9 Common Symptoms of Golf Cart Bad Controller (+Quick Fix)

Driving your own golf cart has to be a fantastic experience. But, it can quickly become bitter with unexpected events like the cart stalling or refusing to start out of nowhere. Most of the golf cart’s speed and power issues are often related to a bad controller.

Some of the most common symptoms of a bad controller on a golf cart are sudden slowing down, abrupt stalling, unexpected surges in speed, and the cart not refusing to start at all. 

According to me, it’s all about a good balance of power and speed, which requires a perfectly working speed controller, among other essential parts of the golf cart. 

Golf Cart Bad Controller

9 Common symptoms of bad controller on golf cart

You can’t always avoid unwanted situations while driving a golf cart. Here, I put together some common symptoms of a bad controller to make things easier for you to identify the cause and take necessary actions. 

1. The golf cart slows down unexpectedly

The controller has likely gone wrong if you’ve been driving your cart at full speed and it slowed down without notice.

While it may not seem that risky, I’ve seen people falling due to the abrupt change in speed. Therefore, this is not something you should take lightly.

2. Golf cart slowing down gradually over time

From my experience, you must check the speed controller if your cart is slowing down with each ride. Unlike the abrupt slowing down, this scenario gives you enough time to react and solve the issue. 

3. Golf cart won’t start

I had no idea something was wrong with my golf cart until it suddenly stopped. A cart having trouble starting or not starting at all is often because of a failed controller. Situations like this need to be addressed even if the cart starts after a few failed attempts.

4. The golf cart keeps stalling

If a cart that has been running fine suddenly starts stalling, most of the time, it is linked to a bad controller.

Stalling issues with golf carts hardly go away with time. They need proper inspection and immediate attention to avoid further problems. 

5. Golf cart is stuttering

A stuttering golf cart is another sign of a bad controller. I could feel the steering wheel shaking as my cart was moving unsteadily. 

Sometimes, the stuttering is minor, and you may only realize it after it gets serious. However, it requires immediate action as stuttering is bad for a golf cart’s structure as well as internal elements. 

6. Sudden acceleration problem

Sudden speed interrupting a smoothly running golf cart can be equally frustrating and risky.

When the speed controller fails to connect with the speed sensor, it gets confused and increases the speed abruptly. 

7. Unable to maintain a constant speed

If the controller has gone bad, you may find your cart unable to maintain a constant speed.

Unwanted fluctuations in speed mostly happen because of a damaged controller that can’t read the signals properly.

8. Operation lights flashing

Another clear sign that caught my attention was the operation lights going crazy. Most carts are designed with an operation light that flashes a code when it senses anything wrong within the system.

9. No voltage on the controller

If there’s no voltage on the controller, it can be a clear indication that something is off with it. A simple reset can help. Otherwise, you may need to replace the controller.

Quick fixes to solve the issue with bad controller on golf cart 

Most problems with a golf cart suddenly acting up or unable to start are linked to a controller that has gone bad. Here are some quick fixes that can help you solve the issues.

1. Checking the wires and terminals

You should start by looking for loose and broken connections within the terminals and wires.

For that, you will have to put your cart in tow mode first. Check for dirt and debris and clean them while you’re at it.

You should also check the battery cables and see if the battery is fully charged. Also, inspect the ignition coil for damage or anything unusual. 

2. Resetting the controller

Sometimes, all you need to do is reset the controller to get everything sorted. To reset the controller, rotate the key switch OFF while keeping the cart neutral.

Then you will have to put the tow switch into LOW and take out the negative battery cable. 

At this point, you will have to change the tow switch into the RUN position and turn the reverse switch. Now, if you put the key switch back in the ON position, your controller is done resetting.

3. Replacing the controller

If the wire connections seem okay and resetting the controller doesn’t help, you may have to get a new controller.

But if the problem persists, there might be something wrong with the speed sensor or any other elements of your cart. Consult an expert before replacing the controller first to rule out any other issues.


Fixing issues with the controller of a golf cart can be a bit tricky, but plausibe. Following are some frequently asked questions related to golf cart and its malfunctioning.

Why does a faulty controller cause stalling of the cart?

A faulty controller often misleads the speed sensor. If the sensor thinks the cart is running too fast, it can cause the cart to stall.
Also, sometimes, the controller fails to provide the power needed to operate the cart resulting in it stalling. 

What are some of the preventative measures that you can take for your golf cart?

I would say that regular maintenance is the key to maintaining a smoothly functioning golf cart.
You should conduct weekly and monthly checks to keep the essential parts like the battery, solenoid, controller, brakes, and tires performing in full health. 

How do you test the controller of an electric golf cart?

You can check the controller of an electric golf cart by pushing the pedal once to see if that makes the cart run.
Before that, you must get the batteries fully charged. If you hear a clear clicking sound, the controller may be working fine.  

What other parts can cause problems similar to a bad controller?

Some other parts that can cause similar problems are – the batteries, brakes, and solenoid.
It is a good idea to check all these other parts if you’ve been having trouble with running or starting your golf cart, and the controller seems to be okay. 


It would be best if you didn’t drive your golf cart too fast or too slow. An optimum speed is crucial to ensure the safety of the passengers and the cart itself. This is precisely where the speed controller comes to play. 

In my case, I had to replace the controller to get my cart up and about again. It can be different in your case. Sometimes, all it requires is fixing the connections and resetting the controller. 

Whatever the case may be, it is better to resolve immediately to avoid getting into more severe problems. I suggest you take help from a professional if you can’t find or take care of the issues independently.

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