When you own an electric golf cart, you are limited to a specific top speed based on a multitude of factors.
However, there are issues that may develop over time that could cause your cart to run slower than you want.
These changes are quite subtle and may not be something that most cart owners would even think about – some might even be caused by steps that they took.
As a result, it is important to understand these simple changes and how you can use them to make your cart faster.
What we like about these tweaks is that they don’t add anything new to your cart or require any difficult upgrades.
These are all things that you can do in a single afternoon.
And when you’re done, we know that your cart will go faster, even if only by a few miles-per-hour or so.
How to Make an Electric Golf Cart Faster Without Upgrades
1. Wash Your Cart Properly
A typical golf cart is surprisingly dirty if owners don’t pay attention to cleaning it regularly.
For example, a cart owner who regularly rides on dirt paths or in mud may have caked on stains that may look cool or even make the cart seem tougher.
However, all of that dirt has a bad tendency to build up not just on the exterior of the cart but throughout its underbody and in its mechanics.
When this happens, the cart is going to suffer and lose a little bit of speed as a result.
How is that possible?
Well, dirt and stains on various gears, chains, and other areas of the cart may make the wheels turn slower and bring it to a grinding halt.
And if the dirt also gets into any electrical area, the power may not run as smoothly and end up causing the cart to stutter as it rides.
As a result, it is important to wash a cart every time you go out.
And if you haven’t washed your cart in awhile, here is a top-to-bottom washing guide that should help you out here.
2. Inspect the Batteries
The batteries in an electric cart are the most important part of maintaining a good speed.
As a result, several of the steps here will focus on your batteries and making sure that they are operating smoothly.
Without regular inspection, your batteries may wear down or end up suffering from disconnected wires or even corrosion.
Thankfully, fixing these problems is relatively easy if you take the time to open up your battery container and check the cells for any degradation that may be unexpected.
Start this process by carefully lifting your seat and looking for the battery container.
Most electric golf carts put their batteries in the back because it is the easiest place to store them.
This location also ensures that a maximum amount of power goes to the wheels of the cart.
Once you have lifted the seat, you should see your batteries or at least the container.
You may need a screwdriver for some cart battery covers, but this step is rare because most have an easy-to-open top that may just need a key.
Now, check all of the cables on your batteries.
Are they properly secured and in place?
Make sure that you get them held down by using clamps or any other items that work for your cart’s needs.
Examine the terminals, too, and check the wires and these areas for any corrosion or rusting.
Break apart this corrosion with a bristle brush if it has gotten too thick.
You may also want to consider replacing your batteries at some point, but don’t take that step until you’ve finished this full process for your cart.
3. Refill the Battery Water
The cells of a golf cart battery array need to be carefully watered from time to time to ensure that they run properly and smoothly.
This step may seem surprising to some because they may not understand that their cart needs to be maintained in this way.
Without a proper water level, your batteries will get too hot and may end up running poorly.
Some may even not fully charge or dispel their electricity too quickly, leaving you with a cart that is much closer than you may want it to run.
The type of water you use here must be carefully chosen.
Just don’t fill up a bucket of water from your tap and pour it into your battery.
This water will have trace amounts of minerals and elements – even city water that has been treated with chemicals – and may cause your battery to malfunction even more.
You should only – we repeat, ONLY – use distilled water with your cart batteries.
You should be able to find this type of water at just about any grocery store near you – the brand doesn’t matter.
Now, open the fill caps of the battery – they should be labeled as such – and carefully pour the distilled water onto the cells.
Pay attention to the water level as you pour – you don’t want to overfill here, either, because you can cause damage to the cells.
Watch the fill line – it should be printed on the side of the container – and stop once the water has reached this level.
Put your extra water to the side and regularly check your batteries and fill them again, as needed.
Doing so should make your cart faster.
4. Check the Gas Pedal and Linkage
At this point, you need to check your gas pedal and its linkage to make sure that nothing is blocking them from operating properly.
Your gas pedal is one of the most important elements of speed control for a golf cart.
When it isn’t working properly or if it is blocked in any way, there’s a good chance that you won’t get the kind of speed that you want out of your cart.
The same is true of the linkage – this chain helps to keep your speed at a level that makes sense for your cart’s needs.
Start by getting down on your hands and knees and pulling up the gas pedal from the floor.
Look for any debris that may have gotten underneath of the pedal.
Pay particular attention to items inside of the pedal resting area – you may find a lot of dirt, bits of rocks, and more inside here.
Remove these items and clean them, as needed, to keep your cart’s speed at a reasonable level.
At this point, you also need to check for any loose linkage elements or other items that may be getting a bit run down on your cart.
Take an adjustable wrench and tighten up any connections that may have loosened on your pedal.
These include various nuts, screws, bolts, and anything else that you may have found getting loose unexpectedly on your pedal.
Tighten these up slowly to avoid straining them as you work.
Now, find the linkage cable and check it for any kinks or loose connections.
Work these kinks out of the linkage and tighten up the connections, as needed, to keep your cart running smoothly and efficiently.
5. Measure the Tire Pressure
Did you know that the air pressure in your tires has a lot to do with your speed?
If your tires are too deflated, then your cart won’t have the same kind of pressure on the road that it needs to stay fast and secure.
And if your tires are too inflated, they run the risk of bursting and leaving you with a cart that doesn’t run as smoothly as you may want.
As you can see, there’s a careful balance that you have to strike here to avoid running into any issues with your cart’s operation in the future.
The easiest way to measure this problem is to use a tire gauge to check the pressure of your tires.
These gauges can be found at many repair shops and use the same type of connection as you’ll find with normal car tires.
Take the pressure of each tire on your cart to see where you stand.
Most carts will have a pressure between 15-25 PSI.
However, you typically want your tires at 20-22 PSI – at this range, they have a good firmness but aren’t too tight and likely to burst.
If you find that your tires are too low, use an air compressor to add air to the tire.
Move slowly, here – add air and check the pressure repeatedly to make sure that you don’t overfill.
And if your tires end up with more than 25 PSI at any point, use your fingernail or the head of a screwdriver to compress the small rod in the center of each tire stem.
This step will bleed a little air out of your tire but can be quite fast, so make sure that you don’t let loose too much air at once or you’ll need to fill up again.
6. Charge Up Your Battery Unit
We admit that this step probably seems a bit too basic to be included here.
However, we can’t tell you how many people we’ve worked with over the years who had a slow cart that just needed a charged battery.
However, there are mistakes that people may make that could cause their cart to lose out on some of its maximum speed anyway.
For example, many people try to use a generic battery charger or one that was not designed for their cart.
This step is basically a death trap for your cart – its battery array needs to be charged using the proper unit or you may end up damaging it.
Though the damage may be minor in this situation, it can be enough that your cart may end up losing some top speed.
So make sure that you always use the proper charger and always keep it at a proper charge level whenever you’re using the cart.
And here’s a trick that we like a lot when it comes to increasing your top carting speed – turning off items that you don’t need when charging.
For example, you must turn off the lights, radio, or any other electrical item that may cause your battery to drain as it charges.
And when you’re out on the course, turn off these items unless absolutely necessary.
They slowly drain your battery and can leave your top speed at a much lower level.
Keep them off and you’ll find yourself driving faster almost immediately.
7. Lighten Up Your Cart’s Weight
Lastly, you need to make sure that your cart is as light as possible to increase its speed.
This process goes hand-in-hand with the cleaning method mentioned earlier.
By lightening your cart of debris, dirt, and mud, you make it run faster by decreasing the amount of power needed to keep it running.
Of course, this step is just one element required when decreasing your cart’s weight.
You also need to pay attention to elements like removing unnecessary accessories and items that weigh it down.
For example, you may want to take out anything in the glove compartment that is too heavy.
These items include excessive handbooks, self-protection items, wrenches, and more.
By removing these items, you do put yourself at risk if your cart breaks down.
For instance, you won’t be able to repair your cart’s wheel if it breaks down because you won’t have the wrench.
Keep items like that on the cart, whenever possible, but get rid of other things that may just clutter up your cart and make it slower.
Some people will take the radios out of the cart, as well as items like umbrella holders and more.
We don’t think you need to go to quite that level to increase your cart’s speed.
However, doing so does give you the most benefits here.
We typically suggest that you do things like get rid of heavy items, like shoes and boots, that you may like but don’t need for your cart trips.
And make sure that you do all the maintenance for your cart, as well, such as greasing the tires and wheels to keep them operating smoothly and efficiently.
These steps are things that you should be able to handle on your own without expert help.