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Buying the Best Golf Cart - Buyer's Guide

Buying the Best Golf Cart

What are the best golf carts to buy? Is a Gas or Electric golf cart better? What is the best golf cart brand? We're breaking down how to buy a golf cart and where to buy golf carts in our user guide!

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Buying a new (or used) golf cart is a major purchasing decision! Many people start their process by asking family or friends how (and where) they bought their golf cart, what the best brand is, what the best model year and model type are, etc. etc. Well, we here at the Golf Cart Tire Supply have SEEN IT ALL - and we're here to help you make an easy golf cart buying decision. Don't get stuck in "paralysis by analysis"; just read on and get the cart you want today!

1. What are the best golf carts to buy?

The best golf cart to buy, is the best one you can afford! But we can teach you some tips to MAXIMIZE your purchase, whether you're buying new or used. The first thing you will need to decide when starting your search for a golf cart is: what is your budget, and whether or not you want to buy a new or used golf cart. Golf carts range in price from anywhere around $1,600 (average used carts, not perfect shape) up to $10,000 (brand new, fully loaded carts), and vary based on whether the cart is Gas or Electric as well (we'll cover more on that part later). But by far the most important driver of golf cart cost is whether the cart is new or used:

Used Golf Carts
(Budget = $500 to $5,500)

$500 Used 36V EZGO Marathon Golf Cart
(Batteries are shot) - "A"

$700 Used 36V Club Car DS Golf Cart
(Batteries are shot) - "B"

$4,800 used EZGO TXT Golf Cart
(Mint Condition, Lift Kit, Light Kit, 14" Wheels) - "C"
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Using local classifieds, we went out and found these three used golf carts for sale. They show a good range of the types of carts you can expect to see for sale locally around you, when shopping for a used golf cart.

$500 Used Cart (A)

As you can see, for $500, the cart you are buying is likely your neighbors old broken down project (doesn't run), or an old rust bucket that needs tons of cosmetic work. But we won't talk bad about a $500 cart! While a cart this cheap is typically a BIG PROJECT, it can easily be brought back to 100% like the day it left the factory with the right replacement golf cart parts. And once some fresh accessories (seat covers, wheels and tires, golf cart roof, and a new rear seat) are added, the cart will start to look a lot more like the $4,800 example above. But anytime you spend under $1,000 for a used golf cart, it is likely going to be more than 20 years old.

$700 Used Cart (B)

This golf cart has a pretty clean body, and no major cosmetic issues but the owner told us that the 36V batteries were dead and the cart would not start or move. Sometimes, these turn out to be some of the best deals out there! When buying a cart that is in great cosmetic condition, getting it running cam be as simple as buying a just a new golf cart battery charger and giving the batteries a fresh shot of battery acid, then charging them overnight. The cart can spring right back to life after a good charge-up, meaning it doesn't really need new batteries (saving you $1,000 or more). If this cart was running, it would be worth closer to $1,500. 

$4,800 Used Cart (C)

Which brings us to the next point of discussion, the beautiful $4,800 used cart. For this price point, you are getting a very nice, newer (less than 10 years old) golf cart with some awesome modifications on it. Modifications do add value to a cart, but not the full value of their cost. For example: this 48-Volt EZGO TXT likely cost around $7,000 new. In addition to that $7,000 price tag, it has a:

    • $700 wheel and tire package
    • $360 lift kit
    • $300 light kit
    • $280 Rear Seat Kit
    • $700 custom rear seats and front seats (stitched and contoured)

So for $4,800 you are getting an excellent running cart, with newer batteries, that all in brand new would cost $9,340 (with current modifications). That is quite a value! And a major reason we recommend buying a used golf cart.

Brass tax: a $500 used golf cart will be a DOG (a project cart), and a $5,500 used golf cart will be a strong running, nice example with some nice mods and accessories on it (that saves you money on having to buy modifications). The price of a good quality used golf cart with healthy batteries (or a good running gas engine) is somewhere between $1,400 and $2,200 on average.

New Golf Carts
(Budget = $7,000+)

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For $7,000 (or more), you will get that "new golf cart" smell! There are a few perks to purchasing a brand new golf cart (just like there are to purchasing a brand new car):

1. You can have your accessories professionally installed for you

When you purchase a golf cart directly from the manufacturer, they will offer a solid selection of golf cart accessories that you can have them add to your new build. While the selection of accessories won't be as wide as what a major website (like us) offers, buying these accessories directly from the manufacturer saves you time (not having to install them yourself) and you will have piece of mind knowing your accessories are put on correctly. 

2. Your cart will come with a warranty

A major benefit of buying a brand new cart is having your new cart come with warranty protection. This coverage comes either directly from the manufacturer, or from your dealer, and will cover you for a certain period of time on item like motor, batteries, brakes, bearings, and more!

If you're not handy, and you're worried about any possible issues your new golf cart might have after purchase - then a new cart with a warranty may be the best option for you!

3. Spend time Driving, not Fixing

Your new cart won't have any maintenance needed. The batteries won't die. It will come with a brand new golf cart battery charger, and fresh tires. So you can enjoy your cart right away - and have pride of ownership knowing that no one else's butt has been in your seats!

4. Accessories May Not Yet Be Available for Your Cart

Having a brand new cart is amazing, but one drawback many people fail to think about is the fact that since their cart is so new they will have limited golf cart accessories options available to them. For example, the Club Car Onward model came out in the year 2017. By late 2018, many accessories manufacturers were still working on designing lift kits, brush guards, windshields, light kits, and other accessories that would fit the new cart, leaving owners without many options to customize their cart (other than what is available from the manufacturer). So if you buy a new golf cart, you may have less customization available to you up front!

Summary of New & Used Carts

  • USED Golf Carts
    • Usually the smartest and cheapest financial option (as long as you do your research/diligence when buying)
    • May have lingering maintenance items, but they can be addressed with fresh replacement parts
    • Any cosmetic issues can also be addressed with brand new golf cart accessories
  • NEW Golf Carts
    • More expensive, but can make the cart exactly how you want it
    • Come with a new warranty from either dealer or manufacturer
    • Extremely reliable (since they are new), no maintenance needed!
    • Cosmetically perfect and fresh
    • Golf Cart Accessories may not yet be readily available for brand new cart models

2. Gas or Electric Golf Cart? (Which is better)

When it comes to choosing to buy either a gas or electric cart, you need to narrow down your choice by deciding a few things up front:

  • What will you use the cart for?
  • And what vehicle range will be needed to complete this activity?
  • What type of power do you desire?
Deciding Factor Gas Golf Cart Best Electric Golf Cart Best
What Will you Use the Cart For? 

Commercial Grounds-keeping
Maintenance purposes
Outdoor Facilities / Transportation (race track, etc.)
Riding around Neighborhood / lake house
General indoor use (stadiums, airports, etc.)

Hunting (needs to be quiet)
Luxury Resort living
Country Clubs (especially with gas cart bans)
Neighborhood Use / lake house

Vehicle Range Needed / Desired?

+Average range = 110-175 Miles per Tank
+Great for a full days work, or multiple short trips
+Can refill at any time, any gas station

+Average Range = 15-25 Miles Per Charge
  (depending on voltage and battery health)
+Best for shorter trips
+Re-Charging can take several hours

Power Needed / Desired?  10-15 Horsepower engines on average (higher power)  4.5-6 Horsepower Motors on Average (lower power)

 

Benefits and Drawbacks to Electric Golf Cart Ownership

Electric Benefits:

  • Low Maintenance!
    • Electric golf carts are much easier to maintain than gas golf carts
      • They don't require oil changes, spark plugs, or tune up kits
  • Cost Effective and Environmentally Friendly!
    • Electric golf carts don't require you to make trips to the gas station to fill up before or after every few use
    • Only maintenance is checking electrolyte levels in the cart’s batteries + plugging cart in to a golf cart battery charger / maintainer
    • Do not emit greenhouse gasses or carbon dioxide
  • Nice and Quiet!
    • Electric carts make virtually no noise (especially during low-speed operation). This makes them the ideal choice for hunting (as to not scare animals away) and at high-end country clubs where noisy carts are not permitted.

Electric Drawbacks:

  • Limited range.
    • Electric golf carts have a range of 15-25 miles, and once they run out of charge you are either stuck, or have to wait hours for the cart to charge.
  • Under-powered compared to gas carts.
    • Typical Electric Golf Cart motor is around 5 horsepower, compared to gas carts that average 12.5 horsepower.
  • Lower Resale value compared to gas carts.
    • On the USED golf cart market, gas golf carts fetch a hefty premium over electric carts due to the nature of factoring in battery life on a used electric cart.

Benefits and Drawbacks to Gas Golf Cart Ownership

Gas Benefits:

  • More power
    • Gas carts have more power than electric carts, with 12.5hp for an average gas cart vs. 5hp in a typical electric cart. Gas carts can therefore climb steeper grades (bigger hills) and can tow more passengers and cargo. Gas carts also have a higher top end speed than electric carts.
  • Better range
    • A Gas golf cart can run 10x longer (150 miles) on one tank of gas than an electric cart can run on a single charge (15 miles). And when your gas cart runs out of fuel, you can simply fill up at the nearest gas station or with an accessory fuel tank, where you would be completely stuck if you had an electric cart and ran out of charge. 
  • Higher resale value
    • Gas golf carts carry higher resale value when you go to sell them in the used market, because of one simple reason: no expensive batteries to potentially replace. A gas cart either runs, or it doesn't. And as long as the gas cart you are buying runs smooth, your only expense (outside of regular maintenance) will be fuel.
      • Electric carts, on the other hand, need expensive battery replacements every 5-7 years. So if you buy an electric cart that runs smooth today, and are unaware that the batteries are 4 years old... then you will have a $1,000+ dollar repair bill for new batteries coming in the near future. For this reason, Gas golf carts hold better resale value!

Gas Drawbacks:

  • More maintenance / higher maintenance costs
    • Gas golf carts have more engine components needed to keep them running smoothly, including fuel filters, air filters, 
  • Fuel for gas carts is more expensive than simply recharging batteries for electric
    • Gasoline is expensive, and your gas cart will need to be refilled regularly.
      • While golf cart batteries themselves may be expensive for electric carts, your operating costs are very low (just charge the cart at home). For this reason, electric carts are cheap to run (as long as they have good batteries). And the cost of $1,000 batteries / 5 years of life / miles driven can come out to less than what you might pay in gas.
  • Noisy and smelly
    • Gas powered engines make noise, which makes gas golf carts less desirable for hunting (scares animals away), driving around the neighborhood at nighttime (waking the neighbors), and prevents them from being allowed at some exclusive country clubs. Gas carts also smell like gasoline / exhaust fumes in operation (which is a great smell to some people, but not great for others!).

3. What is the best golf cart brand?

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When it comes to high quality golf cart brands, there is the proverbial "Big 3" (pictured above), which is: EZ-GO, Club Car and Yamaha Golf Carts. While your Uncle Bill might prefer Club Car, and your cousin Teddy swears by Yamaha... the truth is: all three brands make excellent machines (and have been doing so since the 1950s (except Yamaha, which got going in the 1980s).

Some other major "secondary brands" which are around include STAR EV, Columbia Par Car, GEM Car, Ford Think!, Harley Davidson, Tomberlin & more:

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These secondary brands make fine vehicles as well, but parts and accessories (outside of simple golf cart tires and bolt-on golf cart wheels and tires) can be much harder to find for these brands. Which brings us to our next point: one BIG thing to consider when picking your brand of cart is: What type of Golf Cart Accessories and Replacement Parts are available for the cart I want? (because while most carts have many items available for them... some have limited to no aftermarket parts or accessories).

In general, EZ-GO TXT & RXV models, Club Car DS & Precedent, and Yamaha DRIVE (G29) models have the most readily available accessories and parts made for them. To get an idea of what type of accessories might be available for the golf cart you are considering purchasing, please take a quick browse through our EZ-GO Golf Cart Accessories, Club Car Accessories and Yamaha Golf Cart accessories sections. In those sections of our site, you will get a great overview of what is available for the cart you want to buy; before you buy it!

Please note: if you select a much older cart from one of the major brands, such as an old EZGO Marathon model or older than 1990s model Club Car DS - then you may have less to choose from as well when it comes to golf cart accessories, and the availability of replacement golf cart parts may be lower for your particular model. We always recommend buying the best (and newest) cart you can afford, and a real sweet spot for used cart age is about 10 years (just old enough to get a good deal on price and have many parts and aftermarket accessories readily available, and just new enough to run well and look nice and not be obsolete when it comes to replacement parts).

4. Where to buy a Golf Cart!

Okay, so you have your budget, and you know what brand and type (gas or electric) golf cart you want. Perfect! Now you just need to decide where to buy your golf cart.

Where to buy a Used Golf Cart

Since most golf carts start life out being used on the golf course at some of the nation's premiere country clubs, used golf course carts are by far and away the most popular type of cart that people purchase. These carts typically spend their days being used gently on simple cart paths and turf, and are well maintained by the major leasing companies (who lease them to golf courses).

After about 3 years of use at the country club, these carts will come to the end of their lease and the leasing company will then sell them to wholesalers. These wholesalers will typically purchase 50-150 carts in bulk at one time from the leasing company. The leasing company, in turn, sells these carts at a large discount (typically around $1,500 per cart) to the wholesalers. Which is a good price on newer, gently used carts.

Once the carts are purchase by the wholesaler, they will then list their carts for both locally and online, for $2,000-$2,500 per cart (for a quick flip). These are great carts to buy, as long as you check the battery life/condition, and give them a thorough test drive. New golf cart batteries can cost as much as $1,300... so do not overlook the importance of testing the battery strength when purchasing a used cart from anyone (wholesaler or individuals).

Used carts can be found locally or online in places such as:

  • Craigslist
  • Newspaper Classifieds pages
  • Wholesalers (found online or in paper)
  • Golf Cart Forums
  • Golf Cart Dealerships (pre-owned)

Where to buy a New Golf Cart

Buying a new golf cart is as simple as looking up your nearest golf cart dealers (and then picking the best one, based on ratings). We recommend starting your search for a new golf cart dealer on a trustworthy golf cart forum, such as the Buggies Gone Wild forum or Cartaholics. These forums provide a wealth of information on golf carts and have forum sponsors, who are trustworthy dealers to start your search with. There are also many users on these forums from different regions of the USA whom you can ask for advice on where to buy.

Once you decide on a few dealers you would like to visit, keep in mind; like car dealers, golf cart dealers may only carry one specific brand. If you haven't decided on a brand yet, we suggest going and visiting a few different golf cart dealerships and choosing based on not only which golf cart style you like best, but also which dealer you get the best service and best overall vibes from.

Post-purchase dealer support is a very important component to purchasing your new golf cart, so don't neglect the fact that you want to buy a new cart from people you can trust!

Putting it All Together

So you've gone through our guide, and you probably now know the answers to these 4 ever-important questions:

  1. Do you want a New or a Used golf cart?
  2. Are you looking for a Gas or Electric golf cart?
  3. What brand of golf cart do you prefer?
  4. Where to buy your new golf cart.

At the end of the day, both Gas and Electric carts from all the major brands are amazing machines. As long as you understand what kind of cart you will be able to afford based on your budget, you can plan for the time and money you will need to spend to get out there and enjoy your cart for many years! At the end of the day, golf carts hold their value pretty well (relatively speaking). So just buy the best cart you can afford that speaks to your heart (and your personal taste). Enjoy the ride!

Have more questions about buying a golf cart? Want to price out golf cart accessories and golf cart parts you'd like to add to a golf cart you are considering purchasing? Give us a call at 1-844-422-7884 and let us help today!

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