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- Because this sort of vehicle identification is only used for road vehicles, no VIN numbers are found on golf carts
- If you’re operating a custom cart that’s road-ready, you must obtain a VINA number from the DMV
- In order to get a VIN for a golf cart, you need to register it for road use with your area DOT authority
- This process starts by providing the DOT with various information about the cart, such as proof of purchase and weight
- The DOT will then inspect the cart to confirm that it has been properly upgraded for road use
- Once they are satisfied, they will create a new title and VIN for the cart
My nephew has always been a tinkerer.
As a young boy, he loved taking things apart and putting them back together again, just to see how they worked.
So when he got an old golf cart from his granddad, he knew that he was going to have some fun with it.
The first thing he did was install a new engine to make it go faster. Then he added some upgraded brakes and tires so that it would be safe to drive on the road.
Next, he put in some new lights so that it would be visible at night. And finally, he added a seat belt so that he would be safe while driving.
After all of these upgrades were complete, my nephew went to the Department of Transportation to get a VIN number for his golf cart.
He had to show them proof of purchase, the weight of the cart, and all of the upgrades that he had made.
They inspected the cart to make sure that it met all of the requirements for a road-ready vehicle.
Once everything was approved, my nephew was able to get a license plate and insurance for his golf cart. He can now drive it anywhere he wants, safely and legally.
Why VIN Numbers?
The use of VIN numbers began in 1981 when Club Car Golf chose to position serial numbers underneath the glove box. Located on the passenger’s side of the vehicle is a decal with a bar code.
This featured its first two letters serving as the vehicle’s model while the four digits indicated the model’s year and production week when it was built. The six digits at the end represented the cart’s unique sequential number that was assigned to it.
Normally, golf carts are used primarily on the golf course and nowhere else. However, this has since become a favorite mode of transportation in communities that may or not be populated with golfing residents.
While each golf cart has its own serial number, not all of them necessarily require a VIN number. The only time it becomes a requirement is if it’s going to be driven on the road like we drive a regular automobile.
Serial numbers and VIN numbers are not the same. Vehicle Identification Numbers are seventeen-digit codes that the Department of Transportation designed as a tracking method for each road-ready vehicle.
Serial numbers on golf carts merely identify it as part of a particular product line and nothing more.
VIN numbers aren’t usually included in the manufacturing process of a golf cart.
The only time there may be an exception to this rule is if the brand is also designing them to be road ready. Manufacturers such as Yamaha have been known to do this. (Source)
To VIN or Not to VIN
Most of the time, golf carts will be manufactured with a serial number only. This form of identification was deemed necessary as a means to keep track of the model should the need to repair and replace parts become an issue.
It has also served as a helpful tool for recovery should the golf cart be stolen. Golf carts don’t need a VIN number in order to be insured. The only time a VIN is needed is if the owner intends to treat it like a street vehicle.
Usually, when the owner of a golf cart wants to make this form of transportation road worthy, there may be some upgrades implemented. There are manufacturers that offer performance kits to boost the golf cart’s ability to travel on the road.
However, it is up to the owner of the golf cart to apply for a VIN number for it so that it can be legally driven in traffic with the rest of the automobiles.
This can be arranged by dealing with the Department of Transportation directly. There have been occasions when professional shops having a niche in road-ready golf carts can do this for you.
However, bear in mind you now have in your possession something that will need to be insured like any other vehicle. You will also need to have it plated.
Step by step, it’s getting the VIN registration first, then having the golf cart plated and insured. If you intend to drive around your golf cart on the road with the assumption the serial number alone is good enough then you are mistaken.
Should you be caught doing this, it will be a costly mistake at that. If you’re in an accident with that golf cart while on the road you will be subject to dealing with the same penalties as if you were driving a regular automobile.
This will also include criminal charges and lawsuits should there be any damages or injuries involved.
If you intend to get a VIN for your golf cart, you need to register it for the road first. This can be arranged at the local Department of Transportation authority. You will need the cart’s proof of purchase, its weight, and all the other information that comes with it.
In order to make it road ready, you may need to upgrade the golf cart in order for it to pass the safety standards laid out by the Department of Transportation. This can be a lengthy and expensive process.
You will need headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals. All of these lights need to be connected to the battery, brake system, and steering system. Remember, this is no longer simply a golf cart for the course anymore.
The Department of Transportation will also want to know about the golf cart’s tires, engine power, and it’s safety features.
Also, if you’re intending to put the golf cart on the road it has to be able to reach a minimum of twenty miles per hour. It also has to be able to reach a top speed of at least forty-five miles per hour.
Should the golf cart become approved by the Department of Transportation, you will need to attach the printed VIN to it before even thinking about putting it on the road.
Hi, my name is Vince Richmond and I am the owner of earlygolfer.com. This blog is all about golfing, from tips and tricks to equipment reviews and everything in between. I have been golfing for over 20 years now and love the sport more than ever. I am always looking to improve my game and help others do the same. When I’m not golfing, I can be found spending time with my wife and two kids or playing some other sport (I’m a bit of a sports junkie). Thanks for reading and be sure to check out earlygolfer.com for all your golfing needs!