Buying used is a great way to save money on a quality golf cart that might just be as “good as new.” Whether you’re an avid golfer, manage a retirement community or oversee a corporation with a sprawling campus and need to transport VIPs around in style, golf carts can simply go where bigger vehicles can’t. You might be able to save up to half off when buying a “gently loved” machine, but it’s important to know how to do a solid evaluation so you’re not stuck with a lemon. Start by considering what type of cart is best for your unique needs as well as your preferences. |
Do you want gas or electric? What features are must-haves and which would be a good bonus? What’s your budget, and do you have a storage space ready for when you make your purchase? Ask yourself what type, size, features and price you’re after, and you’ll be on the fast track to narrowing down your options.
The Gas vs. Electric Debate
Neither is “better” than the other, but one is probably a better match for you. Gas golf carts are similar to cars, which means they need routine engine maintenance and are also more powerful. They’re great for navigating tricky terrains and they can operate for longer stretches of time, but they’re also a bit noisier, need more TLC compared to electric (those oil changes, etc.) and the cost of gas can ebb and flow. On the other hand, there’s no recharging time required.
Electric carts operate on rechargeable batteries, require little maintenance and annual costs are minimized since there’s no fuel required. As a bonus, they’re also eco-friendly. However, they have to be recharged every day. That’s perfectly fine if you won’t be relying heavily on your cart. An e-machine can more than be your white horse for a day on the links, but if you want to show apartments all day and night, a gas cart might be a better choice.
A La Carte Options
Know which features you need—and which you’d like. Some options may include radios, windshields, rear seats, luxury seat materials, horns, mirrors and headlights, just to get started. Ideally, you’ll be able to examine the used golf cart in person or at least have an abundance of high quality photos so you know what you’re getting into. Inspect each component carefully to make sure everything is functional. Tires should have deep treads, no obvious damage and tire pressure should hold, but keep in mind that tires can be replaced for as low as $90, so poor tires aren’t a deal breaker.
The canopy and frame/roof should be damage-free. Shake it if possible to check for sturdiness. Also examine the body for damage and rust since rust will lead to more corrosion. Always inspect the battery since a new one can be quite costly—the newer it is, the longer it will last. Batteries are stamped to indicate the date made (“A” signifies January, “B” is February and so on). Batteries are usually good for about five years.
It’s your responsibility to ensure a fair price, and you can do so by comparing a used golf cart to the price tag of a new one. Brand comes in to play and some tout better reputations than others—a brand name usually links to quality and ease of repair/replacement. Finally, nothing beats a good test drive if you’re in the neighborhood. Drive the cart for at least 15 minutes and note the comfort, responsiveness, acceleration level on both flat ground and inclines, battery life/fuel response and how well the brakes work.
Finally, if you go through a company that sells both new and used golf carts, you are more likely to get the real skinny on the pros and cons of any vehicles you’re interested in. Since they want you as regular customers, a reputable golf cart dealership is going to keep you out of a “hazard.”
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