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Golf Cart Running Slow? 5 Common Reasons Why

Golf Cart Running Slow? 5 Common Reasons Why

What could be worse than stepping your foot on the gas pedal and receiving a slow response? Over time, your golf cart may become less powerful and start running slow. This situation may not feel comfortable, but it is something that can be fixed.

There is no universal legal maximum speed for golf carts. Instead, the drivers must follow the speed limits and driving rules of the state and community they live in. The state driving guide includes limitations on where the cart can drive, who can drive, and how fast it can go.

The following are the five most common reasons why your golf cart is running slow.

1. Speed Sensor Issues

The speed sensor is an essential and critical part of golf cart operation that helps to ensure that cart runs smoothly and efficiently. It operates by measuring how fast you are driving and how much electricity is needed to maintain that speed. When the speed sensor ends up running into trouble, chances are your cart may end up running slowly.

There are few reasons why this problem occurs.

If the speed sensor breaks, your cart may not read your speed correctly and think you are driving slower. So, it will send less power to your engine and cause it to produce less speed as well as cause accelerator problems in the golf cart.

In another case, your speed sensor may end up malfunctioning. In this case, your cart is going to run slow at random times.

Solution to Fixing a Slow Golf Cart

  1. Check Speed Magnet: When your speed magnet fails in your sensor, your cart is going to have a tough time keeping up its speed, and it likely not only slows down but even stops completely.
  2. Check Mud and Dirt Build-up: Although the speed sensor is a tricky part that withstands some wear and tear, there's a good chance that your cart will slow down because of dirt or mud build-up.
  3. Inspect Wire Problems: When the wiring on your speed sensor starts wearing down, there's a good chance that your cart will slow down. Be sure to inspect the speed sensor wires to see if they are in full operation.
  4. Age-Related Issues: Over time, your speed sensor may wear down and not run as smoothly as it did in the beginning.

These speed sensor repairs and replacements are rather simple, but we always recommend working with a professional to ensure everything goes smoothly.

2. Low Battery

Usually, the most common reason golf carts slow down is when they don't get enough power output from the battery. If the battery pack charge is very low and your cart is out of power, your cart will run slow. 

On the other hand, if your cart is fully charged and has no other issues, the voltage output may be the problem.

Diagnosing Low Battery

Here’s a procedure to follow.

  1. Take a digital voltmeter and connect it to your battery pack and check the connections.
  2. Get in your cart and turn it on. You might need somebody to hold the voltmeter connected to your battery.
  3. Push the pedal and keep your cart in neutral to avoid running anybody over. Read the voltmeter and see how much power it produces. Based on your model, you should be getting a reading between 36-48 volts.
  4. Inspect the battery connections throughout the golf cart. If it doesn't produce this much power, then it indicates the battery is not outputting properly.
  5. Measure the total battery level. If your battery charge is low or out of charge, chances are you need to charge it up and get it working properly.
  6. Charge the battery and rerun the test. If your battery is strong, you will get the minimum charge this time.
  7. Consider replacing the battery if the voltage output remains low.

When you replace the batteries, they should start running properly again and not lose speed as you drive. If your carts still run slow when you drive, there is probably something more going on than a battery issue.

3. Forward/Reverse Switch Issues

It is essential to check the forward/reverse switch if your golf cart is running slow. If this switch malfunctions, your cart may run slowly because it gets confused about what direction you want it to go. Issues with the forward/reverse switch include wiring failure that makes it prone to sparks and malfunctioning.


Generally, a forward/reverse switch that has malfunctioned needs to be replaced. However, most cart owners should be able to remove the switch and replace it carefully.

4. Bearing Encoder Issues

The bearing encoder is an essential part of your golf cart that provides you with careful electrical charge distribution throughout your cart. It works by encoding various elements of your cart's operation and translating them to different impulses to keep the power running smoothly.

Does your cart start fine at an average speed and then start to slow down as you drive? Do you feel your cart in an uneven position when it starts to slow down? If it does, then chances are the bearing encoder is failing, and the issue must need to be addressed quickly.


The bearing encoder is a tricky part, and that's why we advise getting the help of an expert. An expert can carefully balance your cart operation and the bearing encoder issue.

5 Ampacity Controller Fault

The Ampacity controller is a part of your cart that helps to manage the amperage that produces and uses as your cart drives. When this particular part malfunctions, you're going to run into some issues with your cart operation. 

Ampacity controller faults include slow down, sudden surges in speed, and more.

Usually, this issue arises when the controller has not been installed correctly. Consult with a professional to ensure that you don't run into any problems. Sometimes repair experts may use aftermarket items that don't fit properly on your ampacity controller and cause it to run poorly or fail and leave you with a cart that runs slow.


In most cases, you'll need to replace the ampacity controller. Unfortunately, this part cannot be modified or repaired. Changes in the wires and connections may help, but replacement is usually considered the best option.

Note: These are just the five most common issues that may cause problems with your golf cart speed. Remember, these are not the only issues that may cause your cart to run slowly.

How to Increase your golf cart speed?

Are you looking to increase your golf cart speed? Learn more about how to make your golf cart go faster.

The Bottom Line

If you struggle with any more complex issues and need expert help, get help from Golf Cart Garage Expert.

Further Read 

Golf Cart Maintenance: A Complete Guide

5 Common Reasons Your Golf Cart Isn't Working

5 Common Golf Cart Noises and How to Fix Them

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