If you’ve owned the same golf cart for a while now, you might be thinking about restoring it to its former glory. The good news is that there are lots of ways to restore a golf cart yourself without hiring professionals to help you.
With that in mind, this guide explains everything you need to know about restoring a golf cart, what tasks you should bear in mind, and how much it’s likely to cost.
But first, how do you restore a golf cart as a DIY project? Let’s find out now.
Is it Hard to Restore a Golf Cart Yourself?
If you’re confident with DIY projects, there’s no reason why you can’t restore a golf cart yourself. That being said, it really just depends on how much work you need to carry out to restore the cart to its former glory.
You will need to begin by putting together a budget to determine whether it’s worth restoring the cart that you have or if it makes more sense to sell your cart and invest in a new one.
Restoring things like the seats, battery, and paint job are all relatively straightforward, but working on the motor takes a little more work.
So, in the following sections, we take a closer look at how to restore a golf cart that you currently own and give you an idea of how much it’s likely to cost.
How Much Would a Professional Charge for a Full Golf Cart Restoration?
If your golf cart is in pretty bad shape, we would recommend budgeting anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000 to fully restore it. While the below prices are not set in stone, here’s what you can expect to pay a professional to restore your golf cart:
- Labor – $75 – $100 per hour
- Battery – $800 – $1,500
- Motor – $1000 – $1,500
- Shocks – $200 – $400
- Clutch – $500 – $800
- Solenoid – $50 – $100
- Paint job – $250 – $500
- Upholstery – $250 – $500
Of course, the cost of restoration will largely depend on the work that you ask the restorer to take care of. If you give them a blank canvas and ask them to take care of everything, it’s going to cost you a lot of money!
Therefore, it makes sense to take care of some aspects of the restoration yourself. Things like replacing the battery, repairing the motor, and reupholstering the seats are all DIY-friendly jobs that can save you money.
By all means, ask a professional to help you with some of the mechanical aspects of the restoration if you don’t feel confident. But the more jobs you can do yourself, the more you save on labor and parts markup.
What Should I Look for When Thinking About Golf Cart Restoration?
If you’re planning to restore your golf cart, there are lots of things you need to think about. Our advice would be to worry first about how the golf cart drives before working on the aesthetics of the cart.
So, you should begin by budgeting for work on the motor, battery, clutch, and various other aspects relating to the mechanics of the vehicle. While you can replace the battery yourself, it might be a good idea to hire a pro to help you with the mechanical restoration of your cart.
Once your cart has been repaired, you can start thinking about improving its aesthetics. The two main things you should consider are the paint job and the upholstery. Thereafter, you can add accessories like rims, fenders, and other features that improve the look of your cart.
If your budget is tight, we’d recommend undertaking essential work only to begin with. Once your cart has been fixed up, you can always save up to add various new accessories.
How Do You Restore a Golf Cart Body?
The first thing you need to do when restoring the body of your cart is to clean it thoroughly. You can use dish soap if you like, but we’d advise you to invest in some car shampoo to take care of the job properly.
Once the body of the cart is clean, you can use a product like Cart Shine to improve its overall look. You can use it on fenders, windshields, vinyl, and practically every other surface on your cart, and it will ensure the body sparkles.
At this stage, you can get to work on repairing any scratches (more on this below), and you can decide whether a new paint job is required.
The good thing about restoring the body yourself is that it costs very little money, and your main expenditure is elbow grease! Given that professionals charge upwards of $75 per hour for labor, you can save a lot of money by doing it yourself.
How Much Does it Cost to Repaint a Golf Cart?
If you paint a golf cart yourself, it is likely to cost anywhere between $100 – $200 to do it yourself. But you can expect to pay upwards of $500 if you want to get your cart professionally sprayed.
To do the job, you will need to invest in a spray painter as well as the paint itself. You can expect to pay anywhere between $60 and $100 for the paint, and you will need a base coat and primer.
Alternatively, you could apply a vinyl decal if you don’t want to paint your vehicle. They are designed and cut from vinyl rolls and are ideal for applying to the body of your golf cart. They’re an affordable way of improving the paint job of your golf cart.
Overall, a DIY paint job is likely to cost you around $100 or slightly more, but it is significantly cheaper than taking your car to a repair shop to be painted for you.
How Do You Get Rid of Scratches on a Golf Cart?
Removing the scratches from your golf cart is an important aspect of the restoration project. This is easy to do yourself – you just need to buy a plastic cleaner to help. Then, apply the cleaner to the areas of your cart that are scratched and polish thoroughly.
You will need to leave the polish on the body for several hours before cleaning your golf cart, but it’s perfect for removing fine scratches. Again, this is a task that you can do yourself, and you will save a lot of money as far as labor is concerned.
If the fenders on your cart are badly damaged as opposed to scratched, it makes sense to replace them. You can pick up new fenders for around $100, and it will make a huge difference to the appearance of your cart.
But if you’re just dealing with surface scratches, the right cleaning product and sufficient elbow grease will get the job done.
Where to Find Parts for a Golf Cart Restoration Project?
There are lots of places where you can buy parts for a golf cart restoration project. Our first recommendation is to head to eBay, as there are so many golf cart parts on the site, and you will almost certainly find what you’re looking for there.
Another great website for parts is Golf Cart Garage, where you can buy official parts from manufacturers like Club Car, EZGO, and Yamaha. You always need to be mindful of fake parts when shopping online, which is why choosing a trusted site like Golf Cart Garage is a smart move.
You could also visit the official website of the manufacturer of your golf cart to search for spare parts. This is a good option if your make and model of the cart isn’t particularly popular in the US and you’re struggling to find parts.
Overall, there are lots of places online to order spare parts for your golf cart. Doing this will almost certainly save you money when compared to going to a golf cart repair shop.
Can You Restore Golf Cart Batteries?
While it’s possible to restore golf cart batteries, we wouldn’t recommend it. If you’re restoring an old golf cart, you should take this opportunity to buy a brand-new battery. Although it’s likely to cost a fair amount of money, it will have a huge impact on the cart’s performance.
After all, there’s very little point in going to all this work to restore your old golf cart, only to run it on an old battery that has seen better days.
The battery is the most important part of any electric golf cart, and it’s not an area in which you should try and skimp and save.
So, look for a quality lead-acid or lithium battery to install in your newly restored golf cart, and you will find that it now runs like a dream.
Restoring an old golf cart is an effective way of breathing life back into an old vehicle. It will also nearly always be cheaper than buying a new cart.
Our advice is to start with work that will improve the performance of your cart before working on its aesthetics.
This way, your cart will be in perfect working order, and you can return to the golf course in your newly restored cart as if you’re in a brand new ride!