Things You'll Need
12-volt battery tester
120-volt wall socket voltage tester
Never work on an electric golf cart that is plugged in.
Electric golf carts have two areas where problems usually occur, the batteries and the motor. Before you spend a lot of time and money waiting on a repairman or taking your electric golf cart to the shop, take a few seconds to troubleshoot the cart on your own. There are a few simple problems that you can fix yourself that will not necessitate professional maintenance.
Test the wall socket where you charge your cart. Every golf cart has a built-in charger that connects to a wall socket. Take your wall socket 120-volt tester and check the actual socket that you use to charge the cart itself. Plug in your 120-volt tester and make sure the actual wall socket is good. If there is no voltage reading, your socket is bad and either needs to be replaced or the circuit breaker needs to be reset. You can reset the circuit breaker by flipping all the switches in your breaker box. An electrician should replace the socket.
Expose your golf cart batteries. If you are getting power to the charger, it's time to check the batteries. Most batteries are located under the seat, which flips up for access. Grab a hold of the back of your seat and flip it up to expose the batteries. There will be a row of batteries. Each one of these need to be checked.
Test the batteries for voltage. Every battery will have two clamps with two cables attached. So, with your flat-bladed screwdriver, insert it into the screw slot on a clamp and turn it counterclockwise. Do this to both clamps. Using your 12-volt battery tester, test the voltage of this battery by touching each side of it to one of the wire leads on the tester. Repeat this procedure on all the batteries, first removing the clamps and then testing the batteries. If any of the batteries show less than 12 volts, they will need to be replaced.
Replace dead batteries. If a battery shows less than 12 volts, leave the clamp off and then lift it out of the golf cart. You can purchase a new battery, slide it in place and reconnect the clamps.
Expose the motor for inspection. Located under a panel at the back of your golf cart will be the electric motor. The panel will be held in place by four or six screws. Use your screwdriver to remove these, turning them counterclockwise.
Reset the motor. When you pull the panel off you will see the electric motor. On electric motors there are often reset buttons that act like mini circuit breakers. Generally, where the wires enter the unit a small little red button will be sticking out in that same vicinity. Find the button and push it back in.
Test the cart. When the reset button has been pushed it, turn the cart on and gently push on the power pedal. If the cart moves, you have solved the problem. But if there is no motor noise at all, the motor is burned out and needs to be replaced.
Carole Ellis began writing in 2004 for the "UGA Research Magazine." Her work has appeared in Growing Edge, Medscape and Doctors' Guide publications. In addition to medical coverage, Carole publishes a real estate newsletter called REJournalOnline and is the news editor for the Bryan Ellis Real Estate Letter. She has a bachelor's degree in English and graduate work in creative writing and plant biology.