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How to Check Your Golf Cart for a Bad Solenoid

Updated on September 21, 2015
Golfcardr profile image

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

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. To check the solenoid is fairly simple, though. Follow these steps:

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 switch in 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 it 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.

Troubleshooting a Solenoid Using a Voltmeter (Using Continuity Instead of Ohms)

Troubleshooting Solenoid on 1987 Club Car

36-Volt Solenoid

DC Power Solenoid, 36V, Amps 200
DC Power Solenoid, 36V, Amps 200

White-Rodgers is a good brand, though they don't make solenoids to fit every golf cart.

 

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    • profile image

      Steve 3 months ago

      I just purchased late model club car cart. When putting it in reverse or forward u hear little bit of clicking n what sounds like arcing from the motor. It set for about a year. Could it be the selempire

    • profile image

      Jwanton 3 months ago

      Checked the solenoid like you side got the readings like you said seems to be working correctly!!! But I still have the same problem as before, runs great for about 25 minutes then slows down to a crawl!! Batteries still have full charge 36 volts!! As it sits for awhile seems to run right again, and it's starts all over again!!! Please help lost in this one!!!

    • profile image

      Jimmie 3 months ago

      I have an electric club car 48v. My daughter and her friends rode it until it died completely and got towed behind a 4 wheeler for a little bit before flipping the switch to tow. The batteries are testing fully charged. Any insight to what it could be are greatly appreciated

    • profile image

      Jessica 4 months ago

      Can somebody give me a idea what's wrong with my golf cart when I'm driving it pushing the gas and jumps what could cause this problem

    • profile image

      I have a 2005 Yamaha electric golf cart and we put new batteries in but won't move.the head lights work but that's all. Any ideas. 4 months ago

      Need help

    • profile image

      Dave 4 months ago

      my polaris breeze will start to run but die if I press the accelerator all the way down. The lights also go out for a second or two. I have to cost to a stop and then I can start again. in reverse it's normal, I can push the pedal all the way down without any problems. Any ideas of what I should check.

      thanks

      dave

    • profile image

      r reid 5 months ago

      2006 club cart electric goes 3 rounds some days then some

      days 3 holes checked charger its ok it will be going fine then its like i hit a hole and it barely goes

    • wwelsh62 profile image

      wwelsh62 5 months ago

      What causes a 36 volt golf cart to move forward & reverse without being turn on

    • profile image

      Bigbb1909 5 months ago

      Checked the solenoid like you side got the readings like you said seems to be working correctly!!! But I still have the same problem as before, runs great for about 25 minutes then slows down to a crawl!! Batteries still have full charge 36 volts!! As it sits for awhile seems to run right again, and it's starts all over again!!! Please help lost in this one!!! Bigbb

    • profile image

      David 7 months ago

      05 ezgo 36 V, hurricane Matthew flooded my garage, upgraded the following, 4.45 hp motor, 400 amp controller, 2 Awg cables, HD Solenoid w/ 3 amp diode, pedal box switch, throttle sensor, it’s running again but doesn’t have the expected power, any ideas? Thanks

    • profile image

      Bob and Ginger Bendickson 7 months ago

      I have a 2002 electric club car was golfing the other day and it was running great. I started to go and all of a sudden it just stopped. It would not go forward or in reverse. Any suggestions?

    • profile image

      herb reid herbreid63@gmail.com 8 months ago

      i have a 1995 36 volt club car golf cart .it goes in reverse great but in forward it is sluggish and low on speed . it doesnt have multiple silonoids .and resister coils . just one solanoid and a controller box . ant idea what might b wrong ?

    • profile image

      ray 8 months ago

      mike i think your problem is from a cable under the throttle pedal. there is a cable in a box under the rubber mat that goes from the box back to the motor area that rusts and the throttle gets stuck wide open

    • profile image

      Mike 8 months ago

      I have a 1994 gas club car - runs ok except I only have high speed nothing in between - to go slow have to let up on throttle so motor quits then hit throttle again at highest speed to keep momentum

    • profile image

      bc 8 months ago

      joellelove...i am having same issue with mine

    • profile image

      Leslea 9 months ago

      I have a 2008 EZ Go RXV that goes forward and reverses but makes an awful sound. The only time it sounds right is when it is doing a circle. Was told it is the rear end, but wasn't told what to do to fix it. Any suggestions?

    • profile image

      joellelove 10 months ago

      2012 club car electric precedent hesitates 7 to 10 seconds from pressing GO pedal and it happens in either direction. Batteries in the cart are new. I hear the detent in the MCOR click when I depress the GO pedal there is the delay then I hear a click in the rear of the cart and then it moves. What could it be or what do I need to test specifically?

    • profile image

      Danny 11 months ago

      My 36volt 2001 ez go odd model will move about a inch and stop same in reverse

    • profile image

      Tom 12 months ago

      Had new batteries installed in my club car 2008 ran it came time to charge will not take a charge kicks the charger out

    • profile image

      Jack Hilton 13 months ago

      I have a 1998 Yamaha gas. It started to crank hard. I replaced the fuel filter and spark plug. It ruined great for a while but now is hard to start and while driving it if you hit a bump it will die had to toe it home. Any help please

    • profile image

      TheRebelRouser 13 months ago

      Howdy got a 36Volt ClubCar and when U shift into either gear it will move even with with the KEY off. Checked the Key switch it's OK left wires off and still moves when shifting. My shade tree mind makes me think it's the solenoid can U help please

    • profile image

      Jan 13 months ago

      I went through your instructions on testing the solenoid, however the voltmeter remained at 0, so the problem is somewhere else with the cart. 1994 Club Car Electric. Any idea as to where to check?

    • profile image

      Mike 13 months ago

      The stripe on the diode should be toward the positive (red) terminals

    • profile image

      Dan 13 months ago

      The small solenoid terminals on my 2013 Yamaha G29 YDRE have one red wire with yellow stripe and one red wire with black stripe. Does anyone know which direction the diode should be installed?

    • profile image

      mark 13 months ago

      what happens if put the two small wires on the solenoid wrong will this damage the solenoid?

    • profile image

      ktty 13 months ago

      I have a gas golf car, I run for awhile and the it start jerking along. I have to stop and wait and most times it takes off and goes ok for awhile, may do it again or not. if it is still doing it I just wait. Sometimes it smells flooded other times it looks like its getting no gas, what could the problem be?

    • profile image

      Chicago Bob in Iowa 13 months ago

      I have Yamaha G8 gas, starts and runs fine then just quits. then some times it will start and sometimes it won't, starter just grinds. I,v replaced the solenoid, fuel filter, and checked for loose wires. ?

    • profile image

      Steve W 13 months ago

      2001 Ezgo Freedom---electric. Playing 18 holes it only happens once or twice in a round. When you start off it seems to jump a little then runs smooth. What do you think is the problem?

    • profile image

      Judith 13 months ago

      I have a ez go 136. When i turn it on, press peddle reverse or forward there is vibration, but it will not move. Vibration seems to be a large cylinder sitting just behind the batteries...would love some help

    • Golfcardr profile image
      Author

      Golfcardr 14 months ago from Arizona

      Sandy, do you have a forward and reverse lever by you right leg, or do you have a forward and reverse switch on the dash?

    • profile image

      Sandy 14 months ago

      Bought an EZGO electric used. No serial number in the usual places. I was looking for something I lost in a field and was driving over it slowly. After a while the cart stopped going. Put it in reverse and it backed up. Put it in forward and it zoomed forward. Went slowly and it went for a while and then the same thing. It wanted to go forward but couldn't. Then reverse again, etc. Happened 6 times in a row. What's up?

    • profile image

      loyde 14 months ago

      I have a 2007 ruff&tuff 48v-6person EV. as soon as the key is on and the f/r switch is depressed the cart goes as if on full throttle. the throttle pedal does not give any input when depressed.otherwise everything works normally. does this seem like a throttle micro switch problem,solenoid problem or throttle potentiometer issue. any input is appreciated,thx

    • profile image

      Tom O'Neill 14 months ago

      I have a (94) 36V Club car with the exposed resistor coils and a stepper speed switch and single selonoid. The r cart has 1 year old batteries and runs well except recently there seems to be no low speed. When pushing the throttle the cart jumps in what seems to be second speed. It seems to be skipping the lowest speed setting. The first coil resistor seems good with no break but the jump in speed makes it very uncomfortable to drive from a stop. What should I be looking for?

    • profile image

      Albert D. Mesale Jr. 14 months ago

      Hi, I have a 96 club car ds 36v. it will only run full speed and sometimes the throttle sticks. I used WD 40 on all the moving parts and it seems to be better, but still have the issue of it only running wide open, pressing down on the pedal it jumps and goes into wide open.

    • profile image

      Ed 15 months ago

      I had a cart that was working fine but needed new batteries, after replacing them the cart won't go forward or backward even though the reverse makes the buzzing as if it wants to go backward. I first connected the new batteries with the positive and negative reversed so I may have fried something.

      Ed

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      Gerald taylor 15 months ago

      I have 09 Ezego 36v it has had a slight hesitation lately and last week after use we plugged it in and the next day all the batteries were totally dead and the charger quit I recharged all of them individually new charger on order. The problem is with the positive connected and touch the neg. I get an arc, in drive mode not tow every thing off and in neutral. Pull the controller loom and no arc. I am reading about 25v 3 large cables on module box w/neg cable removed. Am reading 25v across the selonoid no neg to battery.

    • profile image

      Ernie Church 15 months ago

      Club car runs in reverse but not forward

    • profile image

      Rich 15 months ago

      I have a Club Car (2006 or 2008) golf cart. It will just stop for no good reason. I've had two shops run all sorts of diagnostic test using their computers and they can't seem to find the problem. I've talked to a few other folks and they seem to think it may be the solenoid. How do I confirm? Also, how do I determine which solenoid I need to buy if mine is bad?

    • profile image

      Shade tree Sam 16 months ago

      Golfcardr..Thank you so much for your precise instructions...even for this ol head to understand Going to buy a solenoid

    • profile image

      Neil Powell 16 months ago

      I have a 2004 club cart, I've chick the batteries and there all good, my problem is it takes off good, but then slowes down, it still runs but don't have any speed, I've built Hot Rods so I have the tools to work on it, I just don't know where to start is fhere any place I can get a manual, so I can trouble shoot it.

      Thank

      Neil Powell

    • profile image

      danz 16 months ago

      2005 par car

      I have changed the pot box and the fwd/rev contactors. Is it possible the controller is going bad?

    • profile image

      johnnyrockman 16 months ago

      to add to my issues....I have connected the new solenoid (hoping I have the correct wiring on the small post) and now when I switch from tow to run......I don't hear any noise....where before I could hear the batteries click in. Could the wiring be backwards on the small post....or do I do need to reset the OBC? How do I do this on the 1998 club car? It has no noise it makes when I put it in reverse. Can I still go through the process for 5 minutes and get it to reset?

    • profile image

      johnnyrockman 16 months ago

      I am replacing a bad solenoid with a new one.....but not sure which small terminal post wire is hot and which is neutral. They are not marked on the old solenoid. I have one that is black...and the other is red/white stripe. Is the black wire hot?

    • profile image

      Aj ds 16 months ago

      Hello I have a 1988 Club Car DS all the solenoids are on it click but the car still won't move anyone could tell me how or what I can do to fix it? Would really appreciate the help anyone.

    • Golfcardr profile image
      Author

      Golfcardr 16 months ago from Arizona

      Dan, sounds like you may be looking at a pot box, or possibly in a 2005 a LAD. Both are throttle position sensors and you only have one or the other. It's a little too much to explain how to check here so I would call Columbia Parcar and find your closest dealer. Their number is 1800-222-4653

    • profile image

      danz 16 months ago

      Also on that park car after it makes its jump it drives smoothly it does it and both reverse and forward

    • profile image

      danz 16 months ago

      I'm working on a roughly 2005 parcar 24 volt electric car when I hit the throttle it will go slowly but then it all of a sudden jumps what would be causing that problem

    • profile image

      lorie 16 months ago

      when I press on the pedal nothing, but if you let it sit it will run again but not for long

    • Golfcardr profile image
      Author

      Golfcardr 16 months ago from Arizona

      Dan, that's a tough one. There are a few things that could be causing this problem on a powerdrive plus. Here is what the book list: batteries, solenoid (the one attached to the coil of wire), potentiometer, motor or controller. I would test the solenoid, if it test good you may want to think about taking it to a shop.

    • profile image

      Dan 16 months ago

      Hi , i have a club car ds 1996 ds 48v ... When i put full throtle pedal foward it run but i feal not the real power... Reverse no power he dont move or just a little bit no power... I got 2 solenoid on this cart , do you think that solenoid can be the problem

      Thanks

    • Golfcardr profile image
      Author

      Golfcardr 16 months ago from Arizona

      Michael,

      The solenoid for a g22 electric is located under the seat on the passenger side towards the front of the cart. :-)

    • profile image

      Michael 16 months ago

      I have 2003 Yamaha G22 Electric. How do I open the front compartment to check the solenoid?

      Thanks

    • Golfcardr profile image
      Author

      Golfcardr 16 months ago from Arizona

      Greg, if you have replaced the f&r switch with no luck I would first check the wiring from the switch to the controller, make sure there are no breaks. If that dosent reveal anything you may be looking at a controller issue if this car has a push button f&r switch which it should if it is only 5 years old.

    • profile image

      Rocket52 16 months ago

      Number 7 in your instructions is what I ended with. Meter reads 0 at small terminals. But with both big post disconnected where would the voltage to solenoid come from? The key switch has yellow wire from small post on solenoid to key switch then to fnr micro switch. I'm so confused. This is 1984 ezgo electric resistor cart. How do I check fnr and pedal micro switch with my volt meter? Or what else could it be? Thank you

    • profile image

      greg hardin 17 months ago

      I have a yamaha electric golf cart that is approx 5 years old. Runs fine 90% of time, but anywhere, anytime it decides it will not go forward. If switch to reverse, it runs, no problem. Have had to drive all the way home from course in reverse several times. Of course it works fine whenever we get someone out to fix it. We have replaced F/R switch & didn't fix. Any suggestions?

    • profile image

      dennis 17 months ago

      my 1985 36 volt club cr has set for about 3 months. when i went to use it the solenoids click, but the cart wont move

    • Golfcardr profile image
      Author

      Golfcardr 18 months ago from Arizona

      Donald, intermittent problems are the hardest to track down. I wish I could tell you that there is a common problem with the Yamaha Drive that causes this, however in my experience this is not the case. I would only suggest starting simple like loose connections on the batteries, motor and controller. May the force be with you :-)

    • profile image

      DonaldIraLaFever 18 months ago

      Hello,

      I have a 2009 Yamaha 48 volt model YDRE.

      My problem is the cart stops and I have to reset the run/tow switch to get it going again. Time between the unwanted shut down is intermittent. What is your opinion on this problem?

    • profile image

      jamie 19 months ago

      I've got an older 3 wheel eezgo marathon, I'm getting no power to my solenoid and I had it check by the local ezgo store said it was possibly the f&r switch . Any advice how to check to see if it's my switch not my solenoid

    • profile image

      roger b 20 months ago

      i have a 1994 ezgo gas eng no spark and no power on the leads to coil turn over fine

    • profile image

      Tom 23 months ago

      I have a 95 Yamaha electric golf cart the batteries charge but when I go to ride it around the batteries only last about 15 minutes and then it dies it won't hold a charge long. And they are brand new batteries. Any suggestions

    • profile image

      Brian 23 months ago

      Golfcardr ,

      I have a 07 48V Club Car, batteries just a few months old. When I go up a slightly steep hill either forward or reverse, the cart feels like it goes into neutral and I have no power. Have to step on the brakes to keep from rolling backwards. Is this normal?

    • profile image

      duggyrocks 23 months ago

      Hey there. great article, very helpful.

      I am working on a 2009 Yamaha Drive (G29) electric. The owner says that sometimes when he unplugs the charger, takes it out of tow, and turns the key, he gets "no-go". This is intermittent, and I can't, as of yet, replicate this. We have had some like this in the past, and it MIGHT have been the solenoid (no one is sure). That said, the cart works great ... for me. Should I bother testing the solenoid (it clicks), or move on to something else?

    • Golfcardr profile image
      Author

      Golfcardr 2 years ago from Arizona

      Kenny, that would depend on your model of ezgo. If it is a pds with a switch on the dash i would lean towards the switch itself, however it could be something more serious like an h bridge( controls the direction electronically ) going out inside your controller.

    • profile image

      kenny 2 years ago

      why does my ezgo switch in reverse while driving forward

    • Golfcardr profile image
      Author

      Golfcardr 2 years ago from Arizona

      Billy, no the solenoid is not a part of the charging system. There are lots of things that will keep an electric cart from charging, the most popular at my shop is the cart has sat for way too long without being charged. So my question to you is, does your cart still drive?

    • profile image

      billy 2 years ago

      will a bad solenoid make the cart not charge on a elec. cart too??

    • Golfcardr profile image
      Author

      Golfcardr 2 years ago from Arizona

      Pam, for help with your solenoid please check the article at the top of this page. As far as thr controller goes the easiest way is to eliminate everything else, i dont have an article on that yet and its a bit too much to cover in a commet. Good luck :-)

    • profile image

      Pam 2 years ago

      Add Your Comment.

      ..how do you troubleshoot solenoid and motor controller? I can directly jump from battery to motor and the drive train works

    • Golfcardr profile image
      Author

      Golfcardr 2 years ago from Arizona

      Pam, if your solenoid clicks with brand new batteries and a new pot your problem might be a solenoid, motor, motor controller or possibly some of the heavy gauge wiring.

    • Golfcardr profile image
      Author

      Golfcardr 2 years ago from Arizona

      Chance, are you saying that when you drive off road for a half an hour that the cart cuts out. But drives just fine on a smooth surface?

    • profile image

      Pam 2 years ago

      I have a 1992 ergo marathon golf cart, I put 6 new batteries and a potentiometer on it. I turn the key hit the pedal and it just clicks? What might be the problem?

    • profile image

      chance 2 years ago

      I have a 2006 Yamaha after 1/2 driving it will just die then I flip the switch for tow and it will go again for a bit then die flip switch again will go once on concrete she will run fine HELP

    • Golfcardr profile image
      Author

      Golfcardr 2 years ago from Arizona

      Richard, most likely there is another problem with your cart. I would start with making sure you have a full charge on your cart then check your foreward and reverse switch. :-)

    • profile image

      richard 2 years ago

      I have a yamaha g29 cart and have no power to it when one and in drive there is no click also in reverse there is no beep noise could this be the solenoid?

    • Golfcardr profile image
      Author

      Golfcardr 2 years ago from Arizona

      Kelly, you can use any solenoid with 2 big posts and 2 small posts so long as it is rated for the same voltage. Most will be rated for 12volts however some E-Z-GO carts use a 14volt. :-)

    • profile image

      Kelly 2 years ago

      I have a gas golf cart. Solenoid is gone I think. I hear clicking when I step on gas and when I jump the 2 big terminals it starts up. Question is, can I use any solenoid that has the 4 posts and same voltage on it or does it have to be one that is an original replacement. I don't want to screw up any of the charging system.

    • profile image

      Mel 2 years ago

      Thanks Golfcardr

      I took it to the local cart shop. Immediately diagnosed it as bad batteries.

      They are 4 years old, test weak under load, but will still go 18 holes +. If it only paused when batteries are low, I'd think it might be valid. Your point is taken, we could spend $ for very little. I'll take it to a CC dealer that can actually run diagnostics on the components. Will probably replace batteries in the fall anyway.

      Thanks so much for the response!

    • profile image

      ALLAN 2 years ago

      I have an older Hyundai electric Golf Cart with new batterys it clicks but wont move.Before it would sometimes hesitate and then go.I cleaned all the terminals and installed new batterys.(any help would be greatly appreciated)

    • Golfcardr profile image
      Author

      Golfcardr 2 years ago from Arizona

      I would lean towards an MCOR however there are many other possible causes. Im am normally all about the do it yourself type of fixes, but in this case you could end up throwing a lot of money at this problem before you find a solution. I would take it to a dealer so they can hook it up to a IQDM (handheld computer)

    • profile image

      Mel 2 years ago

      My CC 48 V Precedent -2009 has a pregnant pause every time accelerator is pressed. Let up step down and it goes.

      Potentiometer? (Mcore)?

      Solenoid?

      Mcore switch?

      Anything else?