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Golf Cart Alignment Tool

Keeping your golf cart wheels and tires properly aligned is one of the things that gets overlooked the most when it comes to golf cart maintenance. But keeping your wheels and tires properly aligned is crucial for ride performance, ride quality, tire wear and most importantly: your safety.

Your alignment gets thrown-off through the regular use of your golf cart (hitting rough terrain, curbs or potholes) and through the installation of a new lift kit or custom wheel and tire sizes on your cart. But when your cart is out of alignment, extra tire wear is not the only thing you’ll notice. The scariest thing about having your golf cart alignment off is the chance of “death wobble”, especially on lifted carts, which can cause a cart rollover leading to injury or even death. We don’t say this to scare you, but to help you avoid it!

Our expert team here at Golf Cart Tire Supply has helped thousands of customers with their golf cart wheels and tires and adding new golf cart lift kits to their cart. And while we know it can be a bit confusing and frustrating… in the end: perfecting your golf cart alignment isn’t rocket science! Let’s first take a quick hit on why your alignment is important, and the two terms you need to know before you align your cart. Or you can skip straight down the page to the meat and potatoes of how to align your cart in 5 Easy Steps.

Importance of Golf Cart Alignment

  • Safety: Misaligned golf cart wheels can cause your cart to pull to one side, which can lead to accidents or even the scariest situation of all, the dreaded cart rollover. A cart rollover is not only dangerous for you and your riders, but can also completely ruing your entire cart.
  • Tire Wear: Improper alignment can lead to uneven tire wear, resulting in a shorter tire lifespan and additional costs in replacing them frequently. We love selling tires to our customers, but we want them to get the most bang for their buck!
  • Best Ride: For the smoothest ride and level steering, the alignment of your cart plays a major role. A good alignment ensures that your cart travels straight and reduces the effort required to steer, as well as reduces ride vibration.

Understanding Golf Cart Alignment Terms

When discussing alignment, there are specific terms that you should be familiar with:

  1. Toe-In and Toe-Out:
    • Toe-In: This refers to the front of the wheels pointing in towards each other (like when you are badly holding the need to use the restroom). A slight toe-in can be beneficial for straight-line stability. However, excessive toe-in can result in the outer edges of the tires wearing out faster.
    • Toe-Out: This is when the front of the wheels point away from each other. Too much toe-out can cause the inner edges of the tires to wear down prematurely.
  2. Camber:
  • Camber is the angle of the wheel when viewed from the front. If the top of the wheel tilts outwards, it has positive camber, and if it tilts inwards, it has negative camber. Proper camber ensures even tire wear and turning performance.

How to Align Your Golf Cart

And now, our updated Five Step quick-guide below will teach you what you need to know to get your wheels and tires lined up, to adjust your toe to 1/8 inch, and get your golf cart set on the straight and narrow!

  1. Prepare the Cart: Ensure your cart is on a flat and level surface and the steering wheel is in the straight position. This is a good time to make sure your tires have even tire pressure as well.
  2. Check the Current Alignment: Using a tape measure, measure the distance between the front of your FRONT tires and the back of the FRONT tires. This will give you an idea of whether your wheels have toe-in or toe-out alignment.
  3. Check & Adjust the Camber: Using something straight, place the straight flat-edge on the ground and find out if a gap exists between the edge of your driver’s side front tire and the straight-edge. If there is a gap, we will need to adjust the heim joints on the cart to straighten your camber up. The heim joints are the two joints in which the wheel assembly (hub, etc.) bolts to the steering assembly.If your camber is not straight, engage the parking brake and jack up the front of your cart. Loosen the nut on the inside of your lower control arm (bottom Heim joint) and adjust your tire to even-out the camber based on the gap your tire had when held next to the straight-edge. If camber is OUT (top of tire nearer to frame), push the bottom of the tire inward. If camber is IN (bottom is closer), push the top of the tire inward. After adjusting the Heim joint for an even (straight) tire position, lower your cart to re-check your camber. If your camber is still off, then adjust the second Heim joint just above the previously adjusted one. Repeat the process on both joints as necessary until your camber is straight. Once complete, repeat the entire process for your passenger side front tire as well.
  4. Adjust the Tie Rods (Toe-in / Toe-out): To change the toe-in or toe-out alignment, you’ll need to adjust your tie rods. Loosening them will increase toe-out, and tightening them will increase toe-in.Face the front of your cart and measure the distance between the insides of your front tires. Lying down, from the side of your cart, repeat this for the back side of the front tires. Ideally, there should be a 1/8″ to 1/4″ difference from the front to rear inner edges for the best stability while driving your cart.After measuring, to achieve this ideal range, set your brake and jack up the front. Adjust the toe-in by loosening the tie rod on the driver’s side wheel and twist the rod as needed. For inward adjustment, turn the rod towards the cart’s rear; for outward, turn it towards the front.After aligning both sides to the 1/8″ to 1/4″ toe-in difference, lower the cart, roll it 7 to 10 feet forward, and re-check. This ensures consistent alignment after your adjustments. Adjust further if any misalignment is spotted.
  5. Test your Ride: Boom! You’re all set. Once you’ve made your final adjustments, take your cart for a test drive. Ensure it drives straight and make any final tweaks as necessary. Enjoy the new-found smoothness of your ride, better fuel economy, tighter performance and less tire wear. Drive down the street and check for any “pull” the cart may be making to either side. Re-adjust as necessary.

In conclusion, proper alignment is more than just a maintenance routine; it’s a commitment to safety, good performance, and saving you money over time. Don’t overlook it, and ensure your cart gives you the best rides possible.

Happy Carting!

By: Alex Sturwold

10-23-2023

And don’t forget to shop for new Golf Cart Accessories and fresh Golf Cart Tires from the Team at GCTS today!