Planning to Buy a Used Golf Car? Read This First

I love participating in online golf car forums and golf car Facebook groups. Seeing photos of custom builds and keeping up to date about golf car products and issues is fun. Sometimes I can offer some helpful advice and sometimes I am the one learning from others.

But, every once in a while, I come across something in those groups that makes me cringe.

Last week I was participating in a conversation about the likelihood of restoring golf car batteries after they are already dead. The group discussed whether the battery cell was bad, how to trickle charge them individually and a number of other tricks that golf car owners resort to when trying not to fork over money for new batteries.

Here is where it gets cringe worthy. It was revealed that the person who started the group conversation is building this golf car in his home garage to sell on Craigslist. When I found that out, I asserted that he should definitely replace the batteries if he is building the golf car to resell. It is the right thing to do! It is terrible business to pass off a golf car that is shiny and new on the outside, but will not run for more than a few weeks. It is unethical to allow someone to pay top dollar for a custom golf car when the seller knows that the batteries are bad and will fail.

What was his response? He claims that since he is building this golf car (and others) in his home garage without a business license, he is not a business so he operates under “Buyer Beware.” He continued to explain that if a buyer is ignorant about golf car batteries and does not know what to look for, it is their problem.

What is the Lesson?

Besides learning that this guy (and many others like him) is a smudge on the reputation of the golf car industry, if you decide to purchase a golf car from a local seller and not an actual business, here is what to look for:

  1. Rust

E-Z-GO golf cars are notorious for rusting frames, especially in humid climates or areas close to sea water. Don’t be afraid to get down under the golf car a bit and make sure that the frame is not badly rusted. If you do live in a humid area, Club Car golf cars may be the way to go.

  1. Battery Condition

Never take the seller’s word for the age or condition of the battery pack. Make sure that you put your own eyes on the battery date stamp. If the batteries look swollen, even a little bit, they will not last long. If the terminals are corroded, the batteries have not been properly maintained and you should not trust that they will last. If the batteries do not match (they are different brands or different ages), the battery pack is likely not operating at optimal performance and you should either pass on the golf car or plan to install new batteries.

  1. Rubbing (of any kind)

If the body rubs, or the tires rub on the body or the rear seat kit rubs at all, you will have some issues. Rubbing can indicate that the leaf springs are worn, that the tires are too big, that the lift kit was not installed correctly, or that the frame has been bent in an accident. Whatever the reason for the rubbing, you will likely need to repair something soon if you buy this golf car.

  1. Age of the Golf Car

Check the serial and find out the age of the golf car. Even if it has been cleaning up nicely with a new body or brand new batteries, you may not want an older golf car. It may be difficult to find custom or replacement parts and accessories for golf cars that are older than 10 or 15 years. Some parts are simply not manufactured any longer or are so rare that they are expensive.

If you get a feeling that you are being ripped off, you probably are. Unless you know your stuff when it comes to golf cars, stick to buying from reputable dealers and custom golf car builders that are licensed and insured.

About the Author: The Owner of WHEELZ Custom Carts & Accessories, Julie Starr was one of the industry’s first online retailers of golf car products. Her eCommerce store, www.WHEELZLLC.com, has been serving golf car owners since 2008 and the store remains a popular online shopping experience for golf car owners who want to take their golf cars to the next level.

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