Why Won't My Golf Cart Start? 4 Keys to Fix it Every Time

golf cart won't start

Golf cart won’t start and what to do next

Electric golf carts are an excellent way to get around your community, place of work, or a golf course, and they are usually very reliable. However, when problems do occur and you can’t figure out why it won’t start, your golf cart can easily become a source of frustration. Before you give in and take it to a professional, here are some potential causes for why your golf cart won’t start:

Your Key Switch Is Worn Out

Key switches are used so often that they can wear out over time and stop working. This is a pretty easy fix because you just need to replace the key switch.

However, it’s important to check that the key is the problem, rather than the key switch wire. Sometimes the issue may be a broken switch or a loose wire.

This guide by GolfLink will tell you exactly how to troubleshoot your golf cart key switch.

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Your Batteries Aren’t Charged

As the main source of power to your electric golf cart, the batteries are commonly the cause for why your electric golf cart won’t start. Acid-based batteries are typically used for electric golf carts and must be recharged in order to work properly.

In order to test to see if your batteries are charging properly, you have a few options:

A Battery Hydrometer:

A battery hydrometer measures the specific gravity of the electrolyte solution and can indicate whether or not your batteries are charging correctly.

This method is inexpensive and reliable, making it a popular choice for golf cart owners. Because lead acid batteries contain sulfuric acid, make sure that you wear gloves and protective eyewear when testing your batteries.

Load Tester:

Another method to test your batteries is by using a load tester. Battery load testers can come in a variety of different price ranges.

They give golf cart owners the ability to monitor their battery’s voltage to see how much the volt drops during testing, which indicates the health of the batteries.

A Bad Solenoid

Another common reason for golf cart failure is a bad solenoid. The solenoid is a critical component to your golf cart because it is the main switch that connects the current from the battery to the traction motor.

That clicking noise that you hear when you press the gas pedal is the solenoid. It is fairly easy to check the solenoid for any problems, and you can find replacement solenoids for your golf cart here.

Golf cart won't start

Golf Cart Controller Issues

Problems with your golf cart controller can also be the reason why it refuses to start. Unfortunately, golf cart controllers are a bit difficult to troubleshoot. In order to properly diagnose the problem, you will need to consult your golf cart repair manual. Each model will have different ways to troubleshoot and fix the problem, but by doing it on your own, you can save a lot of money.

It is important to remember that you are working with electrical components and that if you aren’t comfortable doing it yourself, it may be worth it to seek out a professional.

Preventative Maintenance Tips

While some problems are simply bad luck, many issues with your golf cart can be avoided through simple preventative maintenance. By keeping your golf cart in good condition, you can extend its life and save yourself tons of money in the process.

Here are some basic preventative maintenance tips that will help keep your electric golf cart running smoothly:

Battery Maintenance

Batteries aren’t cheap, and properly maintaining them can help extend their lifespan. Before you check your batteries, it’s important to wear protective gear and to remove any jewelry.

Make sure your batteries are fully charged, first, and then check for the following:

  • Any cracks or dirt in the batteries.
  • The water electrolyte levels (on a weekly basis). If the water runs too low, it can shorten the life of your batteries. Overfilling can also result in a loss of electrolytes.
  • Look for signs of corrosion on your connectors and ensure that they are tight.
  • Dirt and other debris can affect the performance of your batteries. Clean them regularly with a bristle brush, water, and baking soda, but take care not to get any of the electrical components wet.

Tire Maintenance

Your tire pressure should be checked at least once a month. Under-inflated and over-inflated tires can both negatively affect the performance of your golf cart, and they should be inflated according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Checking the alignment and getting your tires rotated when needed is also critical to the maintenance of your tires.

Brake Maintenance

About every six months, your brakes should be checked to ensure that they are working properly. Putting off brake maintenance can not only cost you a lot of money later, but it can also put you and passengers at risk.

Check your brakes to ensure that your brake pads are still in good condition. Brakes that are emitting a high-pitched squealing noise are a sure sign that your brakes are in desperate need of repair.

General Maintenance

Other general maintenance that should be performed:

  • Headlights, turn signals, and brake lights should all be checked.
  • Inspect all of the power cables for any signs of damage.
  • Properly store your golf cart in a cool, dry area.
  • Check the rear differential oil level every 12 months.
  • Clean your golf cart’s exterior and underneath as well. Not only does this keep your golf cart looking good, but it also removes debris that builds up and which can impact your golf cart’s performance.


There are many reasons why an electric golf cart won’t start. Depending on the issue, it could be a simple fix that you can easily do on your own.

However, the best way to reduce your chances of golf cart issues later on is by performing regular preventative maintenance.

With preventative maintenance, you can extend the life of your golf cart and potentially save money in the long run.


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