Things to do when you need to tow a malfunctioning golf cart.
We all love to use our golf carts when they work. Unfortunately there are times that they decide it’s quitting time and that they need a break. These times seldom ever happen at a convenient time. You know, like in your garage or at the cart barn. Yeah, like that'll ever happen.
The golf cart will usually break down during usage whether out on the back nine or while your kids have it down at the community center swimming in the pool. What do we do now? How do we get the darn (can’t use the words that most people say at these times!) thing back home? Or what do we need to do in order to get the golf cart back to the cart barn for service?
Before I suggest a few things for us to do in order to tow a malfunctioning golf cart without bringing damage to them I wanted to cover a couple of reasons why they break down at the most unwanted times. From my experiences at our dealerships we pick up non-movable golf carts for one main reason with two underlying causes: battery related issues.
Let me repeat that please: the number one reason we pick up golf carts taking a break is battery related issues.
The two underlying causes of battery related break downs are mostly battery cable connections and then battery state of charge, or lack thereof! Here’s a pic of a battery pack of a golf cart we had in for service the other day. What do you think by looking at this picture? I don’t think these batteries have been serviced in quite a while, do you agree?
And here’s another one that we had recently in the service department which didn’t even come in for battery service. This golf cart was brought in to check the brake system! The main positive battery cable connection is about to fall off from all the corrosion that has taken place. Folks, you can't have neglect like these without your golf cart passing out from lack of power :0).
Inadequate or lack of battery and battery cable connections are the number one reason for golf cart breakdown instances with the second reason being battery state of charge conditions. A lot of the older batteries just don’t deliver the same amount of time and usage as they did in “their younger days” and the driver will get stuck without movement while using it.
Or the batteries were not fully charged due to ignorance of the amount of charge time required (as in the case of virgin owners) to properly charge the golf cart’s batteries. And believe this or not, some El-cheapos try to get by with limiting the eight to twelve hours needed to four to six hours. That way it doesn’t cost so much on the electric bill!
OK. Now that we covered the main reasons for break downs let’s discuss a few things to do when you need to tow a malfunctioning golf cart.
First thing I highly recommend to do is to unhook the main negative battery cable connection. I realize most people do not carry wrenches with them when using a golf cart, however even if you can use a pair of pocket pliers it is advisable to unhook the electrical connection of the batteries to the golf cart. This is an absolute must if your golf cart is a series cart. These are the carts that have a bulky shifter knob located down in front of the bottom seat.
Secondly, place the shifter on the FNR switch in the neutral position. If yours is the rocker switch that you use to make the golf cart go forward or reverse than place it in the middle position. Or if yours is the bulky knob down in front of the bottom seat then place it in the straight up or neutral position.
Thirdly, lift the seat and place the tow/run switch in the “tow” position. On most Ezgo models these are located on the black controller cover located under the seat on the passenger’s side of the golf cart.
On the older Club cars the tow/run switch is located at the top of the battery compartment toward the front under the seat and also at the top in the middle of the four twelve volt batteries.
The later Precedents have the tow/run switch located in the lower middle in the rear of the battery compartment. If you are not sure if your golf cart has a tow/run switch you need to research and know whether you do or you don’t. A good rule of thumb is if your FNR switch is a rocker switch then more than likely your golf cart has a tow/run switch.
Please note: failure to unhook the batteries from the golf cart and failure to place the tow/run switch in the “tow” position and placing the FNR switch in the neutral position can and will lead to catastrophic expenses!
The last customer who towed his golf cart out of the woods without doing these critical things ended up buying a new motor and controller as well as paying for the original problem that caused the golf cart to break down. We have a golf cart at our dealership now that I know is going to need a controller, power solenoid and a new motor. The motor burnt to the point that it is locked up. Our tech wasn’t to happy that he had to winch the cart dragging it up on the trailer at the customer’s house! It doesn’t roll.
Remember this concept when towing the golf cart: the electric power motor becomes a massive generator when it is spun on its own. This current travels down the pipes (battery cables) to a destination. When you unhook the main battery cable connection and place the shifters in neutral and the tow/run switches in the tow mode you prevent this current from damaging the electronics of the golf cart. When you don’t separate the electronics of the golf cart the current generated by the motor while towing destroys what’s in its path.
With this in mind what happens when you spin the electric motor faster and faster? The higher the armature rpms the hotter the temperature of the motor. This extreme heat melts the brush holder and them burns the field coils and ultimately explodes the windings of the armature which in turn wipes out the motor and eventually locks up.
How do I know? We have seen this multiple times at our dealerships. Just as recent as this week. The golf cart’s electrical system is so burned that when I walked near the delivery trailer from picking it up the smell took my breath away. There’s not much of a worst smell than an electrical burn smell. This is the reason that most golf cart manufacturers suggest not to exceed speeds of five to eight miles per hour while towing the golf cart. Higher speeds produce higher motor rpms which lead to devastating heat! I might add the longer the distance you tow the golf cart can lead to higher temperatures. If you are not sure you can always do the touch test on the motor. It is accessible from the bottom of the golf cart.
If you will put into play the things we have discussed in this article when you tow your golf cart you will do so without creating further damage to your cart that has decided to go on break. Of course, my position is to perform proper maintenance at the proper intervals in order to prevent your cart from taking a break! It’s like the old auto repair commercial that used the slogan “pay me now or pay me later”. I hope you found this article helpful and enjoyable to read as much as I enjoyed writing it! :0) MKR
Let us know if we can be of help. Email me with any questions concerning your golf cart issues at: Michael@Bestbuygolfcarts.com and I will make an attempt to help where I can. Please keep in mind that we can only offer limited and generic information for liability reasons.
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My latest book is an owner's guide about golf carts.This book: “So You Bought a Golf Cart?: An Owner’s Guide for Learning about Golf Carts” is the perfect gift for anyone who owns a golf cart whether it be gas or battery powered. From the virgin owner to the professional novice, this book will benefit everyone who owns, operates or rents a golf cart. We cover all kinds of things in this presentation. From golf cart safety features to different types of electrical accessories to how to properly wash the golf cart to taking care of the batteries and much, much more. Get yours today! Both books are available in paperback, b&w or color and in E Book form as well. Check out our site: www.bestbuygolfcarts.com If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for our free newsletter for golf cart tips and free how to s in caring for your golf cart. In addition there will be notifications of sale items and discount coupons to use at our store. Best Buy Golf Carts is also on Face Book and Twitter . You might also want to subscribe to our YouTube channel.Please visit, join, like, & follow us when you’re there. I also have an additional blog, my personal blog: MichaelRosenbarker.com See you next time. Until then, get out there and enjoy your golf cart. After all that’s what you bought it for! Michael Rosenbarker | Best Buy Golf Carts Serving the tri-county area out of our Green Cove Spgs. Store at 3293 US Hwy 17 (904)284-5300 About The Company: Best Buy Golf Carts has been in business in the Jacksonville and Green Cove Springs area since 1976 and supplies golf cart parts and accessories throughout the United States. Specializing in resolving golf cart electrical issues, Best Buy Golf Carts also sells new and pre-owned golf carts, golf cart parts and accessories, and builds customized carts. They are the areas only authorized Trojan & Powertron battery dealer as well as an authorized Nivel dealer. Visit their large show room to view pre-owned factory type and custom golf carts as well as their stocked parts room with some of the lowest prices on golf cart parts and golf cart accessories. Best Buy Golf Carts in North Florida is proud to participate in selling golf carts in Ponte Vedra. Best Buy Golf Carts: your golf cart Super Store is pleased to have some of the lowest prices on golf cart parts around and takes pride in having some of the cheapest prices on golf cart accessories without compromising quality. Outlet store prices, oem type quality. Best Buy Golf Carts: North Florida’s golf cart Super Store! (904)284-5300 BestBuyGolfCarts.com
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