Troubleshooting Your Electric Golf Cart Motor

A golf cart on a golf course green.

There are many different systems to consider when troubleshooting your electric golf cart motor. The motor is the last in a series of components that could fail. After determining that the cart’s batteries and charger are working properly, you can reset the motor to see if it runs. You must replace the motor if it has burnt out.

Check Batteries

Test each battery with a voltmeter to see if it is depleted. With some models, the cart draws a small amount of electricity even when it’s not running. Over several months, this can completely discharge the battery. Modern chargers must detect a minimum voltage to initiate the recharge sequence. Leaving the cart unplugged for a long time can cause the battery voltage to fall below this level.

Batteries will also lose their capacity with age. Check the level of water and electrolytes. There should be enough water to cover the conductive plates, but not enough to fill the battery all the way to the cap. The batteries contain acid, so wear protective gear and avoid spills. Clean corrosion from the terminals by brushing with a solution of baking soda and water. Check the cables for broken or frayed wires. Extend the life of the batteries by recharging them fully after every use.

Some carts allow you to adjust the torque strapping the batteries in place; keep this within the manufacturer’s specifications to prevent vibration. Vibrations during movement can cause internal damage to batteries.

Listen for Solenoid

The solenoid should make a clicking sound when you turn the key to start the golf cart. If the solenoid doesn’t work and the battery is full, replace it.

Inspect Charger

Test the outlet the charger is plugged into and examine the charger connections. Again, check for signs of corrosion or frayed wires. Also, a power surge could cause the circuit breaker to trip or the diodes inside the charger to fail. If you suspect a power surge has occurred, check these components.

Inspect Potentiometer

The potentiometer is a small switch that controls the speed of the golf cart. Make sure that the potentiometer is not cracked and that the connections are secure.

Reset Motor

Use a screwdriver to locate and expose the motor. It may have a small red reset button near the main power supply. Press this button and reassemble your cart. Connect the golf cart to the charger unit and recharge the batteries. Attempt to operate the golf cart again. You may also be able to test the motor in isolation from the circuit using a charged battery. If the motor does not spin, it might be burnt-out.

Motor burn-out can result from excessive resistance from weight, grade, or poor traction. Uninstall the motor and inspect it for damaged bearings, field coils, or worn brushes. These parts can be replaced with right tools and some patience. Damage to the armature or motor housing generally cannot be repaired so easily and will require the whole motor assembly to be replaced.

You should be all set thanks to this guide on troubleshooting your electric golf cart motor. Time to hit the green!