Alan W from Jupiter Farms asks:
"I want to customize my golf cart. Where do I start?"
CUSTOMIZING YOUR GOLF CART
Customizing your existing golf cart can breathe new life into it! Similar to painting a room in your home and adding some new furniture, before you know it, it looks fresh and new. Before we jump into the fun aspects of customizing your cart, however, we really need to address the basics. Just as you wouldn’t paint over a threshold that has areas of cracked or broken concrete, you need to be sure your cart foundation is solid as well. The most critical component of any cart “makeover” is your frame condition. If your existing frame has corrosion, it is recommended that you make the necessary repairs before you go any further with the fun! Additionally, all frames are not created equal, and therefore are not repaired in the same manner. EZ-Go, for example, has a powder coated steel frame. Club Car has an aluminum frame.
Along with body panel mounts, battery trays are a target for corrosion, especially on older steel framed carts that have been exposed to a lot of salty air. Battery trays support in excess of 300 lbs depending upon the brand that you have. Your tray must be in good condition. Batteries can and will fall through faulty trays! That being said, they can be repaired to a “like new” condition when done properly. Although you can never see the entire tray until the batteries have been removed, you can get an idea of its condition by lifting the seat and taking a peek at the outer frame supporting your batteries.
As a side note but VERY IMPORTANT, when adding water to your batteries, distilled is highly recommended and don’t overfill! Overfilling can result in boil-over during charging and causes corrosive acid leakage. This is damaging to your cables and your tray- even if it is aluminum. Underwatering, on the other hand, will absolutely shorten your battery life and affect performance. To properly check your water levels, you must first fully charge your cart. The only exception to this is if the tops of the plates are exposed. Then add only enough water to cover the plates, charge your cart fully, and then re-check the water levels and add your distilled water at that time.
If you find the task of keeping your batteries properly filled less than glamourous, there are some ways to make it easier. This can be your first customization, albeit not an overly exciting one! Battery filler bottles, Fast-Caps, and Watering Systems are all options to make the process a little easier.
Next month we will continue our discussion about different ways to customize your golf cart and what you need to know before you purchase different accessories! As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call or stop by Ace of Carts on Gran Park Way in Stuart, Fl.
The Glorious Golf Cart Parade !!!
The Art of the Cart
Christmas is quickly approaching and the Treasure Coast is busy preparing for the festivities. If you live in or near a community that loves golf carts, you know the drill. Golf Cart Parades are growing in popularity all over the great State of Florida as well as world-wide. You will surely see some great looking carts in local driveways and clubs getting the final touches before the big event.
Some believe one of the earliest golf cart parades took place in Palm Desert, California back in the 60’s. It all started when Phil Harris, Alice Faye and some other celebrities who had vacation homes there wanted something fun to do. It was held in July – touting a Christmas in July event to break up the monotonous summer. A local lodge called the FireCliff prepared turkey dinners and the carts were decorated for Christmas. It wasn’t until 1983 that the event became an annual affair. Today, the parade is held in October each year, and up to 30,000 spectators can be spotted along the roadways.
If those sound like large numbers, try this number on for size! The largest golf cart parade involved 3,321 participants from The Villages, Florida, September 4, 2005. The event raised $29,500 for various charities. This is the current world record held for the largest number of carts in a golf cart parade.
From inflatable ride-alongs, to flowers and flags, there is no shortage of creativity with our local golf cart owners. A widely popular addition to many carts this year is an LED Underglo System. This allows for countless color combinations to light up different areas of your cart. To purchase an LED Underglo system, stop by Ace of Carts in Stuart, Florida today. We have these available for $89, or have us install it for you - just in time for your décor debut!
As always, follow all local golf cart regulations and enjoy the season safely. We here at Ace of Carts wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!
What DO we do all Summer??
Bebe from PSL asks:
charge your cart after every use. According to US Battery charging recommendations, 'For best battery life, batteries should not be discharged below 80% of their rated capacity.' Although it is difficult to put a specific run time on any particular cart due to load, grade, etc, it is safe to assume if you run for any significant length of time, you will have likely depleted your batteries by 20% or more, and should recharge after use.
LuAnn C of Port St. Lucie asks:
“Why do some people call them golf cars, and why are they getting so popular all of a sudden?”
The proper terminology is, in fact, Golf Car because they are self-propelled. A Golf Cart is technically a pull cart still used by many golfers today. Most of us, however, refer to this fun and functional form of transportation as a golf cart with no apparent confusion. And we all can agree that there seems to be more and more golf carts in our communities each year. In fact, an article in the Harvard Business Review suggested that golf carts and vehicles like them, rather than the pricier Tesla, represent the real potential for growth in the global electric vehicle market.
According to Popular Mechanics, the first electric golf cart was custom made in 1932, but was not initially very popular. The early golf cart was primarily designed to provide transportation to individuals with disabilities, and did not perform well on the golf course. It was not until the mid 1950’s that golf carts began gaining popularity among the golfing community, and the most notable manufacturers at that time were Victor Adding Machines and Sears and Roebuck, followed quickly by EZ-Go (1954), Cushman (1955), Club Car (1958) Taylor-Dunn (1961), Harley-Davidson (1963), and Yamaha (1979).
Livestrong.com suggests that automobiles take a huge bite out of the typical family budget. Include the price of purchasing an automobile as well as auto insurance, fuel and maintenance and it is no wonder that transportation costs are among the top 5 household expenses. Many residents residing in communities across Florida are well aware of this and have taken advantage of golf carts and LSV’s (Low Speed Vehicles) to help combat these costs. Low-speed vehicles are similar to golf carts, but their top speed is approximately 25 mph and they must meet federal safety standards, such as being equipped with seat belts, windshields, mirrors, turn signals and more. It is possible to transform most golf carts into ‘street legal’ or LSV’s as long as they are properly equipped and can travel at a top speed of 20 MPH but not greater than 25 MPH. In many cases, adding a golf cart or LSV allows families to get rid of one automobile entirely. “After we moved to Florida, we sold one of our cars and now we just have one car and a golf cart,” stated Lucille R, a resident in Port St. Lucie’s Savanna Club. In addition to their budget friendly advantages, golf carts demonstrate notable environmental benefits.
Time magazine reports that roughly 85% of resold golf carts wind up somewhere other than golf courses. From fairgrounds to campuses, Florida, with its abundance of golf courses and retirement communities, may very well have the most golf carts per capita in the nation. Why not get in on the fun? Stop by Ace of Carts in Stuart Florida today and see what’s new in the Golf Cart industry!
TOP-10 Golf Cart Accessory Gifts Dec 2017
Golf Cart Accessories make great gifts all year long. As we wind down from another bustling Christmas Season, we thought we would take a moment to share the Top 10 golf cart accessory gift ideas chosen by our customers this year.
- Golf Cart Enclosures & Covers. Covers are a wonderful way to protect your cart from the elements when you are not using it. They come in different sizes (2, 4 and 6 Passenger.) The most common colors are Beige and Blue. Not all covers are created equal. Lighter weight covers are more convenient for daily use and often easier to manipulate. Look for ties that secure the cover at the base of the cart if you are in breezy locations. A heavier weighted cover is better for off-season or long-term storage. Enclosures are ride along protection from harsh weather. There are many options out there. Some styles install quite easily and cover the entire roof. Others slide onto tracks installed on the inner edge of the roof. Additionally, velcro and snaps can be added and will keep the enclosure sides in place when in use. Club Protectors can be used independently or in conjunction with side curtains, and also come in small and larger sizes to accommodate both 2 passenger carts set up for golf, as well as 4 passenger carts also used for golf.
- Floor Mats. Consumers have the option to replace the original floor mat on their golf cart,or simply add a secondary protective mat. When cleaning floor mats, it is important not touse petroleum based products that may produce a slippery and dangerous finish.
- Windshields. A new windshield can spruce up an older cart. Offered in a Standard Clear, DOT, or Tinted finish, windshields are Make and Model specific, so be careful when ordering for a DIY project. They are generally not difficult to install.
- Steering Wheels. A steering wheel is a fun way to spice up your cart. They come in various colors and styles. Most custom steering wheels require a steering hub adapter. If you are a golfer, you will need to find an alternate location to secure your score card.
- Fender Flares. A very popular addition for lifted carts, especially with offset wheels or mud tires, these cool accessories offer an off-road look as well as great protection for your passengers.
- Upgraded Light Kits. In addition to standard front and rear LED running lights, many customers are adding Signals, Hazards, a Horn and Brake Lights. All of these components can be obtained with one product.
- Lift Kits. Lift Kits come in several styles and sizes. A-Arm style kits are our most popular and replace your carts existing suspension offering a more comfortable ride. Lifts come in 6”, 4” and even 3” configurations. The larger the lift, the more options you will have for tire and wheel configurations.
- Rear Seat Kits. A very popular gift, rear seat kits allow for additional passenger seating as well as light cargo transportation. There are a few style options in rear seat kits, and eachbmanufacturer offers a slightly different cargo base texture.
- Custom Seats. Just 1 step from our best-selling Christmas gift requests, custom Front and/or Rear seat cushions never fail to please. We offer endless textures and colors to choose from allowing each customer the ability to personalize their ride.
- Tires & Wheels. The number one gift request this season. From new 8” turf tires to 14” DOT tires, new wheels and tires can do wonders for your cart, both cosmetically and mechanically. Check out our wide selection of colors and styles today.
It is important to do your research before purchasing any part or accessory. One size does not fit all, and shipping can be costly on larger items. Stop into Ace of Carts in Stuart today to speak with one of our custom design specialists.
Andrew L from Hobe Sound asks….
TO PAINT OR NOT TO PAINT!
"I have a 2005 Club Car Precedent and I just put new batteries and tires into it, but the body is less than exciting compared to my neighbors who are sporting some pretty cool looking carts lately. What are my options for updating the body at this point? I would hate to start over with a new cart."
Thanks for the question Andrew. It is a very common one, and fits in well with our Cart Customization Mini Series! As we discussed last month, your Club Car is built on an aluminum frame and therefore it is an excellent candidate for a body upgrade or makeover, and you have several options for this.
Option #1 is changing the body to a brand new one. New bodies are available for most makes and models. Here at Ace of Carts, we offer several new body styles in over 20 colors. The cost of replacing your old body starts around $600 for a Precedent OEM (original manufacturer body style.) The newest styles such as the Alpha Body Style (similar to a truck front end), or a sleek Phantom Body Style will cost a bit more. The advantages to replacing the entire body are obviously the brand new flawless body, the ability to completely upgrade the style, and most importantly, the fact that the body is made from a high impact ABS acrylic plastic, providing solid color throughout and it will not flake or chip. The disadvantages are few, but you are unable to create 2-Tone or fully custom finishes.
Option #2 is paint. We feel with a Precedent, a new body is clearly the best option, cost wise, and durability wise based on the body design. We do, however, paint Club Car DS models quite regularly. The paint process needs to be done properly with good quality products. This is also an excellent option for body repairs. The advantages to painting include a wider range of colors and finishes, as well as advanced customization options. If you want flames, you can have them!!! But these types of finishes can get expensive. Basic painting starts around $500. The disadvantages to paint vs the new body tend to fall into the durability category. Although our Clear Coat package will protect and prolong the life of your finish, any future body damage will likely expose the original body color.
Lastly, there are other processes including wrapping and hydro-dipping as well. Hydro-dipping is not a DIY process. Wraps can be more DIY friendly, however, be aware that these finishes are very prone to scratching, tearing or buckling, which again will quickly expose the original body color.
36 Volt vs 48 Volt
Anthony from Palm City asks....
"Someone told me I need to get rid of my 36 Volt Golf Cart and buy a 48 Volt Cart. I find it hard to believe my 36 Volt Cart isn’t worth anything anymore! Please advise."
Most golf cart buyers are generally interested in purchasing a 48 Volt Cart. Voltage in an electric golf cart can be loosely compared to horsepower in a gasoline engine. The more “horsepower,” or in our case, the more voltage we have, the quicker the acceleration and overall power the cart will have. In theory, if you have 2 golf carts, one is 36 volts and the other is 48 volts, the 48 Volt Cart will have more power if, in fact, they have identical controllers. The carts controller will determine how much amperage will flow from the batteries to the controller. Amperage in your cart is comparable to your car’s fuel tank. The more available amperage in a battery pack, the further you can drive before having to re-charge. This is important if you like to go out and golf in the morning, and upon your return, another family member likes to hop in the cart and start their round of golf. Although most of our terrain here in Florida is rather flat, 48 Volt Carts seem to perform much better on most golf courses and especially off-road. 48 Volt Carts are typically later models, and therefore will have more upgrades available. Replacement parts are generally easy to find for both 36 and 48 Volt Carts, especially Club Car and EZ-Go which are top selling in our area, but some of the very early 36 Volt replacement parts can be a bit more expensive if not in stock. These are some of the reasons that 48 Volt Carts have a higher re-sale value and are generally more desirable.
That being said, there are some advantages to 36 Volt Carts as well. They are cheaper to purchase, and battery replacement can be more affordable, since there are fewer of them. The older Club Car DS models, for example, were very well built, so as long as the frame is solid and the cart is well kept, it can be the perfect cart for many buyers. There are also aftermarket body upgrades available for these older model carts as well as the new models, and some do-it-yourself enthusiasts will find adding 12 Volt accessories is quite easy on their 36 Volt cart.
When buying a cart from a private seller, you can always tell if the cart is 36 or 48 Volts. Lift the seat to view the battery compartment. Count the number of cells/holes on a battery. You will typically see 3, 4 or 6 cells/holes per battery and all batteries should be the same! Each cell/hole is equal to 2 volts. On one battery, multiply the number of cells/holes by 2 to determine individual battery voltage. Lastly, multiply the individual battery voltage times the total number of golf cart batteries. Example:
36 Volt Golf Cart (6V Batteries):
3 cells/holes X 2 volts = 6 volt battery
6 volt battery X 6 total batteries = 36 Volt Cart
48 Volt Golf Cart (12V Batteries):
6 cells/holes X 2 volts = 12 volt battery
12 volt battery X 4 total batteries = 48 Volt Cart
48 Volt Golf Cart (8V Batteries):
4 holes X 2 volts = 8 volt battery
8 volt battery X 6 total batteries = 48 volt Cart
For more answers to your golf cart questions, feel free to call us at Ace of Carts in Stuart @ 772-678-7636 or stop in. We are located at 3482 SE Gran Park Way, conveniently located off Federal Highway 1 in Stuart, Fl. You can also reach us via our website AceOfCartsUSA.com!!
Harold L. from Hobe Sound asks:
How can I tell what year my golf cart is?
WHAT YEAR IS MY GOLF CART?
It is extremely important to have the correct Make, Model, and Year whenever you call to get prices on parts for your cart, or if your cart needs service. Especially if you plan to do it yourself, knowing how to determine what year your golf cart is will save you time, frustration, and money.
The majority of our customers have either a Club Car or an EZ-Go. First and foremost, you will need to determine the manufacturer of your cart. It’s often clearly marked on the front of the original body of the cart, but if for some reason it is not, the serial number, along with its basic design features, will tell you a lot.
Club Car prior to 1981 placed the serial number under the seat on the I-beam frame section closest to the batteries on the driver's side of the car. If your serial number plate is missing or illegible, you can at least narrow down the year of your cart by looking at the pedals. Models between 1975-1980 will have two brake pedals - one to stop the car and the second on the extreme left side used to park the cart on a hill.
In 1982 the DS Club Car model was introduced, and along with this major design change, they began placing the serial number plate under the glove box on the passenger side of the vehicle.
Mid-year 2000 brought several design changes to the DS. The industry refers to this as a ‘split year.’ The roof struts changed from silver aluminium to a black powder coating, and the front seat back changed from two separate seat backs to a full seat back. A third significant change was the roof which became thicker and with the addition of handles on each side. Interesting side note, rumor has it that Club Car eventually moved its roof handles to the inside portion of the roof to provide more hand protection for its riders, reducing the chances of obtaining scratches on their hands while navigating in and around brushy areas while searching for lost golf balls. Although it may be rumor - it seems to make a lot of sense!
In 2004, Club Car came out with the Precedent Model in addition to the DS model. The Precedent has two ‘sub’ models known as the Champion or Professional. The easiest way to tell these models apart is by looking at the steering wheel. If your cart has a square center it is a Professional, and if its round you have a Champion. The serial number plates on the Precedents can be found either on the passenger side below the passenger side cup holder, or on the passenger side on the inner dash.
Now that you have located your Club Car serial number, you can easily determine its year.
The one or two letters at the beginning of the serial number indicate the vehicle model. The following four digits indicate the model year and production week during which the vehicle was built. Club Car production week typically begins in August, and EZ-Go will vary based upon year but generally starts in July. The last digits following the hyphen represent the unique sequential number assigned to each vehicle built within a given model year.
For example, if you have a Club Car DS with a serial number A9303145678, this is a 1993 and was produced in the third production week that year. If you have a Precedent with a serial number PH1305-345678, it’s a 2013 produced in the fifth production week.
Any current Club Car owner can easily request a digital copy of their manual by going directly to Club Car’s website and placing the necessary information into the requested fields. The URL is http://www.clubcar.com/us/en/resources/manuals-search.html. Easy, right? Speaking of Easy…
If you have an EZ-Go, there are three common serial number locations to check; the base of the steering column by the floor mat, inside the passenger side glove box, or underneath the front seat bottom. Similar to Club Car, you can determine the year of your cart simply by looking at the serial number. The last two digits in the manufacturers code will be the model year. EZ-Go has manufactured several models as well, however the most common seen in our shop are the TXT (1994-Current/Re-designed in 2014), the RXV (2008-Current) the Medalist (1993-1999) and on occasion, a Marathon which was manufactured (1980-1994.) EZ-Go has a resource site as well where you can use your serial number and select your model using the visual guide to determine more details about your EZ-Go cart. The URL for this site is https://shop.ezgo.com/my-vehicle/.
We hope that this helps to clarify some of the questions you may have regarding how to determine the model year of common golf carts. If you have a golf cart that we didn’t mention in this article, or you’re still not sure what kind you have, call or stop in and see us. We love to talk Golf Carts!
COMMON SERVICE ISSUES
Benny from Hutchinson Island asks:
"What goes wrong the most on golf carts?"
Great Question Benny!
There is an old proverb that states ‘it is better to try to keep a bad thing from happening than it is to fix the bad thing once it has happened.’ This couldn’t be truer in most situations in life and it also applies to the wonderful world of golf cart ownership. Many folks here in south Florida use golf carts as their second vehicle, whether it is a 1989 trusted and true model or a shiny new one with all of the bells and whistles. Regardless of its ability to catch a second glance, it is imperative to observe basic maintenance procedures, or that second glance may be your cart under tow. Just as you care for your automobile, your cart also needs proper attention. Electric golf carts are pretty basic but the components they do have are essential to its performance. Although you cannot always anticipate or prevent all breakdowns such as a solenoid or MCOR failure, you can prevent the number one service call scenario from occurring prematurely.
Improper battery maintenance is without a doubt the number one reason we head out to a service request. If you purchase a good deep cycle battery pack designed for you cart, properly cared for, properly matched, (ie the entire pack is around the same age and health), properly installed and properly maintained, you should get around 5 years of service from those batteries. That being said, let’s go over the basic preventative maintenance any golf cart owner should observe starting with the batteries.
Check your battery’s manufacturer’s guidelines and safety instructions (these can be found online or through your local authorized dealer) and follow them carefully. Take all necessary precautions. Don’t allow your water level to fall below the plate level. Plates are the internal structures that are visible when you remove the cap from each battery cell. If the plates are repeatedly exposed or exposed for extended periods of time, that portion of the battery will eventually be damaged to the point where it will no longer function. This will decrease the lifespan of your battery and effect its overall performance. Never add water to a discharged pack. This means do NOT add water to your batteries after a round of golf or an afternoon of joyriding around your community. You do NOT want to add water to your batteries prior to charging them. The only exception to this rule is this: you do not want to put your batteries on a charge if the plates are already exposed (due to negligence in keeping the water at appropriate levels.) If you remove a cap and notice that your plates are exposed – add ONLY ENOUGH distilled water to just cover the plates. Do NOT OVERFILL at this point in the process. Just COVER the plate. Fluids will expand during the charging process and too much at this point will cause boil over, which is damaging to your batteries as well as your golf cart frame, even your aluminum Club Car frame! Replace the cap properly and check the others. Once you are certain that no plates are exposed, you can go ahead and put your cart on a charge. After your batteries have finished charging, top off the batteries with distilled water to ensure that the plates are still submerged in electrolyte and the fluid levels meet your manufacturer’s recommendations. Do not overfill your batteries. More is NOT better!!!
In addition to keeping the battery fluid levels properly maintained, you must also be diligent with the cleanliness and proper torque of the battery cable connections. Always protect your hands and eyes with adequate gloves and eye protection when working with golf cart batteries. Remove any metal jewelry. Battery acid can causes serious damage to skin, clothing and anything else it comes in contact with. Refer to your owner’s manual on cable and terminal care and cleaning or call your dealer if you have any additional questions.
Visually inspect your tires. Check for the correct amount of air pressure. Standard 8” golf cart tires will have between 18 to 22 psi of air. Larger tires vary based upon the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Look for excessive wear patterns, bareness, bulging or dry rot on the side walls. Abnormal wear patterns can be a sign of suspension or alignment issues. Also take a peek at the steering wheel. If the steering wheel isn’t centered or the golf cart pulls to the left or right, this may also indicate an issue with your bushings, steering components or the need for an alignment.
Lastly, take a peek at your parking area. If you have fluid leakage, call us and let’s find out what’s going on before things get worse! Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!