Why is My Golf Cart Smoking and How to Fix It? 

Whether you’re enjoying a day on the golf course or cruising around your neighborhood on your golf cart, there are few things more alarming than when you see smoke. Smoke coming from a golf cart could mean several different things, and none of them are good. However, the reason for your smoking golf cart might not be as serious as you think. 

The most likely cause for your smoking golf cart is because it’s burning through oil either by overheating the oil, too much oil in the engine, or oil leaking into the combustion chamber through a faulty gasket causing smoke and a foul odor. Change your oil regularly to keep your cart running well.

If your golf cart is smoking, the first thing you need to do is pull over and find the problem. While oil is a likely cause, it isn’t the only possibility. Driving a smoking golf cart is dangerous and foolish, and you should fix the problem before using your golf cart again. 

What Could Cause a Golf Cart to Smoke? 

There are several different reasons that your golf cart is smoking. It’s important to realize that a small amount of smoke coming out of the exhaust isn’t a big deal. This typically happens when starting a gas golf cart on a cold day, or during the use of the cart. It could also be water vapor rather than smoke that’s coming out of the exhaust. 

However, if the smoke isn’t coming from the exhaust area of the golf cart, it’s important to find the source of the smoke and decipher the problem. 

How do You Stop a Golf Cart From Burning Oil? 

If you’re certain that burning oil is the source of your smoke problem, there’s a solid fix for that. You can perform the work yourself or take your golf cart to a certified mechanic and let them work with it. 

  1. Completely drain the oil that’s currently in your golf cart. Old oil is a surefire way to get your engine smoking in no time. 
  2. Replace the oil filter in the engine and fill it up with fresh oil. (I like to use Synthetic as it doesn’t seem to burn as easially)
  3. You may also want to replace the carburetor on your golf cart to ensure the problem doesn’t happen again any time soon. 
  4. Once you’re done with all this, start the engine and verify that your golf cart is no longer smoking. If it is, you have another problem on your hands. 

Other Causes and Fixes for a Smoking Golf Cart

Some Type of Oil Problem 

Like we said before, engine oil is the most common reason for a smoking golf cart. It’s possible that you put the wrong type of oil into your golf cart or that you overfilled it. If you perform your own oil changes and maintenance, make sure to check your owner’s manual so that you put the right type and amount of engine oil into your golf cart. 

What to Do 

For oil-related issues, you should also smell a foul, burning odor that accompanies the smoke. To fix this problem, you’ll have to drain the oil from your golf cart and perform an oil change using the steps listed in the section above. 

Problems With the Crankcase 

The crankcase is extremely important on a gas golf cart because it houses a number of important components, with the crankshaft being the most important. If the crankcase fills with too much oil, it could overflow and cause your golf cart to start smoking because of the burning oil. It’s also possible that the air filter housing isn’t tight enough and is causing an oil leak   

What to Do 

Because a loose air filter housing is the most common reason for oil leaking into the crankcase, that’s the first thing you should check. Once the oil has drained into the crankcase, you’ll have to empty it and dry out all the components inside the case. If the damage is excessive, you may even have to replace the crankcase, which is a tall task for a beginner. 

PCV Valve is Clogged 

The PCV valve, which stands for positive crankcase ventilation, works hand in hand with the crankcase. It’s a small valve that has a big job of making sure that fuel stays cool enough while it’s flowing through your golf cart. If this small valve gets blocked, it’s unable to ventilate the crankcase and will get very hot. This, in turn, will cause your golf cart to start smoking. 

What to Do 

The first thing you’ll need to do is figure out if the PCV valve is clogged and the source of your troubles. 

  1. Use your owner’s manual to locate the valve. 
  2. Make sure to wear gloves, as the components of the crankcase and engine are going to be piping hot. 
  3. Try moving the PCV valve with one of your fingers to see how easily it moves. 
  4. If the valve isn’t moving easily on the hinges, it’s probably clogged. 
  5. Unfortunately, once a PCV valve is clogged, there’s no undoing it. You’ll have to remove the valve and replace it with a new one. 
  6. If you replace the valve and the smoke continues, you aren’t at the end of your trouble. 

Damaged or Old Piston 

The pistons on your gas golf cart are another important component. They help by compressing fuel in the engine and working with the spark plugs to propel the engine forward. However, when pistons get damaged or are simply old and worn out, they start producing excessive smoke. 

What to Do 

You’ll first have to perform a compression test to make sure your pistons are to blame. You’ll need special gauges and connectors to perform this test, and it may be cheaper to take your golf cart to a mechanic. Whether you do the test yourself or have a pro do it, the goal is to see if your engine compression is low compared to what the owner’s manual suggests it should be. If this is the case, your pistons are likely to blame. 

Valve Problem in the Engine 

There are a number of valves in and around your engine that are responsible for keeping operations running smoothly and efficiently. If any one of these valves gets worn out, clogged, or dirty, it will create smoke within your golf cart. Because of how many different valves are inside your engine, you should enlist professional help if you’re not familiar with them. 

What to Do 

If one of the valves in your golf cart is clogged or damaged, you can either repair or replace them. Many valves are fixable, but some of them, like the PCV valve, cannot be repaired when they become clogged and can only be replaced. 

What About White Smoke Coming out of a Golf Cart? 

If the smoke coming out of your golf cart is a whitish color, it can mean one of two things. Either your engine is running hotter than normal or there’s a problem with your cooling system. The most likely fix is making sure there is a freeflow of air around engine. However, if the smoke is coming out of your exhaust, it usually means that there’s water or moisture in the exhaust and usually isn’t cause for concern. 

What Does Blue Smoke on a Golf Cart Mean? 

If there’s blue smoke coming from anywhere on or around your golf cart, it’s not a good sign. Blue smoke isn’t normal and is usually related to a major oil issue. You should have your golf cart inspected immediately so that the problem doesn’t continue.