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Golf carts are strong vehicles which should last for decades if properly maintained and repaired.
However, there may come a time when your cart is just no good or has been damaged enough that it needs to be taken to a salvage yard.
Before you rush off to a golf cart salvage in your area to get rid of your cart, you need to understand when is the best time to do so and the benefits of getting a salvage.
You may find that you can make surprisingly good money doing a salvage on a high-quality golf cart.
When Should Take A Cart To A Golf Cart Salvage Yard Near Me?
The best time to take a golf cart to a salvage yard is when it no longer operates properly and if it would cost more to repair it than it would to replace it.
This is known as “junking” a vehicle and is something you may have done with an automobile, motorcycle, or even a bicycle.
When searching for “golf cart salvage near me” for this purpose, it is important to know when your cart has “given up the ghost” and is no longer worth attempting to repair, maintain, or upgrade.
Typically, we suggest getting a salvage if your cart no longer turns on, when the steering has gone out, if the brakes aren’t operating properly, or when the cart struggles to run at a reasonable speed.
Though there are many types of repairs you may be able to do which could get the cart back to operating order, many of these are going to cost a lot more than you may expect.
Some may cost as much as hundreds or even thousands of dollars more than your cart is worth.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most common salvage situations.
(Note: If you have golf cart insurance and they decide to junk your cart, they will replace it with a cart of a similar value.)
1. Hard-to-Repair Exterior Damage
Although exterior physical damage to a golf cart is rarely severe enough to require golf cart salvage, there are times when you may not have much choice but to hire somebody for this purpose.
For example, if you get into a wreck with your cart by running into another cart or another vehicle—even a building—you may have damage that is not worth repairing.
You can expect the costs of these repairs to vary from $200 to $1,500, depending on how severe they are and where they have spread.
Now, if your golf cart’s value is worth less than the repairs, you need to take it right to a salvage yard right away.
Remember, the value of the cart is not what you paid for it.
The value is decided based on the age of the cart, the damage to it, and other factors which may impact its cost.
Therefore, you need to talk to a dealer or a vendor about the worth of your cart before you sink any more money into it.
2. Engine Failure
Whether you have an electric golf cart or a gasoline one, you have an engine that may end up wearing out.
For example, there are transformers and other various parts in your electric cart which may end up failing and costing hundreds of dollars to repair or replace.
In a gasoline-powered cart, there are many other parts that may end up failing and needing replacement.
For example, if an oil filter gets polluted and you run your cart too long, this may result in damage to the engine from poor or dirty oil.
That said, the severity of the engine problem will dictate what steps you need to take here.
For example, it may be inexpensive to replace some types of alternators and other items.
You may only spend a few hundred on this step.
However, if your engine has failed comprehensively and there’s no way to fix it but to replace it, we suggest searching for “golf cart salvage near me.”
The only reason you should replace an engine is if your cart is still under five years old or if you have a warranty to pay for the replacement.
3. Battery Death
In a gas-powered cart, you’ll have just one battery in your cart which can be easily replaced without junking your cart.
On the other hand, electric carts have a significant battery array which includes many cells that work together to power the cart.
When these start to fail, there are a few steps you can take.
Some people will replace the batteries, one by one, as they fail, which is a wise choice if they fail far enough apart from each other to make this a cost-efficient way to add years to your cart’s life.
However, if your entire array is failing, such as complete battery failure and troubles with your electrical connections and other issues, you may want to salvage your cart instead of fixing it up.
The cost of replacing all of a cart’s batteries and its full electrical system may verge on $8,000–10,000.
This price is far too high to pay on any golf cart, and typically requires a salvage and an investment in a newer and stronger cart that won’t run into these types of operational problems.
4. Steering Issues
Problems with a steering system are often very severe and persistent, which can be a major issue if you want your cart to be as safe as possible.
For example, you may have troubles with axle alignment which can make your cart hop up and down as you ride.
You may have problems with the steering column which make it hard to control your cart.
These types of issues create a real operative danger for your cart and should not be tolerated for a moment longer than necessary, but do they require a complete salvage?
That depends on the spread of the damage.
Generally, replacing a steering system is a cart-wide issue, meaning that you will need to spend thousands of dollars on these repairs.
However, there are some situations in which the problem may be localized, such as a dislocated steering wheel.
In this situation, you may only spend a few hundred dollars to manage the repairs, which makes salvage unnecessary.
5. Brake Malfunctions
Lastly, it may be necessary to salvage your cart when the brakes start to fail.
As with steering problems, a lack of brakes causes a control problem that will put you and anybody else on the cart at great personal risk.
For example, the brakes may suddenly fail and cause you to lose control on a hill, forcing you to bail and damage your cart.
These problems may also sneak up on you slowly and become a concern without you realizing that they have developed to that point.
How much would it take to upgrade your brake system and keep it strong and functioning properly?
You may be able to replace a brake pedal for as little as $100 but may have to spend as much as $2,000–5,000 on a whole new system.
Typically, this option is only a good one if you plan on making your cart a road-based travel vehicle.
Otherwise, the brake system you install is going to be much too expensive and may be too powerful for your needs.
Ironically, going to a golf cart salvage for parts may save you some money.
Making Money Salvaging a Cart
Though you may end up missing your golf cart if you try to salvage it, this option can still be profitable for you in the right situation.
That’s because a golf cart salvage near you will pay you money for your cart and its parts.
It is true that this won’t be as much as you would have gotten had you sold an undamaged cart, but it is better than nothing if you don’t have insurance to pay for a replacement.
There are a few different ways you can salvage a cart in this situation.
Some may just want to sell the cart as is to a salvage yard without breaking it down for parts.
This option is going to make you anywhere from $300–800, depending on your cart and its condition.
You may even be able to make as much as $1,000–2,000 on some higher-end carts, though this type of full-cart salvage price is quite rare.
Instead, you can sell your cart’s parts one at a time.
Ironically, this may make you more money if you are smart about it.
For example, you can sell many battery arrays for $100 or more and other smaller parts for $50–75.
Though this may seem like small money, it can add up if you are careful and provide you with a higher value than you would have gotten if you’d salvaged the cart as one unit.
Types of Golf Cart Salvage
When investigating “golf cart salvage near me,” it is important to understand the types of salvage that may be possible for a cart owner.
These options vary depending on many factors, such as the type of cart owner, how the cart was used, and the specialty of the salvage yard.
Sometimes, a yard may focus just on golf carts or on multiple vehicles, which may enhance or limit the possibilities.
The first type of salvage is that done by private owners.
This type occurs when an owner like you—i.e. somebody who owns a cart for personal use—takes a cart to a salvage yard.
This type of salvage is the most common.
Many salvages of this type focus on a full-cart deal because the cart owner doesn’t want to or is incapable of breaking down the cart by parts and selling them in this way.
However, businesses may also try to junk carts if they own some and they don’t run properly.
For example, many senior residential areas keep a fleet of golf carts for their renters to use.
When these carts fail, they may sell them en masse to a golf cart salvage yard.
Often, salvage companies will give owners a deal on this type of sale because they can make such good money selling back good, salvaged parts.
That said, most golf cart salvaging is done between golf courses and the salvage company.
These deals are often mutually beneficial for each party.
For example, a golf course may sell a junked cart to a salvage yard and get money they can use to purchase replacements.
Then, they can reach out to salvage yards when they need to repair a cart and get cheaper parts from that dealer.
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