Buying Tips 101
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of purchasing a golf car. Make sure you take a few minutes to learn the basics so you don’t end up regretting your decision! The first rule of shopping for a golf car is to take your time and ask plenty of questions. We are here to help!
New or Used (Refurbished)
With a new car you get the peace of mind of knowing that you are the first owner of the car with a manufacturer standing behind the warranty. For an electric car, this also means that you know the history of the batteries. Likewise, a new car provides the latest in technology, performance and comfort. There are also excellent finance incentives for new cars regularly offered by the manufacturers that are not available for used cars.
A used or refurbished car can be an economical choice, but BUYER BEWARE. It has unfortunately become a standard practice for some dealers in our industry to not fully disclose the year of the model car and in the case of electric cars, the age of the batteries. Purchasing a used or refurbished car requires a buyer that is educated to ensure that you are getting what you have paid for and that you will be 100% comfortable with your purchase.
A refurbished car is primarily cosmetically refurbished, but typically still has most of or all of the original working components (motor or engine, controller, solenoids, transaxle, batteries, etc.). See below to learn how to decipher the year model of the car and batteries. If you can’t find the serial number on the car, consider that to be an alarming red flag. The year of the car is a strong indicator of the amount of wear and tear the mechanical parts have endured, so it is imperative that when you are comparing cars and prices you are aware of the year of the car.
If you elect to purchase a used or refurbished car, make sure that you receive a written warranty. Take the time to review what the warranty covers and what it does not cover and what potential costs you may incur during ownership. It is also necessary to learn how your dealer will service your car should you have any problems. Does the dealership have a service department or will they out-source the repair work?
Gas or Electric
There are two primary considerations when making this choice – the application the car is being used in and the initial cost of the car. For new cars, gas and electric cars are typically very close in price. Due to the lack of supply of used gas cars in the market, used gas cars will typically run several hundred dollars more than a comparable electric car.
There are many instances where the location of the car’s use will mandate that it be electric. Be sure to check with any local laws that would govern the car’s use.
Gas Car Pros – all day use without the time needed to recharge, no access to an electrical outlet is necessary. Very little routine maintenance is required for normal use.
Gas Car Cons – gas cars are nosier and do emit a slight odor from their exhaust.
Electric Car Pros – near silent operation, no exhaust fumes and smooth acceleration.
Electric Car Cons – requires regular charging and maintenance of water levels in the batteries.
For an electric car, the age of the batteries is a significant factor to consider when purchasing. Battery life is dependent on usage and the level of maintenance provided to ensure that they have proper water levels at all times. Batteries typically last 4-6 years based on the usage and maintenance, however batteries can fail much earlier if not properly cared for. A quality set of replacement batteries will run approximately $800.
Battery Date Codes
The main suppliers to the golf car industry are Trojan, US Battery and Crown (privately labeled as a Club Car product). The date code can be found either stamped into one of the terminals or on a sticker. The code will have a letter followed by one or two numbers. The letter indicates the manufacturing month and the number indicates the year. For example, an A1 or A11 code would be January of 2011. Likewise, a G4 or G14 indicates July 2014 production.