It’s that time of year again—winter is coming to an end, the sun is shining, you have already prepared your cart mechanically for the upcoming months, and now you are ready to make your cart look as great as it performs.
The winter months have certainly led to the buildup of gunk and other nasty debris throughout your cart. Before you can make a list of what needs to be done, you must give your golf cart a thorough cleaning to see what may be hiding under the dirt and grime.
First, remove anything that may be damaged by water, such as a GPS system, non-waterproof covers, or floor mats and clear out that clutter and vacuum all the nooks and crannies. Once complete, you can begin washing your vehicle. Make sure to use only a soap and materials suitable for the finish of your golf cart and to dry thoroughly. Last, you should begin inspecting your cart for damaged body or trim that needs attention.
Keep in mind, if you live in an area that gets salted (for those who drive in the streets), give your undercarriage and suspension a good cleaning as well.
Remove and Replace
One common misconception regarding the protection of your vehicle is that washing, alone, is enough. Before washing, make sure you remove the body and trim pieces that may hide gunk and buildup. This ensures a more thorough cleaning that will help prevent rust.
It is also an opportunity to see if you are missing any hardware or if any body panels or trim need to be replaced. If you are unsure about hardware or brackets, give it a gentle tug to test the integrity. If you notice too much slack caused by oval holes or brittle mounting, it may be time for replacements.
Make sure to take plenty of pictures during this process to refer to when reinstalling your items.
Cleaning your cart is only a portion of the battle of maintaining a good-looking cart. Once cleaned, examine panels, hardware, and accessories for hairline cracks, broken hardware, or faded panels.
Ultraviolet rays from the sun can wreak havoc on anything that is exposed for too long. This includes fading painted and unpainted plastic. There are many ways to restore faded plastic that include professional, DIY, and over the counter products that will make your life easier and have your cart looking like new.
If too much sun has affected a painted panel, you can always try to alleviate the problem with touchup paint or skins/wraps.
Remember, the sun won’t only fade your body and panels; too much exposure will cause panels to become brittle and crack—or worse, break. Luckily, there are many aftermarket kits that can be purchased to repair broken plastic or fiberglass, but these should only be considered if your experience warrants. If not, ask a professional to replace the damaged part.
So, you cleaned and inspected your cart and found the flaws. You completed as much restoration as you could but are not as satisfied as hoped. There are other options, such as replacement.
In the teardown stage, you should have written a list of potential problems and, one hopes, crossed much of those off once the restore stage was complete. The remainder of your list should contain only those items that may need to be replaced.
When replacing items, assure the correct part numbers and fittings for your vehicle before ordering. When reinstalling, refer to the pictures you took during the teardown process.
Now that your cart is back in tip-top shape, it is the perfect time to add accessories. Adding accessories such as a roof, windshield, or, for the brave, the MadJax stretch kit, will not only increase the value of your cart but give your cart a flash of style. As always, be sure to check if any aftermarket parts are correct for your application.
Once every step above is complete, make sure to protect your ride. Return to the “Clean” section and follow those steps, and make sure you apply UV protecting agents applicable to the finish of your body and trim after the drying phase and purchase storage covers for your vehicle to ensure your cart is looking great for seasons to come.
The beginning of spring is a good time to finish your body and trim maintenance. Whether you need a quick clean up, or to restore that cracked and faded trim, or replace much-needed parts, now is the time to practice good foresight so you are not struggling in the heat of the coming months.