The parking brake of a golf cart isn’t a part that is always fully understood by the average cart owner.
However, it is very important to operating a cart and keeping it safe from damage.
Thankfully, engaging and disengaging this part is fairly simple and shouldn’t be too hard for most cart owners to understand.
How to Engage/Release a Golf Cart Parking Brake
The Design of a Parking Brake
The parking brake is a simple part of a cart that utilizes one of two different methods to keep your cart in position.
These include pull cables that activate to stop the wheels from moving and a hydraulic cylinder that activates a wheel drum to keep the wheels from moving.
This system is different from a standard brake because it is used only when parking and not when stopping your cart.
Between the different cart models, the parking brake is almost always designed as a pedal that sits next to your normal brake.
Sometimes, this pedal is farther from the stop brake.
This design is preferred because it is easier to remember and engage than a hand-based parking brake.
When discussing different models in this article, we’ll let you know if you need to use a hand brake instead of a foot brake.
Typically, the parking brake mechanics can be easily accessed by jacking up the front of the cart and looking for the parts that move when you depress the brake.
You’ll need somebody else to help you with this operation, as they’ll have to press the brake as you watch.
This step should be possible in all cart brands and models.
EZGO carts are among the most popular types on the market and have a very simple and well-designed parking brake.
Owners who want to keep their cart operating smoothly should have little difficulty understanding this process.
After showing you how to engage and disengage the brake, we will also discuss a few reasons why it may not work properly.
In this way, you can avoid any difficulties with your cart.
Engaging the Parking Brake
The parking brake on just about every EZGO cart is a simple pedal design that you can activate whenever you want to keep your cart from moving.
The brake can help not only on flat surfaces but on steep inclines – here it keeps the cart from rolling and getting into any accidents.
While we always suggest parking your cart on flat surfaces to avoid this problem, the following steps can help you when you have no choice but to park your EZGO cart on a hill or an incline of any type:
- Bring your EZGO cart to a complete stop before beginning
- Hold the stop brake as you sit to make sure that your cart doesn’t move
- Compress the parking brake next to the stop brake with your other foot
- Press it down until it clicks and holds in place
- Release your stop brake and turn off your cart
There may be a brief moment when your cart shifts position after you engage the parking brake.
Don’t worry about this shift – it is very common.
It only occurs because your wheels may be in a slightly turned position when you engage the brake.
They may then “settle” into a locked position when you release the stop brakes.
Disengaging your parking brake is also quite simple:
- Sit down in your cart and start it up
- Press the parking brake pedal down past where it initially “locked” when engaged
- Release the brake and it should pop back up into its normal position
- Press the brake further down if it does not disengage for any reason
When properly upgraded and maintained, your parking brake should last for years without any difficulties.
However, there may be a chance that this part of your cart does wear out at some point and refuses to operate.
Usually, this occurs for a number of reasons, each of which has different causes and effects.
Thankfully, you should be able to diagnose these problems without much difficulty.
However, we strongly suggest that you get expert help to repair any of these concerns with your cart.
Why It Won’t Engage
Throughout the years, EZGO parking brakes have failed for many reasons.
These issues can be complex and require expert help to manage.
Just a few that you may experience with your EZGO golf cart including the following:
- The battery pack has one or more failing cells that must be replaced
- Sockets and plugs are improperly connected and need new wires
- Brake coils are shorted or may need to be replaced
- Dirt got between the brake surface and the operating pad
- Brake bots are loose and not properly locked in place
- Corrosion on the steel brake plate may have developed
- Pedal damage makes it fail to stick
These issues are all things that you should not try to repair on your own.
The balance between doing them properly and doing them improperly is too delicate in this situation and could leave you with a cart that doesn’t run properly.
You could even do more damage to the brakes and end up having to get them replaced completely by a professional anyway.
But by contacting an expert right away, you cut out this waiting period and ensure things go smoothly from the beginning.
Club Car Carts
Among the three different cart brands on the market, Club Car is likely the “luxury” brand.
This designation doesn’t mean that they are better than the other two options.
It just means that they are designed to be a little fancier than other models.
However, their parking brake has the same type of design that you’ll find with Yamaha and EZGO carts.
That said, the problems that typically plague their parking brakes may be a little different than you may find in other options.
Engaging the Parking Brake
Your basic pedal-based parking brake on Club Car carts has the same basic design as that of the EZGO.
There are a few differences in the steps that you take but not many.
This basic process requires you to:
- Stop your Club Car and turn off the ignition
- Wait until your cart comes to a complete halt
- Keep the stop brake engaged while you do the next steps
- Press the parking brake down as far as it can go
- Wait for the pedal to come up a bit after engaging
- Release the stop brake and wait for the cart to settle
- Rock back and forth to see how well it engaged
As you can see, the operational method for your parking brake is more or less the same as that of an EZGO cart.
The differences in models may vary, though, as some may have a hand brake.
When your Club Car has a hand parking brake, it usually sits next to you like a shifting over but only goes to two different settings.
Engaging this brake is fairly simple, too:
- Stop your cart and make sure that you hold the stop brake, if necessary
- Pull the parking brake up until it locks into position
- Turn off your cart and rock it back and forth to see if it holds
Releasing these brakes is fairly simple – the first type just requires you to push the pedal back down until it lets go.
The second requires you to push the handle back down into place.
Make sure that both brake types settle fully before driving your cart again.
If they are still slightly engaged, there may be damage to the cart that ends up causing issues with its operation and maintenance.
Why the Brake Won’t Engage
Over time, the Club Car parking brake may end up wearing down and suffering from problems that make it more difficult to engage.
Thankfully, this issue is surprisingly rare with these carts because they are designed to be very strong and resilient.
However, as with any motor vehicle, damage and mechanical failure of some type is inevitable.
Just a few problems you may experience include when the:
- Accelerator pivot rods are worn out of their bushings need replacement
- Brake is out of alignment and must be carefully adjusted
- Pedal bushing have worn down to allow excessive slack into the pedal
- Worn out pedal shafts don’t activate as strongly as they did in the past
- Springs are missing in various parts, such as the “pawl” of the cart
- Objects may be getting in the way of the pedal
- Linkage fitting is worn down and unable to operate smoothly
Are there any of these steps that you can do on your own? It is possible to jack up your cart and adjust the alignment using the proper adjustment screw.
Some may even be able to clean out any debris that stops their Club Car parking brake from engaging.
However, you shouldn’t try to replace any complex or small items, such as linkages or springs, as you may end up losing them.
Lastly, let’s take a look at the Yamaha parking brake to see it operates.
It isn’t major different from any of the brake options that we have already mentioned – it has the same basic operational method when used as a pedal or hand brake.
However, there are other issues that may cause it to not hold that may be slightly different than that of EZGO or Club Car carts.
Engaging the Parking Brake
Compared to EZGO and Club Car carts, Yamaha models are designed to be a bit more affordable and easy to operate.
That doesn’t mean that their parking brake isn’t strong and capable of holding your cart.
When engaging a pedal-based system for your Yamaha, you just need to follow these steps:
- Stop your cart and depress the stop brake as you sit
- Push the pedal down and wait for it to lock
- Release the pedal and turn off your cart
- Get out of your cart after it settles into place
By now, you should have a pretty good idea of how these types of brakes operate – they almost always have the same basic operational method.
And the same holds true for hand-based brakes, as well.
However, we’ll include the steps here in case you skipped the previous sections and came directly here:
- Make sure your cart is fully stopped
- Hold your stop brake as you engage the parking brake
- Pull the parking brake handle up into a locked position
- Get out of your cart after turning it off
Releasing these brakes follows the same procedures you’ve seen with other brands – push the pedal down to release it and push the handle back down to disengage.
These methods don’t require a lot of hard work but you must be careful not to force the brakes in this situation.
Why the Brake Won’t Hold
Yamaha parking brakes typically fail for reasons that are quite similar to the ones mentioned above.
However, there are other problems that may occur that are singular to Yamaha carts.
These include the following problems that may all be quite persistent on your cart:
- Worn down bars or arms on the pedal assembly
- Lack of a straight edge along the bar or arm
- Worn-out brake shoes that must be replaced
- Loose cable that must be adjusted to 1.75 inches
- Corroded or rusted pedals that don’t touch the sensor
- Misplaced J rod that may not be in the proper position
- Worn out bolt or rods that may trigger the parking brake improperly
As always, it is wise to talk to a professional about this type of repair before trying it out yourself.
If you have no experience with brake repair and try to do it without help, you could very easily cause more damage that will require experts to fix anyway – so just avoid this middle-step.