Do golf carts have VIN numbers?
You own a golf cart, and you want to prepare it for road use.
However, you know that your car or truck has a VIN and you aren’t sure where to find your VIN on your golf cart.
As a result, you feel uncomfortable doing any upgrades to your cart to make it ready for the road.
Although this situation can be a little confusing for some people, it isn’t as complicated as it may seem.
Simply put, golf carts are not printed with a VIN but can get one later if you try to make them a road-ready vehicle.
Understanding why this is the case can help improve this process.
All Golf Carts Have Serial Numbers
When a golf cart is manufactured, the builder gives it a serial number.
These serial numbers are based on a variety of factors, including where the cart was built, when it was built, and its model.
These numbers will increase or decrease in simple ways that make tracking your cart easy.
Many manufacturers even include a search bar on their website where you can follow different serial numbers or gauge where your cart came from using only this code.
That said, a serial number is not the same as a VIN. A VIN or Vehicle Identification Number is a 17-digit code that the Department of Transportation or DOT creates to track road-ready vehicles.
By contrast, the serial number is simply a way for the manufacturer to follow their vehicles and to see where they are shipped and who ends up buying them.
While the VIN can be used similarly, it is specific to vehicles that are on the road.
So out of the factory, a golf cart won’t have a VIN. And most models will never end up with one.
For example, a cart used at a golf course rarely has a VIN because it is not ready to ride on the road.
The same is true of golf carts owned and operated on private property.
Though these carts may be upgraded with faster engines and modified in various ways, they only receive a VIN if they end up being used for any road transportation.
Only Road-Ready Carts Need VINs
Those who plan on using their golf carts on any road need to get a VIN for their cart.
At this point, your cart has transformed from a simple recreational vehicle – which doesn’t require a VIN – and has become a road-ready one.
As a result, you’ll not only need to get your cart a license plate and insurance but also register for a VIN.
This process is one that you’ll experience while getting your cart ready for the road.
In fact, you won’t be able to get a license or insurance for your cart until you get the VIN established.
This step is crucial because it allows the DOT the ability to track where your cart is used, what kind of accidents – if any – it is involved in and much more.
Though you might think that the serial number could be used for this purpose, that number is limited its usefulness.
By contrast, the VIN helps to establish a universal way of tracking vehicles, like golf carts, and ensures that they are operated as safely as possible.
Getting a VIN For A Golf Cart
If you want a VIN for your golf cart, you need to register it for road use.
This process starts at your local DOT authority and requires you to show various information, such as the proof of purchase, the weight of the cart, and much more.
The DOT will then inspect the cart to ensure that you’ve correctly upgraded it to be used on the road.
This process requires a variety of expensive upgrades that make take you some time to finish even with professional help.
For example, you’ll need to install various lights on the cart to ensure that it is easy to see while you’re on the road at night.
These lights include headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals.
All of these lights must be connected to your battery, steering system, and brake system to ensure that they work correctly.
However, these are just a few of the upgrades you’ll need to make.
The DOT will also ask to see your tires, ask about your engine power, check your windshield and wipers, inspect the cart for seat belts, and much more.
Essentially, your cart needs to meet a series of minimum requirements that make it a road-ready vehicle.
For example, it has to have a minimum speed of 20-25 miles per hour and a top speed of at least 45 miles per hour.
Any lower in either of these categories and your cart is not safe to ride on the road.
After the DOT is satisfied that you’ve met all the requirements, they will create a new title for your vehicle and help you get a new VIN for your cart.
This process typically occurs after you’ve received the title for your cart and occurs in the state capital.
Once the state’s DOT has created a new VIN for your cart, you can get it printed and added to your cart.