Need to know how to start a golf cart without a key? We’ve all been there where we forgot or lost our keys to the golf cart. Fortunately, golf carts are a lot easier to start than a traditional car. Whether you have an E-Z-GO, Yamaha, Club Car, or any other type of golf cart, the process is very similar, and this article will walk you through it. The issue with having the right key can come up, especially if you bought a used golf cart and didn’t get a second set of keys.
Hopefully, this first section will cover your problems, but for the most part, they won’t work if there aren’t other golf carts or golf cart owners around.
Replacement Key Methods
Before we get into screwdriver keys and hot wiring, let’s talk about some other, easier methods. These will generally go better in a community where golf carts are abundant, or you have some time on your hands. It should be noted that most of them are tailored to the idea that you haven’t replaced your ignition switch with a key specific one.
Use a friend’s key
Maybe your friend is with you and they have a golf cart from the same brand. Whether it’s E-Z-GO, Yamaha, or Club Car golf carts, as long as the brand is the same, the key is usually the same, too. Hopefully, you can just use their golf cart key and not have to worry about it.
This is also a fun way to pull a prank, but be responsible as it’s still technically theft.
Replace the Key
Another hopeful scenario is that time is not a factor here and you can get a replacement key from a dealer or online store. This may be a good idea to do even if you manage to start your golf cart without your key. It will eventually become inconvenient having to figure a way to trick your golf cart into starting.
Of course, if you’re already going to have to wait for a key, you might as well order a new, key specific ignition switch to make your golf cart more secure.
Replace the Ignition Switch
It may be time to upgrade your ignition switch if you lost your keys and had to purchase a key anyway. A new, key specific ignition switch will keep your cart more safe from theft.
This is great for the security of your golf cart, and honestly it’s a good move. It just makes things a little harder for when you forget or lose your keys.
Of course if you or your friends already knew about these tricks, then it might be harder to fool your golf cart into starting. All your friends will have different keys, and you won’t have an option besides replacing the ignition switch.
No Key Methods
So, you need to start your golf cart without a key. There are two ways to accomplish this, one is really easy, but only works sometimes, and the other is a little complicated, but will work every time without fail if you do it right.
Generally speaking, you’re gonna want to start with the first method, and only approach the second if the first won’t work out for you.
This will sound a little barbaric, but I hope you have a flat head screwdriver with you. If you don’t have your key, this is is your easiest way of starting your golf cart. This will nearly never work on a traditional car since they have actual anti theft systems in their ignition switches, but you’re just trying to start a golf cart, right?
Ok, you ready? Take your screwdriver, and gently but firmly shove it into the ignition switch. The idea here is that you’re going to use your screwdriver as your key.
The thing about that is most E-Z-GO, Club Car, and Yamaha golf carts have actual keys that turn tumblers in the keyed ignition switch. That’s why your key has ridges.
To defeat that, you’re going to basically pick the lock.
You’ll have to wiggle your screwdriver up and down, keeping just a little tension on the switch. This will eventually loosen up the tumblers and allow you to turn your screwdriver key, flip the ignition switch, and start your golf cart.
Of course, you’ll look a little suspicious trying to start a golf cart with a screwdriver, so make sure you have documentation that you own the golf cart.
It will take some wiggling and maybe a bit of patience, but generally, you can make this method work. If your E-Z-GO, Club Car, or Yamaha golf cart has any anti theft systems in the ignition switches than it may turn out impossible, but it should work with most golf carts out there.
Of course, there’s always the chance that you don’t have a screwdriver with you or a small enough one to make this work. In this case, I hope you know how to safely work with wires.
Hot-wire That Bad Boy
In the unfortunate scenario that the screwdriver didn’t save the day, you’re next best bet is hot wiring. This sounds complicated, but really you’re just jumping the ignition switch by hard wiring the lines that the ignition switch connects.
Your ignition is a circuit, and the ignition switch is kind of like a light switch that closes that circuit, allowing ignition to take place. By jumping, or bypassing, that switch you’re making an always closed (or hot, hence hot-wired) circuit.
Get it? Good.
So, for safety, you’ll want to turn of the power switch if possible first.
Afterwards, find the wires that connect to your ignition switch and disconnect them from the switch. Once you have them both disconnected, strip back the insulation on both and put them together.
Twist them together and tape them if you have tape.
Turn the power back on, and your golf cart should start right up. This will work every time as long as you find the right wires, but there is a danger of electric shock, and by shortening your ignition wires, it may become harder to install a new ignition switch.
This should really only be a last resort or emergency option, but it’s still a good skill in case of a zombie apocalypse or something.
If you have the wrong wires, then it may cause problems, but this is unlikely. Also, the ignition switch should only have the two wires going to it anyway.
If there are three, then don’t use the black one. If there are more than three, then a wiring diagram may help, but trial and error will eventually find the right pair.
Once you get your golf cart started and successfully outrun the zombies or dinosaurs chasing you, make sure to get the issue fixed. Whether you do this by simply replacing the key, installing a new ignition switch, or any other method, it’s essential that you only hot wire your golf cart for only as long as absolutely necessary, since it causes undue stress on the wires and battery.
This can void your warranty and cause other issues down the line.