Owning a golf cart is a luxury not every golfer has, and if you’re fortunate enough to do so then it’s important you take good care of it to ensure it lasts a lifetime.
One of the most important elements to every golf cart are its tires as they are the only part of the vehicle that makes contact with the ground, and are the most likely to wear out the quickest over time.
A simple way to get the most out of your tires, before having to replace them with new ones, is to rotate them from front to back.
But you’re probably asking yourself: Why should you rotate golf tires? And how do you do it?
Rotating your golf cart tires will help them wear evenly over time, and increase their lifespan. It’s best to diagonally swap your front and rear tires annually to stop the tread eroding in only one area. If your tires are directional, make sure you keep them on the same side of the cart when swapping from front to rear, or vice versa.
Directional tires typically have arrows indicating which way they should be configured and have specially-designed treads to direct water displacement away from the vehicle, rather than towards it.
Be sure to check whether your golf cart tires are directional or not before rotating them from front to back as it will determine whether they need to be kept on the same side, or can be swapped diagonally (which is best for improving longevity and ensuring the tire wears evenly).
So, now that you know why golf cart tires should be rotated, you’re probably wondering how to do it.
Well, the first step is to jack up your cart so you can begin removing the wheels.
Where do you jack up a golf cart?
The best place to jack up a golf cart is on the frame rail as this is the most sturdy, stable part of the vehicle. After applying the parking brake, position the jack underneath the rail and slowly begin pumping or winding it up until the cart is safely elevated above the ground.
While you have the option of leaving the golf cart on the jack, it’s recommended to place a jack stand under another portion of the frame as it is far more sturdy and secure – and then once it’s in place, remove the jack.
The Torin Steel Jack Stand will do the trick, and can be bought off Amazon for less than $30 USD (be sure to check the current price as it may fluctuate).
Below is a great video demonstrating how to jack up your golf cart:
Once your golf cart is safely elevated off the ground, and securely positioned on the jack stand, it’s time to remove the wheels.
How do you take wheels off a golf cart?
After elevating your golf cart using your jack, take a flathead screwdriver and remove the wheel cover. Then, take a socket wrench and unwind the wheel lug nuts following a star pattern (top first, bottom second, left third and right last) as this will avoid warping any structural components. After replacing the wheel, reapply the lug nuts using the same method and replace the cover.
Repeat this for all four wheels on the cart, remembering – standard tires can be swapped diagonally from front to back, but directional tires must be kept on the same side of the vehicle.
Replacing your wheels is simple is you follow these steps.
The video below offers a visual guide on how to correctly remove the wheels from your golf cart:
Now that you’ve successfully rotated all four wheels, it’s time to make sure they are aligned correctly.
How do you align front tires on a golf cart?
The two key elements relating to proper golf cart tire alignment are camber and toe. Looking at the cart from front-on, camber determines whether the front wheels are straight or leaning left/right. Looking at the cart from above, toe determines whether the front wheels are pointing inwards or outwards.
Aligning the front wheels’ camber and toe correctly is essential to make the golf cart travel straight, as it is the front wheels that steer the cart.
So, how is this done? Below are some steps to follow to adjust camber and toe.
Guide to camber alignment
The camber of a golf cart’s front wheels is determined by the position of a leaf spring, which connects the right and left tires – if the spring is not centred, the vehicle will not travel in a straight line.
Step 1: Measure the camber
To measure the camber of your wheels, take a framing square (such as the PowerTec 80008 which can be bought on Amazon) and place it next to the wheel so that it is touching the tire.
If your tire is aligned correctly, the framing square should be in contact with the wheel from top to bottom – if not, there will either be a gap at the top or bottom of the wheel (depending on if the camber is too far inwards or outwards).
Do this for both wheels and record the gap distance, if there is one.
Step 2: Adjust the camber
If the camber of wheel is misaligned, it means the leaf spring is either too far to the left, or right of the vehicle.
To adjust the leaf spring, follow these steps:
- Locate the toe plate underneath the front of the vehicle (for most golf carts, it will have four surrounding bolts, and a centre bolt, visible)
- Gently loosen the four surrounding bolts on the toe plate, without removing them completely
- Then, gently loosen or tighten the centre bolt, which will move the leaf spring one way or the other
- Once the leaf spring is centred, re-measure the wheels to ensure the camber is aligned evenly on both wheels
- When the alignment is correct, retighten the four surrounding bolts on the top plate
This will ensure the front wheels on your golf cart have the correct camber alignment.
Guide to toe alignment
A golf cart’s toe alignment can be altered by adjusting the tie rod end on each wheel. These tie rods (sometimes known as rack ends) are one of the most important parts of any rack and pinion steering system, and providing the forces required to turn the front tires whenever you turn the steering wheel.
Step 1: Measure and adjust the toe alignment
To measure the toe alignment on your golf cart, follow these steps:
- Using a tape measure, find the centre of each wheel and mark it using chalk
- Then, take your tape measure and record the distance between the centre of the left and right tire
- After taking your measurement, roll each of the tires one-and-a-half revolutions and take the measurement again
- Take the same measurement for the rear tires
- The front tires should be an eighth to two-eighths closer together in the than the rear pair
- If you need to adjust the front wheels, loosen the nuts on each of the tie ends and alter as needed
- Remeasure until correct and then retighten the nuts
Below is a video demonstrating how to adjust the toe alignment on your golf cart:
If done properly, your wheels should now be aligned. Next, it’s best to ensure they have enough air in them.
What is the recommended air pressure for golf cart tires?
Correct pressure is essential to extending the life of your golf cart tires. Each tire should maintain an air pressure reading of between 20-22 pounds per square inch (PSI), as this will give them maximum longevity and functionality. Anything under 20 PSI is considered a flat tire and leaves them susceptible to damage or, at worst, a blowout.
How long should golf cart tires last/when to replace them?
In general, golf cart tires can last anywhere between 4-7 years depending on how regularly the vehicle is driven, and if you rotate them from front to back annually. Key indicators for replacing your golf cart tires are if they are failing to hold air; are showing dry rot; have signs of cracking; or have significant tread wear.
Will bigger tires make my golf cart faster?
While bigger tires will increase your golf cart’s top speed, they will slow its acceleration from a standing start. This is because smaller wheels will impart greater force and torque than larger wheels, thus leading to greater acceleration. So bigger wheels will mean a greater top speed, but less acceleration.
What are the best golf cart tires?
Golf carts come in all different shapes, sizes and models – each of which have their own specifications, including the type and size of their wheels. The best tire for your golf cart is one that is matches correctly with its make and model.
Simply research your golf cart online, and you’ll quickly determine which tires are appropriate for it.
Rotating the tires on your golf cart is essential to extending their lifespan and ensuring your vehicle remains safe to drive.
Swapping your tires each year will guarantee they wear evenly and make it less likely you need to replace them regularly.
If your tires are failing to hold air, or are showing signs of rot or cracks, it’s best to get some new ones.