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Golf cart tire: check mark and question mark

Golf Cart Tires: Fact or Fiction?

Christian Attlesey - Golf Cart Stuff Marketing Manager
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Written by: Christian Attlesey

Read Time: 3-5 minutes
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    At Golf Cart Stuff, we get a lot of questions regarding golf cart tires. Unfortunately, many customers have received lousy information from other websites or people they have talked to that can cause severe problems with their golf cart wheel and tire purchases!

    To help offset some of that wrong information, we have created this list of the most common errors we see with golf cart tires.

    We have built this list out in simple fact and fiction format so you can easily see what's wrong and quickly get the correct information! Let's dig in!

    Golf cart tires are perfectly round:

    Golf cart with an emphasis on the wheels and tires

    FICTION

    Fact: Golf cart tires are designed for low-speed vehicles and do not go through the same strict manufacturing procedures as automotive tires. However, before you start screaming at every golf cart dealer you see, let us explain.

    Just because they are not perfectly round does not mean that golf cart tires have a problem or are "flawed."  They are not perfectly round because when you travel at the speed that golf carts typically travel (10-20 mph), you won't be able to notice a slightly out-of-round tire.

    It is only at increased speeds that this becomes an issue (like automotive tires). Although it would be great if every golf cart tire were manufactured to be perfectly round, this extra step in the process would increase the golf cart wheel and tire cost! And the reality is, most golf tires (98%) are perfectly round anyway.

    So realize that this is a simple cost/benefit evaluation on the part of tire manufacturers. By minimizing the cost it takes to manufacture a golf cart tire, you as the consumer don't have to shell out more of your hard-earned cash.

    This is especially great considering you would likely never notice an out-of-round tire on a golf cart anyway! And the reality is, most golf tires (98%) are perfectly round as it is- so is this a reason to fret? We think not.

    Bonus: Is "Perfectly Round" the same as "Balanced"?
    A scale

    Although very closely related, a tire's "roundness" and "balance" are actually two different concepts.

    A golf cart tire's roundness refers to its shape, while the tire being balanced refers to its weight.

    Similar to what was said above, golf cart wheels and tires are never balanced during manufacturing. At the speeds that a golf cart typically travels, a few extra ounces of misplaced weight does not impact how it rides.

    Considering everything we just said, it will be interesting to see how the golf cart wheel and tire industry adjusts moving forward. Golf carts continue to get faster and faster and golf cart tire manufacturers will have to change their manufacturing processes to account for this increased speed. It will be interesting to see what tire options are available to golf cart owners in the coming years!

    Some golf cart tires are better than others

    Sign Post with "good", "better", and "best"

    FACT 

    Well... sort of.

    Golf cart tires come in three different types, each with strengths and weaknesses.

    First is your conventional or "standard" golf cart tire. These are manufactured with bias-ply construction, where nylon sheets overlap at 30-45 degree angles. Please note that these are the most common golf cart tires on the road. These tires are great for everyday use, whether on the golf course, the neighborhood, or the trails!

    Bias-Ply golf cart tire illustration

    The next step up is what are "radial tires ."Radial tire construction uses nylon sheets arranged at 90 degrees (perpendicular) to the direction of travel. This increase the strength and performance of the tire- especially at higher speeds. The downside? These tires certainly cost more!

    Radial golf cart tire illustration

    Lastly, we have steel belted radial golf cart tires, which follow the same pattern as the radial tires we discussed above but also use steel belting that goes with the direction of travel of the tire. These are the best golf cart tires out on the market... and they are the most expensive.

    Steel-belted radial tire illustration

     

    Looking to upgrade your wheel and tire package? Check out our golf cart tire and wheel combos!

    If my golf cart tires are DOT certified, I can use them on the highway

    An illustration of a golf cart driving down a road

    FICTION

    Fact: Golf cart tires with a DOT certification means that they have passed the regulations the Department of Transportation has set.

    Please understand that the Department of Transportation does NOT certify anything. A DOT certification on a golf cart tire means that the manufacturer has determined that the tires meet all the safety regulations put for by the Department of Transportation.

    With all that out of the way, golf cart tires are manufactured for light load and low-speed use. They should not be used on the highway or any vehicle other than a golf cart.

    Installing a lift kit and putting bigger wheels and tires on my golf cart won't affect how it drives.

    Golf cart on a beach with large off-road tires

    FICTION

    Fact: Aftermarket golf cart lift kits will usually add some stiffness to your golf cart. This increased stiffness means you can feel those minor bumps and changes in terrain more than you did with your stock wheels and tires.

    In addition, increasing the height of your golf cart changes its center of gravity which will inevitably impact your golf cart's steering and handling.

    These changes don't mean you shouldn't add them to your cart; you just need to be aware of and comfortable with some of the changes that can occur.

    Bonus: Low-profile street golf cart tires may increase ride stiffness as well

    Low-profile tires get their name from their very narrow sidewall height. Customers like putting these tires on their golf carts because the minimal tire profile can accentuate the focus on the wheels of the cart (ooh-la-la!). However, the loss of rubber and air from the tire can make the ride a little bit rougher.

    For more info on street tires, check out our street tire benefits article.

    I installed new golf cart wheels and tires, and now my cart shakes. The new wheels and tires MUST be the issue.

    An illustration of a golf cart that is vibrating

    FICTION

    Fact: Although new wheels and tires can sometimes be out of round (see above), many other factors could be at play. One common cause of this issue is improper installation.

    When tightening down the lug nuts on their golf cart wheels, customers can assume that the wheel is flush against the hub when it is actually sitting at an angle.

    Installing the wheels this way allows you to tighten the lug nuts down, but once you start driving your golf cart, the wheel wobbles against the hub causing your cart to shake.

    Before tossing up your hands in frustration, lift your golf cart off the ground, give your wheel and tire combos a good shake, and see if you notice any wobbling. Another factor that could be causing your cart to shake while driving is needing to have your golf cart properly aligned.

    This can be a problem, especially if you installed a lift kit and have yet to check to ensure the toe and camber are in the proper relationship. It is always best to check that your new wheels and tires are installed correctly and that your golf cart is aligned before tossing in the towel on your golf cart tires.

    I ordered a loose golf cart tire, and it doesn't look right. I can't install this!

    A photo of three stacked tires

    FICTION

    Fact: Golf cart tires are often bent and slightly deformed before getting mounted onto the wheel. Since there is no air pressure for the tire to keep its shape it can often fold in on itself or be bent in certain places. Once your tire is mounted and adequately inflated, it will look exactly like you expected!

    Bonus: My tire shop says the tires you sent are bad and won't mount them

    Bologna we say!  A picture of bologna Most tire shops have the necessary equipment to mount golf cart wheels and tires. If they say, the tire is bad and that's why they can't mount it- find a new tire shop!

    For more help, check out our article on the most common questions about golf cart tires!

    Hopefully, this quick guide has been helpful for you in getting the facts about golf cart tires and wheels. If you think we missed something or still have further questions, put them in the comments below, and we will get back to you!

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    Golf Cart Stuff Marketing Manager Christian AttleseyChristian Attlesey is the Marketing Manager here at Golf Cart Stuff™, and, in addition to the marketing department, he oversees our website and advertising responsibilities.

    ...You probably know him as the humorous & relatable host of our YouTube channel!

    Prior to taking on marketing, however, Christian honed his industry knowledge as our Customer Service Manager. Fast-forward to present day: it’s his mission to deliver the best and most current products, resources, and overall expertise to Golf Cart owners everywhere.

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    Email: sales@golfcartstuff.com
    Phone: 574-333-2494
    Text: 574-612-5195
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