How Hot Should A Golf Cart Motor Get? (and is it Normal?)

When you own a golf cart, there are a lot of things you need to think about in order to keep it running smoothly. One question that often comes up is how hot should a golf cart motor get?

Typically, a golf cart motor casing can be 150º F (65.6º C) to 180º F (82.2º C) with normal use. Temperatures above this should be examined to protect the motor overheating.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what factors can affect the temperature of your golf cart motor, and provide some tips on how to keep it running cool. So if you’re concerned about keeping your golf cart motor cool, we’ve got all the information you need right here.

Should A Golf Cart Motor Get Hot?

The golf cart motor will get hot at some point. This is typical of many electronics, so it should not alarm unless the motor gets extremely hot. With normal use, the motor casing temperature will read 150º, although a high of 180º is also acceptable.

The motor casing temperature will stay under 150º on a moving cart because of the cooling effect of air currents. The air currents reduce when the cart stops, and the temperature shoots up by 25º. Anything beyond that should prompt you to stop because you risk melting all the glues holding other parts in place or burning the whole motor.

The electric golf motor is connected to the power delivery system composed of cables, the speed controller, and the solenoid. How much power you draw from the battery and at what rate is what determines whether the motor will get hot. Drawing high amperage within a short duration is a sure way of causing a rise in temperature in the golf cart motor.

Can Electric Golf Carts Overheat?

Yes. Electric golf carts can overheat for several reasons. As mentioned earlier, the engine casing temperature will normally range between 150-180 degrees which means that anything above that is overheating. Several reasons can cause an electric golf cart motor to overheat. Let’s look at some of them.

The first reason for overheating is drawing large amounts of power in less time. A perfect example is when you put your foot down on the pedal. An electric golf cart is not a racing car. Putting your foot flat on the pedal may sound nice but have disastrous consequences later.

The second reason a golf cart motor will overheat is using the cart for any other reason other than golfing. Golf carts were specifically made to drive on smooth golf courses with stock-sized wheels and at limited speeds. Taking the vehicle out of that native environment will demand more power than the motor is designed to handle.

Some golf cart owners are now modifying them to serve other purposes like transport on the highways. One example of modification is the installation of larger tires, which leads to overheating. Tire size directly affects the amount of power the motor will demand; hence large tires reduce the motor speed. Large tires require huge amounts of torque at lower RPM.

Drawing huge amounts of torque from the battery overheats the controller and all the connections that supply the motor with the current. That overworks the batteries, motor, solenoid, controller, and the high current wiring. If you decide to use the golf cart for any other reason than golfing, for example, driving uphill or in muddy terrain, you will have to modify everything related to the motor.

Why My Golf Cart Motor Has A Burning Smell?

There are several reasons why the electric golf cart may be producing a burning smell, most of which are related to the amperage and the batteries. If you smell something burning and the cart has stopped, you probably have a burnout case on your hands. When you have ruled out the possibility of burnout, look at the following possibilities.

Voltage Issues

Check the voltage across the batteries. Excessive voltage may cause overheating leading to a burning smell. Record the voltage reading before and after plugging in the charger. The battery readings should be identical; otherwise, call the technician who installed the batteries. Furthermore, confirm that the battery terminals and wiring are not hot.

Another source of the burning smell in an electric golf cart is when the motor draws excessive current. A high rating direct current ammeter with clamp-on clips should help you with this.

Brakes

The third possible culprit of the hot smell is brakes, especially if it starts after driving for some distance, say a mile. Many electric motors in golf carts produce enough torque to surmount the brakes. One or all the brakes remain on, and their friction with the drum produces heat.

Engine Oil

Some industry experts have blamed engine oils. However, electric carts only have oil in the rear end gears, and if there is no leak at the back, it is unlikely to be the source of the smell.

Overheating

The last possible source of the burning smell is overheating either inside the motor or within the wiring. The possibility is the manufacturer used some low-grade cables which cannot support the enormous energy needs of the motor.

Since the battery and the breaks are the most common reasons why electric golf carts produce a burning smell, here are some precautions to ensure that the sources of power and the brakes are working optimally;

  • Always ensure that all the battery cables are correctly connected. A bad connection will overheat the motor and the battery when charging. Disentangle any intertwined cables and free them of their surroundings, giving them space to breathe.
  • The batteries electrolyte should always read maximum. Bad battery maintenance evidenced by low battery water causes overheating and consequently the burning smell. Always consult the manufacturer’s manual before buying a new battery.
  • Finally, have a technician check out those brakes. They should fit the manufacturer’s recommended drums according to the cart’s torque.

Will My Golf Cart Stop If It Gets Too Hot?

If you were driving your golf cart with a hot engine and it suddenly stopped, there is a good chance that the cart stopped due to overheating. The best-case scenario is that the battery is dead and needs a recharge, but if the power is intact, then you’re facing a motor burnout.

Motor burnout occurs when your electric golf cart motor overheats and fries all the wiring and other inner components, which stops the cart. This is especially true if you love continuously pushing the pedal flat on the floor, which overworks the golf cart. Here is how to diagnose motor burnout.

Pull back the motor cover and press the reset button. If that fails, plug in the battery into a wall outlet and try switching it on again. Lucky you if the motor resumed function! Repairs avoided! But if the motor didn’t show any signs of life after the first two steps, loss of function translates to motor burnout because of overheating.

Next, unscrew the motor off the cart and inspect the individual parts such as brushes, bearings, and coils which may have broken and stopped the cart. You can easily find these at the local spare parts store at a pocket-friendly price.

Furthermore, you can even make it a do-it-yourself project if you have basic mechanical skills. However, extensive damage to the motor housing or the armature indicates a motor burnout, and you must replace the whole motor.

While it’s important to be aware of the possibility that your golf cart motor may overheat, there are preventative measures and products you can use to avoid this. By following our advice and choosing a quality golf cart cooler or fan, you can keep your mind at ease on those hot days while out for a spin.

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