(How to Fix) Golf Cart that Spits & Sputters Gas, Blows Smoke

golf cart spits and sputters gas


Why Do Golf Carts Spit and Sputter?

Golf carts can spit and sputter for several reasons, but mainly due to worn out spark plugs or dirty filters inside the fuel system.

  • There might be something wrong with the fuel system of your cart. You could be having a spit and sputter problem because the filter, pump and injectors in your golf cart are very dirty.

  • Next, your spitting and sputtering woes might be because of worn out spark plugs. If your sparkplugs are dirty or just at the end of their lifespan, your cart is going to have problems such as spitting and sputtering.

  • Aside from that, an unclean mass airflow sensor may make your golf cart spit and sputter. Another thing that can cause your cart to spit and sputter is water getting mixed into the gas in your cart which causes loss of the volatility of the gas.

  • Lastly, your spitting and sputtering problems may be because of a messed up catalytic converter. If your catalytic converter is on the fritz, your cart won’t be able to process the waste that comes out of your carts exhaust system which causes spitting and sputtering.


Gas Spitting from Golf Cart (Valve Cover)

What’s causing gas to spit from your carts valve cover? What can you do to fix these problems?

The most likely cause of gas spitting from the golf cart valve is due to the needle valve in the carburetor of your cart not working properly.

It’s not stopping fuel that flows into the carburetor right. This causes the fuel to continue to flow and eventually wind up in the engine crankcase. Your oil will probably be more than full because of this: the oil has been diluted with fuel!

Here’s what you can do to fix gas spitting from the valve cover. Replace the needle in the carburetor or replace the whole carburetor.

The other thing that’s likely to cause gas to spit from the valve cover of your cart is your carburetor float being stuck open. This is simple enough to fix. Take off your carburetor, check the float and adjust the carburetor float as needed.


Fix Gas Spitting from Golf Cart (Carburetor)

Now then, why is gas spitting from the carburetor of your golf cart? And how can you fix it?

If your golf cart carburetor is spitting gas, it probably has something to do with your float. It’s probably set too high. Setting it low might solve your gas spitting problem.

If that doesn’t do it, it may be that your float seat is busted. If this is the case, you need to replace it outright.

Another thing that might be causing your gas spitting problem could be your float needle! Your needle might be installed and aligned wrongly. If your needle is damaged though, you’ll need to replace it.

Problems with the timing chain in your cart might also be making your carburetor spit gas. If you have a timing belt that jumps, it’s probably causing your gas spitting problems. Jumping belts are more common when you have plastic camshaft timing gears rather than metal timing gears.

Lastly, bad reeds can lead to gas spitting. Check your reed valve and if anything is amiss, getting new reed leaves will likely solve the problem.


How to Fix a Golf Cart Spitting Gas

Your car spitting gas could be caused by a few things such as a jumping timing belt or a stuck valve.

How to fix your golf cart spitting gas:

  1. Firstly, it could be a timing issue. As mentioned before, if your timing belt jumps, your cart might spit gas. To fix this, either the timing belt needs to be readjusted or it needs to be outright replaced. The jumping may also be caused by your camshaft timing gear.

  2. You need to replace those if they’re busted. It’s recommended that you use metal camshaft timing gears rather than ones with plastic teeth.

  3. Next, it might be a stuck valve causing gas spitting. If any of the valves in your engine are stuck, you need to go in there and free it yourself. Using aftermarket valves increases the risk of this because the valve might not have the exact measurements suited for your cart.

  4. Try to get official stock parts, and if you can’t, be aware that stuck valves might be what is causing your gas spitting problem.

  5. Lastly, if your golf cart is spitting gas, you may need to replace your air box. A relatively common problem is getting replacements that aren’t the stock air box for your cart. Something that most people don’t know or forget about is that if you’re using aftermarket filters, you absolutely must reset your carburetor.


How to Fix Golf Cart Spitting Oil

Is your golf cart spitting oil? First things to check is that you have the correct amount of oil in your engine as you might be overfilling it.

Check it using the dipstick in your cart. If your cart has been lifted though, you can’t go by the full mark on the dipstick. You’ll need to use the specified amount of oil for a refill in that case.

If you’ve got the correct oil level, then you need to either do a compression test or a blow down test to get a proper diagnosis on your cart.


Why Does a Golf Cart Sputter and Die?

If your cart sputters and dies, it might be because your spark plug is faulty. If your cart starts and runs for awhile but then sputters then dies, try replacing your spark plug. If you’re lucky that’ll instantly solve your problem. If not, you might have a failing ignition coil.

If your ignition coil is just starting to fail, a common symptom is that your cart will start and run just fine when it’s cold but die when it starts to warm up. You’ll have to replace your ignition coil if this is the case.

Your cart could also be sputtering and dying because your carburetor is filthy. If the jets in your carburetor are filthy, your cart will sputter and die. You need to either clean the carburetor or replace it if this is the case.


Golf Cart Sputters when Accelerating

Your golf cart could be sputtering when you accelerate because of your carburetor. There are several things that could be wrong with your carburetor that could cause sputtering.

If you’re not getting enough gas to the carburetor, your cart will sputter. This is called a lean condition. Clean out your carb and your cart should start running with no problems again!

Water being stuck inside the carburetor can also cause this problem. Take the bowl off your carburetor and take the main jet out then blow through it to clear out the water. Your cart should run perfect now!

Another thing to look out for is the air box of your cart. If it’s not installed properly, your golf cart will sputter when it accelerates. It’s very important that your cart has the air box sealed tightly!

Lastly, plugged mufflers might be what is causing your golf cart to sputter when it accelerates. Replacing the muffler is a pretty surefire way to fix this problem if that’s the case.


How to Fix Golf Cart Engine Sputtering

Your golf cart engine is most likely sputtering is a fuel issue: your engine is likely getting too little or too much.

 Check your air box to make sure the choke isn’t getting stuck and the spring isn’t broken or getting sucked closed.

 You can choose to try and repair the parts of the air box but it’s easier and more effective to just change out the whole thing.

Other than that, the golf cart could be sputtering because it’s bouncing off the rev limiter.

This means the cart engine shuts down when going at max speed and comes back to life when engine RPM’s slow down.

This usually happens because you adjust the governor too much or the governor spring is zip tied; adjusting the governor correctly and removing any zip ties will fix this problem.

Aside from that, your cart may have a sputtering engine because you have a fuel line problem. Check if your siphon tube needs to be blown out or just straight up replaced. A sputtering engine may also be a sign that you need to replace your fuel filter.

Lastly, it might be that your carburetor is too dirty. If your carburetor is dirty, your cart engine will sputter. Either disassemble it and give it a deep cleaning or just replace the whole thing if it can’t be saved.


Why Do Golf Carts Blow Out Smoke?

Your cart shouldn’t blow out a lot of smoke. It should run quite clearly without much smoke if your cart has been serviced regularly and maintained well. Older carts tend to release more smoke than newer ones though.

Your cart might be blowing smoke because you over filled it with oil. If your engine is overfilled with oil, the oil can sometimes come up into the valve cover faster than it can drain. This oil then goes into the vent tube back into the carburetor and blows oil into the intake of the carburetor causing your cart to blow smoke.

Fill your engine with the correct amount of oil.

If your carts muffler has oil in it, it will blow out smoke. If you’ve got this problem, run your cart hard on a long run to the oil out of the muffler. You can also just switch out your muffler with a new one to solve this problem.


How to Fix Golf Cart  Blowing Out (White Smoke)

White smoke usually means your engine is running hotter than normal. If there’s a bit of smoke when you’re just starting the cart, it might just be the cart warming up. Excessive amounts of white smoke might mean there’s a problem with your cooling system.

One reason your cart might be blowing out white smoke is that there might be some water in your golf carts system. You should give your carburetor a good cleaning and drain your fuel tank to try and fix this problem.

To prevent this problem, try not to let your cart stay unused for long periods of time with gas still in the tank.

Another thing that might be making your cart blow out white smoke is that there’s too much gas and oil in your golf cart. The white smoke is probably being caused by the oil being burnt by the engine and not the gas.

Always make sure to never overfill your cart with gas or oil because it not only leads to blowing out white smoke but also might kill your whole engine if you’re unlucky.


How to Fix Golf Cart Blowing Out (Blue Smoke) 

Blue smoke coming out of your cart is not normal and is an indicator that something’s wrong. It usually means a problem with the oil in your cart and should be addressed straight away. It might be a leaking valve which could lead to fires in your engine.

Blue smoke might be caused by damaged rings in your engine. Check if the rings in your cart engine are busted and if they are, do a ring job and replace them.

Blue smoke could also be caused by there being too much oil in your engine and it leaks into other places it shouldn’t be, like the muffler. You can either just run your cart hard to burn out the oil in the muffler, or outright replace the muffler.

Some interesting food for thought: overfilling your oil might mess up the rings in your engine.

If you’ve got blue smoke coming out of your engine and you’re unlucky, you might have an oil problem and a ring problem at the same time. Make sure to thoroughly check your engine to check that everything is in order if you get blue smoke!

Is your golf cart smelling bad?
Read my guide on Golf Carts Smelling like Gas, Sulfur or Rotten Eggs


Ernie loves documenting interesting facts about golf.

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