How To Bypass Solenoid On Golf Cart: Identify Bad Solenoid Symptoms And Test it Yourself

A golf cart on a green golf course

Nobody wants to get stuck in a golf cart in the middle of a golf course, right? But unfortunately, this can happen when the solenoid of your cart stops working.

At that moment, if you don’t have a multimeter or voltage meter, the question of how to bypass the solenoid comes up.

In today’s article, we will be answering this question. But before we get there, let’s get a better understanding of what a solenoid does, symptoms of a bad solenoid, and how to test one.

You can enjoy reading the full article or jump to your desired topic from the list below.

What Is A Golf Cart Solenoid

Simply put, a solenoid works as a relay switch, which controls high-power circuits with the aid of low-power circuits.

Depending on the type of golf cart, this high-powered circuit is either your electrical motor power circuit for an electric golf cart or the ignition for a gasoline golf cart.

Your golf cart’s functionality is significantly dependent on the solenoid. Because it is the main switch that directs the current from the battery to your generator or traction motor.

How Does A Solenoid Work

A rod is pushed by the solenoid with a magnet coil. This generates an electric current, which causes the cart to move.

But, due to its high responsibility, it may break down occasionally. You may experience even greater breakdowns if your cart is battery-powered.

Main components of a golf cart solenoid
Terminals of a golf cart solenoid.

What Are The Components Of A Solenoid

A standard solenoid contains four terminals, two large and two small ones. Small terminals are connected to the battery voltage. Those activate the solenoid, which acts as a switch to allow the large terminals to be connected together.

You will also find a steel plunger and a thin wire coil. As we mentioned earlier, in electric golf carts, the high power circuit is usually an electric motor power loop. For a gas-powered cart, on the other hand, the ignition plays the role of the circuit.

Symptoms Of Bad Solenoid On Golf Cart

Your golf cart may suffer from various problems due to a bad solenoid. Even any of these may make you feel worried.

Be careful, do not ignore any symptoms. Neglecting these will only make the problem worse. Because sometimes, you may require to replace both your solenoid and starter.

Having said these, let’s take a glance at the most frequent signs that indicate a problem.

While there are slight differences in an electric and gas cart’s symptoms, these are pretty easy to detect, and you don’t need to be an expert.

So, if you are wondering how do I know if my golf cart solenoid is bad, then understand the symptoms of a bad solenoid on a golf cart.

Symptoms Of Bad Solenoid On Gas Golf Cart

  1. You may experience a failure of large contacts to release correctly, which is the main issue with a gas golf cart. If this occurs, it means that the starter is functioning even though the ignition has been turned off.
  2. It is possible that your spring is too worn to properly return the pinion to a resting or neutral position. It means your starter isn’t capable of disengaging but remains continuously engaged.
  3. Sometimes, you may hear small and continuous clicks when you try turning on your cart. Despite these clicks, however, your cart isn’t moving. This suggests your solenoid isn’t operating.

Symptoms Of Bad Solenoid On Electric Golf Cart

  1. If your electric cart makes less clicking noise when it turns on, it is usually a sign that something is wrong. Typically, the solenoid clicks on and off when you turn your ignition.
  2. If you don’t hear any click, then the solenoid may not be able to send electricity anymore to power the golf car. Sometimes, the problem is caused by the coil being worn out or too old. This could also indicate a faulty solenoid suffering from loose connections or a weak battery.
  3. You may also have overheated contacts. It is risky, and if this condition persists for a long time, your starter may get damaged.

In both cases, if your cart fails to start, then it is the most obvious symptom.

Golf cart solenoid and digital multimeter
Testing golf cart solenoid requires a voltmeter or multimeter.

How To Test A Golf Cart Solenoid

Your solenoid is an excellent place to start checking in case of a no-start problem.

Finding out these issues is simpler than you might think. Because it doesn’t require specialized skills.

Nevertheless, you need to have a few tools before initiating the process.

List Of Equipment

  • a voltmeter or multimeter
  • a 1/2″ wrench
  • hand gloves
  • electrical tape
  • safety glasses

Safety issues before testing a Golf Cart Solenoid

This will stop the vehicle from running while you test.

  1. Before you start, make sure the cables running to the solenoid terminals are unplugged. In a gas golf cart, the wires go from the starter. On the other hand, it goes from the controller in an electric golf cart.
  2. Then you have to seal the ends of the cables so that they won’t unexpectedly touch each other or connect through metal conductors. For this, you may use electrical tape to cover these.

Finding Solenoid

It is located at the same spot regardless of which type of cart you have.

In fact, you will find it underneath the seat in almost all golf carts. Pretty straightforward to find, correct?

There are four terminals, each with a wired connection. Even if you get confused, the wires leading to them will make it easy for you to identify.

Wire connection of a golf cart solenoid
All four terminals have a wired connection.

How To Test Solenoid Of A Gas Golf Cart

  1. Use the voltmeter’s ohms function to contact probes at the larger terminals. You should see a reading of zero.
  2. Next, push the switch of your golf cart forward, start the cart and slowly accelerate.
  3. Press down on the pedal and try to hear a clicking noise. If this occurs, you should check the reading of your instrument.
  4. A reading between 0-0.4 ohms is desirable. Any reading above this level indicates that the solenoid has failed and must be replaced.

How To Test Solenoid Of An Electric Golf Cart 

The steps mentioned above are only effective if clicks start to come from the solenoid. Use the method below if your electric golf cart’s solenoid is quiet. Because you might not feel the clicking sound when the solenoid of an electric golf cart is engaged.

  1. Take out the voltmeter, and adjust it to DC Volts on the scale at 200. Put a probe on each small terminal of your solenoid.
  2. Ensure that you first check the readings on the smaller terminals before turning on the ignition. Then turn on the cart using the key and step on the accelerator.
  3. Suppose the needle moves and displays the full battery voltage without clicking. In that case, the coil is probably damaged and should be replaced.
  4. Sometimes, you may see no activity, and the voltmeter reads 0. In this case, the solenoid is not a problem. Perhaps your cart has a different issue.

Bypassing A Golf Cart Solenoid

It is possible to bypass the solenoid. But remember, this method is only applicable as an emergency fix.

You should only do this if a multimeter or voltage meter is not available. Don’t take it as a permanent solution.

Although it can be helpful to some extent, it may pose dangers to you and other parts of your golf cart. So, be careful while doing this, or contact a golf cart technician.

Safety Issuses Before Start Bypassing

You should be careful when inspecting a damaged solenoid on a cart so no accident takes place.

  1. First, raise the rear wheels of the cart with the proper support before you start the solenoid test.
  2. A fire extinguisher is essential. Keep your golf cart from catching fire.
  3. Be careful with high-voltage cars. Inadvertently shorting the wiring connections to other metal objects can cause serious injury.
  4. Airflow is pretty essential. So, find a well-ventilated space. In addition, you should be very cautious with hydrogen gas and batteries. This gas can be ignited with sparks and flames.
  5. Keep your hands and eyes away from battery acid. It can cause irritations. So, use gloves and goggles to work with battery acid.
How To Bypass Solenoid On Golf Cart
Bypassing a solenoid is super easy!

How To Bypass Solenoid On Golf Cart Using A Simple Trick

To bypass the solenoid of your golf cart, simply connect both the large side wires of terminals of the solenoid. And after making the connection, attempt to start the cart.

If you fail to start, this is an indication that there is no problem with your solenoid.

But, even the cart starts, it does not necessarily mean that solenoid is the root cause of the problem. Make sure the whole ignition system has been inspected.

If you have an electric golf cart, we recommend that you quit checking the key switch and call a mechanic to help you. Besides, you might consider checking the micro-switch if you own a gasoline golf cart.

Why Should You Check Solenoid Periodically

You need to ensure your solenoid is working correctly to get your golf cart running smoothly. So, periodically check this component’s performance and don’t get stuck mid-stream.

Keep in mind that the solenoid of your golf cart is active whenever you put your foot down on the pedal. In fact, it works at the same time you stop or start your car.

This can cause solenoid problems, especially when you take your cart out frequently.

Buying a new Solenoid

If you can not repair it, then you get the option to buy a new one. And when buying a new one, make sure that it is fully compatible with your golf cart’s voltage.

The two most widely used solenoids are 36-volt and 48-volt. The voltage is generally written on the side of the solenoid. If you are unsure, please check the voltage on your old item.

Golf Cart Solenoid Not Clicking Problem

We have already talked about testing and bypassing. Now we will be discussing another issue, though it can be a common symptom.

Here are some obvious reasons for which you may not hear clicking from your solenoid.

  1. The activation circuit is malfunctioning. This could be due to the fact that the safety reed switch isn’t working in the charger socket.
  2. Loose wiring can be a problem. Perhaps the MOLEX connector, which unites the wiring harness and throttle box, may have become loose. Attempt to reconnect it.
  3. The activation switches are not working in the proper order.
  4. The green wires running between the controller and the F&R switch are poorly connected.

Troubleshooting Golf Cart Solenoid

There are many different brands of golf carts, and they all require fully functioning solenoids to move.  Sometimes, you may need to troubleshoot your solenoid as well. But don’t worry, we got you covered!

EZGO Golf Cart Solenoid Troubleshooting

Find out if your EZ-GO Golf Cart has any common issues. It is simple. Just follow this step-by-step procedure.

Step 01: At first, you need to ensure that all wires and cables are connected perfectly. Secondly, the negative power cable must be carefully disconnected. Then remove the controller cover and reconnect the cable.

Step 02: Place the cart on a jack stand, so its rear is secure. Connect the negative terminal to the main battery’s negative post. For your positive terminal, just follow the same method.

Now you should pay attention to the voltage reading of your battery pack. It usually ranges from 36 to 38V.

Step 03: Move the gear selector forward and push the key switch to the ON position. The positive probe should be kept on the large post of your solenoid.

Step 04: It is also necessary to check whether there is any deviation from the battery pack voltage. If so, ensure an actual cable connection between your solenoid and main positive.

Step 05: Continue the process by placing your probe on the controller’s side. If the resistor is in good condition, the reading should only be about 3 volts less than the battery voltage.

The resistor may be at fault if the deviation exceeds this level. However, suppose the resistor is disconnected, and the reading indicates the battery voltage. If that is the case, the solenoid needs to be replaced as its contacts are welded.

To Sum Up

The solenoid is critical, no matter if you have an electric golf cart or a gas one. Both types rely heavily on this to move.

From time to time, test your solenoid and do not ignore any bad solenoid symptoms, including a faulty wire connection or futile clicking sound.

Feel free to press the accelerator pedal. But do not damage anything!

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