How to Remove and Align Golf Cart Steering Wheel (Steps)

Aligned Golf Cart Steering Wheel


How to Remove Golf Cart Steering Wheel

A steering wheel is undoubtedly one of the key controlling components of a golf cart, irrespective of whether it is a gas cart or an electric cart.

One reason why you might think of removing the existing steering wheel is that you may want to replace it with something more fashionable. Another reason could be that you need to repair it for some reason.

You can remove your golf cart steering wheel with just a few basic tools and by following a few simple steps.

  1. Check the rear of the center plate of the steering wheel for a screw connection. If there are any screws, remove them and detach the center plate. In modern golf carts, the plate can be removed by a simple snapping mechanism.
  2. Loosen the single, center shaft nut that connects the wheel to the shaft using an adjustable wrench. The nut usually is of 15/16” size. You must loosen the nut until its top sits flush with the steering shaft. This is also the endpoint of the cart’s steering column.
  3. Avoid removing the shaft nut completely to prevent injuring yourself when the steering wheel pops free.
  4. Take your position in the driver’s seat and place your feet on the dash of the cart in such a way that your arms and knees are below the steering wheel.
  5. Tap the steering column at the center a few times with the help of a metal punch.
  6. Move the steering wheel to the front and back by applying pressure to it with your knees. At the same time pull and push the wheel upwards. Do this continuously until the wheel gets loosened from the splines.
  7. Remove the loose shaft nut followed by the steering wheel with a pulling mechanism.


How to Align a Golf Cart Steering Wheel

It is essential that the steering wheel of your golf cart is aligned to the center to give you the best performance. If there is no center alignment, there are high chances that your cart will experience a pulling effect. It is advisable that you check for the alignment from time to time and align the steering wheel whenever there is a need to do so. Here are some simple steps that show you how to align your steering wheel.

  1. If the golf cart has hit a hard surface, then this is one reason why the steering wheel has become misaligned. In this case, you might want to pull at the wheel using a puller and then turn the wheel to reset it. Remember to keep the front tires straight.
  2. Loosen the shaft nut on the steering wheel. Hit the wheel gently on the back on either side a few times using a rubber mallet and pull the steering wheel upwards. You can use a little penetrating oil.
  3. Remove the steering wheel completely using the steps mentioned above and fit it in place once again.
  4. Check the threads on either side of the steering rack where the threads of the ball joint make contact. The number of threads on both sides must be equal. If they are not, equalize them by running the threads in or out, one at a time.
  5. Ensure that the jam nuts in the rack are positioned in such a way that the shaft will get twisted without running into them. Use a wrench and adjust each rack end equally until you reach the preferred toe setting. Start with half a turn on each side. Slide the steering wheel and tighten it.
  6. To align the steering wheel, you might have to drop your steering box and pull out the knuckle. Following this, you will have to reposition the wheel.
  7. Bring your wheel to a straight position and turn it to the side of alignment as much as possible. Once again, straighten the wheel and turn it to the other side. Rotate the turnbuckle coming out of the rack until your wheel gets set straight at the 12 o’clock position.
  8. Loosen one bolt and remove two bolts of the steering box. Slide the joint down to the normal position and turn the wheel to the direction you want to.


How to Fix Loose Steering on a Golf Cart

Just like how the steering wheel on your golf cart tends to get misaligned, it may also become loose over time. There are several reasons why this can happen. It is neither advisable nor safe to operate your cart with a loose steering wheel. I will tell you some simple ways to fix this problem.

  1. Check the tie rods and bearing slops to see if they have become loose by jacking them up. If the problem is with a tie rod, unhook it and turn the steering wheel clear to either side and then back to the center.
  2. Make sure that the number of left and right turns made are equal. Hook the tie rod back in place. Often, adjusting the first tie rod itself will do the trick.
  3. Jack up the steering box and make sure that the kingpins and spindles are not loose. If so, you will want to make them tight. If they are not loose, the other possibility is a wear-out. It is likely that your steering box needs a replacement.
  4. Examine all the upper and lower bushings associated with your steering wheel. Even if one of them is loose, there is a chance of having a loose steering wheel.
  5. Inspect the bush present in the aluminum case on top of the inner tie rods. There will be a large nut with a drop-link of the bush. Try moving it up and down as well as back and forth. A moving nut is one possible reason for a steering wheel. When the problem is addressed, your steering wheel is also tightened.
  6. Check if the rack and pinion arrangement of the steering wheel has become loose or worn out. You can tighten this system for your Club Car using the steps given at the end of this section. If it is worn out, you will have to go in for a replacement.
  7. Get someone to lock the steering wheel to the left and then to the right followed by a left lock one again. At the ground level, check the bolt that gets attached to the spindle when you turn the wheel and the joints that connect the wheels to the steering. If they do not move in sync with the remaining part of the assembly, fixing this can resolve your problem.
  8. Do a check on the toe-in to see if it is in place. It could get dislocated for several The risers present on the spindles could have become loose. Alternatively, the looseness can be in the bolts that connect them to the spindles. Loose wheel bearings can also trigger a toe-in adjustment.


Tightening the Rack and Pinion of a Club Car

  1. Keep a wheel block in front and back of a wheel of the golf cart. Keep a jack at a suitable lifting point in front of the vehicle and lift it until the wheels are off the ground. Position the jack stands behind the wheels of the cart under the frame. Lower the golf cart and allow it to rest on the stands.
  2. Turn the steering wheel to either side and lock it. Do this a few times and watch out for any play or slippage.
  3. Turn the wheel once again to any side slightly so that the rack moves out of the neutral position.
  4. Loosen the adjustment nut at the bottom of the cart with counter-clockwise turns using a large wrench.
  5. Tighten the middle adjusting nut, screw or bolt using a tool like an Allen wrench or a big flat screwdriver. To do this, turn the nut (or screw or bolt) in the clockwise direction until contact is established between the rack and the adjuster. Move the adjuster back by an angle of 22.5° to 45°.
  6. Establish a grip on the nut with the above-mentioned tool and tighten the adjustment nut by turning the wrench in a clockwise direction. Repeat Step 3 mentioned and check for binding at the same time.
  7. Lift the vehicle slightly and remove the jack stands kept below the golf cart.
  8. Lower the vehicle, bring it back to its initial position and take off the wheel blocks.

If you notice that the steering encounters excessive play, it may be an indication for you to go in for a replacement of the outer or inner tie rods.

Similarly, when you feel an occurrence of binding in Step 6, loosen the adjuster still further by 22.5°. Always keep in mind that you must not carry out this rack and pinion tightening process from a driveway.


Why Golf Cart Steering Wheel is Hard to Turn?

When the steering wheel becomes hard to turn, it will be quite difficult to maneuver your golf cart. There are a few reasons why this can happen. Once you know them, you can work out on a possible solution to get your steering wheel back to track. The following are some tips that you may find useful in this regard.

  1. Your rack and pinion system may have got worn out. One way to fix this is to remove the tie rods from their spindles and do the steering action on them. If they don’t give the desired result, consider changing this system.
  2. Remove the spindles and check out the kingpins for the possibility of rust. Rusted kingpins can affect the pivoting mechanism even if you apply grease to loosen the steering. Clean the rust and try using the steering wheel again. Replacement with a set of new ones is ideal in case they are very rusty. You can also check the binding of each spindle separately by swinging it.
  3. Check if the linkage is rubbing against anything else. If so, adjust its position a little so that there is no contact with anything else.
  4. If your cart has hit a hard object like a curb, there are chances of one or more components inside the steering box getting bent. You will have to open the box and inspect each item.Straighten the bent item or replace it with a new one.
  5. Inspect the bronze bushings on the spindles for lubrication. Non-lubricated bushings can result in hard steering. Pulling the spindle and greasing the kingpins will help to turn the steering wheel easily. You may make use of this opportunity to check whether the ball joints, U-joint and steering shaft bearings are lubricated as well.
  6. Check the pressure of the tires of your golf cart. Low-pressure tires can make it challenging to turn the steering wheel. Fill air till they have the suggested pressure and try turning the wheel.


Golf Cart Steering Wheel is Stuck

A stuck steering wheel makes it impossible to move your golf cart. This may leave you stranded in the middle of your golf course. Knowing how to fix it can put you at ease.

  1. Soak the steering wheel in a solvent like Kano Kroil penetrating oil or PB blaster. You may need to soak for a few days or you may have to opt for multiple applications. WD-40 may sound a cheaper alternative but will not work.
  2. Loosen the shaft nut and move them to the very end of their threads. Use the backside of a dead blow hammer to knock on the shaft a couple of times. Position yourself as mentioned in Step 3 for removing a golf cart steering wheel. Push and pull the wheel alternatively with as much force as you can.

You can also get someone to help you at the wheel while you use the hammer.

  1. Cut the wheel by making a few plunge cuts perpendicular to the shaft. You can use an angle grinder to do the cutting. This leaves a slot on the bushing present on the shaft. Insert a cold chisel into the slot and tap gently to remove the shaft.


Why Your Golf Cart Steering Wheel Is Squeaky

Here are some tips on how you can fix a squeaky golf cart steering wheel to get rid of that irritating sound.

  1. Remove your steering wheel by following the steps mentioned at the beginning of this article. Clean the shaft bearing using B12 Chemtool spray and apply some white spray lithium grease inside it as well. Replace the steering wheel and turn it back and forth before locking it in place. Do a second application and repeat the process before the locking action.
  2. The gears in the rack and pinion system may be quite dry causing noise to travel through the steering column. Jack the column up and turn it completely a few times for the grease to pass through the column.
  3. The squeaky sound may be produced from the helm joints attached to the top and bottom of the spindles. Grease these joints twice or thrice with LPS Lube to put the squeak at bay.
  4. A crack or more in the upper plate into which the bolt goes through the springs can trigger a squeak. Replace the plate and get rid of the squeak.


Golf Cart Steering Wheel is Off-Center

Pulling is a common problem if the steering wheel of your golf cart is off-centered. This can cause a strain on the engine and result in several other complications. You can check out the following tips to get your steering wheel center-aligned once again.

  1. Adjust the steering and suspension and check the alignment of the steering wheel. If it is still off-centered, remove the wheel and fix it again. Make sure that the cart tires are positioned straight.
  2. Perform your camber and toe adjustments before you attempt to center the wheel. Carry out the camber adjustment before adjusting the toe-in. Remove the steering wheel and fix it back in position correctly.
  3. Turn the steering wheel around completely to either side followed by half a turn on both sides. After this, set the wheel straight.
  4. Gently hitting the shaft of the steering wheel a few times with a dead blow hammer can bring it back to the center position.


Ernie loves documenting interesting facts about golf.

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