Used Golf Carts – A Buyer’s Guide
Shopping for a used golf cart may appear daunting; multiple dealers, websites, brands, technical jargon, accessory options and inconsistent prices add to the difficulty.
Albion Golf Cars has been selling new and used golf cars since 1973. It is our belief that buyers are best served when well informed, erasing the difficulty inherent in such a large purchase. This article is an attempt to combine some of the industry’s best advice on this topic into a Buyer’s Guide to assure that you purchase wisely.
A Buyer’s Guide - Considerations When Buying a Golf Cart:
1. New or Used?
Most people choose a used cart for budgetary reasons. The minor technology advancements aside, golf carts do not change much year to year and the price savings are significant when buying used. New carts are often 50-100% more than a 3-5 year old used cart. A well-shopped used cart can last decades past its early life on a golf course. A professionally refurbished used cart can be almost indistinguishable from its younger cousin.
2. Budgets – What am I going to pay?
Golf carts are not cheap! A real “head scratcher” for all dealers is the request for a $1,500 golf cart. That world left us in the 1980’s. Sorry!
A new golf cart in the Canadian market retails at around $ 7,000. This would be your basic 2 passenger, no lights, no rear seat or any “bells or whistles”.
A used 3-5 year old cart with original batteries and a few options is going start at around $3,000. The price increases from this base line involves the variables of: model year, battery year and what options are required. A fully “tricked out” used golf cart can be $8,000 very quickly. That is a range of $5,000 that the purchaser and the dealer must navigate.
3. Gas or Electric Powered?
What application is intended for your golf cart? Electric carts are popular and sometimes specified for golfers, gated communities, and recreational settings with the ability to recharge the batteries. They are also quiet. Gas carts are popular when extended run-times are necessary or when there is no electricity available to recharge batteries. Both gas and electric require routine maintenance, although a gas cart is simpler. Electric powered carts come with a battery set that will need replacing every 4-8 years depending on usage and maintenance.
4. Battery Assessments and Life Expectancy
The most expensive part of the golf cart is the batteries, and a new set can cost you up to $1,100. Hence, buying a cart with original or used batteries has some red flags.
“How long will batteries last?” This is a common question without a definitive answer. Battery life depends on the combination of battery year, usage, charging methods, regular maintenance, type of water used and long-term storage protocols. Your dealer and various websites provide guidelines. At Albion, we have seen unmaintained or overworked batteries fail in one year. On the other hand have seen the batteries (properly cared for) last 8 years. Dealers rarely warranty used batteries unless they can control the maintenance. Manufacturers offer a one-year warranty on new batteries.
A reputable dealer should be able to clarify for you the following:
The year of battery manufacture. (Stamped on each battery)
Results from a discharge test in minutes.
Only with this information can you accurately compare carts offered by a dealer or competitive dealers. A good understanding of various testing methods is contain in this article: https://www.golfcarcatalog.com/golf-cart-blog/testing-a-golf-cart-battery/
5. Picking Cart Options
Nearly 95% of golf carts are built and delivered for a golf course application. After 3-5 years they are sold to dealerships (like Albion Golf Cars) that modify and refurbish the carts for other applications. This is where costs are added and buyers need to make some decisions.
Are you wondering what options are available? Well, the possibilities and combinations are endless. Here’s a summary of the most common things to consider and a budget price to have these installed:
Rear Flip (to flat deck) Seat - $450
Heavy-duty Utility Box - $500
Head and Tail Lights - $250
Lift Kit with Oversized Tires - $1,500
Electric Horn - $120
12Volt adapter - $80
Trailer Hitch - $125
New Batteries - $1,100
New body Panels - $800
Mirrors - $100
Brush Guard - $150
6. The ”Always” and “Never” in purchasing a used golf cart.
Gather information on competing dealers before visiting. (E.g. check websites, ask around for references)
Look for a dealer with expertise and offerings from multiple brands; Club Car, E-Z-GO, Yamaha and AGT are all excellent brands and each offers unique features. You will appreciate the variety.
Plan on visiting the dealer.
Make an appointment and allow at least 30 minutes.
Clearly explain your application. Where and when are you using the cart?
Know your budget and express it early. (Saves everybody time)
View several cart choices and see possible options you may want.
Accept a shop tour if offered.
Assess whether this vendor will be helpful with service and parts requirements you may have down the road.
Ask questions: origin of the cart, battery discharge results, have the brakes been examined, what parts are original?
Verify the cart year and the battery year. Easily done from serial# and battery stamping.
Take a test drive.
Ask the shop mechanic or the salesman to go over safety and regular maintenance protocols.
Inspect the cart for flaws and be sure price is appropriately reflective of the wear and tear.
Ask about a warranty. Make sure it is indicated on the invoice.
Ask for a PDF of the relevant manual if you purchase.
Buy a cart from a vendor that does not have offer pre-sale and post-sale service and parts expertise. Without this you can expect issues.
Buy a cart without a serial number. (Lack of a VIN is very suspicious)
Buy a cart with the “as is” condition and expect to get any support when it has mechanical failure.
Expect that any dealer can guarantee the exact length battery life; it is far too dependent on factors after you take it home.
Buy from a roadside reseller and expect follow-up service advice or warranty support.
Finally, never ignore the dealer’s advice on maintenance; especially battery care.
Hopefully this guide will assist in your purchase and enjoyment of a used golf cart.
Albion Golf Cars is located in Toronto, Ontario. We are dedicated to providing golf car and utility vehicle solutions for our customers. Founded in 1973, we pride ourselves as being customer focused, committed to constant improvement, and a service leader in our field. We provide knowledgeable golf cart sales, custom outfitting, fleet rentals, special event rentals, in-house and mobile service, parts and accessories.
Albion personnel are well trained, driven, entrepreneurial, and focused on providing only the best products and service for our customers. Albion is an experienced dealer for: AGT Electric Cars, Club Car, E-Z-GO, Garia Luxury Cars, and Yamaha brands.
Contact us for further information at 416.236.1001 or at email@example.com