Buying Street Legal Used Golf Carts
More and more councils, municipalities and city authorities are allowing street legal golf carts onto their local roads. With the increasing in usage of Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) there is a growing used market. Street legal carts are an attractive purchase proposition as they are much cheaper than buying a brand new model and there are many used electric carts that have been converted for use on the street.
As with buying electric used golf carts there are several items to inspect when you go and look at one that’s street legal. If possible it’s always advisable to go and inspect the one that you want to buy, even when buying over the internet from an auction site or classified ad. Although the pictures that appear within the ad will show its general appearance, an up close visual inspection of the cart is the only way to get a good idea of the true condition. It’s usually an good idea to take someone with you to look at one who is familiar with working on carts or has a mechanic background.
The first thing to do is drive it and make sure it moves under its own power, and stops quickly and brakes in a straight line. As you will be driving a street legal cart on the local roads its vital that it performs well in traffic and does not lurch to one site under braking which can be a safety issue. It should also steer without any issues and turn left and right smoothly. Try to steer at high speed, just like you were driving on a city street, to make sure that the vehicle changes direction as it should.
Electric used golf carts are powered by batteries that can be expensive to replace so make sure they have been charged and maintained correctly so that you won’t have any expensive bills if they need to be replaced sooner that you think. If possible get an extended test drive so that you can check the range of the golf cart batteries as this will show you if it’s suitable for the use for which you are going to put it to.
Street legal golf carts must be fitted with several additional pieces of safety equipment if they are to be used on the public roads. These safety items are usually a legal requirement of your local authorities and failure to have them fitted it may result in driver fines.
As a street legal cart or NEV is to be driven in traffic it is vitally important that all mandated safety items are fitted and that they are in a fully working order. If any safety equipment is not working or missing you must add this equipment to the before driving on the public highway.
Golf Cart Lights
As with other road going vehicles, street legal golf carts must be fitted with working head lights, brake lights, tail lights and turn signals. This is to ensure that you can be seen during poor light conditions and that the drivers intention to turn can be indicated.
When inspecting a used cart check all of the lights work, that the turn signals flash correctly and that the brake lights come on when the brake pedal is pressed. Have a friend look at the lights as you operate the controls to make sure that the lights function.
Street Legal Tires
One of the easiest safety items to miss is that all golf carts must be fitted with DOT approved street legal tires if it’s to be driven on the public roads. Regular tires are not permitted to be used on street legal golf carts as they will not perform safely at the higher speeds encountered on the public highway.
Each tire should feature the DOT approved marking on the sidewall and have a legal tread depth. If the tread depth is at or near the wear marker then the golf cart tires will need to be replaced shortly.
Windshield with Wiper
A street legal used golf cart must feature a full cart windshield that is fitted with a wiper so that the drivers view can be cleared of rain when driving in adverse weather conditions. During your inspection make sure that the golf cart windshield is secure and doesn’t have any cracks and that the windshield material conforms to DOT regulations. Turn on the wiper and make sure that it clears the drivers view when in operation.
It’s well know that these sort of vehicles are susceptible to roll over when turning at high speeds and to prevent the occupants being thrown from the vehicle seat belts must be fitted on street legal vehicles.
Inspect the belts to make sure that they are securely attached to the frame and that they can be adjusted and released easily.
Just like a regular road car it’s necessary to be able to see behind you when making turns or lane changes to make sure that an accident is avoided. Street legal golf carts must be fitted with rear view mirrors and usually side view mirrors and a rear view mirror attached to the inside of the windshield is fitted.