What Type of Oil Does a Golf Cart Use? (Careful not to Mix!)

I’m going to be honest… I had no idea what type of oil a golf cart uses until recently.

I did some research and found out that there are several different types of oil that can be used in a golf cart, depending on the make and model. But what type should I use?

As a general rule, 10W30 grade engine oil is suitable for modern engines in golf carts typically found in colder climates. Older engines require SAE30 because they work better in colder environments.

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Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic 10W-30 Motor Oil 5 Quart
  • Advanced protection against main engine causes: wear, friction, heat, deposits.
  • 40% better wear protection than industry standard (Sequence IVB).
  • 25% better deposit protection with superior detergents (GMOD).
  • Exceptional temperature protection in all weather conditions.
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Mobil 1 Advanced Full Synthetic Motor Oil 5W-30, 5 Quart
  • Protects engine for up to 10k miles between changes.
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  • Prevents deposits and sludge for longer engine life.
  • Heat protection up to 500F, low temp protection to -30F
Good Value
Quaker State Motor Oil, Conventional 10W-30 (5-Quart, Single Pack)
  • Durable 10W-30 protects and reduces engine wear.
  • Corrosion protection against harmful engine acids.
  • Maintains viscosity for optimal oil film protection.
  • Combats engine sludge and deposits.

For quick reference, I recommend a 10W30 grade engine oil for EZ-Go, Club car, and Yamaha golf carts. An SAE 30-grade motor oil will also be necessary for the rear differentials. Thankfully, some versatile oil brands in the market are suitable for both applications.

In this post, I will discuss the various types of oil and what each one is best suited for as some maintenance tips. I’ll also give you some tips on how to choose the right oil for your golf cart.

Do I Need Oil if I Own an Electric Golf Cart?

You are quite lucky if your golf cart is fitted with an electric motor instead of a gasoline engine because you don’t need any oil. In fact, you have fewer maintenance costs because these vehicles have fewer components. Think Tesla versus internal combustion engines.

With no starter belts and spark plugs, electric golf carts have less than 50 moving parts compared to more than 1000 in their gas counterparts. Whoa…

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Can You Use Synthetic Oil in Your Gas Golf Cart?

The best advice here is to use the manufacturer’s recommended oil. Read the golf cart’s owner’s manual carefully to determine the type of oil for that particular brand.

What if you want to experiment or the recommended brand is not available? You can use synthetic oil, albeit with a few exceptions.

The synthetic oil you intend to use must have the same viscosity as the recommended brand. Different oils have varying densities and detergent constituents. Mixing different brands equals mixing different detergents, which creates a sludge build-up in your gasoline engine.

In a nutshell, once you pick a brand, stick to it to be on the safe side.

How to Choose the Right Engine Oil for Your Golf Cart?

With so many oil brands, both original and synthetic, on the market shelves, it can be quite confusing when choosing a particular brand for your gas-powered golf carts. For example, Yamaha has its own oil brand for golf carts and does EZ-Go.

However, the best and safest remains the manufacturer’s choice written in the owner’s manual. Here is a hot tip…

Before buying a particular oil brand, determine the amount of work the golf carts perform every week. Non-synthetic oils keep their viscosity for longer. While the difference is negligible, always go for non-synthetic engine oils.

How Much Oil Does a Golf Cart Take?

You must have settled on a particular brand by now, so let’s fill that empty tank. Most golf carts that run on gas have an oil capacity of one to one-half quarts or one liter. However, take care not to overfill it because adding excessive oil may damage the engine. In fact, running the engine on excessive oil is as dangerous as running the engine without any oil.

Running a golf cart that has too much engine oil is just as dangerous as running it without any oil at all. When there is too much oil in your golf cart, there’s a risk of the crankshaft coming into contact with the oil, leading to air in the oil flow system.

The owner’s manual should always tell you how much to use so that you don’t overfill.

The rule of the thumbs is to always fill the oil capacity up to 90% and nothing more. If you overfill the capacity accidentally, place an empty container under the drain cap and reduce the capacity for the safety of your golf cart.

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When to Change the Oil in a Golf Cart?

There isn’t any laid down rule dictating when you should change your engine oil. Most brands, especially the EZ-Go, need an oil change every 125 hours. Better still, schedule regular maintenance and checkups for your gas-operated golf cart. So how do you change the oil in a golf cart?

Changing the Oil in a Golf Cart

Changing a golf cart’s oil doesn’t require any supernatural skills. With a little time on your hands and the proper amounts of oil, and a clean cloth, you are all set. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before proceeding.

It’s a simple process:

  1. Begin by locating the oil cap on top of the engine, usually round.
  2. Open the drain cap.
  3. Place a container below the engine.
  4. Drain the remaining oil.
  5. Crank open the oil cap on the engine top and place it on a clean surface.
  6. Fill the capacity with one quart of non-synthetic oil. Don’t fill past the 90% mark or go past 1 inch above the capacity, which may risk your golf cart engine.
  7. Use a dipstick to ensure you have filled to the correct level remembering to wipe it every time with a clean cloth.

You should carefully monitor the number of hours you use your golf cart per week and change accordingly because the golf cart’s splash system has no oil filter or oil pump.

Always ensure your mechanic or servicemen use the correct oil density for your golf cart if you are not doing it yourself.

Golf Cart Oil Maintenance Tips

Here are some golf cart oil-related maintenance tips;

  • Always park your golf cart on an even, flat surface whenever you’re performing maintenance routines such as changing the engine oil.
  • Always stick to one oil brand, which should preferably be synthetic. Don’t mix two types of oil for whatever reason. Just because you mixed two oil brands that share the same viscosity before doesn’t mean that you should always combine every time. To be on the safe side, stick to what you have been using all along.
  • Changing engine oil in a different golf cart model shouldn’t be difficult if you have ever conducted the procedure in your cart. Almost all golf carts have similar processes for emptying and refilling engine oil. If, for example, you borrowed a Yamaha from a friend, the steps for changing engine oil should be pretty much similar to your EZ-Go golf cart.

Do you have problems locating the oil drain plug on your golf cart?

Just alight and check under the driver’s seat. Always carry a 17mm drain bolt with you whenever changing oil because it will help you easily unplug the drain plug.

After ensuring that you have safely removed all of the engine oil, tighten the drain plug back into place.

The engine should always be warm before changing the engine oil, which means you have to do it immediately after you are done using or switch on the cart for some minutes to warm up the engine.

Carefully pour the oil into the allocated area without spilling on other engine areas, which produces a burning smell whenever the gas-powered golf cart is in operation.

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