I’ll be honest with you…if you asked me “what does an igniter do on a golf cart?” a few years ago, I wouldn’t have an answer for you.
But as you’ve probably learned in life, ignorance isn’t always bliss. Sometimes it’s better to know more, rather than less.
So that brings us back to the question that brought you here:
What does an igniter do on a golf cart?
A golf cart igniter takes a small magnetically-induced signal sent by the golf cart pulsar and boosts that signal to the ignition coil. The ignitor serves a crucial role in gas golf carts with a solid state ignition system.
Without a properly functioning igniter, the small signal that starts in the pulsar can’t be relayed to the ignition coil. The ignition coil needs the boosted signal from the ignitor in order to create a large spark that activates the spark plug and fires the gas into the engine cylinder.
The igniter is a key electrical system component for many gas golf carts, but it is worth noting that not every gas golf cart has an igniter.
Also worth noting: If you have an electric golf cart, you do not have an igniter.
Golf Cart Igniter Test
If you’re having trouble getting your gas Club Car/EZGO/Yamaha to fire up, it’s time for some troubleshooting.
You can hit that gas pedal a hundred times, but if the engine doesn’t get any power, you won’t get far.
You can start with the easy items first.
- Is your gas tank empty?
- Is the battery dead?
- Is the fuel system functioning properly? Do I need a new fuel filter or fuel pump?
You get idea. Start with the simpler possibilities as you look to pinpoint the issue.
If those items are in order, then your problem could be somewhere in the electrical components. Make sure you don’t have any loose wires or bad connections. If everything seems to be in order, check to ensure that you’re actually getting a spark.
If you reach the point in your troubleshooting where you’re convinced that the golf cart igniter is the source of the issue, there are some great tutorials on YouTube for replacing this part.
Here is a Club Car DS replacement video offering a good close-up of the cart engine and tools needed.
Amazon is the easiest way to purchase a replacement igniter. Here are a few common options to choose from (please note: we may earn a small commission for any Amazon products purchased through our links).
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How to Test a Golf Cart Ignition Coil
The ignition coil is not the same thing as the golf cart igniter. As I mentioned up above, the igniter boosts a magnetically-induced signal and sends that signal to the ignition coil, which then creates a large spark. This is what fires up the engine.
The location and appearance of the ignition coil will vary based on the make and model of your golf cart. Consequently, I can’t give you detailed testing information for your specific make and model, but here are some basic tips.
- Find the ignition coil on your cart (a parts manual or cart engine schematic can help).
- Disconnect the negative terminal of the golf cart battery.
- Disconnect the wires leading to the ignition coil.
Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll want to get your multimeter and put the black lead test on the negative terminal of the ignition coil (the coil should have a + / – sign to help you identify which is which). Attach the red lead test to the positive terminal.
Choose the Ohm setting on your multimeter and see what type of results you get. If the range is between 3.7-5.2ohms, your ignition coil is fine.
If it’s outside of that range, you’ve discovered the problem. Spend some money and replace this part.
This YouTube video offers a good walk-through for troubleshooting an EZGO engine.
Still Stuck? Don’t Know What Adjustment to Make?
I feel ya. Golf cart problems can be frustrating, especially if they’re keeping you from the round of your life at your local golf course.
There’s some good news though. If you’re experiencing a voltage problem, you’re probably not the first person with this particular headache.
My advice is to jump on a forum like BuggiesGoneWild. There are many folks there that offer their expertise, experiences and insights for free.