When you have a golf cart that you are using around the golf course, the farm, or the homestead, you will have to learn how to take care of it. Many people regularly face the challenge of their cart making many clicking noises but never moving or even properly starting.
A golf cart may make clicking noises when the battery terminals are damaged or filthy, usually through water or mud damage to the terminals. To fix this, remove the battery and clean out the terminals using a wire brush or sandpaper, ensuring clean contact with the battery.
Many things will cause your golf cart to suddenly only make clicking noises; fortunately, most of them are quite uncommon. However, we recommend that you understand these to easily diagnose all of the most common problems and find a fix.
What Could Cause A Golf Cart Not To Move?
The list of things that can cause the cart not to move is quite long, with every specialist having their list of problems they have encountered. However, we recommend that you understand only the most basic ones so that you can easily and comfortably fix the most pressing immediate issues.
The most obvious one to check is to see if the batteries are charged and that nothing is blocking the wheels. Apart from these obvious ones, we recommend that you have a fundamental understanding of what can be wrong with your golf cart and how to fix them when things go wrong.
The number one reason for a golf cart clicking and not moving is a damaged solenoid. These go bad from time to time and are easy to replace. This should be your number one fix when you are diagnosing your problem.
The solenoid is what transfers electricity from your battery to your motor, without this, you will be dead in the water.
Broken Speed Controller
Another culprit for your golf cart clicking ant not moving is a damaged speed controller. These can go out if you drive your golf cart up steep hills, in extreme heat, have aftermarket wheels and tires, or have a large load of people or items you are driving.
Speed controllers are rated for a certain maximum amp hours, so if you have larger aftermarket wheels and tires, have a 4 seat golf cart, and are driving up hills, you can expect that this may be the reason your golf cart is clicking and not moving.
Dirt On The Battery Terminals
The most common issue faced by golf carts that are used a lot is that there is dirt on the battery’s terminals. This happens over time, or the terminals can become rusted or corroded.
On most vehicles, dirt will never get on the battery terminal, and you won’t have to think about it at all. However, the batteries are kept rather low with golf carts, making it easy to get the compartment filled with dirt and other debris that causes issues and headaches.
When the batteries start to get old, they will naturally become weaker and unable to hold a charge for as long as they used to. Eventually, the batteries will not be able to provide the right amount of voltage and amperage to power the motors of the golf cart, causing a clicking sound.
There is no way to fix or restore the batteries to what they were once; even if you overcharge them, it will only be a short-term solution. All batteries face this issue, with only newer batteries being able to last for up to ten years instead of the usual four or five older systems.
A much less likely occurrence but still possible is that the motor of the golf cart has been damaged and needs to be fixed or replaced. This can happen when the motor has been overvolted, overstressed, or used in conditions that are not ideal, which causes the motor to overheat.
We have seen many people overload their golf carts, causing the motor to work much harder than it was designed for. Overloading causes permanent damage that builds up over time. The motor can also burn out or just stop working at all when you least expect it, even if it was working fine a day ago.
Modern golf carts work with extremely high voltages and amperages, which has meant that manufacturers installed fuse boxes to keep everything safe. If there is an unexpected draw or the system shorts, a fuse will blow, causing the golf cart to click but not start.
Fortunately, when this happens, you can usually just replace the fuse, but you may want to check to see what has caused the fuse to blow to start with. This will ensure that your golf cart can continue running without too much trouble.
Golf carts usually have an ignition system that turns the cart on or off, which can wear out and break over time. This is especially true if your golf cart is used in rainy conditions and is not protected from the throws of the weather in your area.
Ignition system failure can cause many things to go wrong, with the cart not turning on properly, not turning off properly, or just clicking when you step on the gas pedal. The ignition is often overlooked as a cause of problems as many are just simple switches that require a key to be turned on.
Even with the best fuses, some short circuits can cause the system to fail without blowing a fuse. When this happens, you may hear the short-circuiting wires start to click as the electricity sparks and cause the clicking sound you hear when starting the cart.
It can be dangerous as a short circuit on the wrong wires can cause the batteries or the motor to completely overheat and cause a fire. Many carts lost to people simply not doing maintenance on the wiring they can’t easily see or get to, instead of assuming they are always working.
Why Does A Golf Cart Just Click?
To explain why a golf cart just clicks when something has gone wrong, we need to look at the two main causes of the clicking noises. Even if the motor has completely died, the most common cause of the clicking is not a safety system letting you know something is wrong.
Instead, it is a by-product of what is happening. The golf cart will continue operating normally once the problems have been fixed. We always recommend that you stop trying to start the golf cart once you only hear clicking noises coming from it to avoid potential dangers.
When wires are short-circuiting, they are not routing electricity to the right systems, usually sparking between two wires that can cause an audible and visual effect. This spark sounds like something is clicking and can be heard anywhere near the cart as it is a miniature lightning bolt.
When you hear this type of clicking sound, you will need to unhook the battery to ensure that no further damage is done to the system of the cart. However, it is usually easier to fix than some of the other issues that you may face when your golf cart starts to click for no apparent reason.
A battery that has been damaged or is completely dead may still cause a clicking sound to happen in your golf cart; it will be a fading clicking sound of the solenoid. As you try to use the cart, the clicking sound will slow down until it eventually stops entirely and becomes silent simply because there is no more power.
As the battery is not providing enough power to the motor, it tries to engage but cannot turn properly, with the electromagnetic field not activating fully. This is why you will often have the golf cart clicking when the battery is low until it eventually stops working altogether.
How Do You Reset A Golf Cart Motor?
When there have been power problems or the golf cart motor has been overused, you will need to reset the motor to get the proper amount of torque out of it. Golf cart motors have small buttons that allow you to easily and comfortably reset the cart motor that will almost completely reset the motor.
Once the motor has been reset, you need to close the cover and charge the battery back to full. This ensures that the motor does not need to be reset again. However, motor issues cannot be fixed by simply pressing the reset button; instead, you need to remove the motor.
If your motor has overheated and been strained too much, the magnetic abilities of the motor will be damaged. This means that you must replace the motor or send it to someone so that they can replace and fix the parts of the motor to get it working without too much trouble.
How Do You Know If A Golf Cart Motor Is Bad?
The motor of a golf cart will be bad when there is power being provided by the battery or charging system, and there is no motion. Usually, the motor will make a buzzing sound if it is still getting powered after it has stopped working, which is why you need to ensure the motor is never making unwanted sounds.
We recommend not using a motor if it is overheating or not making sounds that can cause the motor to overheat. This will ensure that the motor and the golf cart do not suddenly become a problem you cannot handle; broken motors can cause the cart to catch fire.
If you are unsure, you can use a voltmeter to see if there is power going to the motor, as it should have the highest voltage flowing towards it. If the motor is completely broken, there may not be any power flowing out of it, as it is part of a circuit with other parts getting power after it.
Do Golf Carts Have Fuses?
Yes, golf carts contain fuses similar to the fuses used in cars or bikes, with a fuse box that is easy to reach, usually under the steering wheel. Golf carts with more accessories will have more intricate fuses located under the seats to allow for more space and still be easy to access.
We recommend that you replace the fuses exactly as they are on the fuse; this will ensure that the golf cart cables are not overvolted. The power that flows through the fuse needs to be carried by the wires that lead up to it, which means placing a larger fuse does not strengthen the entire circuit system.
Many people make the mistake of also replacing the fuses with wires, which causes short circuits that can cause many more problems. If your golf cart is constantly blowing a fuse, you should fix the problem causing the short-circuiting and then replace the fuse to ensure everything is safe.
How To Measure For Short Circuits?
If you think that the golf cart is short-circuiting, you need to use a voltmeter to measure the flow of power when you are turning the ignition. The power may spike when there is a short circuit, or the measurements will preferably be much lower than the rest of the power that will be measured.
We recommend that you have the full mapping of the golf cart ready when searching for a short circuit, as there may be many short spots. Further, the short circuit may be caused by a broken wire that can cause other cart parts to be significantly damaged.
However, most people will easily tell where the short circuit is by listening to the spot where the clicking sound is coming from or looking in the dark. When the short is taking place, there may be smoke rising from melting plastics or a visible spark that you can easily see if the lights are low enough.
How To Replace A Golf Cart Motor?
In the worst-case scenario, the motor you have in the golf cart is no longer working, and you will need to remove and replace it with a new one. Many people will be able to ask an engineer who works on carts to easily remove and replace the motor for you without paying too much.
However, the steps to removing the motor and replacing it with a new one are quite easy and can be done by most people with only a few basic tools. We always recommend that you have these tools on hand and know how to remove the motor to ensure that you are not caught off guard.
- Remove the cover: Remove the seats or the cover that houses the motor, usually requiring a few clips to be unclipped. Several golf carts are secured with bolts or screws to ensure that cover cannot break off.
- Unbolt the motor: The motor will be secured with bolts and nuts that secure it to the frame of the golf cart to ensure it is always secured. However, unbolting it first will make doing many of the next steps much easier, helping you reach many more difficult cables.
- Unplug all wires: It should go without saying, but you should not have the battery connected while removing the motor. Once the motor is loose, you can start disconnecting the cables, moving the motor as you need to reach some of the more complicated cables.
- Remove motor: Now that the motor is loose and no longer attached to cables, you can lift it and remove the motor. Golf cart motors are extremely dense and will be much heavier than you would expect, which means that you will need help lifting them.
- Tape open wires: Once the motor is properly removed and ready to be sent off, you need to tape all the open wires. We always recommend doing this just to be safe and ensure that no one can be shocked with any residual charge in the system’s capacitors.
How To Measure If There Is A Short Circuit On Golf Cart?
There are three ways that we recommend checking if you have a short circuit in your golf cart’s electrical system that is causing the clicking noise. If the golf cart is not working properly, we need to ensure that it is in danger of catching fire and may lead to much wider spread damage than just one circuit.
The clicking noise is usually just the indication that there is something else wrong with your golf cart that needs some immediate attention. We always recommend that you shut down the golf cart if you hear any unwanted clicking coming from your golf cart to ensure that everything works properly.
Using A Voltmeter
When connecting a voltmeter, you will see that there is a spike or a drop in the total amount of volts flowing through the wiring. If the voltage throughout the system stays consistent, you will need to keep looking for the clicking sound coming from the cart.
If the voltage is spiking up, then you may be on the wiring system that currently has the short circuit on it at the moment. However, if it is constantly dropping, you may just measure the general short circuit happening throughout the system.
Tracing The Wires
If you do not have a voltmeter, you will need to have the wires traced, looking to find the part where the spark happens when there is power or the broken wiring. This is often the most time-consuming method to use but will reveal the most issues with your golf cart.
We recommend that you do this whenever you get a golf cart older than ten years to ensure that the wiring is still fine. This will ensure that your wiring loom that may be sun-damaged or water damaged is not in trouble and that you can use it however you want.
Checking The Fuses
If you want to save some time, you can easily check the fuses to see which ones have been blown, showing you which part of the system is short-circuiting. This will enable you to trace exactly which part of the system has been damaged and is currently short-circuiting that is causing the click.
However, this will usually require that the short circuit is significant enough to cause the fuse to blow out. Which will mean that if the short circuit is too small, then the fuses may be perfectly fine, but some systems may be broken or simply not working properly.
How To Know If You Have Broken Indicators On Your Golf Cart?
A rare issue with golf carts aimed to be used off the golf courses is that the indicators can be broken when they get older or have been damaged. This is why you will most likely have a clicking sound that happens alongside the indicators flickering.
These indicators are usually wired into a relay that is specifically tasked with clicking, which is why you may have to replace the relay to stop the clicking. However, you can also simply remove the relay and wire the indicators up to work directly with the indicators without making the clicking sound.
We always recommend that you keep the relay in, though otherwise, there may be a problem if the indicator is knocked accidentally and you always say you are turning. If you are not sure about removing and replacing relays, we recommend replacing them with a trained mechanic.
The clicking of your golf cart will most likely be caused by your battery being covered by mud or even just a short circuit somewhere in the wiring. If you find the broken wires or clean the battery, you will have a golf cart ready to continue working for many more years.
Whatever you do, please don’t just ignore the clicking and assume everything will work perfectly.