Why Is My Gas Golf Cart Backfiring and How to Fix It

Gas golf carts are a popular and environmentally friendly way to get around the course. They can save you time, gas, and money as well as reduce your carbon footprint. But if there’s one thing that all gas golf carts have in common it is that they will eventually need some maintenance or repairs. And since fixing them yourself is difficult and not always possible for everyone, below we’ve outlined what could be causing your backfiring issue along with how to fix it.

Why does my golf cart backfire?

Your golf cart backfires as there is something wrong with the combustion inside of your golf cart engine. This problem could be related to bad gas, spark plugs, electrical, clutch, or other items. When troubleshooting, always start with the easy fixes and work towards the harder ones.

What is Backfiring?

Backfiring is when the combustion inside of the engine experiences an issue that makes it combust incorrectly. The result? An explosion occurs in the exhaust pipe, not inside of the engine as it should. This can cause damage to your clutch, piston rods, and even valves if you’re experiencing backfiring on a regular basis.

What Causes Backfiring on a Gas Golf Cart?

There are a number of reasons why your gas golf cart is backfiring. Some of the common causes of backfiring are:

  • The accelerator cable’s adjustment on the throttle plate has been modified causing it to close incorrectly
  • Poor quality gas
  • Unbalanced fuel mix leading to unburned fuel in the exhaust system
  • Bad or worn-out spark plugs
  • The ignition engages the micro-switch at the wrong time
  • Bad or worn-out clutch

Gas Golf Cart Parts Explained

Before we get into how to fix your backfiring issue, let’s go over some of the important parts of your gas golf cart that you’ll need to be familiar with.

Here are some of the most important gas cart parts that you should know about:

Throttle Plate

The throttle plate is an accelerator pump that controls the amount of fuel being fed to your golf cart’s engine. The current speed of your gas golf cart is determined by how far you depress this plate.

Fuel Mix Regulator

The job of the fuel mix regulator is to distribute a standard ratio of air and gas into the carburetor. A properly functioning regulator will ensure that there is enough air supplied to burn all of the available gasoline in the engine cylinder.

Spark Plug

A spark plug’s main purpose is to provide ignition for compression within your engine’s cylinders. Without it, combustion cannot occur which means no power for your gas golf cart!


The carburetor is responsible for measuring the amount of air and gas that enters your engine’s cylinders. It then adjusts the amount of fuel needed to match what is required by combustion at any given time.


The clutch allows you to control how much power goes to your cart’s wheels – either all or none at all. If you want more power, push down further on the accelerator; if you need less, release some of the pressure on your pedal.

Piston Rods

Piston rods connect cylindrical components within your engine (i.e. pistons) to linear components (i.e., valves). As they work together, these two components cause compression (pistons moving downwards) and expansion (valves moving upwards).


There are three valves in your gas golf cart: intake, compression, and exhaust. Together they form a system that works to compact the fuel within your engine’s cylinders. This compaction creates pressure which then forces gas out of your cart through one of its three valves.


The micro-switch is what tells your gas golf cart to engage the ignition. This starts up the flow of power and allows you to go!

How Can I Fix My Backfiring Issue on my Golf Cart?

Typically if your backfiring issue isn’t something major, it’s usually a good idea to simply replace parts that are worn out or broken. This includes spark plugs, throttle plates, accelerator cables, and more. If this doesn’t work, you can always adjust parts such as your piston rods and throttle plate for perfectly matched air and fuel mixes!

Fixing your backfiring issue is often easier said than done. First, you need to stop driving your golf cart and inspect under the hood or seat in this case. The majority of backfiring issues will either be caused by something relatively simple such as adjusting the accelerator cable, or much more difficult like replacing corroded electrical connections in complex wiring systems. Below we’ve outlined some steps you can take in order to fix your backfiring issue:

Backfire Due to Throttle Plate Not Closing Correctly

Be sure the Ignition key has been turned off and the seat has been removed so that you can observe the throttle action. Gently and slowly push down on the accelerator pedal until you hear the microswitch click. The microswitch is usually located at the pedal or just inside the engine compartment. The throttle plate should not have moved before the click was heard, but if it did, then you need to adjust the throttle cable.

When the ignition key is off and the seat has been removed, it’s possible to observe how the gas golf cart accelerates when you press down on the accelerator pedal. There should be a click when the throttle plate moves in response to your pressing of the gas pedal.  If it doesn’t move, then you need to adjust your throttle cable.

Adjust The Throttle Cable

To adjust the throttle, loosen the nut or screw and then press the throttle closed before reattaching it.  Make sure the cable is still attached to the arm on the bottom end once tightened. If you are still experiencing backfiring, check your oil to ensure it’s not below minimum levels.

Backfire Due to Loose or Corroded Electrical Connections

One of the most common causes of backfiring is a corroded electrical connector. First, try using dielectric grease on terminals and connectors; then check all wiring for loose connections and repair as needed. Replace any damaged wires and ensure that no bare wire ends remain exposed.

Dielectric grease is a substance that helps protect electrical connectors from corrosion, which can cause backfiring issues. For best results, apply the dielectric grease to terminals and connectors, then check all wiring for loose connections and repair as needed. Replace any damaged wires with new ones and ensure that no bare wire ends remain exposed.

Backfire Due to Rich Fuel Mixture

Check the air and fuel ratio to ensure your engine isn’t getting a fuel mixture that’s too rich. The majority of carburetors have the following adjustments, but you should consult your model’s specifications.

The carburetor’s adjustment screw is parallel to the ground and on the side. The lock nut at the bottom of the screw serves as a sign. Remove this and turn the screw all the way, then back it out one and a half (1-1/2) turns. Make sure to consult your owner’s manual for your exact mixture settings.

Still backfiring? Try these other solutions!

If you’re still having issues with your cart backfiring after following all of these steps, it’s possible that there is something wrong deeper within the engine. The next step would be to try a few other solutions listed below:

Replace Your Spark Plugs

If your backfiring problem is the result of corroded electrical connections or an unbalanced fuel mixture, replacing your spark plugs can quickly fix the issue. All you need to do is take out all of the old plugs and replace them with new ones. If you don’t know how to replace them, be sure to consult a professional who can perform this service for you in order to avoid damaging parts in your engine.

Use Higher Quality Gas

Using fuel that is high quality can help to reduce backfiring issues. It will keep your engine’s parts well lubricated and it also won’t leave residue in the combustion chamber after each use like other cheaper fuel does which can lead to corrosion.

Replace The Clutch

If you’ve already made all the necessary adjustments to your throttle cable and nothing has changed, it may be time to replace your clutch. Clutches are oftentimes worn out over time which leads them to not work as well as they should, this can result in backfiring issues.

Clean Out the Carburetor

The last thing that could be causing your golf cart to backfire is if your carburetor jets are dirty or poorly adjusted. If they are dirty clean them with a piece of cloth sprayed with some carburetor cleaner.

Improve The Fuel Mixture

Your carburetor jets should also be adjusted when your mixture is unbalanced. This can be done by using a screwdriver and turning the screws on the bottom of the carburetor clockwise or counterclockwise to balance out the fuel mix and stop backfiring. Once you’re done, start your gas golf cart and see if it worked. If it doesn’t, try checking other issues such as poor quality gasoline or simple throttle cable problems before looking at more complicated wiring systems or engines.

Check Your Fuel System For Leaks

A common issue for many people who experience backfiring is that they have a clogged fuel filter which leads to unburned fuel in their exhaust system causing corrosion among other things. This can be fixed very easily by changing your fuel filter and making sure to clean the exterior of the gas golf cart as well as cleaning any corrosion you see on your engine.

Bad Ignition Wiring Or Switch

The ignition is what sends the signal to the micro-switch so that it releases the accelerator pedal causing it to open and allow more gas into the carburetor. A bad or malfunctioning wiring or switch for this system can cause backfiring because there is nothing releasing the pedal once it has been pushed down by your foot, resulting in an unbalanced mix of fuel and air getting sent into your engine which causes carbon buildup and backfiring issues among other things like poor performance. A simple fix for this issue is to replace the wiring if it is corroded or worn out, or purchase a new micro-switch to attach to your gas golf cart.

Hopefully one of these fixes solves your golf car backfiring problem. Remember to start with the easy ones and work to the harder fixes.