If you are a golf cart owner you may know that nothing can be quite as frustrating as golf cart lights that consistently fail to work. Obviously, headlights and tail lights are necessary to operate the cart during low light hours or after dark, but golf carts are also required to be equipped with proper functioning lights in order to be deemed street legal in most states in the country. Therefore, if a golf cart owner is not able to get their lights working properly then they may not only not be able to utilize their cart after dark, but most likely they also will not be able to legally operate their cart around town. This can cause some understandable frustration.
Luckily, if you do find yourself facing this predicament you have come to the right place. Below the most common problems that can cause a golf cart’s lights to malfunction will be explained. Further in the article, how to replace a blown headlight on a EZGO, Yamaha, and Club Car golf cart will also be explored.
Why Wont My Golf Cart Lights Work?
The main reasons golf cart head lights don’t work are blown out bulbs, dead battery’s, faulty wiring, bad headlight switch, bad voltage reducer or a blown fuse. These are all easy to troubleshoot, and very easy to fix.
Your golf cart’s lights may prove faulty for a variety of other reasons. Common issues with a golf cart’s lighting system can range from a blown-out fuse to a faulty lighting switch. In general, most golf carts are equipped with headlights but no tail lights. If your vehicle is equipped with tail lights it is likely you added these yourself or had them added custom by a mechanic. Therefore, troubleshooting problems with your vehicle’s headlamps will be a different process than troubleshooting your vehicle’s taillights. Each of these troubleshooting processes will be outlined below, but first, you should become familiar with the different parts of your vehicle’s lighting system.
The Various Parts of a Golf Cart’s Lighting System
Your golf cart’s lighting system is composed of various parts. Each of these parts works together to produce a working electrical circuit that provides a current to your vehicle’s headlights and brake lights (if your vehicle is equipped with them). The most obvious parts of your vehicle’s lighting system are the headlight and brake light bulbs. These parts of the system are responsible for producing light. In addition to the actual bulbs, the lighting system is also composed of fuses and the lighting switch.
The fuses act as the safety patrol of the lighting system. These pieces of equipment manage the intensity of current different parts of the lighting system can receive. The lighting switch allows operators to enable and disable the vehicle’s lights. All together these parts produce the vehicle’s electrical circuit. If one of these parts fail, then the whole system fails and your vehicle’s headlights or brake lights will produce no light.
|LIGHTING SYSTEM PART||FUNCTION|
|Headlights/Brake Lights Bulbs||The actual part that produces light for the vehicle. Similar to car or truck lighting, headlights on a golf cart produce yellow or white light, whereas brake lights are colored red.|
|Electrical Circuit||The system of wires, fuses, and resistors that produces a stable electrical system. This circuit provides power to a majority of your cart’s electrical functions. Your cart most likely has multiple smaller electrical circuits.|
|Fuses||An electrical device that controls the intensity of current your vehicle’s lighting system can receive.|
|Lighting Switch||Allow cart operators to activate and deactivate the vehicle’s lighting system. May include the option to switch between hi-beam lights, turn signals, and running lights.|
Troubleshooting Your Golf Cart’s Faulty Headlights
1. Blown Fuse on your Golf Cart Headlights
Problems with a golf cart’s headlights are commonly linked to a blown-out headlight fuse. A blown headlight fuse will cause your vehicle’s headlights to not receive the power necessary for them to produce light. If your vehicle recently experienced flickering or dim headlights before your lights stopped working this is all but a sure sign that the problem with your headlights is a blown fuse. When this fuse begins to fail it commonly produces lights that flicker or are significantly dimmer than normal. Your vehicle’s headlights could also be affected by a poor or incorrectly wired circuit connection.
2. Poor Headlight Circuit
Was your vehicle’s electrical system recently replaced or repaired? If so, then it may be best to expect your headlight problem to be attributed to a poor circuit connection. When a golf cart’s electrical wires are pulled out, replaced, or repaired it is common for the headlight circuit to be affected. When this circuit is weak or broken your vehicle’s electrical system is unable to provide enough electricity to the headlight fuse causing the golf cart’s lights to fail.
If you added headlights yourself and you take your cart to the dealer, they may mistake your work with factory and accidently disconnect and forget to connect. Always check your wiring if they stop working after the cart has been worked on.
3. Faulty Golf Cart Headlight Switch
The third reason for a golf cart’s headlights to stop working is a faulty headlight switch. Sometimes this switch will not receive enough current causing the switch to fail. When this switch fails there is no way for the golf cart operator to activate the vehicle’s headlights.
4. Blown Headlight Bulbs on your Golf Cart
Finally, your headlight bulbs could simply be blown. Most of the time they are easy to replace, simply purchase new bulbs and replace.
If you have LED bulbs, they may not be replaceable and you may have to purchase new headlights. The tell tale sign if a bulb is burnt out is if one of the lights work and the other doesn’t.
5. Dead Battery on your Golf Cart
Some gas golf carts have a battery for accessories, and some electric batteries have a separate battery for radios and lighting as not to draw power from the main power bank. Always check to see if this battery is fully charged and has enough voltage to power your accessories.
6. Blown Voltage Reducer
Many electric golf carts will have a voltage reducer to reduce the voltage from 48 volts to 12 volts to power your lighting. These systems will go bad and you may have to replace it. To tell if your voltage reducer is bad, simply take a multimeter and measure the voltage to see if it is putting off 12 volts.
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How To Fix Your Golf Cart’s Headlights
Fixing your golf cart’s headlights involves determining the source of the problem and then replacing the faulty equipment or wiring. The following steps should allow you to determine the problem:
- Evaluate the circuit connection. Check each wire involved in the circuit for damage.
- Check the connections from wire to wire. Are they each securely connected to one another to form the closed electrical circuit needed for lighting.
- Using a multimeter check the amount of power running to the lighting fuse. No power running from the fuse most likely means that the fuse is blown. Replace the fuse.
- If the fuse is not the problem, you will need to now check your vehicle’s lighting switch. Is it receiving enough power? If it is receiving enough power, but your lights do not light up then the problem is your switch.
- Replace the switch.
- If you have power running to your lighting switch and power running to your fuse then your problem is most likely blow headlight bulbs.
- Replace your headlight bulbs.
- If your battery is dead, it may be time to replace or charge it.
Troubleshooting Your Golf Cart’s Faulty Brake Lights
Typically golf carts are not manufactured with factory installed brake lights. Though some models do come standard with factory headlights and brake lights it is more common that brake lights will need to be manually installed by a golf cart’s owner. This self installation often is to blame for the problems associated with a golf cart’s brake lights.
The leading cause of problems affecting a golf cart’s brake lights are loose wiring and incorrect connections. Therefore, if you recently installed the brake lights you are troubleshooting you should first check if your connections are securely fastened and if you completed the electrical circuit correctly. If your golf cart is not equipped with brake lights you may be able to install them yourself. However, if you are unsure or not confident in yourself completing the process you should let a professional mechanic install the lights. Lighting and electrical currents on a vehicle can quickly become very frustrating if the installation is not carried out correctly.
Why Do My Golf Cart’s Headlight Bulbs Keep Blowing
Golf cart headlights will constantly blow if you have incorrect wring, if they are getting too much or too little voltage. It is a good idea to check your incoming power to determine if it is 12 volts. Your voltage reducer may have failed sending more voltage than the bulbs can take.
If you find that your golf cart’s headlight bulbs keep blowing upon replacement you may have a problem with your wiring. If your connections are crossed or your electrical circuit is not completed properly your golf cart’s headlight bulbs could continue to blow. The best way to evaluate problems associated with continued headlight bulb blowouts is by taking a look at your circuit wiring. You may also want to make sure that your headlights are properly hooked to your cart’s battery terminals. These wiring for a cart’s headlights should only be connected to two battery terminals; any additional connections will cause the headlights to blow immediately.
In order to check your golf cart’s circuit wiring you should refer to the wiring diagram included in your golf cart’s user manual. If you bought or received your golf cart second hand and you do not have the cart’s user manual, you can find the wiring diagram on the internet. This diagram will provide you will all the information you need to evaluate your golf cart’s wiring, fix the circuit, and prevent your headlights from blowing in the future.
While significantly less common, your headlights could also be blowing because you have purchased the wrong equipment. Occasionally it is possible for a headlight to fit one or more golf cart’s, but only be geared to support the amount of current associated with one golf cart in particular. Make sure when you purchase your replacement bulbs you are getting the equipment listed in the cart’s user manual.
Why Are My Golf Cart’s Headlights Dimming
Golf cart headlights will dim if they have too little voltage or too little amperage. If you have a voltage reducer, make sure it has enough amps to power all of your 12 volt accessories. If not, you may need to upgrade it.
The constant dimming of a golf cart’s headlights can be caused for several reasons. The first, and most common reason, for this annoyance is that your golf cart’s headlight wiring is loose. Loose wiring or a loose wiring connection will cause your headlights to dim as the wire shifts and less contact is made between the two wires in the connection. If you notice your headlights dim more frequently when you are driving your golf cart this may be a sign that your problems are linked to the wiring of your headlights. When your vehicle traverses bumpy or rocky terrain these wires could become loose.
Another reason your golf cart’s headlights could be dimming is because of a faulty accelerator. When the accelerator on a golf cart is starting to fail it may draw unnecessary amounts of power to continue working. This unnecessary draw will leave less of the golf cart’s current to power the headlights and other electrical aspects of the golf cart. If you suspect your golf cart’s accelerator is faulty or starting to fail, you should replace the accelerator immediately. A proper accelerator will not only fix your dimming headlights, but also improve the overall health of your golf cart.
In the event you check your headlight wiring and your golf cart’s accelerator and your lights are still dimming, there are a number of other issues that could be the culprit of this annoyance. Issues such as a faulty solenoid, low power supply, failing fuses, and other wiring issues could all be the cause of dimming headlights. However, the first two reasons are most likely the problem.
Recap: Blowing & Dimming Headlights
The following table recaps the issues and problems most likely responsible for the dimming of a golf cart’s headlights and the consistent blowing of a golf cart’s headlight bulbs.
|Blowing Headlight Bulbs||Crossed wires Incorrect battery terminal connection Improper bulb equipment||Reference golf cart user manual for proper circuit configuration. Purchase proper headlight bulbs Install new headlight bulbs|
|Dimming Headlights||Loose Wiring Faulty Accelerator Faulty Fuses or Power Supply||Evaluate wiring / circuit connections Evaluate Accelerator Fix Issue|
How To Replace a Headlight Bulb on Your Golf Cart
While replacing a headlight bulb on a golf cart is a simple process, it can be confusing the first time you are confronted with a blown headlight bulb. Before you begin to replace your golf cart’s headlight bulbs you should be sure you have purchased a replacement bulb that is the correct size and voltage. The information associated with what bulb works for your particular golf cart model should be listed in the cart’s user manual. If you do not have access to this manual you can most likely find this information online.
Now that you have the proper replacement bulb for your golf cart, installing the bulb is simple and can be completed following these steps:
Step One: Remove the blown bulb from your vehicle’s headlight and discard of the bulb (often these bulbs are secured via a small release tab that is located near the socket)
Step Two: Locate the replacement bulb you have purchased for your golf cart.
Step Three: Securely place your replacement bulb into the golf cart’s headlight socket (you should hear the faint clip of the small release tab signifying the bulb is secure)
Step Four: Turn your vehicle’s lights on and make sure the bulb is working.
Step Five: Repeat steps one through four for the vehicles other headlight if necessary.
Summary: Evaluate, Monitor, and Repair
Nothing can be more frustrating to a golf cart owner than faulty and malfunctioning headlights. Hopefully, now at the end of this article, you have been able to locate the problem that is causing your golf cart’s headlights to malfunction.
Remember that it is highly likely that your headlights are malfunctioning due to wiring issues. Start by evaluating your golf cart’s wiring. The lighting circuit can be checked against the circuit diagram in the cart’s user manual. Once you begin to replace faulty parts on your golf cart, make sure you are purchasing the right equipment. Certain golf cart models are only compatible with a few headlight bulb sizes and voltages. Good luck and be safe during your repairs.