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How to Check Your Golf Cart for a Bad Solenoid

I have been a golf cart technician for eight years, and I enjoy it. I am Club Car certified and factory trained.

Is the solenoid in your golf cart broken? Here's how to tell for sure!

Is the solenoid in your golf cart broken? Here's how to tell for sure!

In this article, I am going to explain how to check a solenoid for problems.

On a typical solenoid, there are four posts called terminals. There are usually two large terminals and two small ones. Battery voltage is applied to the two small terminals to activate the solenoid, which then connects the two large terminals together. From time to time, the two large terminals malfunction and the solenoid needs to be replaced.

Follow These Simple Steps to Check the Solenoid

1. You will need a couple of tools: a voltmeter or multimeter, and (typically) a ½” wrench.

2. Disconnect any cables from the two large terminals. Be sure to wrap the cable ends in tape, and keep the ends separate from each other.

3. With the key off, and the cart direction switch in a neutral position, set your voltmeter to ohms, and place a probe on each large terminal (see first image below). There should be no reading.

Open lead

Open lead

4. Now, with the cart's direction switched to the forward position, and the key on, step on the accelerator. You should hear a click coming from the solenoid. If you do. . .

5. Set your voltmeter to measure ohms, and place a probe on each large terminal (see image below). You should have a reading of 0 to 0.4 ohms. Anything higher, and means that the solenoid has faulty contacts and should be replaced.


6. If you did not hear a click coming from your solenoid, then grab your voltmeter and set it to DC volts on the 200 scale, and place a probe on each of the small terminals.

7. With the key on and the cart in forward, step on the accelerator.

  • If the voltmeter shows full battery voltage, and there is no click, the coil inside the solenoid has failed and will need to be replaced.
  • If your voltmeter remains at 0, then there is a problem somewhere else in the cart.

NOTE: When buying a new solenoid, be sure to buy one that matches your cart's voltage. Most golf carts are either 36 volts or 48 volts. The voltage will usually be written on the side of the solenoid.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.