Golf carts play an essential role in the game, as does the caddie. Apart from transporting you when on the course, there is still a lot more, you need to know about these loyal machines. For example, did you know the PGA Tour does/does not ban their use by participating players? While you find the answer for that one, here’s another one: do golf carts have VIN numbers?
Regular golf carts do not have VIN numbers but have serial numbers instead. VIN numbers are not required for golf carts because they are not manufactured for street-legal use. Serial numbers are manufacturer-specific, and you will need to provide it when repairing or selling your golf cart.
It is possible to get a VIN number for your golf cart by making some adjustments. Keep reading to understand why golf carts lack VIN numbers and what state laws apply if you need to get one.
Why do Regular Golf Carts Not Have VIN Numbers?
All golf carts lack a VIN number when they leave the manufacturer. Instead, they come with manufacturer-specific serial numbers. These enable you to determine the vehicle’s model, year of manufacture, and factory location.
In addition, the serial number is what golf courses use for their inventory, but it does not provide any information about the cost of golf cart batteries.
Golf courses use golf cart serial numbers (not VIN numbers) to track inventory.
The reason why they lack VIN numbers is that these only apply to road-worthy vehicles. Since golf carts only operate on the course and in your backyard, they do not need to have one.
How to Get A VIN Number For Your Golf Cart (in these 5 States)
To get a VIN number, you need to modify your golf cart into a low-speed vehicle (LSV) or neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV). However, the requirements vary depending on which US State you call home.
Here are the LSV/NEV requirements for the most popular golf States:
Arizona State Law affords nearly the same road user rights to golf carts and motor vehicles. However, you need to complete the following to avoid any trouble:
- Modify your golf cart to achieve a top speed of 35 miles per hour to be road legal. Upgrading to a higher voltage battery can increase speed (see best 12 volt golf cart batteries).
- Ensure your horn, taillights, brakes, and headlights are in working condition. Golf carts are exempt from Arizona’s windshield law saving you a few bucks on modifications.
- Get liability insurance and carry it with you when driving. The total cost is around $55,000, covering property repairs, personal bodily injury, and accidents.
- You will also need to register your golf cart at your nearest Arizona Department of Transport Motor Vehicle Division office. (ADOT)
- Finally, you need your driver’s license and an endorsement from ADOT to drive on public roads.
The following are the requirements to operate a street legal golf cart in Florida:
- Your cart should achieve a minimum speed of 20 miles per hour, with 25 miles per hour being the maximum.
- You should install turn signals, headlamps, taillamps, and a parking brake. Additionally, you will need stop lamps to obtain road-legal status.
- The golf cart should have rearview mirrors, reflex reflectors, seat belts, and windshields.
- Ensure you register and insure your vehicle under the current regulations of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Finally, you can only drive on roads with speed limits lower than 35 miles an hour. However, the law permits you to cross them in designated areas.
Michigan State has a more elaborate process for making your golf cart street legal. However, your golf cart should have these modifications to qualify:
- Ensure all your lights are fully functional. They include high beam headlights, brake lights, turn signals, tail lights, and beam lights. You will also need red reflectors on the rear and sides of your vehicle.
- You should also install a windshield with wipers before seeking a VIN number.
- Install bumpers to the front and rear of your golf cart before the inspection.
- Having a horn, seat belts, and driver mirrors is also required.
The next step is to obtain a TR-54 form for vehicle inspection. You can get this from the State of Michigan website or your nearest state police office. You will present a valid driver’s license, and proof of insurance as your golf cart undergoes inspection.
If your golf cart passes, you will receive a temporary license and VIN plate.
Remember, Michigan State Law permits local authorities to determine if driving a golf cart is legal. Therefore, check before converting your golf cart.
4. South Carolina
The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles mandates all golf cart owners to register their vehicles. You will need to verify ownership, liability insurance, and the $5 registration fee payment.
After successful registration, you will receive a permit decal valid for five years. South Carolina’s low-speed driving rules include:
- You can only drive in the daytime. Additionally, you can only use roads below 35 miles an hour with speed limits.
- Ensure you drive within four miles of the address on your registration.
- Always have your driver’s license and liability insurance when operating the golf cart. Furthermore, ensure your golf cart’s permit decal is visible to law enforcement.
- All other road rules apply to you, as they would in an ordinary vehicle.
Finally, local authority road rules take priority over State. As a result, you may be penalized for a local violation that is fine according to state law.
For example, some local communities only permit you to drive within two miles of your home. Therefore, familiarize yourself with your community’s low-speed vehicle laws before venturing on the road.
Ohio State Law allows sheriffs to license golf carts and low-speed vehicles at the county level. Here are the requirements for your golf cart to become street legal:
- A round steering wheel.
- Seat belts for the driver and passengers.
- Functioning lights at the front and rear, including red reflectors.
- Windshield and wipers.
- License plate mounts.
- Driver mirrors
- A maximum speed of 25 miles an hour.
Visit your local sheriff’s office for inspection and licensing to obtain road-legal status for your vehicle.
Ohio’s road safety rules are similar to those of other states, with a few exceptions. For example, you need to get an Ohio operator’s license to drive your golf cart.