to-the-ground carts, but they can support the weight of most carts, too.

How long does a golf cart battery last? 

If your golf cart is used privately (just by you, not a business), then you should be able to get nearly a decade out of your battery pack. Carts used in fleets have a shorter battery lifespan, typically somewhere around five years. If your golf cart is street legal or has been optimized or customized, it might change how your battery performs, typically decreasing its overall lifespan. 

How to make a golf cart ride smoother? 

There are several different factors that go into creating a super smooth ride for your golf cart. Among those factors, the type of tires and wheels you have is one of the most important. If you use your golf cart for a variety of things (not just on the golf course or getting to the links from your home), then you’ll definitely want to consider all-terrain tires. Especially if you’re driving a street legal golf cart. Improving the suspension and shock absorbers on your cart will do wonders for how well it handles. If you have a poor suspension, your cart will not only be unable to drive smoothly, but it’s likely to veer to one side or another, too. 

If you have any other DIY golf cart maintenance tips or questions, feel free to reach out! We’d love to hear from you! Drop a comment below and we’ll get in touch.

Happy driving!

READ MORE: Golf Cart Insurance: What It Is and Why You (Might) Need It