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8 Symptoms of a Bad Controller on Golf Cart (+ How to Fix)

8 Symptoms of a Bad Controller on Golf Cart (+ How to Fix)

Have you ever had your golf car suddenly stop moving during a round? If not, take my word for it; it’s a rough experience. A lot of the time, this is due to a defective controller.

My cart stopped working on the 17th green at an Indiana golf course. It was a strange accident. Fortunately, one of the marshalls came by and radioed for assistance. I had to hitch a ride with him back to the pro shop and didn’t get to finish my round.

If your golf cart suddenly stops working, it could be due to a problem with the controller. Here are 8 common signs and possible solutions.

If you feel uncomfortable trying any of these methods, there’s no shame in finding a golf cart mechanic in your area. Ask the staff at the pro shop to help you. They usually have someone who can fix your club car.


Table of Contents

  • 1. The Golf Cart Slows Down Out Of Nowhere
  • 2. The Cart’s Not Going as Fast as It Should Be
  • 3. Your Golf Cart Won’t Start
  • 4. The Cart Keeps Stalling out of The Blue
  • 5. Sudden speed bursts while driving your golf cart
  • 6. The Steering Wheel Shakes
  • 7. Controller Doesn’t Show Any Voltage
  • 8. The Operation Light Flashes Frequently

1. The Golf Cart Slows Down Out Of Nowhere

Ever cruised on the course at top speed when suddenly your golf cart slows down? This can happen regardless of whether the accelerator pedal is pushed all of the way down. It is a sign that your golf cart controller is not working properly.

A sudden slowdown could cause your golf bag to fly out of your cart, or worse, your passenger to be thrown off the cart. That’s why it’s important to troubleshoot this type of problem as soon as possible.

How to troubleshoot Sometimes, there’s a communication problem between the speed controller and the speed sensor. If you start slowing down abruptly, the best thing to do is to pull off the cart path to get out of harm’s way. Unexpected slow downs can cause accidents if the person operating the golf cart behind you doesn’t react quickly enough.

Once you have found a quiet area away from other golfers hit the Tow Mode button. After this, check the battery as well as all wires to determine the source of the problem.


2. The Cart’s Not Going as Fast as It Should Be

Is your golf cart losing speed? This could be a sign that your controller is slowly failing. Similar to problem 1, but it is more gradual than a sudden one.

How to troubleshootAs soon as possible, get to a safe location. After you have safely parked the golf cart, check all wires. If the cables are not loose, you can try the Reset button to resolve the problem.

If neither of these solutions works, it’s best to let a mechanic take a look or go ahead and order a replacement controller.


3. Your Golf Cart Won’t Start

This problem should be solved before your round begins so you can rent a cart at the pro shop. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. It doesn’t really matter if you have an electronic cart or a gasoline golf cart; it is a huge pain not to be able get it started.

How to troubleshoot If your electric golf cart makes clicking sounds when you turn the key it is most likely an issue with the electrical components. If your gasoline cart has a clicking sound, it could be a battery problem. If there’s no clicking sound when you turn the key, it could be a problem with the solenoid or the starter.

If your cart has an electrical component, ensure that all batteries are fully charged. If they’re not, let them sit on the charger for a while. If that’s not the issue, check all the battery cables to ensure there isn’t any corrosion or damage.

The same procedure should be followed for a gasoline cart. If that’s not the issue, make sure your cart just simply isn’t out of gas. The gas gauge can sometimes go bad, causing a misreading.


4. The Cart Keeps Stalling out of The Blue

This problem is dangerous and frightening when it happens. You’ll just be driving along thinking everything is fine, only to have your golf cart suddenly stall. Although your cart may restart when this happens, it is important to get to safety as soon as possible in order to fix the problem.

How to troubleshootYou should inspect the controller for damage that could be causing it malfunction. To check for any unusualities, take a look at your ignition coil. If you notice any type of wire damage, attach new ones if you’re comfortable or have an experienced technician do so.

If you’re unsure of what’s causing the golf cart to stall, get it to a trained mechanic. Don’t make the mistake of simply ignoring the problem. Stalling problems never get better by themselves.


5. Sudden speed bursts while driving your golf cart

You know the feeling of being pushed along in your golf cart and suddenly it accelerates faster than normal. This problem may seem kind of fun at first, but it’s a sign that you may need a new controller.

You may notice sudden speed bursts if your controller isn’t working properly. It’s a scary feeling when you feel like the golf cart is driving you and not the other way around.

This sudden acceleration problem can be very dangerous for you and your passengers. These symptoms can lead to the cart running for no apparent reason. To troubleshoot, get off the cart and go to a quiet place.

How to troubleshootTow Mode should be used to check for signs of controller failure. If no wires or smaller terminals appear to be loose, it’s probably time for a new controller.


6. The Steering Wheel Shakes

If you’re ever driving on the course and notice any shaking or vibrations from the steering wheel, it could be time to replace the controller. Even if you don’t notice a ton of vibration in the wheel, you may hear an unusual amount of club chatter from your golf bag. This is due to the golf cart stuttering.

How to troubleshootMost shaking and stuttering is caused by a bad controller or a defective throttle sensor. To ensure maximum safety, switch the maintenance switch to Tow Mode.

Recharge your battery if all wires are connected. If that doesn’t fix the issue, replace the controller or have an expert examine it.


7. Controller Doesn’t Show Any Voltage

If no volts are registering on your controller’s voltmeter, it may be time for a replacement. However, this problem could have a simple solution, so don’t panic.

The following steps will help you reset your controller. A controller is just like a computer. It must be rebooted regularly to maintain peak performance.

How to troubleshootResetting the controller can be done in a few steps. Place your golf cart in neutral and turn the key switch to the OFF position. Turn the tow switch to low.

Remove the negative battery cable from the battery set. Flip the tow switch to RUN, and flip the reverse switch. Turn the key switch on the ON slot. You’ve now successfully reset your controller.


8. The Operation Light Flashes Frequently

This is another telltale sign of a controller that’s starting to go bad. Most golf carts have an operation light that flashes a code when there’s something wrong. If the light is flashing like mad, pull over and investigate the code.

How to TroubleshootIt’s never a good feeling to see the operation light turn on. However, there’s no reason to panic. The controller might just need to reset, just as we did with symptom No. 7.

First, reset the controller. If that doesn’t clear the code, you may need to consider buying a new controller. If you don’t feel comfortable changing it out yourself, take your golf cart to a licensed mechanic.