Do Golf Carts Have Wheel Bearings?

In a lot of ways, golf carts differ from a traditional car or truck. Golf carts are normally not equipped with a motor that can accelerate to speeds over 50, they may or may not have brake lights, and often they are not outfitted to be legally driven on the street.

However, in a variety of other ways golf carts are entirely reminiscent of larger and more heavily powered vehicles. Golf carts utilize mechanics that are also fundamental to the operation of a car or truck. These mechanics include operation equipment and systems such as brakes, suspension, and yes, wheel bearings. Like most vehicles that are equipped with wheels, it is a factory standard that all golf carts be outfitted with wheel bearings.

Do golf carts have wheel bearings?

Golf carts have wheel bearings just like a full size vehicle has. They are either unsealed or sealed. Sealed bearings cannot be serviced whereas unsealed bearings can be serviced with extra bearing grease. It is important to check your bearings every 6 months to a year for extra play or damage.

Now that you know that your golf cart is equipped with wheel bearings, you may have other questions pertaining to the part in particular. Below, this article will take a look at the two types of wheel bearings commonly found on a golf cart, how to tell if your wheel bearings are going bad, and how often you will need to lubricate your golf cart wheel bearings. Though, before all of this we need to take a look at what exactly a wheel bearing is.

What is a Wheel Bearing on a Golf Cart?

Wheel bearings are essential pieces in the overall performance of your golf cart. These small pieces of equipment, which work alongside the wheel and tire assemblies, are a series of small steel balls held together by a metal ring. This metal ring is often referred to as a race.

All together, the four wheel bearings on your golf cart help to eliminate any friction the vehicle may experience during its operation. By eliminating this friction, wheel bearings are responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of your vehicle and the protection of your wheel and tire assemblies. Without wheel bearings, your golf cart would be slower, less balanced, and highly susceptible to wheel and tire damage.

The Two Types of Golf Cart Wheel Bearings

In general, there are two common types of wheel bearings that are often used on golf carts. These two types are sealed and unsealed wheel bearings. Both of these wheel bearings are made up of the same components: a series of steel balls and a steel race which are inserted flush against the hub of a golf cart’s brakes. However, these two types of bearings differ in the fact that one is serviceable and one is not.

Unsealed wheel bearings are serviceable. Golf cart owners who own a vehicle that is equipped with unsealed wheel bearings will be able to lubricate their vehicle’s wheel bearings as they feel is necessary. On the other hand, sealed wheel bearings do not offer owners the opportunity to service and lubricate their vehicle’s bearings. When worn or dried out, sealed bearings will need to be removed and replaced with replacement bearings.

SealedUnserviceableRemove and replace
UnsealedServiceableLubricate and maintain

Warning Signs Your Golf Cart’s Wheel Bearings Are Bad

On average, sealed wheel bearings will last longer without removal and replacement than unsealed wheel bearings will need to be serviced and lubricated. To keep your golf cart’s wheels, tires, and hub assemblies performing at their best, it is important to keep up with the maintenance or replacement of  your cart’s wheel bearings. When these wheel bearings need replacement or lubrication several warning signs are bound to appear. These warning signs are as follows:

  • Noise coming from the wheel and tire area
  • Play in the steering wheel
  • A golf cart that is pulling to one side or the other
  • Uneven tire wear

The most common warning sign of a bad wheel bearing is a grinding, grating, or squeaking noise coming from the tire and wheel area. Listen carefully to your vehicle if you suspect your wheel bearings may be in need of service. Often the noise associated with a bad wheel bearing is incorrectly diagnosed as engine noise or another problem with the golf cart.

Another common symptom of a bad wheel bearing is play in a golf cart’s steering. This may also be defined as a “loose” ride. Either way, if you notice there is unnecessary play in your vehicle’s steering wheel you may have a bad wheel bearing.

In addition to these two common wheel bearing symptoms, a bad wheel bearing may also materialize as a poor driving performance or uneven tire wear. A bad wheel bearing can cause your golf cart to pull to one side or the other during its operation.

How Often Do You Need to Lubricate Your Golf Cart’s Wheel Bearings

If your vehicle is equipped with sealed wheel bearings, the only “maintenance” you can perform related to your vehicle’s bearings is their removal and replacement. However, in the event your vehicle is equipped with unsealed wheel bearings,  you will have the ability to perform regular maintenance on these bearings to maximize their performance.

Overall, it is recommended that unsealed bearings on a car or truck be lubricated every 25,000 to 30,000 miles. However, on a golf cart there is no standard number of miles at which one should lubricate their bearings.

In general, it is a good idea to lubricate your golf cart’s wheel bearings every three to five months depending on the extent you use the cart. You should also lubricate your wheel bearings if you begin to notice any of the warning signs of a bad wheel bearing start to appear in your cart’s performance.

Keep on Rolling

If you think about it, wheel bearings are pretty impressive. These little manufactured pieces of steel allow your golf cart to smoothly transition across an array of terrain while maintaining the optimal performance of your wheels and tires and eliminating friction. The proper care of your golf cart’s wheel bearings, sealed or unsealed, will go a long way in solidifying it continues to perform well for years to come. Remember, to watch out for the warning signs of a bad wheel bearing in the future!