Lifting Golf Carts has never been more popular, and with all the advancements made in this area it has never been easier! You now have a wide variety of choices when considering a golf cart lift kit. This article is designed to give you a basic introduction to golf cart modification, and to help you decide if lifting is right for you.
Lift Kits are great and tons of fun, nothing looks quite as good as a cart lifted with big tires and a awesome paint job! Lifts will also give you the clearance needed to navigate tougher terrains. However you have to consider several performance elements before lifting a cart.
Speed, torque, and gear ratio will all be affected by a lift. There are many performance golf cart parts that can drastically improve any drawbacks but please understand lifting a golf cart can be an expensive and time consuming undertaking. The quality of the products you choose will play a huge part in the performance you can expect after a lift. Lift Kits are one area that you should never cut corners on or buying lesser quality equipment.
Here are some of the basic areas you should consider before lifting your cart, if you find the benefits of a lift outweigh the cons then you will most likely love your new lift.
Along with most lifts come bigger tires. Since all carts were designed with a specified tire size to work efficiently with the gear ratio in the differential, increasing tire size will affect your carts performance in several ways:
- When you increase the overall height of your tires you may gain a little top-end speed when on flat ground, due to larger tires rolling further with each revolution.
- More strain is put on your motor or engine to move the larger tires the same amount of rotations it was moving the smaller tires.
- When climbing inclines or carrying loads your engine or motor has to work harderthr even with standard size tires. The larger the tire the more work for the cart.
- More work combined with the strain to rotate the larger tires will greatly reduce your climbing speed and load carrying torque.
Safety is probably the biggest area to consider with any cart modification no matter how small. A lift will not only raise your cart it will raise your center of gravity as well. Your driving habits will need to be adjusted in response, the chances of rolling or flipping a cart increase with any lift or whenever the center of gravity is raised. You will no longer be able to take turns as fast a you normally do and you will need to use caution on hilly terrain.
One of the biggest benefits you will gain from a lift is that in raising the center of gravity your clearance is increased. Now you can navigate rough terrains you probably couldn’t before!
Golf Cart Lift Kits come in several types and lift sizes depending on your make of cart. The most common lifts are spindle and drop axle. Recently long travel adjustable lifts have taken golf cart lifts to a whole new level! These truly amazing lifts allow you to be in control of your carts height and easily change it to suit your needs.
Spindle lifts are probably the easiest kits to install as well as the cheapest. Spindle lifts simply replace the factory spindles lifting the cart. Drop axle lifts replace the entire axle and can be a little more expensive and complicated to install. However a axle lift is a much stronger cleaner looking lift.
To best decide what lift is right for you here are some questions you should ask yourself:
- What is the cart primarily used for?
- Are you bothered by your carts current limitations?
- Do you use the cart on a golf course or on the street?
- What is your budget and are you able to go over it if need be?
- Is hauling large loads or climbing hills important? If so are you willing to further modify your cart?
- Do you have the time and money to modify other components if need be?
If your cart is primarily used on a course or the street, you should either not lift it or go with an adjustable long travel kit. Golf courses do not allow aggressive tread or all terrain tires due to the damage they cause to turf. An adjustable kit will give you the freedom to drop your cart down and swap your tires when you want to play a round. All terrain tires are designed to be used both on and off road, however you will wear them down faster on pavement and the ride is not all the time pleasant. It will be up to you to decide if the time spent adjusting your lift and changing your tires out is worth it, or more trouble than it’s worth. Most people who spend more time either on or off road but once in a while do the opposite benefit the most from a long travel kit.
If you spend most to all of your time off road then a more permanent lift is probably the best choice for you. It will then be more a matter of deciding between a spindle or a drop axle lift.
Drop axles are usually the best lift kits you can buy and there are several great premium manufacturer’s such as Jake’s or All Sports Mfg. Always invest as much as possible, as quality really makes a huge difference in a lift kit. Save up if you have to but never sacrifice quality for cost!
If you have the time and the money to invest in your cart it can become a great hobby for you and your family. You will be surprised at how one modification will lead to two or three, and if done correctly you will end up with performance mixed with style. Just always remember safety and make sure any changes you make you research completely beforehand.