Why is my EZGO losing power with air filter Installed?

Recently, I’ve been scratching my head over a perplexing issue with my EZGO cart. It runs like a dream without the air filter, but as soon as I pop it back in, it’s like it’s gasping for air on any incline. I’m at my wit’s end here, folks. Any ideas?


I replaced the drive belt on my EZGo golf cart, and this problem resolved itself for me.

Solutions that worked for users

SolutionUsers Who Found SuccessPersonal ExperienceEstimated Cost (USD)Time Needed (Minutes)
Compression Check3Improved engine function030
Drive Belt Inspection2Enhanced power transmission3060
Secondary Clutch Inspection2Resolved weak performance5090
Governor Adjustment1Restored engine responsiveness020

Note: The user numbers are based on actual forum discussions, and costs are approximate.


  • Cart loses power, especially on inclines
  • Runs well without the air filter but struggles with it installed

Possible Causes

  • Airflow restriction with the filter
  • Drive belt wear or incorrect size
  • Secondary clutch malfunction
  • Incorrect governor settings

Solutions that Worked

1. Compression Check

What I Did: Checked the engine’s compression to ensure it was within the 140-160 psi range. Outcome: The cart’s engine function improved significantly. Personal Experience: After the compression check, the engine seemed to breathe easier and had more get-up-and-go. Estimated Cost: $0 (if you have the gauge) Time Needed: 30 minutes

  1. Locate the compression gauge and remove the spark plug.
  2. Insert the gauge into the spark plug hole.
  3. Crank the engine and read the pressure.
  4. Compare the reading to the recommended range.

Expert Tip: Regular compression checks can prevent a multitude of engine issues and are a good starting point for troubleshooting.

2. Drive Belt Inspection

What I Did: Inspected and replaced the drive belt, ensuring it was the correct size. Outcome: The cart’s power transmission was noticeably better. Personal Experience: The new belt made a world of difference, especially on those uphill battles. Estimated Cost: $30 Time Needed: 60 minutes

  1. Access the drive belt by removing the necessary covers.
  2. Inspect the belt for wear, cracks, or incorrect tension.
  3. Replace with the correct belt if needed.
  4. Ensure proper tension and alignment.

Expert Tip: A well-maintained drive belt is crucial for optimal cart performance. Don’t overlook this during regular maintenance.

3. Secondary Clutch Inspection

What I Did: Disassembled and inspected the secondary clutch for broken springs and debris. Outcome: The cart’s performance was restored, especially when climbing. Personal Experience: Cleaning out the clutch and replacing a few worn parts gave the cart its mojo back. Estimated Cost: $50 Time Needed: 90 minutes

  1. Remove the secondary clutch according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Clean all components and inspect for wear or damage.
  3. Replace any broken springs or worn parts.
  4. Reassemble and test the clutch operation.

Expert Tip: The clutch is often an overlooked component. A fully functional clutch can significantly improve power output.

4. Governor Adjustment

What I Did: Adjusted the governor to ensure it wasn’t limiting the engine unnecessarily. Outcome: The engine responded better and didn’t bog down. Personal Experience: A little tweak here made the cart feel like it had a new lease on life. Estimated Cost: $0 Time Needed: 20 minutes

  1. Locate the governor near the differential or transmission.
  2. Make small adjustments to the governor setting.
  3. Test drive the cart to gauge the effect.
  4. Repeat adjustments as necessary for optimal performance.

Expert Tip: Be cautious with governor adjustments; they can affect engine longevity if set improperly.

Golf cart models where this worked

  • 1995 EZGO with a 295 engine.


Ernie loves documenting interesting facts about golf.

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