The ignition switch on a golf cart is crucial for getting the vehicle started and operating as smoothly as possible.
It pulls electricity from the battery and sends a charge to the engine that gets your cart running.
However, there are a few issues that may occur with an ignition switch that may cause your cart to fail to start.
These issues can be very concerning.
As a result, we compiled this article to teach owners how to test their cart switch and replace it when necessary.
We broke down this article into the three main brands – EZGO, Club Car, and Yamaha – to give readers a better understanding.
Though the process is pretty similar between the three brands, it is different enough to make separate sections necessary.
Table Of Contents
How To Test & Install a Golf Cart Ignition Switch
Testing the EZGO Switch
EZGO carts usually have a very strong and reliable ignition switch that rarely runs into any troubles.
This manufacturer works hard to keep their carts reliable and usually provides the type of extra-quality that a cart owner deserves.
However, there comes a time when this switch may malfunction and cause complications.
For example, an ignition switch failure may cause a cart to fail to start.
However, it may also trigger riding issues, such as a jerking cart or other problems that can be quite unexpected and frustrating.
Thankfully, testing the EZGO switch isn’t too complex – EZGO is renowned for making their carts easy to understand and diagnosed by the average person.
However, you need to follow these steps:
- Examine the battery pack to find black and red wires – these should be common on both gas and electric carts, minimizing any confusion
- Take the black wire – a probe wire – and connect it to the negative terminal on your cart – this probe should be black for easier identification
- Connect the red wire to the back of the battery pack to a neutral area – you perform this step to ground the wires and make it easier to see where electricity flows
- Leave the key in the off position but attach the wires to a probe meter, one at a time, to check for voltage – one should have some voltage while the other should not
- Turn the key to the on position – the wire that had no voltage should now have some and if not, there is an issue with your ignition switch
When working on a cart in this way, make sure that you carefully handle the battery and the wires to avoid getting shocked.
Wearing a good set of gloves is a smart idea here.
You may also want to wear goggles – though the risk of a battery explosion or a similar reaction is small, we cannot stress the importance of being careful and staying safe enough in this situation.
And what if your cart does have ignition switch issues?
Then, you need to take immediate steps to repair your cart to ensure that it runs smoothly.
But what kind of steps are necessary in this situation?
That depends on what is wrong with your ignition.
In most cases, though, you’re probably going to have to fully replace the switch with a new one to ensure that things go smoothly for you.
Changing Out Your EZGO Ignition
At this point, you should have a pretty good idea of whether or not you need to change your EZGO cart ignition or if it is strong enough to stay in your cart.
Without proper electrical flow, there could be any number of issues with your ignition.
For example, the wires may simply be frayed and need to be replaced – you should be able to handle this process on your own without expert help.
That said, many types of ignition switch problems need to be handled via replacing the switch because the failure would be too expensive to fix.
In other words, replacing the switch entirely is less expensive than repairs!
Thankfully, you should be able to handle this type of installation on your own without a lot of difficulty.
The steps here include the following:
- Find your cart’s model number on the serial number plate and search for the proper ignition switch replacement online using this number as a guide
- Make sure your cart is turned off and then carefully remove the screws holding down your ignition switch, take off its wires, and tape them down to avoid damage
- Disconnect the cart battery and pull the switch out of your cart – you should use gloves during this process, particularly those designed to protect against electrical shock
- Place the new switch where the old switch was removed, carefully connecting the wires to the proper connectors to ensure that they operate properly
- Put the console that you removed in the second step and carefully insert the screws and drive them back into place with even turning throughout the console
- Test your cart’s switch again to ensure that it runs properly – if not, you need to check the wiring to make sure that you didn’t make an error somewhere
When you perform this step, you should always make sure that your parking brake is engaged to avoid any issues.
You also need to make sure that you have a pair of pliers, a small screwdriver, and other tools to properly remove all of these items.
The idea behind this removal process is that you are taking control of your cart repair and can handle this type of repair on your own without help.
And the power must be kept turned off at all times before you are finished to avoid a short circuit.
Remember – electricity is very powerful and could easily damage your cart’s ignition switch if you aren’t careful.
The only time you should turn on the power is when you are sure that the cart is safe to operate and that your switch has been hooked up properly.
Video Guide: Installing An EZGO Ignition Switch
Testing a Club Car Ignition Switch
The frustrating thing about the ignition switch on golf carts is that they are pretty close to being the same on most golf cart models.
The basic design is pretty simple and doesn’t have a lot of differences between the overall function and layout.
That said, there are enough differences between these different switches and design elements that we have to break them down here by brand.
That’s because each golf cart manufacturer has their own style and design for their ignition switches that make it important to examine them carefully.
Typically, the testing method that we mentioned above should be good enough for your Club Car as well.
That said, we’re going to go over the basic steps here just in case you skipped that section and don’t want to re-read it:
- Find the back and red wires on the back of your battery pack
- Connect the black wire to the negative terminal and the red to the positive
- Keep the cart turned off while you work on it
- Check the wires with a probe meter while the cart is off – only one wire should have a charge
- Turn the key on and check the wires – the second wire should now have some charge
Just like with an EZGO cart, a lack of charge in the secondary wire – or either wire when you turn on the ignition switch – indicates a problem.
With a Club Car cart, we suggest checking the wiring first.
The switch is less likely to fail in this situation because Club Car usually has parts that last for a very long time.
That said, the switch may also fail and leave you without an operating cart.
Can you switch out the ignition switch in a Club Car using the same methods that you may have read about for the EZGO?
Yes and no.
Yes because the basic process is, more or less, the same.
No, because there are differences that must be taken into account when installing your new switch.
Without preparing for these changes, you are likely to short out your cart and leave it in a poor state.
Thankfully, there are ways to avoid this problem and keep your cart up and running.
Installing a Club Car Ignition Switch
So, what are the big changes that you must take into account when installing a Club Car ignition switch instead of an EZGO switch?
Mostly, you’ll need to wire the switch up in a slightly different order than you did for the EZGO.
We didn’t go into order with the EZGO because it is fairly simple – the color-coded wires are connected in whatever order that works for you when installing the switch.
As with the testing section, we’re going to include a shortened version of the basic installation process used in the EZGO chapter.
Though this process is very similar and could be read about there, we know that many readers skip ahead to their cart and don’t read a full article of this size.
The instructions below should give you more than enough details for this installation:
- Look at your serial number plate and find the model number
- Contact Club Car or an online vendor and order an ignition switch based on the model number
- Turn off your cart and disconnect the battery to keep your cart safe
- Remove the screws for the ignition switch plate and disconnect the attached wires
- Take out the console and remove the ignition switch
- Put in the new ignition switch where the old one sat
Now, you need to change up the wiring connection pattern to follow the proper process.
Rather than attaching them the way that your EZGO manual suggests, you must follow the steps outlined below.
Doing so will ensure that you create a strong electrical connection and keep your cart operating as smoothly as possible in this situation:
- Connect the red wire to the bottom left connector
- Run the black wire to the top left connector
- Take the yellow wire to the bottom right connector
The big difference here is that your EZGO cart will have a blue wire instead of a yellow wire.
This wire serves the same purpose on both models but will be color-coded differently.
While you probably could have figured this out on your own due to the process of elimination, we want to make sure that all of our readers are fully aware of the proper wiring order here.
Note: We should point out that Club Car uses both push-button and key switches for their golf carts.
The ignition method is basically the same here with a few minor differences.
For example, you usually attach the wires to further terminals on the solenoid rather than the closest when installing on a key switch.
Talk to a cart specialist if you are uncertain to avoid making a bad mistake here.
Club Car Ignition Switch Installation Video Example
Yamaha Ignition Switch Testing
Lastly, we should take a look at how to test your Yamaha cart ignition switch to see if there are any troubles.
And guess what?
The testing process is more or less the same here as it is with other carts.
That’s nice because it makes it very easy to gauge the ignition switch on any golf cart but kind of annoying for us because we have to repeat the testing tips so often, which include:
- Locating the back and red wires on the back of your battery pack
- Connecting the black wire to the negative terminal and the red to the positive
- Keeping the cart turned off for awhile to avoid shocks
- Checking the wires with a probe meter while the cart is off
- Making sure that just one wire has a charge and the other does not
- Turning the key on to start the engine and get a charge moving
- Testing the second wire to make sure that it now has some charge
Like with the other golf cart ignition switch tests we’ve discussed here, your second wire should now have a constant charge that is at the same level at the first wire.
If there is no charge in the second wire – or if the charge is uneven compared to the first wire – you likely have an ignition switch issue.
As a result, it will be important for you to check this problem to ensure that it doesn’t worsen.
Replacing a Yamaha Golf Cart Ignition Switch
Here’s a shocking development for anybody who has been reading this article – installing a Yamaha golf cart ignition switch isn’t much different than with the EZGO.
And like with the Club Car, the major difference is the wiring of the switch and how you connect it to the cart.
Like with the Club Car section, we think it is important to briefly reiterate this process here to ensure that you get it done properly.
The steps to follow include:
- Finding your serial number plate and taking down the serial and model numbers – the model number is the most important, but you may need the serial number too
- Talking to a vendor, dealer, or using an online site to seek out the ignition you need based on these numbers – doing so ensures your cart doesn’t have any issues
- Disconnecting the battery before you start working to avoid shocks and any damage to your cart, which may happen if you aren’t careful
- Using a proper screwdriver to remove the screws from the ignition switch console – carefully remove the console as far as the wires allow
- Disconnecting the attached wires and carefully taking them away from the switch or the cart to avoid any shock dangers
- Taking out the console and removing the ignition switch and placing it out of the way to avoid confusion when installing the new switch
- Carefully placing the new ignition switch in the console, attaching the wires properly, and screwing the console back into the cart