Last Updated on December 5, 2023 by Chuck Wilson
Searching for how to buy a golf cart? Here are some questions to ask yourself and the seller. These will help you find the right one for your needs.
When I moved to a large gated community, I joined a society of leisure-loving residents. Their main conveyance was a golf cart. So, to join in spirit with my new neighbors, I had a new project…
I’m looking for a personal people mover. I don’t need it for business or military. I just want to find one that fits my family’s needs.
How Much Does A Used Golf Cart Cost?
Used golf carts in decent condition will cost an average of $2,000-$4,000. If the Golf Cart is under 5 years old, then $3,000 to $8,000. However, keep in mind where you are searching. Golf communities have higher demand, so sellers can ask for higher prices.
Older or poorer carts may be on the lower end of the range. Newer or customized carts with added features may be on the higher end.
It’s important to do some research and shop around to get a better idea of the specific prices in your area. Also, think about the battery condition, maintenance history, upgrades, and accessories. These things can affect the price of the cart.
Remember, prices may differ by location. To get the best price for a used golf cart, check with dealers, private sellers, or online markets.
New Vs Used Golf Carts
Choosing between new and used golf carts can be a tough decision. New carts offer the latest features and warranties. Used carts come at a more affordable price. Before deciding, think about your budget, desired features, and maintenance needs. Only then can you find the best fit for your golfing.
Golf Cart Value Blue Book
There isn’t an ‘official’ blue book for golf carts akin to the Kelley Blue Book for vehicles. There are several alternatives for determining the value of a golf cart. Websites like GolfCartResource.com or GolfCartGuide.com offer free value and pricing tools. They can help users estimate the cost of new or used golf carts. These tools consider the golf cart’s make, model, condition, and age. To determine the current market value, look at local dealers and online marketplaces. It’s essential to do thorough research to ensure you’re getting or giving a fair price for a golf cart.
Is A Gas Golf Cart Or An Electric Golf Cart Better?
In certain campgrounds, communities, and resorts, they make the decision for you. They only allow one or the other. How large of a neighborhood are you going to be covering? How hilly is the terrain? A gas-powered cart has virtually unlimited distance and is better pulling up a hill. Electric carts, specifically 48 Volt ones, can go around 30 miles before needing to be charged. Additionally, they are simpler to take care of. A 48-volt cart will run twice as long as a 36-volt on a charge. That equates to longer run time and less time being charged.
The distance between charges varies of course, with how much the cart is carrying up and down hills. The electric vehicle takes longer to recharge before driving again. The gas vehicle can start immediately after checking the fuel gauge. If you bought a new electric golf cart, the batteries are typically covered for two years. This is helpful because golf cart batteries cost more than car batteries.
Electric carts have different battery pack configurations. There are two options: a 48-volt cart with four 12-volt batteries or six 8-volt batteries. A 36-volt cart will have six 6 volt batteries. The electric cart charger is not like a car battery charger and costs more.
Gas carts have 4 or 5 times more moving parts than electric carts. They also require different maintenance routines. Some models of gas carts will use a mixture of 2-cycle oil and gasoline. Some older models require mixing the oil and gas before adding it to the tank. Other models have an oil injector that adds oil while using gas.
To avoid problems, pay attention to the belts and carburetor parts. The tune-up parts and filters are readily available and easy to install yourself. There are detailed how-tos on this site for the major golf cart brands. The gasoline cart is perfect for off-road adventures. It can pull better than others. When you’re looking at a cart to buy, check if the model you picked can handle the upgrades you want.
If you see a cart with engine problems for sale because the owner doesn’t want to deal with it, this is a great chance. You can do a bit of engine upgrading with the money you saved. This will translate into more power and more speed.
Both gas and electric golf carts are good choices. Electric carts are not cheaper due to maintenance and gasoline costs. The fact is that the batteries have to be replaced every 4-6 years and they are not cheap. The cost of the fan belts, oil changes, fuel, and filters pans out about the same as the battery cost in the long run.
So, on to the Pros and Cons
Electric Cart Pros
- Have fewer moving parts and therefore have fewer components that can fail.
- Cleaner to run.
- No trips to the gas station, just plug it in at home.
- Quieter to operate.
- Easy to diagnose any failures because it usually has an onboard computer.
- Fast acceleration.
- The cost of maintenance is fixed in the cost of the battery replacements.
Electric Cart Cons
- Expensive batteries to replace every 3 – 5 years.
- The range is limited by the charge.
- A deep cell charge is usually overnight.
Gas Cart Pros
- The range is virtually unlimited.
- It doesn’t require a rocket scientist to tune it up.
- More power to carry.
- Speed can be modified since it is regulated mechanically.
Gas Cart Cons
- Louder operation.
- More hands-on maintenance.
- Exhaust emissions.
- The cart needs to be fueled from time to time just like the family car.
What Brand of Golf Cart Should I Choose?
The three top manufacturers are EZGO, Club Car, and Yamaha…in that order. They have been around since the ’50s and are very well made. All are easy to find parts and service for. The accessories are available from dealerships and Amazon. Some off-brands to consider are Cushman, Harley-Davidson, and Taylor Dunn. When you buy a used golf cart, it is usually half the price of a new one. However, if you buy a cart that needs refurbishing, the low initial cost may not be worth it. If the cart has already been renovated, then you stand to win out on price overall.
A new golf cart will come with a warranty and allow for customization. If you don’t need headlights, a horn, or taillights, having the electrical accessory package may be a waste of money. I personally drive mine at night when going over to my brother’s house, so the lights are a must for me. A new cart will also come with no unpleasant surprises like bent frames and worn out rings.
Many newer golf cars have a meter to track gas or electric usage. Check the meter to see how many hours or amp-hours the cart you are wanting to purchase has. Usually, a gas cart will give 5000-6000 hours before needing an overhaul. An electric will get 40,000 to 55,000 amp hours before needing an overhaul.
Used carts have many 3rd party and manufacturers accessories available. If you are a hands-on type of customer, you can jump on to Amazon and customize to your heart’s content. If you buy a used cart, there are no Lemon Laws like for cars. So, ask for a written return policy before paying.
Two Passenger or Four Passenger Golf Cart?
A simple enough question, but the answer will be crucial to the cost of the final choice. The most popular cart is a two-passenger cart that can travel between homes and golf courses. If you are going to be hitting the links, you will want a cart with a rear golf club carry area. Need to transport 3 or more people? Be aware that in most cases the body is still using the same frame and suspension as the 2 person vehicle. You will need a beefed-up suspension, brakes, chassis, and engine.
What Will You Use It For?
What are you using it for? Are you a golfer and want to run your own cart on the links instead of renting it from the golf shop? If you are not living close enough to the course, you are going to need a trailer and a hitch to get the cart there. Using a pickup bed is only good for short-term needs, like repairs or trips. Don’t hassle with loading the cart every time you need it. The cost of a new well-constructed trailer is approximately $1,200 to $2,500.
Not going to use it only for golf? If you plan to run in the neighborhood, the vehicle should be street legal. It should have lights, mirrors, and a windshield, at least.
If you are going to use it for off-roading or hunting, will you need to install a lift kit and change the tires? If you may need to modify the cart in the future, make sure it CAN be modified.
What To Check On A Used Golf Cart Before You Buy
You can tell if the cart was sheltered or left outside by checking the seats and roof. The vinyl should still be flexible and not hardened by too much sun exposure. Mold in the crevices and on the roof can mean it has been out in the rain a lot. Find the serial or model number plate – this tells you the age of the golf cart. To find the serial/model number, visit the other pages on this site. You can check for Club Car, EzGo, Yamaha, Harley Davidson, and Cushman.
Check for cracks in the body and especially in the wheel fender area. A crack here could occur if the cart has been in a collision.
When checking the tire condition, use your judgment. The wheels and tires should be checked for dry rot, as they can be expensive and hard to find. Check inside the engine well under the seat. If electric, see if there is an electrical burn smell. If gas, check to see if the engine is dirty and oil covered. If there is a lot of oil and grease on the engine, it might mean that the crankcase or gearbox is leaking or cracked. It is hard to say how much crud on the motor means problems, but if it is pretty clean, it may have been serviced recently.
One good thing to check for is stray wiring. Wires have been added or replaced. They are strung across the open-air areas, not in the wire management bundle. If you discover any of these, inquire what they were fixing or adding that called for these errant wires.
If you’re thinking about getting an electric cart, make sure to check how old the batteries are. Typically, they need to be replaced every 5 years. All batteries have some kind of stamp on one of the terminals in the form of two characters – a letter and a number. The letter will indicate the month (A=Jan, B=Feb, etc.) and the number is the year (4=2014). There isn’t much worry that the 4 would mean 2004…batteries rarely last for ten years. Use this to determine how soon you will be replacing them. Inspect the battery cables and batteries for corrosion, leaks, wear and tear. The top battery brands include Trojan, US Battery, Crown, and Interstate. If the cart you are considering uses an off-brand, you’ll have to do more research about its performance.
Absolutely, Positively Test Drive The Golf Cart
Check the steering, moving it side to side checking for looseness and a worn ‘rack and pinion’ steering box. These are expensive to replace.
The brakes should work well and be firm when stopping. Any noise or squealing indicates a brake job soon.
See how smooth the ride is, making sure the wheels aren’t wobbly and making sure the axle or wheel isn’t bent.
Take it up a hill with just you on it and again loaded down with more passengers…Is it struggling to climb?
When you test drive the cart, ask if any replacements have been done or will be needed soon. Any future repairs should be considered when coming down to the final price.
The value you receive depends on the deal you get and future repair costs. You can purchase the cart for a cheap price. You can pay the extra cost later. The cost may change depending on if you hire someone or do it yourself.
Make Sure That A Used Golf Cart Suits You Best
Like any vehicle purchase, buying a used cart has advantages compared to buying a new one. A used cart is advantageous because it costs less. A good, used golf cart can cost from a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars.
The seller may want to get rid of their cart for different reasons. They might have bought a new one, the previous owner passed away, or they don’t use it anymore.
Before You Settle On A Particular Golf Cart, Follow These Steps
You might find a great deal on a golf cart at your regular course. They often replace their fleet, so they have carts that are regularly maintained.
Ask people nearby if they can suggest a reliable dealer for you. They might even be able to secure a discount if they are on a first-name basis with him. See if he is reliable on repairs and if he does in-house work on the carts or farms it out to a repair shop.
If you’re buying from a dealer, consider a reconditioned cart, but thoroughly check it out. Sometimes a quick paint job on the frame and engine wash is all that’s been done. Don’t buy a golf cart that is being sold “as is.” That might mean the dealer couldn’t or wouldn’t find and fix a problem with the vehicle. However, The dealer likely checked the cart for the issues, which he repaired prior to it being sold.
Dealers will provide a warranty for reconditioned golf carts. A purchase from an individual or non-dealer will usually always be an as-is deal.
Final Thoughts On How To Buy A Golf Cart
Nearby, there’s a reliable golf cart dealer called Jim and Mel’s. They often sell used golf carts. Some of the elites that live around here always have to have the latest make and model cart to be seen in. They refinish and prep the traded-in carts, and they are almost always priced at $2500. It’s a stable price and isn’t limited to just EzGo or Club Car. Two years later and my cart has been outstanding in performance.
Buying a golf cart may not seem costly to many, but it’s a big lifestyle change. I used to fix up old Datsun’s for a hobby and had to give that up due to the space required. Fixing up golf carts is an excellent substitute and much cheaper!
At first, I didn’t think I needed a golf cart in my new town. But now I use it all the time. During the day, I travel the golf courses. And in the evenings, I take trips along the back trails. I bought a 22-year-old used gas cart and will be learning everything I need to keep it running.
By now, you should have all the info you need to decide on your purchase. I also hope you can use this site to keep it running smoothly. Onward and upward!