The cost of a new golf cart surprises many first-time buyers, as some vehicles fetch as much as a new car. $15,000, to be exact. However, if a new cart exceeds your budget. There are plenty of used options on the market. That is why in this article, we are highlighting what to look for when buying a used golf cart.
1. Why Do You Want A Cart?
Before we highlight the factors to look for when buying a used golf cart, you need to ask yourself why you want one. Answering that question helps guide you towards finding the best option for you.
Are you in the market for a golf cart solely to get you around 18-holes? Or do you want wheels to drive around the neighborhood? In which case, you will need to meet the requirements of a street-legal vehicle.
2. How Old Is The Golf Cart?
When a golf cart is well maintained, it can keep running for decades. And, if you are an old soul like me, you will appreciate cruising in a vintage model. The downside to this is that there are cases where it is difficult to source parts for these vehicles.
3. What Brand Is The Cart?
While some may think that all golf cart brands make the same products, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. The brand of the cart is a guideline to help you find the best choice for your needs.
For example, Club Car offers a wide range of golf carts to serve the needs of golfers, greenskeepers, resorts and hotels, and mobile merchandising. Basically, if there is an industry that uses golf carts, Club Car produces it for them.
Yamaha carts are favored for their progressive designs, and off-road ability, while E-Z-Go itself is more golf-focused. E-Z-Go does however produce multiple utility vehicles under the Cushman and Bad Boy Buggies brands.
4. Is The Cart Gas Or Electric?
The price of a used cart is determined by various factors. One of which is whether the vehicle is gas or electric.
According to RMI Golf Carts, pre-owned gas vehicles are generally more expensive than their electric counterparts. The main reason for this is that fewer quality gas carts are being traded-in. Therefore reducing supply.
Electric golf carts may fetch lower prices depending on the condition of the batteries. If you are acquiring a used electric cart, you might need to purchase a new set of batteries, which will add to the total.
If the batteries have not been maintained, it can also impact the power and overall performance of the cart.
5. Does Your Electric Cart Have New Batteries?
If you decide that an electric golf cart is the best way to go, you must check the state of the batteries.
According to RMI Golf Carts, it is common for retailers and private sellers to flog pre-owned electric carts with old batteries. The condition of the batteries will impact the power and speed of your cart, which is why RMI sells all used electric carts with new batteries.
The team at North Florida Golf Carts suggests you should set aside up to $750 for a new set of batteries. They tend to have a life span of five to eight years, but if your cart itself is not in the best shape, it will shorten their expectancy.
6. What Are The Features Of The Cart?
So, you have identified your preferred manufacturer and decided between an electric or petrol cart. What is the next step? Now, you need to search for the option that is equipped with the features that you desire.
If you are on a super tight budget, you may have to settle for a basic golf cart with no features other than cup holders, a storage basket, and the base for your clubs.
However, if you have more capital to play with, you can pick up a cart with more luxurious features. And, if there are no carts that are kitted out the way you want, you can add phenomenal accessories to it.
These days you can add airconditioning, USB ports, ice boxes, turning lights, brake lights, and headlights. I go into more detail in our article on the best golf cart accessories, where you can find a few fresh ideas.
7. How Frequently Has The Cart Been Serviced?
Before you decide on a used golf cart, you will want to know how frequently it has been serviced. This gives you a good indication of whether it has been looked after.
Go With Garrett’s Golf Carts recommends replacing your engine oil and filters every six months or after 600 miles of usage. That works out to approximately 125 rounds of golf.
Other than servicing your cart twice a year, their team suggests checking your oil levels monthly.
8. What Condition Are The Tires In?
Although new tires are an affordable and easy fix, you wouldn’t want to spend your hard-earned cash buying a cart that needs new tires. If you see that the tread is worn, or there is other visible damage. You should request a discount on the final price.
9. Has The Cart Been In An Accident?
Your chances of crashing into another cart are limited unless you are clowning around and driving irresponsibly. However, golf cart accidents can occur around the course, and you will want to make sure your potential purchase has not suffered a similar fate.
If you are an inexperienced cart owner, I suggest taking a trusted expert along. They will inspect the item and advise you before you negotiate any agreement.
10. How Does It Drive?
Although it seems obvious, you should never agree to purchase a cart without taking it for a test drive, no matter what the seller tells you. A test drive helps you to determine if the cart reaches its optimal speed and power.
Once again, if you are an inexperienced golf cart buyer, it is worth taking an expert along to give you a trusted opinion on the state of the cart.
11. Is The Cart Street Legal?
According to the golf cart research group Small Vehicle Resource, 2020 saw a boom in golf cart sales. However, the buyers are younger than in the past. And they are searching for vehicles they can drive around the streets of their neighborhood. If you drive on public roads, you will need to ensure your cart is street legal.
Before you can file the paperwork for your permit, you need to do some work to the cart. CCE Golf Carts explains that your vehicle needs to achieve a minimum speed of 20mph to be street legal. Furthermore, to become street legal, your cart requires seatbelts, a windshield, headlights, taillights, and turning lights, to name a few.
12. Is The Cart Good Value For Money?
Once you are satisfied with the condition of the cart and its features, the next step is to look at the asking price. I suggest doing your research to see what similar models are running for in your area. So that you have an idea of what you should be paying.
Taking an expert along to guide you through the process ensures you are receiving value for money. If there is any work that needs to be done to the cart, they can tell you. That helps you work out how much will need to be spent improving the vehicle. That way, you can make a reasonable offer to offset future refurb costs.
After identifying what to look for when buying a used golf cart, we can see that you need to do your research to come out on top. If you are a rookie, I would suggest acquiring the services of an expert to help you inspect the cart before you transfer funds over to the seller.
Furthermore, if you go with a used electric cart, try to get a set of new batteries thrown into the deal. Otherwise, it will lead to an unnecessary, additional expense.
In conclusion, if you follow these twelve steps above, you will be able to make a savvy decision when it comes to buying a used golf cart.
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Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.