A golf cart can be a quick and easy way to get around short distances. However, they can be fairly noisy, and so you might have wondered how to make a gas golf cart quieter. Here’s a quick answer:
The easiest ways to make a gas golf cart quieter are by adding a muffler or more insulation to the cart’s body. Before making any modifications to your golf cart, be sure that any noises aren’t a sign of mechanical issues.
In this article, I’ll look at the most effective ways to make a golf cart quieter, along with some brief troubleshooting to identify the cause of any suspect noises. Just be aware that you’ll need a bit of mechanical knowledge to make any big changes.
Why are golf carts noisy?
It’s probably not news to you, but all gas engines make some kind of noise. These noises can either come from the moving parts in the engine, or from the exhaust. Exhausts can often amplify any engine noises, making them one of the best locations for noise reduction solutions.
These are the main factors that’ll affect how much noise your gas golf cart makes:
The size of a golf cart’s engine will generally dictate how much noise it makes. Golf carts usually have an engine between 10 and 12 horsepower, but even this small difference can impact the noise it makes.
Obviously a larger engine will allow you to travel faster, but it’ll also make more noise. If you’re still shopping around then bear this in mind if you want a fairly quiet gold cart.
Even though there’s not really much to a golf cart, most will have some kind of insulation. You’ll probably find this around the engine or in the body. Obviously the less insulation you have, the more noise your golf cart will make.
Even high-quality, well-insulated golf carts will need their insulation to change over time. It can be damaged by heat and wear, which can cause it to become less effective. This might be why your golf cart is making more noise than before.
Not all gas golf carts will come with a muffler fitted because it’s not a legal requirement. However, having one fitted will make a massive difference to the amount of noise it makes, particularly if it’s a high-quality muffler.
If you already have a muffler installed then it might need to be replaced. Wear and tear, such as cracks or rust, can affect how well it works. So if your muffler looks old or damaged, consider replacing it.
Like any other engine, golf carts can be affected by mechanical issues. The only difference between a golf cart engine and a car engine is the size; they run on essentially the same technology.
The easiest way to avoid this is with proper servicing and maintenance. Anything from loose connections and screws to transmission problems can impact how much noise your golf cart makes.
Potential mechanical problems
As mentioned, some mechanical issues can have a direct impact on the amount of noise a golf cart makes. If you notice yours is making more noise than usual, it’ll be worth getting the problem checked before you start soundproofing.
These are what I consider to be the main problems that can affect noise levels:
Golf carts will have shock absorbers in their suspension setups and these can become damaged over time. They really take a lot of stress when in use, so pay attention to them.
If you notice any unusual noises when going over bumps, then it could be your shock absorbers. As these need replacing more often than other components, don’t expect to payloads for them.
All gas motors will make some kind of noise when in use. However, new or louder noises can be a sign of mechanical problems. Also, newer engines will generally be quieter and more efficient than older ones.
If you have any concerns about your engine, take the cart to a mechanic before you start soundproofing it. After all, the last thing you want is to break down because you’ve blocked out a potential problem.
Like car engines, golf carts have a transmission fitted. While a golf cart will run with a broken or damaged transmission, it’ll make things much louder and less enjoyable.
Whether you’ve had to deal with a broken transmission before or not, you’ll know if there are issues. Not only will your ride be bumpy, but it’ll be much louder too.
A controller (unsurprisingly) controls how fast your golf cart goes. Many people like to upgrade theirs to make their carts faster, but this can obviously make them noisier too.
Conversely, replacing it with a smaller controller will make the engine less powerful but also quieter. Have your golf cart serviced properly to ensure you know what condition your controller is in.
Providing you look after your golf cart and have it regularly serviced, you should be made aware of these issues before they arise. If not, just be sure to look into them before you start soundproofing.
How to make a gas golf cart quieter
As mentioned, the 2 best ways to make your golf cart quieter are adding insulation and a muffler. I’d recommend trying both for best results and if you’re unsure what to do then contact a mechanic who has experience modifying golf carts.
For example, some golf cart suppliers might offer a customization option, which many people use to add extra soundproofing to their cart’s engine compartment.
Also, read how to quiet leaf blowers.
1. Add insulation to your golf cart
Insulation is generally an incredibly useful option for any soundproofing project. When adding insulation to your golf cart, it has 2 purposes:
- Sound deadening. Limp mass is designed to not vibrate when sound waves come into contact with it, which stops them from transmitting.
- Extra mass. Sound waves are vibrations, and so adding more mass to your cart will mean it vibrates less.
High-density vehicle insulation foam is perfect for this job because it’s generally not too thick and so can be applied in small spaces (such as a golf cart engine compartment).
Bear in mind, however, that it might impact your golf cart’s driving speed. While it’s unlikely you’ll be adding tons of mass, the more you add the slower your cart will be.
For this project I recommend 2 products:
Both of these products will be effective for this job as it’s pretty much what they’re designed to do. Vehicle sound deadening mats (read my article) offer both thermal and acoustic insulation.
They’re both made from butyl rubber, which is limp mass that can withstand high temperatures. They’re both around 1mm thick, so you shouldn’t have any problems fitting them into the engine cabin.
Both products come with easy instructions, but follow this process:
- Remove any old insulation and clean the area down well to remove oil and grime.
- Measure the relevant dimensions and cut the mats to size, leaving a little extra for smoothing into creases.
- Peel the self-adhesive backing off and stick down. Roll it into place with a hand roller.
- Ensure all pieces are stuck down and there are no major gaps. Also line the hood with sound deadening mat (my article on the best one) too.
The difference these mats can make is instantly noticeable. They claim to offer noise reduction of up to 60%, which is fairly impressive.
While you can add insulation to other areas of the golf cart, it’s not really worth it. Effective sound insulation is best done at source, and so putting some under your chair or the chassis will only add extra weight.
The only thing to bear in mind when adding insulation is that you don’t trap too much of the engine’s heat. This generally isn’t a big worry with these products, but the more heat you insulate, the bigger the risk of fire.
If you have concerns about this, speak to a mechanic for more definitive information relating to your golf cart’s make and model. However, as these mats are used on muscle cars, it’s not very likely your engine will catch fire.
2. Install a new muffler on your golf cart
Much of the noise produced by your golf cart’s engine will escape through the exhaust. A muffler is designed to combat this by dissipating the noise. A golf cart’s muffler works in exactly the same way as a normal car’s muffler.
The easiest option for fitting a new muffler is to speak to your dealer if you’ve not long owned the cart. They should be able to provide you with a model-specific muffler, making your life much easier.
However, you can buy and install a muffler yourself, but this’ll depend on your technical knowledge. Some will be much easier to fit than others. This video explains how to fit a golf cart muffler in enough detail.
You’ll need to find a muffler that fits your golf cart, but there are some generic models that can be used on several. Here are some top picks with links to their Amazon listing:
- Walker Muffler can be used on most Suzuki golf carts
- Kohler Muffler works on most Kohler models
- Walker Universal Muffler will fit more or less all golf carts
There’s a pretty big market of golf cart mufflers, so these are only real examples to help you get an idea. Spend some time researching the best model for your golf cart.
If you can’t find the right information, forums are always a good place to look because you’re probably not the first person to have this problem!
An easier option for solving this problem is to take your cart to a customization shop or mechanic, as they’ll be able to advise you on what’s the best model and should be able to fit it for you too.
3. Opt for sound dampening
You’ve probably gathered by now that making your golf cart quieter will involve some kind of modification. However, if you’re not looking to make drastic changes to your golf cart then there is one more option for you.
Try something called a Rubber Snubber (Amazon). These are really simple little rubber feet that attach to the frame under the engine. Their purpose is to act as a shock absorber for the engine, which helps to eliminate a lot of unnecessary noise.
Because they’re non-standard parts, most brands will fit most models of golf carts. Unlike mufflers, which need to be a specific size and shape, these are generally just small rubber feet.
More than anything, this makes buying much easier. Most manufacturers should list their compatibility, but you can always do a quick search to find the right one for your golf cart.
There are several benefits to using a Rubber Snubber:
- They’re less invasive than adding insulation or a muffler.
- They’re significantly less expensive than the other options.
- You generally don’t need loads of mechanical knowledge to fit them.
- They’re also really easy to replace as and when they wear down, unlike a muffler.
That said, they really won’t offer as much noise reduction as the other options listed above but are more convenient. It might be worth trying some Rubber Snubbers before you move on to one of the bigger options.
What about electric?
If the noise of your gas golf cart is truly bothering you (or more likely your neighbors), consider upgrading to an electric golf cart. Most importantly, they’re about the quietest option you’ll have.
However, they’re also much cheaper to run and quite energy efficient. Obviously this’ll be a more expensive option but is worth it if noise is a real problem.
Some final thoughts
As you can see, making a gas golf cart quieter isn’t the most difficult job. Once you’ve confirmed there are no issues with your golf cart, I’d recommend adding both insulation and a muffler for best results.
If you don’t feel up to the task, however, consider asking a local mechanic if they have any suggestions for how to make your golf cart quieter.