My golf cart’s braking is way too harsh when going downhill

Please, I need help with my 2005 Club Car. It’s been my trusty ride for getting around the golf course and my neighborhood, but lately, I’ve been having a real issue with how it brakes on declines. It feels like the cart wants to come to a complete stop the moment I even slightly tap the brakes, making for a really uncomfortable ride, especially on steeper hills. It’s gotten to the point where I’m starting to avoid routes with any sort of slope. What can I do to fix this issue?


My CC golf cart brakes were also too harsh going downhill but I did manage to fix it. It turns out that adjusting the clutch spring tension can fix it. It wasn’t too expensive or time-consuming and made the ride a lot smoother.

Solutions That Worked

We’ve compiled some effective solutions from fellow golf cart enthusiasts who’ve successfully tackled the issue of harsh braking downhill. Here’s a detailed breakdown:

SolutionNumber of Users HelpedApprox. Cost (USD)Approx. Time Needed (minutes)
Adjust Clutch Spring Tension15$50 – $10060
Brake Maintenance and Adjustment10$20 – $10030 – 60
Convert to Pedal Start5$150 – $200120

1. Adjust Clutch Spring Tension

Detailed Steps:

  1. Safety First: Ensure your golf cart is turned off and securely parked on a level surface to prevent any unintended movement.
  2. Access the Primary Clutch: Depending on your golf cart model, you may need to remove certain components to get clear access to the clutch. Consult your cart’s manual for specific instructions.
  3. Disassemble the Clutch: Carefully take apart the clutch to reach the spring. This might require special tools, so make sure you have everything you need before starting.
  4. Adjust or Replace the Spring: If your spring is adjustable, tweak it to the desired tension. If not, you’ll need to replace it with a new one that matches the tension you’re looking for.
  5. Reassemble and Test: Put the clutch back together and take your cart for a test drive on a slope to check the improvement in braking.

Handy Tips:

  • Mark Your Starting Point: Before making adjustments, mark the original position of any adjustable components to have a reference point if you need to revert any changes.
  • Wear Protective Gear: Clutch springs are under tension and can cause injury if they snap. Wear safety glasses and gloves for protection.

Extra tips:

  • Spring Tension vs. Cart Weight: Heavier carts might require stiffer springs to prevent the cart from rolling too freely downhill. Consider the overall weight of your cart, including any usual cargo, when choosing a spring.

2. Brake Maintenance and Adjustment

Detailed Steps:

  1. Inspect All Brake Components: Look for signs of wear on the brake pads, discs, and cables. Replace any parts that are worn out or damaged.
  2. Clean and Lubricate: Remove any dirt, grime, or rust from the brake levers and cables. Apply a high-quality lubricant to ensure smooth operation.
  3. Adjust Brake Tension: Follow your cart’s manual to adjust the tension on each brake to ensure they engage evenly and at the right time.
  4. Test on Various Inclines: Safely test your cart on different slopes to ensure the brakes are consistently effective without being too harsh.

Handy Tips:

  • Regular Maintenance Schedule: Keep a log of when you perform brake maintenance to ensure it’s done regularly, preventing issues from arising in the first place.
  • Use OEM Parts: While aftermarket parts can be cheaper, OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts usually offer better performance and longevity.

Extra tips:

  • Brake Fluid Check for Hydraulic Systems: If your cart has hydraulic brakes, ensure the brake fluid is at the correct level and hasn’t degraded, which can affect braking performance.

3. Convert to Pedal Start

Detailed Steps:

  1. Understand the Wiring Changes: Study the wiring diagram for pedal start systems and plan out the changes you’ll need to make.
  2. Make the Conversion: Carefully rewire your cart to match a pedal start system. This might involve rerouting wires and installing new components like switches or relays.
  3. Replace the Primary Clutch Spring: Install a softer spring that’s compatible with pedal start systems to improve engine braking.
  4. Test Thoroughly: After conversion, test your cart extensively to ensure it starts, stops, and idles correctly, and that engine braking is effective on declines.

Handy Tips:

  • Document Your Work: Take photos or notes as you make changes, so you have a reference for what was done, which can be helpful for future maintenance or troubleshooting.
  • Consult a Professional: If you’re not confident in your electrical skills, consider hiring a professional to ensure the conversion is done safely and correctly.

Extra tips:

  • Pedal Start vs. Key Start Clutch Springs: The difference in clutch spring tension between pedal and key start systems is a critical factor in how each system handles engine braking. Understanding this can guide your adjustments for optimal performance.


Ernie loves documenting interesting facts about golf.

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