Yamaha Golf Cart Steering Problems And Solutions

Yamaha is well known in the golf cart industry for producing golf carts that are both reliable and dependable. The Yamaha golf cart offers the convenience of navigating around the golf course easily without the need to carry heavy golf bags on one ‘s back, which is cumbersome and may lead to back strain. The controls are straight forward and easy to use hence very little training is needed in order to learn how to drive the golf cart. The Yamaha golf cart uses a 4 stroke, gasoline, OHV single cylinder engine that is forced air cooled and produces 8.5kw (11.4 hp) of power. This allows the golf cart to do a maximum top speed of 15mph (24 km/h).  At this speed it is important to be able to maintain good control of the golf cart at all times. To enable full control of the golf cart the Yamaha golf cart uses the rack and pinion controls.

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Steering Mechanism

The Yamaha golf cart uses the tried and tested rack and pinion control mechanism. This mechanism allows the front wheels to be steered through a turn of 1.85 to the left and to right as desired by the operator of the golf cart. This steering mechanism is very reliable and responsive, allowing the golf cart to maneuver tight turns on the golf course. The rear wheels use a differential and reduction gear that allows the rear wheels to rotate at different speeds in order to successfully navigate a turn. Despite the good performance offered by this steering mechanism it can however develop some problems and needs regular maintenance to maintain the required operational standard.

1. Loose Steering System

The Yamaha golf cart steering system can become loose and hence cause problems with how the golf cart is controlled. To solve this problem, check the steering system for excessive free play. This is done by moving the steering wheel up and down, and back and forth. Turn the steering wheel slightly to right and to the left. If you feel excessive free play, or hear rattling sounds, this may indicate loose steering components hence consult a Yamaha dealer for further assistance.

2. Loose Tie Rod

A loose tie rod on the Yamaha golf cart is undesirable as it can make the golf cart’s steering wheel feel loose while driving. To solve this problem, the tie rods need to be realigned in order to ensure they function properly as intended. In order to adjust the tie rod, jack up the Yamaha golf cart and ensure that the wheels are locked.  The tie rod runs between the two front wheels and is connected to the steering shaft. Turn the wheels manually to one side and then the other to check if the tie rods are locked in place and not loose. Move the tie rod and center it between the right and left wheels. After this, if the tie rod does not have any play and is perfectly seated, the loose steering wheel problem should have been solved.

3. Loose Bushings

Loose bushings on the Yamaha golf cart steering system are a huge problem. If the bushings are not fully tightened, there could be play in the steering wheel as such ensure all bushings are tightened in order to increase both safety and functionality of the steering system. Also examine the rack and pinion arrangement on the steering shaft as it can wear out after prolonged use and become loose. There may be need to replace the rack and pinion to ensure that the Yamaha golf cart has proper steering wheel movement.

4. Cracks In The Steering Box

The Yamaha golf cart steering box can have problems and develop cracks. These cracks will then allow grease to leak out. Inspect the Yamaha golf cart steering box to ensure it has no cracks. A loose steering wheel on the Yamaha golf cart can be addressed by opening the steering box and filling it with grease and then closing it. There is an adjustment bolt and a jam nut on the G1 steering box. By making minor adjustments to this nut, one can fix the looseness of the steering wheel. Ensure the front end of the golf cart is jacked up when fixing the steering box. Once the steering box is open check if the pins are in shape as worn-out pins can cause the steering wheel to go loose.

5. Worn Out Gears

A loose steering wheel particularly in the Yamaha G16 golf cart can be because of a gear box problem. The design of this golf cart model includes a worm gear for turning the Pitman arm. If the worm gear is worn out it can result in a slack feeling while using the steering wheel. The movement of the tie rod is controlled through the splines and the idler arm. The solution for this problem is to remove the cover of the gear box and inspect to see if there are any problems. If any worn out gears are found they should be replaced to address the problem.  It is also recommended to pack the gear box with grease before closing it. On the Yamaha G22 golf cart the steering wheel knuckle if often the problem causing the loose steering as such may need to be replaced.

6. Faulty Wheel Bearings

Another problem that plagues the Yamaha golf cart are faulty wheel bearings and these can cause the connected components of the steering system to become loose and negatively impact the handling of the golf cart. It is also advisable to check the kingpins underneath the steering box to ensure they don’t develop any problems that may affect the operation of the Yamaha golf cart.

7. Tire Wear And Tear

The tires are an essential component of the Yamaha golf cart as they maintain traction with the ground and allow the golf cart to be propelled forward as well as to be steered. Wear and tear on the tires can cause problems and affect stability, maneuverability and steering capability of the golf cart. Hence ensure the appropriate tire pressure which usually should be 16psi (110kPa, 1.1kg/square centimeters) for JW1 to avoid steering problems. Also check the tire surface for damage, cracks or embedded objects. When the tire tread wears down to 0.04 in (1 mm), the tire should be replaced as this can cause problems with the steering of the Yamaha golf cart.


In conclusion the steering system is a very important and essential part of the Yamaha golf cart as such regular maintenance is a must to ensure it does not develop problems and put the occupants of the golf cart as well as bystanders in danger of injury. The Yamaha golf cart cannot be controlled without the steering system hence always ensure it is functioning as intended to avoid any problems.