Buying preowned is a great way to save money on your golf cart, ATV, or specialty vehicle without sacrificing quality. Unfortunately, though, it's possible to fall prey to shady golf cart dealers hoping to sell you a "lemon". While we've previously given you tips on how to avoid these dealers, this week we'd like to walk you through a few red flags to watch out for when you're looking at the preowned carts themselves.
1. Sloppy Steering
When you're picking out the specialty vehicle you'd like to take home, it's essential to take it out for a spin first. Any reputable dealer would be happy to take you out on a test drive so you can get a feel for how this cart would handle. Be sure to take it over rougher terrain (grass, gravel, or a small hilly spot if available) as well as on a smooth paved surface, and keep a close eye on the steering.
A bad steering wheel may seem like a small problem, but it can be expensive to replace, especially depending on what part of the steering system has gone bad. A wheel that pulls left or right may be due to tire issues, so that's a red flag to check on tire pressure. Tire replacement or repair is much cheaper than replacing a steering wheel, so make sure you check on that first. In our opinion, if the steering wheel has gone bad, you probably shouldn't take that particular cart home.
2. Rusting or Corrosion on the Frame
The frame of the cart is basically its skeleton, and a damaged frame could lead to seriously expensive replacements (essentially rebuilding the cart from the ground up) or even risk of injury to you and your family. It's not unheard of for battery acid to seep onto the frame and lead to weakness that will eventually break it down entirely. Some golf cart manufacturers have decided to fight the rusting issues by building with aluminum frames instead of steel, but even these frames can fall prey to a kind of corrosion that weakens them over time.
While you won't be able to check over the entire frame, ask your golf cart dealer to give you a quick look wherever they can. If the frame is corroded or rusting, walk away.
3. Slow or Noisy Brakes
When taking your test drive, be sure to test out the brakes from several different speeds. You're looking for a quick stop without grinding or squealing sounds. If you hear these noises, it's not necessarily a deal-breaker. Brake shoe replacement isn't usually a big deal and it's not prohibitvely expensive, unless the cart has been subject to a long neglect in service and the brake drum has become damaged.
You'll also want to look at the brakes for excessive rust and corrosion around the brake backing plates behind the rear wheels, which is another big indicator of neglected maintenance.
When You Want Quality, You Want Garrett's
At Go With Garrett's Golf Cars and Specialty Vehicles, we don't just focus on our new inventory ‐ we put the same care, customer service, and quality work into our preowned carts as well! We'd be happy to take you out on a test drive, speak with you about customization options, and discuss how to get you the right golf cart, or specialty vehicle for your family without you needing to spend an arm and a leg.