What Is a Golf Cart Lift Kit?
A lift kit is a set of engineered parts intended to increase a golf cart’s height. Lift kits provide higher ground clearance by giving you an additional 3-6 inches of height, which allows for the ability to fit larger tires & offset wheels, drive over rough terrain, and navigate deep puddles. Many choose to lift their golf cart for purely aesthetic reasons to give it a more rugged or customized look.
What to Know Before You Lift
First, you will want to be aware of what type of golf cart you have as not all carts are ideal for lifting. Speed, torque, and gear ratio will all be affected, so it is important to consider several performance elements before deciding to install a lift kit.
Most of the time, getting a lift kit means adding bigger tires as well. When you increase the height of your tires, two things will happen - you will gain a bit of top-end speed due to the larger tires rolling further with each revolution, but you will also be putting more strain on the motor or engine to move the larger tires the same amount of rotations it was moving the smaller tires. With a lift, the motor has to work harder when climbing inclines or carrying passengers even with standard size tires. This combined with the strain to rotate the larger tires will greatly reduce your climbing speed and load carrying torque. A 36V cart doesn’t have the power to compensate for all the added strain and could likely result in burning out motors or controllers and overworking solenoids, cables, and wiring. Therefore, we highly recommend only installing lift kits on either 48V or 72V carts.
A lift will not only raise your cart but will also raise your center of gravity, which increases the risk of rolling or flipping the cart. Your driving habits will need to be adjusted accordingly. You will no longer be able to take turns as fast as you normally would and will need to use extra caution on hilly terrain.
If after weighing the pros and cons, you decide a lift kit is the right choice for you, you will then need to consider the type of lift kit you want.
Types of Lift Kits
Drop Spindle Lift Kits
This type of lift kit is generally the most popular due to their affordability, ease of installation, and utilization of the factory suspension. Drop Spindle lift kits replace and/or increase the spindle length and size, accounting for a wider stance and increased stability. This also allows you to fit larger offset wheels on your golf cart which will open up the possibility of using larger sized (wider and taller) tires on your golf cart as well, ideal for getting that “monster truck” look.
A-Arm Lift Kits
Golf cart A-Arm lift kits are heftier than Drop Spindle kits and almost entirely replace your golf cart’s front suspension resulting in a smoother and more comfortable ride. Most A-Arm lift kits feature circular tubing which is stronger than square and give your cart added rigidity that looks amazing as well.
Drop Axle Lift Kits
Drop Axle lift kits are a great economy lift solution that replaces your existing front axle with drop axle design. A drop axle lift kit is designed with a longer than stock radius that tapers down to the stock spindles on your golf cart. This lengthens your axle height and allows you to replace your front axle while keeping the integrity of your spindles. Most axle lift kits are less expensive than spindle lift kits but take more time to install and will not ride as smooth.
Long Travel Lift Kits These are by far the best performing lift kits money can buy and provide the softest and most comfortable ride with adjustable height setting. These lifts are capable of separating the front and rear suspension, which are equipped with long bouncy springs. The big springs on these Long Travel kits are used as shock absorbers, which can be extremely helpful when traveling over rough and rocky terrain. Most models feature DOM tubing, the same tubing required in auto racing sanctions, fully adjustable caster/camber, heavy-duty synchronized steering box, and a built-in receiver hitch. These types of lifts are considered “extreme duty” and are optimal if you are looking at doing some serious off-roading.
Lift Kit Installation
Lift kits are one area you should never cut corners on or buy lesser quality equipment. Typically, you’ll notice that those that come with a more affordable price tag also offer a less comfortable ride. On the other hand, lift kits that are more expensive usually allow greater customization and are smoother on the road. It is highly recommended to use a kit as opposed to building your own as they are designed & engineered for optimal performance and safety.
An improperly designed and installed lift kit can lead to all sorts of problems. Without a proper lift kit, the shafts holding the tires in place can loosen and the tires could fall off while driving. An improperly installed lift kit can lead to alignment issues, premature wear of tires & suspension components, brakes not working properly, and a whole host of other issues. Safety is paramount and perhaps the most substantial reason to get the installation done by a professional golf cart company.
A lift kit can be a practical and affordable way to upgrade your ride and extend its functionality while helping you stand out from the crowd. The best place to start if you are considering a lift kit is to meet with one of our sales consultants who can help you choose modifications based on your needs, the look you’re going for, and your budget. Most lift kit/tire/wheel packages range from about $800 to $2,000 installed. We would be happy to help you design your dream cart today, just give us a call at 833-CARTSMD or stop by our showroom at 10650 Metro Pkwy #100 Fort Myers, FL 33966.