If you’re like most of us, after you get your golf cart, you start to wonder “how to make my golf cart go faster”. It happens to everybody eventually. You get that sweet E-Z-GO, Yamaha, or Club Car golf cart, and now that you have it, the speed is a little bland. Not that you don’t love your new golf cart, just that a little more umph never hurt anyone, right?
It’s a little more involved, but the simple answer to how to make your golf cart faster is:
- for gas golf carts, adjust the governor plate
- for electric, add more battery power
So how do you make your golf cart go faster? It depends on a number of things, but the basic idea is that you want to add power and torque. This is accomplished in different ways depending on whether your golf cart is gas or electric.
We’re gonna cover both here with some general ideas on how to add power and torque, so whether you have an E-Z-GO, Club Car, or Yamaha golf cart, this will still be useful information.
Power is defined as the rate of work being done. It’s supplied by the motor, and increasing it involves making your engine more efficient, which is different for gas vs electric golf carts.
Torque, or more accurately end torque in our use of the word, is the turning power of your wheels moving your golf cart. This torque is made by transferring the power from your engine to turning your wheels.
The transmission, drive shaft, differential, and drive axles provide this transfer (or transmission ha!) of power. The nuts and bolts of this don’t really change between gas vs electric, so I’ll talk about it first.
How to increase torque on a golf cart
So this seems like it would be a little difficult, as most golf carts only have a direct connection from motor to transaxle to drive axle. However, even in this most limited form of a drivetrain, each of those pieces can be upgraded in some way or another.
The transaxle can be regeared or replaced to achieve a better gear ratio. This is similar to shifting gears on a bicycle. Most Yamaha, E-Z-GO, and Club Car golf carts have just a single gear transmission, and it’s best to keep it that way given the style of clutch most golf carts use.
If your cart has a differential, then the same physics apply, you can regear the differential to allow for a gear ratio that better suits you.
Another way to get better torque is to replace drive axles. Each golf cart is different, but if your cart has jointed axles, meaning more than one piece to allow for movement of the suspension components, then you can upgrade to solid drive axles for a rear wheel driven cart or single joint axles for a front wheel drive. It sounds weird, but each joint on a drive axle will take away a little torque.
Of course, by limiting the number of joints, you also lower the independence of each wheel’s suspension. This is something to consider if you use your golf cart in rough terrain.
Sometimes, the torque of a solid drive axle isn’t worth the loss of flexibility provided by jointed axles. If your cart does happen to have a drive shaft, then the same goes for it. More joints equals flexibility, less joints equals torque.
Lastly, very few Yamaha, E-Z-GO, or Club Car golf carts come in 4 wheel drive, but there a lot of aftermarket manufacturers that sell kits for converting your cart into a 4X4.
This increases torque, and also helps you maintain better traction, so less of that torque is wasted on tire slippage. Plus, you’d be the awesome dude with a ridiculous 4X4 golf cart, which would be the best thing ever.
How to increase power on a gas powered golf cart motor
When increasing power in your gas powered golf cart, it’s best to think of your gas motor as an air pump. The more efficiently it moves air, the more power it has.
The easiest, cheapest, and simplest way to achieve this is by adjusting, or straight up removing, your governor on your throttle. This piece exists to keep your cart under the 12-14 MPH limit that most courses allow.
It governs the amount that you can open the throttle, which restricts the air entering the motor. By adjusting it all the way out, or again, just removing it if possible, you lose that restriction and gain more speed.
The next thing to look at to increase power in your gas powered golf cart is your air intake. It goes without saying that to make an air pump more efficient, you should increase its air input, right?
The easiest way to increase intake is to buy a high-flow air filter like the ones from K&N. They can install directly on to your factory intake system and only cost about twice as much as a regular air filter.
Next is an upgraded intake system like a cold air intake. Many aftermarket manufacturers make these for E-Z-GO, Club Car, and Yamaha golf carts. They have a straighter and longer tube which allows for more efficient intake of air that’s further away from the engine.
This may seem strange that a longer tube is better, but by being longer, it increases velocity of the air and has access to colder air which is more dense than warm air.
The most expensive and difficult ways to upgrade air intake are to get an upgraded throttle body or intake manifold. These will allow for more air to pass into the opening of the motor.
Upgraded throttle bodies may have more or bigger throttles to increase intake, while an upgraded manifold will have longer and more cylindrical tubes that allow for air to move faster to the combustion chamber.
Equally important as intake, exhaust should be upgraded in parallel to your intake to get the most out of each upgrade. It doesn’t matter if your intake is powerful enough to out-vacuum a black hole if you can’t move the air out of the engine as efficiently.
There are a ton of exhaust upgrades: headers, straight pipes, dual exhaust, and the list goes on. Each one performs a different task, but all of them are designed to help the exhaust be more efficient.
Of course, once you’ve made your engine better at the whole pumping air thing, the main thing left is fuel. How to increase fuel in the combustion chamber depends on whether you have a carburetor or a fuel injection system.
A carburetor is easier to mess with, and most likely, you can just tune it out to match your air intake without having to worry about an upgraded carburetor. With fuel injection, it will typically tune itself to get the right mixture, but if you’re pulling more air than it can handle, it may be time to get upgraded injectors.
There is a ton more you can do, but all of it requires a lot more in-depth modification. Turbos, upgraded valve trains, or full engine swaps. These are like the pro level upgrades, though.
It would be best to have these installed by professionals to make sure it’s all tuned properly and doesn’t destroy anything.
How to increase power on an electric golf cart motor
Electric motors are quite a bit different from gas motors. If your Club Car, E-Z-GO, or Yamaha golf cart is electric, than making your golf cart go faster will be a very different challenge.
Electric motors use induction, and don’t use the same physics as a gas motor. They use electric power to create magnetic fields that spin a rod. It sounds complicated, but boiled down, it takes electric energy and creates power and torque.
There really isn’t any part of the motor itself that you can upgrade, but what you can do is increase power going to the motor, get a more powerful motor, or both. Increasing power to the motor is the easiest method to a certain point.
Your electric golf cart has a few components that restrict the amount of power your motor receives, similar to the governor on a gas engine. By upgrading these two restrictors, you can increase the power going to the motor.
These devices are called the solenoid contactor relay and the electronic speed controller. You can gain about a 40% increase of power with this upgrade.
Of course, if that’s not enough, you can always upgrade the motor, too.
Some motors have more power, but less speed and vice versa. Of course, if you really want to, you can get an all around higher rated motor that has more power and speed than your stock motor, but utilizing the higher rating would require installing extra batteries Adding batteries is complicated and dangerous, so make sure to do some research before following that path.