My Club Car golf cart smells like burning rubber!

My 2014 Club Car golf cart has started giving off this strong burning rubber smell, especially after a long ride or going uphill. It’s ruining my golfing experience, and I’m worried about potential damage. Has anyone else faced this issue?


I had a similar scare with my cart. In my case, it was the drive belt. Thankfully after replacing it, the smell vanished.

Solutions that worked for users

SolutionUsers Who Found SuccessApprox. Cost (USD)Time Needed (Minutes)
Drive Belt Replacement15$30 – $5030 – 60
Electrical Connection Check10$020 – 30
Motor and Controller Inspection8$0 – $100 (if parts needed)30 – 60
Starter/Generator Check5$50 – $20045 – 90


  • Persistent burning rubber smell from the golf cart.
  • Decreased performance, particularly on inclines or after extended use.
  • Signs of overheating in electrical components.

Possible Causes

  • Worn or improperly tensioned drive belt.
  • Overheating due to faulty electrical components.
  • Motor or controller issues, including overheating.
  • Problems with the starter/generator or voltage regulator.

Solutions that Worked

  1. Drive Belt Replacement
    • What I Did: Replaced the old, worn-out drive belt.
    • Outcome: Eliminated the burning smell and improved cart performance.
    • Personal Experience: The old belt was frayed and slack, leading to slippage and heat.
    • Estimated Cost: $30 – $50
    • Time Needed: 30 – 60 minutes
    • Steps:
      1. Locate and inspect the drive belt for signs of wear, such as cracks or fraying.
      2. Loosen the motor or drive belt tensioner to remove the old belt.
      3. Compare the old belt with the new one to ensure correct size and type.
      4. Install the new belt and adjust tension to manufacturer specifications.
      5. Test the cart to ensure the belt is functioning correctly.
    • Expert Tip: Regularly inspect the drive belt for wear. A well-tensioned, intact belt is crucial for optimal performance.
  2. Electrical Connection Check
    • What I Did: Thoroughly inspected and secured all electrical connections.
    • Outcome: Resolved overheating issues and eliminated the burning smell.
    • Personal Experience: Found several loose connections, which were likely causing heat buildup.
    • Estimated Cost: $0
    • Time Needed: 20 – 30 minutes
    • Steps:
      1. Disconnect the battery before beginning any electrical work.
      2. Inspect all wiring and connections for signs of corrosion, wear, or looseness.
      3. Tighten all connections and replace any damaged wires or connectors.
      4. Use dielectric grease on connections to prevent future corrosion.
      5. Reconnect the battery and test the cart for any electrical issues.
    • Expert Tip: Keeping electrical connections tight and corrosion-free is key to preventing overheating and burning smells.
  3. Motor and Controller Inspection
    • What I Did: Examined the motor and controller for overheating signs.
    • Outcome: Identified and rectified overheating issues.
    • Personal Experience: The controller was excessively hot after use, indicating a potential issue.
    • Estimated Cost: $0 – $100 (if parts needed)
    • Time Needed: 30 – 60 minutes
    • Steps:
      1. Inspect the motor and controller for any visible damage or excessive heat.
      2. Use a multimeter to check for electrical issues in the motor and controller.
      3. Clean any debris or dust that may be causing overheating.
      4. If necessary, replace or repair damaged components.
      5. Test the cart to ensure the motor and controller are functioning properly.
    • Expert Tip: Regular cleaning and inspection of the motor and controller can prevent overheating and extend their lifespan.
  4. Starter/Generator Check
    • What I Did: Investigated the starter/generator for failure signs.
    • Outcome: Detected and fixed starter/generator issues.
    • Personal Experience: Discovered the generator was overcharging the battery, leading to overheating.
    • Estimated Cost: $50 – $200
    • Time Needed: 45 – 90 minutes
    • Steps:
      1. Inspect the starter/generator for wear or damage.
      2. Test the starter/generator’s output with a multimeter.
      3. Check for any loose or corroded connections.
      4. Replace the starter/generator if it fails the tests.
      5. Re-test to ensure proper functionality.
    • Expert Tip: A malfunctioning starter/generator can cause a range of issues, including burning smells. Regular testing can prevent these problems.

Safety info

  • Lifting and Modifications: Be aware that lifting your golf cart or other modifications can alter the engine’s angle, affecting oil distribution and potentially causing overheating and burning smells.
  • Seasonal Checks: Different seasons can affect your golf cart’s performance. Regular checks in changing weather conditions can help identify issues early.


Ernie loves documenting interesting facts about golf.

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