How do you fix a golf cart that won’t start

Golf carts are essential for navigating golf courses, but occasionally, they may refuse to start due to various reasons. When faced with a non-starting golf cart, it’s essential to diagnose the issue and perform the necessary repairs to get back on the fairway. This guide will provide a step-by-step approach to troubleshoot and fix a golf cart that won’t start.

Rangefinder on Discount

Step 1: Check the Battery:

  • The most common reason for a non-starting golf cart is a dead or weak battery.
  • Inspect the battery terminals for corrosion and ensure they are tightly connected.
  • Use a multimeter to measure the battery voltage. A fully charged 36-volt cart should read around 38-39 volts.
  • If the voltage is low, charge the battery or consider replacing it if it’s old or damaged.

Step 2: Inspect Battery Cables:

  • Examine the battery cables for fraying, breaks, or loose connections.
  • Ensure the cables are securely attached to the battery terminals and the solenoid.

Step 3: Check the Solenoid:

  • The solenoid is responsible for connecting the battery to the starter motor.
  • Listen for a clicking sound when you turn the key; if you hear it, the solenoid may be working.
  • If there’s no click, test the solenoid with a multimeter for continuity. Replace it if it’s faulty.

Step 4: Test the Key Switch:

  • Ensure the key switch is in the “on” position.
  • Use a multimeter to check for continuity in the key switch. If it’s defective, replace it.

Step 5: Inspect the Fuses:

  • Golf carts often have fuses that protect electrical components.
  • Check the fuses for any signs of damage, and replace any blown fuses.

Step 6: Examine Wiring:

  • Inspect the wiring harness for any exposed wires, cuts, or loose connections.
  • Reconnect any disconnected wires and repair damaged ones.

Step 7: Fuel System Inspection (Gas-Powered Carts):

  • If you have a gas-powered cart, ensure it has enough fuel.
  • Check the fuel filter for clogs and replace it if necessary.
  • Inspect the spark plug and replace it if it’s fouled or worn out.

Step 8: Throttle and Choke Position (Gas-Powered Carts):

  • Ensure the throttle and choke are in the correct positions.
  • Sometimes, incorrect settings can prevent the engine from starting.

Step 9: Consult the Owner’s Manual:

  • If you’re unsure about any components or procedures, consult your golf cart’s owner’s manual for guidance.

Step 10: Seek Professional Help:

  • If you’ve gone through all the steps and your golf cart still won’t start, it may be time to seek help from a professional golf cart mechanic.
  • They can diagnose complex issues and perform more advanced repairs.

Additional Tips:

Here are some additional tips and considerations for fixing a golf cart that won’t start:

  1. Safety First: Always prioritize safety when working on your golf cart. Disconnect the battery or turn off the gas supply (for gas-powered carts) before performing any repairs. Wear appropriate safety gear, such as gloves and safety glasses.
  2. Cleaning and Maintenance: Regularly clean the battery terminals and cable connections to prevent corrosion, which can lead to electrical problems. Perform routine maintenance tasks recommended in your owner’s manual to keep your golf cart in good condition.
  3. Charger Check: If your electric golf cart won’t start, make sure the charger is functioning correctly and that the cart’s batteries are charging properly. Inspect the charger’s connections and cables.
  4. Tire Pressure: Low tire pressure can affect the performance of your golf cart. Ensure all tires are properly inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI.
  5. Check the Key: Sometimes, a damaged or worn-out key can prevent the cart from starting. Try using a spare key if available.
  6. Fuel Quality (Gas-Powered Carts): Use high-quality fuel, and avoid using stale or contaminated gasoline. Poor fuel quality can lead to engine problems.
  7. Starter Motor: If all else fails, and you suspect an issue with the starter motor, you may need to remove and test it. Seek professional help or consult your owner’s manual for guidance on starter motor testing and replacement.
  8. Preventive Measures: To avoid future starting issues, consider investing in a golf cart cover or storage solution to protect your cart from the elements and prevent battery drain during periods of inactivity.
  9. Regular Inspection: Make it a habit to visually inspect your golf cart before each use. Look for loose wires, leaks, or any unusual signs that could indicate a problem.
  10. Upgrading Components: If you’re experiencing recurring issues with your golf cart, you may want to consider upgrading certain components, such as the battery or key switch, to higher-quality or more durable options.

Common Causes

CauseSymptomsDiagnosisSolutionTools/Parts Needed
Dead BatteryNo power, no lightsCheck battery voltageCharge or replace batteryBattery charger/multimeter
Faulty Ignition SwitchNo response when key turnedTest with a multimeterReplace ignition switchMultimeter, new switch
Loose or Corroded WiresIntermittent power, sparksInspect wiring connectionsTighten or replace wiresWrench, wire brush
Fuel Delivery ProblemEngine cranks but won’t startCheck fuel lines and filterClean/replace fuel systemFuel pressure gauge
Starter Motor IssuesClicking sound, no crankingTest starter motorRepair or replace starterStarter testing kit

Battery Maintenance

TaskFrequencyStepsTools/Parts NeededTips
Battery InspectionMonthlyCheck for corrosion, loose terminalsBattery terminal cleanerWear gloves, safety glasses
Battery CleaningAs neededClean terminals and cable endsWire brush, baking sodaDisconnect cables before cleaning
Battery Voltage CheckSeasonalMeasure voltage to ensure it’s chargedMultimeterCharge if voltage is low
Battery Water LevelSemi-annuallyCheck and refill with distilled waterWater, funnelDon’t overfill, follow manufacturer’s recommendations
Battery ReplacementWhen necessaryReplace old or failing batteryNew batteryRecycle old battery

Ignition Switch Troubleshooting

IssueSymptomsDiagnosisSolutionTools/Parts Needed
No Power to Key SwitchNo lights, no responseCheck battery connectionsRepair or replace connectionsWrench, wire brush
Key Won’t TurnKey won’t turn in the ignitionLubricate or replace the lockLubricant, new ignition lockLock lubricant
Key Turns But NothingKey turns, no crankingTest ignition switch with a meterReplace ignition switchMultimeter, new switch
Intermittent IssuesIntermittent starting problemsInspect wiring for loose or damaged connectionsRepair or replace wiringWire cutter/stripper

Fuel System Inspection

ProblemSymptomsDiagnosisSolutionTools/Parts Needed
Clogged Fuel FilterEngine stalls, lacks powerCheck fuel filter conditionReplace fuel filterNew fuel filter
Dirty CarburetorRough idling, poor performanceInspect carburetor for dirt and debrisClean or rebuild carburetorCarburetor cleaner, rebuild kit
Fuel Line BlockageFuel not reaching engineCheck fuel lines for obstructionsClear blockages, replace linesCompressed air, new lines
Fuel Pump FailureEngine cranks but won’t startTest fuel pump operationReplace fuel pumpFuel pressure gauge, new pump
Contaminated FuelEngine misfires, poor runningInspect fuel qualityDrain and replace fuelFuel container, siphon pump

Starter Motor Troubleshooting

ProblemSymptomsDiagnosisSolutionTools/Parts Needed
Clicking SoundRapid clicking when key turnedCheck battery chargeCharge or replace batteryBattery charger, new battery
No CrankingNo response when key turnedTest starter motor with a meterRepair or replace starterMultimeter, new starter
Weak CrankingSlow or weak cranking soundInspect battery and connectionsCharge or replace batteryBattery charger, wrench
Grinding NoiseHarsh grinding when key turnedExamine starter gear engagementRepair or replace starterNew starter, socket set
Intermittent IssuesIntermittent starting problemsCheck wiring for loose connectionsRepair or replace wiringWire cutter/stripper


In conclusion, diagnosing and fixing a golf cart that won’t start can be a straightforward process in many cases. By following these steps and considering these tips, you can often identify and resolve the issue on your own. However, if you encounter complex or persistent problems, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance to ensure your golf cart is in optimal working condition. Regular maintenance and attention to detail will help keep your golf cart reliable and ready for your next game.


How do you fix a golf cart that won’t start


  • Anglo Carson

    Anglo Carson, a Certified Golf Instructor, embarked on a remarkable journey, driven by his unwavering love for golf. He founded The Golf Mine with a singular mission - to create a golfing haven where passion knows no boundaries. His lifelong love affair with golf, combined with his expertise as a Certified Golf Instructor, turned into a vision to share his extensive knowledge, inspire, and promote the game he holds dear.

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