EZGO Golf Cart Won’t Go Forward or Reverse – A Repair Guide

It can be very frustrating to deal with an EZGO golf cart that won’t move.

If the golf cart has been properly maintained, then the failure of the cart to start or move can be the result of a blown fuse, a worn-out battery, or a lack of fuel.

However, these are by no means the only issues you may have with your golf cart.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the more common problems that you can experience when your golf cart refuses to move.

My EZGO Golf Cart Won’t Go Forward or Reverse – Why?

Starter Battery

The first thing you should look at is your starter battery.

A typical gas golf cart battery is rated at 12 Volts.

However, you get golf carts with 6 Volts, 36 Volts, and 48 Volts batteries. These ratings are usually found in electric golf carts.

To check whether your battery is causing your problem, check when it’s both unloaded and when under load.

To do this, you need a multimeter.

  • To test the battery, attach the multimeter to your battery terminals and measure the voltage without a load first. Healthy batteries have a charge of about 12.2 volts and 12.8 volts.
  • Next, ensure that the parking brake is on and turn the ignition switch to the “On” position.
  • With the multimeter still attached, press down gently on the accelerator pedal.
  • You should hear a clicking sound from the solenoid and the voltage reading should drop by approximately 0.7 volts.

💡 Golfible Tip: If the voltage does not drop, then you can assume that the problem lies somewhere between the ignition switch and the battery.

Wiring and Fuse Problems

The problem may be with the wiring or a fuse may have blown.

You can find the fuse in the engine compartment next to the battery. It is located under a black plastic cover.

Remember though, that if you find that the fuse has blown, it indicates that there is an electrical fault that requires diagnosis.

Fuses blow when the current in the wiring exceeds its ability to cope with the load.

If the fuse wasn’t there, the wires would heat up until they caused a fire. So, the cause of the short circuit or grounding must be investigated and repaired by a competent mechanic or electrician.

If the engine starts, but the golf cart fails to move forward or backward, you expect the problem to lie with the selector switch, the starter generator, or the drive belt.

💡 Golfible Tip: Many golf carts are equipped with a “neutral lock” which is located on the direction selector. When engaged, the lock will prevent the golf cart from being placed in forward or reverse gear. To unlock the selector, you have to pull the neutral lock pin handle out and rotate it.

Golf Cart Electrical Issues

Problems With The Starter Battery

If your starter battery is dead then place it on charge overnight.

Check the distilled water levels in lead-acid batteries before charging them. Remember that batteries produce hydrogen gas when they are charging.

As hydrogen is highly combustible and explodes when lit, ensure that the battery is placed in a well-ventilated spot when charging. This way, any sparks will not cause a fire.

If it fails to hold a charge after being trickle-charged for 12 hours, then you can safely assume that it has reached the end of its useful life and buy a replacement.

You can expect the battery to last between three and five years before it needs replacement.

What About Corroded Battery Leads and Wiring?

Golf carts spend a lot of their lives in damp or humid environments. And when you mix electricity and water you get galvanic corrosion.

This results in the wiring and connectors corroding over time.

In the end, the wires no longer make good contact and you develop intermittent starting or running problems.

When the connections finally fail, the golf cart will fail to start. If you check the continuity between the battery terminals and the solenoid, you should find at least 12 volts without a load and a voltage drop when cranking the engine.

If not, then you can assume that there is a problem with the wiring or solenoid.

You can then check that the starter/alternator is functioning correctly.

How to Check the Starter/Alternator

The starter/alternator acts as both a starter motor to turn the engine to start it and as an alternator to supply electrical power to recharge the battery.

By connecting the multimeter between the battery and the starter motor, you can see if power is reaching the starter.

If it is receiving power and functioning properly, remove the plastic covers on the bushes and check if the springs are allowing free movement and that the brushes haven’t worn out.

If the brushes have worn down, you can purchase replacements along with replacement springs if necessary.

Problems with the Starter Generator Pulley

The belt that connects the starter to the engine is prone to wear and tear. Check it for tension and a visual inspection should highlight any wear on the belt and the pulley.

If the starter motor is fine but the engine still fails to start, the belt may require re-tensioning or replacement if it is worn.

The pulley may also require replacement.

To replace the belt, loosen the tensioning nut so that the belt slides off easily.

Be careful when installing the new belt that you don’t inadvertently damage it by forcing it into the pulley.

When the belt is in place, tighten the tension nut. The belt should be tightened to 120 lbs of pressure.

Checking a Faulty Golf Cart Ignition Switch

The ignition switch gets a lot of wear during its lifetime. If it is worn out or faulty, your golf cart will fail to start or only start intermittently.

After checking your battery, the ignition is usually the next thing to look at when the engine fails to start.

As there are a lot of connections within the ignition switch, checking it with a multimeter is necessary to isolate any problems.

  • Hooking up the multimeter to the battery and then testing the switch with the ignition key in the off and on positions will bring to light any continuity issues.
  • When turning the key in the ignition, you should hear a clicking sound coming from the solenoid.
  • If you fail to hear anything and you’ve checked that there is continuity in the solenoid, then you can assume the problem lies between the ignition switch and the starter.

Loose wires or insulation that has worn away are not always easy to identify. It is easier to replace the wire than try and find the worn area.

💡 Golfible Tip: To fix the problem, you will have to replace the ignition switch and possibly the wiring as well if it is corroded.

The kill switch is designed to switch off the engine and if it is malfunctioning you can expect the golf cart not to start. Replacement is also easier than trying to fix it.

Checking a Faulty Forward/Reverse Switch

If the engine starts and runs but the golf cart refuses to budge, then you must check both the forward/reverse switch and the drive belts.

If you find that the switch is fine, there may be a problem with the shifting cable.

Cables require regular lubrication as they can become stuck.

If the cable is broken, then replacements are available.

You must visually inspect the cable and the shifting lever. Operate the switch and observe whether the lever moves. If it doesn’t move, you can assume it is broken and requires replacement.

If the lever moves but doesn’t change gears, you can adjust the cable using a couple of wrenches.

Cables sometimes stretch and adjustment is all that is required to get you moving again.

How to Check Your Golf Cart Clutch and Drive Belt

The drive belt runs from the engine pulley up to the clutch plates. The belt moves up and down between the surfaces of the clutch plates.

When the engine is off, the clutch plates are close together.

When the engine starts and the RPMs increase, the clutch plates move apart, allowing the belt to move down between them.

This then provides the necessary friction to transfer power from the engine to the drive wheels.

Loosen the drive belt and remove it.

Next, inspect the clutch surfaces to ensure that they are still smooth and straight.

You’ll need a straight edge for this inspection.

  • Any wear or chips on the surface of the clutch plates will require removal and replacement.
  • Inspect the drive belt for wear. This is easy to see as the sides of the belt will appear glassy and smooth. Check for cracked rubber and if the belt is in poor condition, replace it.
  • Over time, the clutch can become stuck. This results in the golf cart not moving either backward or forward. It can be an easy fix though.
  • You need to remove the drive belt first. Then, start the golf cart and spin the engine over a few times. This usually frees up the clutch plates and you can then reinstall the drive belt.

Fixing a stuck or Damaged Accelerator Pedal

The accelerator is connected to the carburetor. When you press down on the accelerator pedal, a cable transfers the movement to the carburetor.

This causes more gas and air to enter the engine which means a faster golf cart.

If the cable is damaged or stretched, then it will fail to transfer the movement to the carburetor.

While operating the accelerator, check to see if the carburetor operates correctly.

  • A lever on the side of the carburetor is attached to the other end of the cable and you can easily see if the cable is working.
  • Either adjust a stretched cable or replace the broken one.
  • To adjust or replace the cable, remove the floor mat to locate the inspection panel. Remove the screws holding the panel in place and remove the panel.
  • You may have to remove the side trim around the door area to remove the mat. The mat is usually held in place by plastic trim.
  • This gives you access to the accelerator cable attached to the pedal. You can then pull on the cable to see if it is loose. Any play in the cable means that the throttle isn’t being opened fully.
  • Trace the cable to the back of the golf cart where you’ll see it is held in place by a bracket with two nuts on either side. Loosen the locking nut and rotate the opposite side nut to pull the cable housing closer to the bracket.
  • Then check the throttle lever on the carburetor to see if the accelerator moves the cable and lever correctly. Lock the cable in place at the bracket and you’re done.
  • If the cable is too worn, you won’t have enough adjustment at the bracket and the cable must be replaced.

Why Does The EZGO Golf Cart Engine Stop When Shifting Into Gear?

This problem is commonly associated with a low idle speed.

If you have checked and adjusted the accelerator cable, you may need to adjust the idle speed using the idle adjustment screw on the carburetor.

Check your manual for the correct procedure specific to your EZGO model.

📋 Keep in mind: If you don’t feel confident in adjusting the mixture and idle speed, then you should send the golf cart to a qualified technician.

Why Won’t my EZGO Golf Cart Go in Reverse?

There is a safety feature that prevents the golf cart from going in reverse if the reverse buzzer doesn’t sound or is disconnected.

If the reverse warning buzzer is disconnected, the ECU prevents the cart from moving.

To resolve the problem, reconnect the buzzer.

You’ll find the buzzer behind the switch panel on the right side of the cart.

After reconnecting the buzzer, place the golf cart in reverse. The buzzer should sound and you’ll be able to move.

Replacing EZGO Golf Cart Spark Plugs

As is common with most 4-stroke engines, spark plugs wear out or become gummed up with carbon deposits or oil.

Spark plugs are checked as part of regular maintenance. But if your golf cart has been standing for some time, the plugs may have started to corrode.

Indications that your spark plugs are causing problems are hard starting or not starting at all.

Difficulty accelerating and going up hills as well as back-firing is also common. If you ignore these warning signs, then you will most likely end up with the golf cart failing to move forward or in reverse.

To rectify the problem, you need to inspect the spark plugs.

  • Remove the spark plug leads and then unscrew the spark plugs using a spark plug wrench.
  • Make sure that you purchase the correct replacement spark plugs and that you set the spark gap. You’ll need a feeler gauge and the manual to ensure that the gap is correct.
  • Screw the new spark plugs back into the engine and reattach the leads. You may find that when you test the engine you’ll have to adjust the mixture and idle due to the more efficient spark plugs.

Checking Your EZGO Golf Cart Fuel Gauge

When your golf cart gets old, wear and tear take its toll, not least on your fuel gauge.

The float in your gas tank often sticks with the result that you think you have fuel, but actually, your golf cart is empty.

Locate the tank and unscrew the float housing.

Clean off the float mechanism and replace it. If the fuel gauge still doesn’t work you may have to replace it.

On newer golf carts, the float assembly includes a sensor that sends a message to the ECU indicating when the fuel tank is empty.

If the gauge sticks in the empty position, the ECU will prevent the golf cart from running until the gauge is fixed.

How to Fix a Clogged Golf Cart Air Filter

With golf carts spending so much of their time driving over vegetation and sand, it is common for the air filter to become blocked with grass clippings, leaves, and other debris.

The air filter is designed to prevent this debris from entering the engine and causing damage.

When the air filter is blocked, the engine will not run properly as it is not able to get sufficient air into the carburetor.

With the engine struggling to breathe, it will not be able to develop enough power to move forward or backward.

Regular maintenance will ensure that the air filter remains free of debris. But after a while, all filters become contaminated and require replacement.

It is a simple procedure, as you just need to open the air filter housing, remove the dirty filter and replace it with a new one.

💡 Golfible Tip: It is a good idea to remove any twigs, leaves, and other debris at the same time. This ensures that the filter doesn’t get clogged quite so quickly in the future.


How do I reset my EZGO golf cart controller?

To reset an EZGO golf cart controller, you can locate the controller and press the reset button. The location of the reset button may vary depending on the model of your golf cart, but it’s usually found on the controller itself. Press and hold the reset button for a few seconds, and then release it. This should reset the controller and clear any error codes or faults that may have been triggered.

How do I know if my EZGO golf cart solenoid is bad?

To check if your EZGO golf cart solenoid is bad, use a multimeter to test for continuity. Disconnect the battery and wires, set the multimeter to ohm, and touch probes to the terminals. If there’s no continuity or a high reading, the solenoid is likely faulty and needs replacing.

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Charl is a full-time writer who has been with Golfible since 2019. He is an avid golfer and tech enthusiast. When not writing, he tries to squeeze in a round of golf or escape to the mountains.

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