Walking a golf course can be an arduous task. Without following stray balls left and right, you are looking at a distance of roughly 8 kilometers.
A golf cart makes the game more enjoyable and speeds up play. It also allows older people to enjoy the game even if they do not have the fitness to walk the distance. One of the most important components of the cart is the solenoid. It also happens to be the part most likely to give you issues.
We take a look at the importance of this component and how to bypass solenoid on a golf cart when necessary.
What Is Golf Cart Solenoid
The solenoid on a golf cart, be it gas or electric, is a simple yet critical component. It is often appropriately referred to as the heart of the golf cart. Without getting too complicated, at this stage, it is responsible for transferring power to the vehicle. Without it, the golf cart will simply not function correctly if at all.
The very nature of golf carts means that they constantly start and stop. Every time their tires move the solenoid has some serious work to do.
They generally consist of a central rod encased in a coil of wire that is enameled or insulated. Current flows through this coil creating magnetic flux that is transformed into power. It is what drives the golf cart.
It is because they work so hard and so often that they are often one of the most common things that can go wrong.
📢 Need To Know: An average round could see the solenoid kick in more than 1500 times.
We will take you through the signs to look out for if you expect a solenoid issue, how to test the component, how to bypass it if necessary, and other related information that can help you avoid or fix solenoid issues.
Symptoms Of Bad Solenoid On Golf Cart
The symptoms of a bad solenoid differ slightly on a gas cart and an electric cart, with electric golf cart bad solenoid symptoms being fairly easy to identify, you do not need to be a rocket scientist to spot them.
On either a gas or electric cart, if it fails to start, the solenoid is quite possibly the problem. This is one of the most obvious signs of a solenoid issue. A clicking sound without any power or activation is the next most common symptom.
With a gas-powered cart, you will generally note that the starter simply does not engage. This is often the result of the contacts not releasing. What it does is cause the starter to operate continuously, even when the ignition is in the off position.
Another common issue on gas golf carts is the eventual wear on the spring that is designed to retract the pinion. This also prevents it from returning to a stop position.
📢 Need To Know: Electric golf carts are also prone to solenoid issues although they are slightly less prevalent than with gas models.
When you use the ignition, you expect to hear a click sound. If you do not hear this sound when using the ignition, it is quite likely to be an issue with the solenoid. This is because it is not sending electrical power to the vehicle.
Again, there could be several reasons for this. The battery is often the cause. It could be faulty, worn out, or have a loose connection.
The contacts could have overheated which not only causes problems and damage but is also a potential danger.
If you find that the golf cart solenoid just clicks but does not move it could be one of several issues and more diagnostics will be necessary.
The last thing you want is to be stranded at the far end of the golf course with a cart that will not function. It is important to look out for these symptoms and take corrective action when necessary.
📋 Keep in mind: A faulty solenoid could not only leave you without a functioning golf cart but poses a safety risk. It could also result in further damage to the starter, the golf cart solenoid diode, and other parts of the golf cart’s dimension. This will mean additional repair costs.
How To Test Golf Cart Solenoid
Testing golf cart solenoid is easier than most people imagine. Even if you are not technically inclined, you should be able to do the testing without too much difficulty.
If you’re curious about how to test golf cart solenoid with multimeter, you will first need to know the club car solenoid location. In almost all golf carts, you will find it under the seat. It is easy to find and easy to identify. You will note 2 large terminals and 2 smaller terminals.
The first thing you will need is a few tools and other items. Here is what you need:
- A basic voltmeter or multimeter
- A wrench (1/2” is the ideal size)
- Electrical tape
Before your inspection, ensure that the cables that run to the terminal on the solenoid are disconnected from the controller on electrical carts or the starter on gas carts. Cover the ends of these cables with the electrical tape.
- On gas golf cart
The gas golf cart starting system differs slightly from an electric cart. Switch the cart to the off position.
Using the ohms feature on the voltmeter or multimeter make contact with probes on the larger terminals. What you should see is a reading of zero. Once that is checked, you want to set the key to the on position and the cart set in drive. Repeat the process.
Apply pressure to the pedal, and listen. What you want to hear is a clicking sound. If this happens, check the reading on your instrument. You want a reading of under 0.4 ohms. Anything above that indicates that the solenoid is faulty and needs replacing.
- On electric golf cart
With an electric golf cart solenoid, you might experience no clicking when you try to engage the vehicle. Using the voltmeter on the DC volt setting in the 200 range, you need to test. Do this by checking the reading on the smaller terminals first while turning the ignition on.
If there are no results, depress the accelerator. If the needle moves and shows full voltage then you have a solenoid issue and you will need a new one. If there is no activity on the voltmeter then the solenoid is not the issue.
📋 Keep in mind: If you are replacing the solenoid, ensure you purchase the correct one. Look at the existing one you are replacing to see if it is 36 or 48 volts.
Can You Bypass A Golf Cart Solenoid
As an emergency hack or last resort, you can bypass the solenoid. Only do this if you do not have access to multimeter or voltmeter and only in an emergency.
It can be a useful practice but there it does pose some danger to you as well as the other components in the golf cart.
Bypassing Golf Cart Solenoid Method
If you do decide to bypass the solenoid, this is what you need to do:
Take the two larger wires that connect to the solenoid and connect them directly (keeping all safety precautions in place).
This should do the trick and if it does not work then the solenoid is not the problem. This should be done as a temporary measure only and then have the golf cart tested by someone with knowledge and the correct equipment.
📋 Keep in mind: Even if bypassing the solenoid works it does not necessarily mean that there are no other issues or problems that need to be addressed.
Golf Cart Solenoid Won’t Click: Causes And Solutions
There are several things that can go wrong with a golf cart but as we stated before, the solenoid works hard and often and is one of the most common causes of problems.
When starting the cart the click that you hear is from the solenoid. If you do not hear this sound there could well be a problem. No click and the cart not starting is most likely to be the result of a faulty solenoid.
We have discussed testing and bypassing above but it is very often a relatively simple issue such as loose wiring or a problem in the activation circuit.
Other potential causes include a poor connection in the green wires that run between the F&R switch and the controller or the activation switches not functioning in the correct order.
It could obviously be a more serious issue that will invariably mean that one needs to replace the solenoid and/or other components.
E-Z-GO Golf Cart Solenoid Wiring Diagram: How To Use
The E-Z GO solenoid wiring diagram can look rather daunting at first but it is a useful aid and is actually rather easy to follow, much like a Club Car solenoid wiring diagram.
Club car solenoid wiring is relatively simple if you just break it down and follow the diagram logically you should be able to makes sense of it.
If you follow it you will note that the solenoid has two large terminals, as with most solenoids. One connects to the main (positive) terminal of the battery while the other connects to the controller. This connects the switches of the solenoid.
Then you have the two smaller terminals. One connects to the negative controller terminal while the other connects to the potentiometer micro switch. These two are interchangeable.
📢 Need To Know: E-Z-GO is an Augusta based company that has been making a range of practical and useful smaller vehicles since 1954. They are best known for their popular golf carts.
E-Z-GO Golf Cart Solenoid Troubleshoot
Troubleshooting the solenoid on an EZGO golf cart is very much the same as we have explained above in how to test a solenoid. You need the same equipment and should always follow the same safety guidelines.
Turn the cart to the off position and disconnect the cables from both of the larger solenoid terminals.
Using the probes on the multimeter or voltmeter on the ohms setting, touch both terminals to check resistance. Expect to see zero reading.
Put the golf cart in the forward drive position, turn the key to the on position, and depress the accelerator pedal.
As before, you want to listen out for the click. When you hear this, set the multimeter to DC Volts in the 200 scale and test the terminals again.
Place the probes on the terminal. If the reading is higher than 0,4 ohms, it likely indicates the need for an EZGO solenoid replacement.
If no click is heard, check the voltage. If full power from the battery is shown when the accelerator is pushed then the solenoid coil is most probably the fault. If it reads the battery power to be less than full the speed controller is likely to be the cause.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what the solenoid on your golf cart does, why it is so important, how to test and troubleshoot it, and how to bypass it if necessary.
We have tried to cover the basics without making it too complicated but if you have any questions, queries, or tips and tricks from personal experience, please share them in the comments section.
The solenoid works extremely hard and most golfers will come across problems at some point. At least now you have some insight into the potential issues and what to do about them.
How do I know if my golf cart solenoid is bad?
If you are continuously trying to turn on the golf cart and the golf cart fails to start when you initiate the ignition process then it might be a symbol that your cart’s solenoid is bad. If it starts producing continuous clicking sounds then you need to change your cart’s solenoid. While if your electric golf cart stops suddenly, it also indicates a bad solenoid.
Can you drive with a bad solenoid?
Yes, you can drive the cart with a bad solenoid but if you keep ignoring the problem it can damage your golf cart permanently. If you observe any kind of disturbance in the cart you should take it seriously because it might be due to a bad solenoid.