While golf carts are still primarily operated on golf courses, they have also made their way off the course. In retirement communities, residents use golf carts to play a round of golf, go shopping and visit neighbors. On the job site, golf carts carry security guards, haul trailers, carry supplies and transport people to far-flung areas.
Choose the features you must have on the cart you want to buy. Common golf cart features include electric or gas power, solid-state ignition, windshields, heaters, canopies, lights, cargo holders, golf bag straps and light towing capabilities.
Consider how much repair work you can do yourself and how much time you have to do the work. Many surface problems on golf carts can be easy to fix for very little money, such as seat cushions and covers.
Inspect the batteries of the golf cart you may buy. Lift the seat and look for the month (A being January through L being December) and year the batteries were made. Look for battery leaks and corrosion. Golf cart batteries have a typical life span of 5 years.
Inspect the battery cables. Ask whether the battery charger shuts off automatically when the batteries are fully charged (which is the better option) or with a manual timer.
Look over the body of the golf cart carefully for signs of misuse, rust and significant body damage. A used golf cart may be scratched up and have minor dings but shouldn't look like it lost a fight with a Mack truck. Inspect the tires for wear. Add the cost of replacement tires to the total cost of the used golf cart if the tires look old and worn.
Shake the cart hard by the canopy (if it has one) to make sure the cart is roadworthy and the canopy is secure. Listen for noises while you shake to find out whether something in the cart is loose or broken.
Go for a test drive for at least 30 minutes. Test the brakes, acceleration, turning, stability, play in the steering wheel and battery life.
Buy a used golf cart made by a well-known company. If you purchase a cart made by a company you have never heard of, you will have a hard time finding replacement parts.