Not all golf carts are created the same, so we created this handy used golf cart checklist to use if you’re in the market to buy one. Make sure you’re doing all the research you can before you decide to buy.
You don’t want to get stuck with a lemon! Years ago, buying a golf cart was pretty straightforward: they were very simple creations. You just had to check to make sure the motor worked and the cart was in good condition.
With all of the extras available today, you’ll want to pay special attention to make sure the features you’re paying for are worth it and are working. Plus, golf cart manufacturers aren’t as closely regulated as automobile manufacturers, so you want to make sure that the cart you buy is safe.
What is a “used” golf cart? What does it mean if it’s refurbished?
If you’re looking to save a little money, a great idea is to go with a used or refurbished cart. But what does that mean? A “used” cart typically is a golf cart that was used by a business, golf club or another golfer for a number of years and just like a new car-they’re looking to get rid of it.
This is where you need to ask many of the questions we included below, as it can be unclear exactly what the history of the cart is.
A refurbished cart is usually a cart that was used on a golf course and is now being sold to the public after undergoing some maintenance.
Sometimes, that means peeling the country club’s logo off the cart and painting the golf cart body. But, in some cases, a cart is considered “refurbished” when it is outfitted with new seats, tires, a new motor, brakes, battery, etc.
Refurbished is not necessarily better than used, especially when no parts are replaced, so make sure to ask what is “new” on the cart before you pay a premium for a “renovated” cart.
What can I expect to pay for a golf cart that isn’t new?
If you’re looking to buy a golf cart, make sure to read our article on how much golf cart cost where we share a few examples of what you’d expect to pay. Keep in mind, gas golf carts hold their value better, so they will likely be more expensive.
That being said, most new golf carts cost between $4,000 to $10,000. You can expect that a used or refurbished golf cart would cost substantially less, somewhere between $1,000 to $5,000. The cost will depend on how old the cart is, its condition and if any upgrades were made to the base model.
What’s better: electric or gas powered golf carts?
Truly this is all about personal preference. Battery-powered carts are often quieter and emit no exhaust.
However, there’s only so far that a charged battery will take you and once it’s dead, you’re stuck-most golf cart batteries have to charge for about eight hours before they’re usable again.
Gas powered carts tend to go a little faster and are a little more powerful, so if you know that you’re going to be loading up your cart every time with more than one person or with heavy items, this might be more suitable for you. There are some drawbacks though.
- gas is more expensive
- emits exhaust
- gas powered carts tend to be noisier.
When you’re buying a used cart, it’s also helpful to know if you’re dealing with an authorized factory dealer. Certainly, quality used golf carts can be found outside of these authorized dealers, but you are taking quite a large risk when working with them.
On the other hand.
Authorized dealers have to go through an extreme vetting process, are required to carry high value liability insurance and make sure that they are working under the very strict brand standards. You have much more protection when buying from one of these authorized resellers.
Used Golf Cart Checklist
Below is a checklist that you can print and reference or look at on your smartphone when you’re meeting with a dealer or a second party salesman in hopes of getting “the perfect golf cart.”
• What brand is this cart? You can expect to pay for a cart from a reputable brand like Cub Cadet. Also, it is harder to get replacement parts for carts that are not American made.
• Is there wear and tear on the golf cart seats/interior of the vehicle? How did it happen, and why did they not choose to fix it?
• Are there any scratches or dents in the body? Are the lights cracked? Is the roof securely attached?
• Is it gas or electric powered? If it is electric powered, what is the voltage of the battery? Does it come with a charger?
• Is this cart new, used or refurbished?
• If the cart is refurbished, what did you replace? What improvements did you make? Were the parts bought from a dealer or third party?
• What features does this golf cart have? What features did you add?
• What do the tires look like? Are they in good condition? How old are they?
• How does the cart steer? Is it tight? Sloppy steering might be an indication that something in the steering box needs to be replaced, like the rack and pinion, which is not cheap. It could also mean the tire pressure is off on the left or right side, so check that before making assumptions.
• How many owners has this cart had? When was it purchased? A cart can last for decades, but only if golf cart maintenance has been kept up.
• How many “amp” hours are on this cart? Most gas and electric models come with an amp hour meter that that measures the hours of use. A gas cart will run for 4,000 to 5,000 amp hours before needing significant repairs. An electric powered card will run for 40,000 to 50,000 amp hours before needing those same repairs.
• How well do the brakes work? The cart should stop quickly with little to no sound. However, brakes are relatively inexpensive to replace, so if they are older it should not be a deal breaker. We share how you can update your rotor brakes to golf cart disc brakes too.
• Is the ride smooth? An uneven ride when driving on a smooth road could mean issues with wheels, the axle or could mean that some parts need replacing.
• Is the cart making an odd noise? Make sure you turn off the radio so you can hear if there’s any grinding, clicking or whistling.
• Check the wiring! Is it tangled, spliced or taped? These are key indicators that you may experience some issues with electricity, etc.
• Is the cart or are any of its parts under warranty? You’ll want to collect serial numbers, receipts and paperwork so you can take advantage in case something goes wrong.
A used cart is an incredibly smart choice if your looking for a budget friendly option or if you simply want to get more for your money.
But just like when you’re purchasing a vehicle or boat or other expensive mode of transportation, it’s also very important to do your research to make sure you don’t buy a lemon or don’t get scammed.
A cart that has been well-taken care of and properly serviced can last for more than 20 years, easily. It is so important that you carefully consider your decision when purchasing a used golf cart, making sure you take time to research the brands you like, the features you want, and the kind of cart before buying.
For example, you might like an electric cart better, but is there an electrical outlet near the area where you are storing the cart?
If not, you might want to reconsider a gas powered golf cart. Also, price out the features that you want for your cart beforehand. For example, a rain cover for a cart can cost over $1000 when purchased new.
If a seller offers you their cart’s rain cover for $500, you should consider purchasing it to save some money.
The most important advice? Remember why you’re buying this! Take the cart for a spin and see if it fits YOU. When it has everything you want, and makes you feel like a million bucks, the decision is a no-brainer!