Last Updated on November 17, 2023 by Chuck Wilson
Forward-thinking golf cart enthusiasts will usually make their buying choices based on the longevity of the product. The choices of golf carts’ top 3 (Yamaha, EZGo, and Club Car) are very different in terms of durability and maintenance…but which carts have aluminum frames?
Club Cars are the only golf carts that have aluminum frames. Yamaha and EZGo have steel beam/steel tubing frames.
The pros and cons of each type of golf cart frame are:
Aluminum Frame Pros
- Aluminum frames have a much lighter construction. This is a plus over the steel frame for overall battery life on an electric cart and gas-powered cart range and heavy loads capacity.
- Aluminum frames are rust-free and corrosion-resistant and are especially great for the southern humid climates and coastal beaches.
- Aluminum absorbs more of the bumps and jolts while driving on rougher terrain.
- The Club Car golf carts AlumiCore Frame gives the golf carts a longer life – an average of 20 years.
Aluminum Frame Cons:
- Aluminum frames are more susceptible to damage in a collision.
- Aluminum frames can get stress cracks and are difficult to repair.
Steel Frame Pros
- More durable in a collision.
- Steel frames are not subject to the stress cracks you might get with an aluminum frame.
- Steel frame repairs and welds are easier than aluminum.
Steel Frame Cons
- Steel frames rust, and require a specialized coating to prevent this. Rust and corrosion are worse on electric carts due to the battery acids.
- Steel frames are heavier and require more horsepower and energy to move down the road.
How Do The Aluminum Frame Golf Carts Compare To The Steel Frame Golf Carts?
Since the frame material isn’t the only criteria considered (such as electric vs. gas, used vs. new, etc.), let’s look at how the manufacturers stack up against each other.
EZGo has been around the longest of the top 3 and is a leading manufacturer of both golf cars and personal transportation vehicles. The company was founded in 1954 and began its line of vehicles with the electric golf cart. EZGo is now a major manufacturer of both electric and gas models.
- EZGO’s have high-quality materials and are well-designed.
- EZGO’s steel frame can stand up to collisions better.
- EZGo parts are easier to come by and are generally cheaper.
- Some models offer series motors and PDS speed controls which are upgradable for better performance and customization.
- They are constructed with a steel frame, which quickly rusts in Southern, humid states or coastal areas without pre-coating.
- EZGOs do not perform as well uphill driving or with heavy loads, requiring the controller and cables to be upgraded.
- Older Electric EZGO golf carts were built with GE stock motors and are considered to perform poorly by today’s standards.
- The Forward/Reverse shifter has a shorter throw.
Club Car was brought to prominence in the field by eight of the original ex-EZGo executives. They were late entering into the gas-powered golf cart field, but in the years that followed rose to one of the top-selling carts in the field. Club Car is now part of Ingersoll Rand Corporation. See the details of this and other models here.
Club Car Pros
- Offers an aluminum frame as standard equipment.
- Club Cars have a smooth ride when compared to their competitors.
- Club Cars have improved power for uphill climbing and steep terrains.
- Features the SportDrive self-compensating double reduction helical rack & pinion high-quality steering mechanism.
- Club Car offers industry-related golf carts catering to Golf Hospitality, Turf Industries, and Transportation.
Club Cars Cons
- On the later models, the steering wheel can be positioned too close to the seat for taller drivers.
- Club Cars have a higher rate of clutch issues.
- Replacement parts are usually more expensive than EZGo and Yamaha.
Yamaha joined the golf cart scene in 1978 with the model G1, which sported a 2-cycle gas engine while Club Car was offering only an electric golf cart. Yamaha has quickly become the favorite rental golf cart of over 2100 golf courses.
- The Yamaha carts use less energy than an EZGo and averages over 37 percent more mileage per gallon than the E-Z-GO cart and Yamaha’s “The Drive” electric vehicle uses 10% less battery power.
- Yamaha golf carts use the splash-style lubrication which eliminates the need for an oil pump or filter. The result is fewer components to maintain and filters to change.
- The Yamaha golf carts are generally cheaper than the other competitors.
- Yamaha’s suspension uses coil-over shock absorbers vs. coil-over springs.
- The Yamaha golf cart is the popular choice of golf courses.
- Yamaha has a steel frame subject to the usual corrosion problems.
- Build materials are not as high quality as EZGo and Club Car.
- Cart speed is slower than EZGo and Club Car
- The Yamaha gasoline engine is 357cc versus 404cc.
- Parts are not as easily obtained.
This has been a comparison of the top 3 golf cart manufacturers, and all have their qualities, strong and weak. Deciding on which model fits your personal transportation needs and lifestyle will certainly depend on a host of factors other than whether the frame is steel or aluminum. Research your next purchase well and good luck.