How can I make my golf cart faster?
Making a golf cart street legal requires you to increase the speed of your cart to a minimum that, in many models, would initially be the cart’s maximum speed.
This process takes a lot of upgrades to various elements of the cart, each of which will work to improve the speed and power of your cart one step further.
However, you need to be careful with this process because mistakes are very easy to make.
As a result, you need to follow the guidelines below to ensure that you properly upgrade your cart and get the best possible speed.
Each tip will require either a basic or sophisticated understanding of how a golf cart works, so you may need professionals to help you achieve these upgrades.
Thankfully, most manufacturers or dealers should have mechanics who can help you with this process.
1. Extra Speed Requires Better Torque
Torque is one of the essential elements to keep in mind when trying to improve your golf cart’s speed.
This aspect is often hard for some people to understand, and many mistake it for the concept of horsepower.
In a golf cart, horsepower is going to be minimal and not as crucial as your torque.
Before we go into how you need to improve the speed of your cart, you should understand what torque is to grasp better the improvements you’re going to add to your cart.
Simply put, torque is the pulling power of any motor and dictates your speed in a variety of ways.
For example, a cart with higher torque will pull higher weight levels without struggling.
As a result, you can achieve higher speeds by running your engine at the same rate.
And when it comes to golf carts, torque is tied directly to the current provided by the battery.
While torque on a gas-powered cart is aligned with the output of that gas engine, we’re talking strictly of electric carts here because they are more popular on the market.
However, the connection between torque, speed, and battery power is more complicated than you might fully understand.
For example, the voltage of your engine will indicate how fast your cart can drive.
By contrast, the amperage of the battery affects your torque, which will also affect how fast your cart operates.
All of this information may be confusing, at first, but there is a simple rule here: the more voltage and amperage your battery provides, the faster your cart will drive.
You don’t need to know the complexities behind the physics of this process to know that simple fact.
However, the battery isn’t the only way that you can improve the torque and speed of your cart.
For example, you can upgrade the motor, add new tires, change your batteries, decrease the weight of your cart, and much more.
You may end up spending hundreds of dollars or even more on your cart during this process, but the extra speed is more than worth it if you want an excellent cart that you can take on the road whenever you want.
2. Add Higher-Powered Golf Cart Batteries
The battery of the average golf cart is one of the most vital elements for your cart’s speed.
In fact, it may be the most crucial aspect, in many ways, because the battery will dictate how much torque and speed you can produce.
As a result, you need to take the time to shop around a little bit before you buy a battery to ensure that your cart is fitted with one that will provide you with maximum towing power.
Thankfully, battery upgrades are easier to understand than other types of updates.
Simply put, a higher-powered battery is almost always going to produce more speed than lower-powered cells.
Pay special attention to both the voltage of the battery and the amperage.
The voltage will translate to raw power for your battery while amperage will improve your torque and your pulling power.
Typical golf cart batteries range from 4-8 volts and have an output system of about 36 or 48 volts.
However, you can also buy performance batteries of up to 12 volts that will provide a higher flow of electricity to improve your speed.
Don’t fit your cart with this type of cell if you haven’t checked with the manufacturer specifications.
An overpowered battery could damage some cart engines and motors if you aren’t careful.
3. Improve Your Golf Cart Motor
The motor on your cart will take the electric power from your battery and translate it into pulling power.
As a result, you need to pay special attention to your motor to improve how fast your cart drives.
The upgrades here can be challenging to understand without help, so you need to read through the section below to get a better idea of what elements help make an engine more powerful.
First of all, the field coil of your motor is very important and will dictate the speed of your cart in many ways.
The field coil of your motor produces a magnetic field that powers your cart and keeps your battery healthy.
A larger coil will, naturally, provide, a higher level of magnetic power that can produce greater torque in your cart.
The size of the coil is typically measured in splines, which is usually printed on the battery and its box.
However, a larger field coil doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll automatically have a higher speed.
For example, many types of motors produce high levels of torque – that help your cart pull more weight – but don’t necessarily translate to a higher voltage on your battery.
As a result, your cart may not have the same increase in speed that you want for your engine.
This situation often requires a careful balance between torque and speed to ensure that you get the best results.
Remember that some cart engines will produce a smaller field coil inside of the battery to produce less torque but also allow a higher RPM for your cart.
These batters are great if you want more top speed because higher RPM rates are tied directly to your voltage.
If raw speed, and not pulling power, is more important to you, you may want to find a motor that has a smaller field coil instead.
Again, you need to decide how vital speed is versus the overall pulling power of your cart, as some may want a cart that can pull smaller carts and even debris.
4. Improve Golf Cart High-Speed Controller
Most golf carts come with a speed controller and solenoid contractor relay that limit how fast the cart can drive when on the road.
You may think that you could turn off these relays or remove them from your cart and immediately improve your speed.
However, that isn’t the case with a golf cart.
These elements not only helps to control a cart’s speed but work to ensure that the motor doesn’t run too fast and cause itself damage.
As a result, the speed controller and the solenoid contractor relay are essential elements on the engine.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enhance these parts to improve the speed of your engine.
The trick here is to find pieces that meet or exceed the amperage maximum of your engine.
For example, if you have a battery capable of producing 500 amps, you want a speed controller and solenoid contractor relay that can handle these levels.
Unfortunately, most standard parts of these types can handle no more than 250-275 amps, which means that your engine’s speed will be limited to that level.
So talk to a golf cart manufacturer or visit a golf cart parts shop and look around for parts that meet these levels.
Most parts of these types will be labeled as “performance” parts to make finding them more accessible.
They’re also going to cost more than standard parts, so make sure that you budget yourself appropriately.
The extra price may be as much as 20-30 percent more than conventional elements.
And you’ll need to upgrade not only the electronic speed controller and the solenoid contractor relay but the motor as well to ensure that you get the most speed.
5. Add Better Cart Tires
After you’ve fully upgraded your motor and replaced your speed limiting items, you need to expand and start improving other elements of your cart.
For example, you’ll need to add higher-quality and larger tires to your cart.
Larger tires help to improve your speed by translating your torque and turning power more efficiently to your tires.
Smaller tires will need to rotate more often to achieve the same pulling force that a larger tire produces with fewer rotations.
In fact, adding tires of up to 24-inches to your cart without performing any other speed upgrades will add nearly five miles per hour to your maximum speed rate.
When paired with an improved motor with higher torque, these tires will produce even more speed.
Even better, these larger tires are typically nowhere near as expensive as an upgrade when compared to improved motors.
As a result, you can achieve a positive result even if you stick just to better and larger tires for your cart.
However, you need to make sure that you don’t add tires that are too big for your cart.
Tires from between 20-24 inches typically fit on most carts.
Anything more significant than that will be impossible to install without additional upgrades, such as adding more massive wheel beds to your cart.
While this may be a good idea if you want to add tires above 24 inches, you may make a mistake and add tires that are too heavy for your cart to handle.
Remember that your cart has a pretty specific maximum amperage and torque, which means it can only pull so much weight before your speed starts to suffer.
Larger wheels, while they do provide increased speed efficiency, do add extra weight to your cart.
Wheels above 24 inches begin to decrease your speed by adding more weight for your cart to pull.
A good balance here can be a hard one to achieve if you don’t talk to a cart specialist to learn more about this aspect of your cart’s speeds.
6. Decrease Your Cart’s Weight
Lastly, you need to decrease your cart’s weight to ensure that it doesn’t strain your motor.
This process often requires cleaning the exterior of your cart and eliminating mud, dirt, rocks, and other items that add unnecessary weight.
This type of debris is typical on any active cart.
You may also want to eliminate extra items that you rarely use, such as tripods for cameras and much more.
Though these items may not be that heavy, removing as much excess weight as possible from your cart ensures that it runs more smoothly and is faster than it would be otherwise.