You might be aware that the rear axle plays a crucial role in most vehicles – but is it also an essential part of gas-powered and electric golf carts?
This article explains everything you need to know about golf cart rear axles, including how to replace them should they get damaged.
But first, do all golf carts have rear axles, and how do you know if the axle is damaged? Let’s find out.
- 1. Do Golf Carts Have Rear Axles?
- 2. How Do You Know Your Golf Cart Axle is Bad?
- 3. Electric vs. Gas Golf Cart Rear Axles Differences
- 4. How Much Does It Cost to Fix an Axle on a Golf Cart?
- 5. Is it Hard to Replace a Rear Axle?
- 6. What Tools Do You Need?
- 7. How Do You Remove a Rear Axle from a Golf Cart?
- 8. Where to Look for Golf Cart Rear Axles for Sale?
1. Do Golf Carts Have Rear Axles?
Yes, golf carts have rear axles and are sometimes referred to as differentials. A rear axle is a key component of a golf cart, as it slows the rotational speed of the clutch or electric motor before it hits the rear wheels.
In other words, a golf cart’s rear axle is instrumental in your ability to turn and direct a golf cart, and broken rear axles render a golf cart undrivable.
Read on to find out what you need to know about rear axles on golf carts, how to replace damaged differentials, and where you can buy replacement parts.
2. How Do You Know Your Golf Cart Axle is Bad?
Helpfully, several signs suggest that your golf cart axle is bad, and it’s a relatively easy issue to diagnose*:
- Your golf cart tires won’t turn when you try the steering wheel. Even though the cart will start, a broken axle will prevent the tires from turning in either direction.
- When driving, you might notice that your golf cart is straining, particularly when you press the accelerator. This is another sign that the rear axle might be bent or damaged.
- Another common sign that a golf cart’s axle is bad is that the wheels wobble or vibrate more than usual. You mustn’t continue driving your golf cart in this instance, as it’s extremely dangerous to do so.
So, if you think you might have an issue with your golf cart’s axle, it’s time to do something about it.
But are there any differences between electric and gas golf cart rear axles that you need to be aware of?
3. Electric vs. Gas Golf Cart Rear Axles Differences
Fundamentally, the differential (rear axle) plays a crucial role in the driveability of gas and electric golf carts, and there isn’t a big difference between the two. The differential is responsible for transmission torque to the golf cart’s wheels, which enables them to turn at different speeds.
The rear axle is a fundamental component of gas-powered and electric vehicles, and you will need to act if you notice an issue.
Replacement rear axles can typically be used on gas or electric carts, making it easy to order the necessary parts to fix your cart.
If you don’t have any mechanical experience, replacing the rear axle or fixing the differential on a gas or electric golf cart isn’t straightforward.
It might be something that you should leave to a professional, even if it does cost more, as we explain below.
4. How Much Does It Cost to Fix an Axle on a Golf Cart?
A replacement rear axle for a golf cart starts from about $100**. The price you will pay for a replacement axle depends on several things, including the make and model of the cart.
Yamaha, EZGO, and Club Car replacement axles are typically the easiest to get hold of and are often the most affordable.
However, if you have a less popular golf cart, you might pay slightly more for replacement parts.
In terms of labor, you can expect to pay between $50-$100 per hour for a mechanic to fix an axle on your behalf, meaning that the total cost of the fix could be in the region of $500.
That being said, if you have the knowledge and experience, you can fix the axle on your golf cart, saving you from paying for labor costs. Still, it’s a relatively complex process, as we explain below.
5. Is it Hard to Replace a Rear Axle?
For someone with experience working with golf carts (or vehicles in general), replacing the rear axle on a golf cart is relatively straightforward.
However, if you don’t have any experience working on golf carts, you might find replacing the rear axle challenging.
To get into the rear axle, you need to remove the wheels and the brake drum before removing the snap ring from its position.
This will free up the damaged rear axle and allow you to replace it, fixing the differential.
Of course, every make and model of the cart is slightly different, meaning you must bear this in mind before undertaking any repairs.
You should also look for the appropriate parts to ensure that the replacement axle fits your make and model of the cart.
The bottom line is that if you don’t have any experience working with golf carts, we’d recommend leaving the work to a professional.
But if you want to undertake the work yourself, let’s look at some of the tools you will need to get the job done.
6. What Tools Do You Need?
To get into the rear axle, you need to use a spanner to remove the wheels and brake drums. You will need some snap ring pliers to get to the snap ring, which frees up the axle.
To slide the axle out from its position, you might also benefit from using a slide hammer, which is the tool many golf cart mechanics use for the job.
While many of these tools are easily accessible and can be purchased online, buying them specifically for a one-off repair job can be costly.
You should weigh the cost of purchasing these tools against the costs associated with labor, as it might be more cost-effective to hire a mechanic to help you complete the replacement.
7. How Do You Remove a Rear Axle from a Golf Cart?
If you wish to do the work yourself, remove the rear axle on a golf cart by removing the snap ring behind the wheel hub***. Here are the steps you need to follow:
- Your first job is to remove the golf cart’s back wheels.
- Next, remove the brake drum and insert 90-degree snap ring pliers through the hub to remove the snap ring from its position.
- Carefully slide the axle out of its position – you might need to use a slide hammer to help you release the bearing.
With the rear axle removed, you can fix a replacement part, repairing your golf cart’s differential.
Although it’s not the most difficult process, we’d only recommend undertaking golf cart repairs if you have the confidence and experience!
8. Where to Look for Golf Cart Rear Axles for Sale?
There are several places online to buy golf cart rear axles for sale. Buggies Unlimited is the best place to buy new replacement parts, as you will find a decent selection of replacement rear axles for sale on the site.
Another option is eBay, which has long been a great place to buy spare parts for golf carts, and you will find a selection of axles and other core parts of the differential for sale on eBay.
You can also check out Cart Parts USA, another great source of spare parts for golf carts, and you will find differentials for Yamaha and Club Car carts.
So, if you’re keen to work on your golf cart’s axle, there are several online places to find replacement parts, enabling you to get started immediately.
Rear axles are essential parts of gas-powered and electric golf carts, and if they are damaged, the driveability of your cart will be severely affected.
While it’s certainly possible to fix or replace a rear axle on a golf cart yourself, we’d only recommend doing so if you have experience of working on your golf cart previously, as it’s a relatively complicated task.
Therefore, for most cart owners, it’s best to take your cart to a mechanic if you need to work on its rear axle, as it’s not a job you can afford to get wrong.