How To Start A Golf Cart Without Key: The Best 6 Methods

Losing the key to your golf cart while you are out on the course can turn a leisurely day into an unexpected challenge. You might find yourself stuck, wondering how to start a golf cart without keys. The good news is that there are practical solutions to this problem that don’t require a locksmith or a tow truck.

In this guide, we will explore a range of straightforward methods that can help you get your golf cart back in action.

How To Start A Golf Cart Without Key: 6 Effective Methods

Your golf cart should be treated properly. In addition, you must know how to drive your golf cart in the proper way . You should always be aware of not losing the key. Even if you do lose the key, there are several methods to start your golf cart.

01. Using a Bypass Switch

You can start the golf cart without a key by using a bypass switch. Here is how to do it:

  • Identify the specific bypass switch for your golf cart. Each type of golf cart may have a different bypass switch. You can find this information in the cart’s wiring diagram.
  • Activate the bypass switch. You can do this by removing the fuse from the cart’s fuse box and placing it in the bypass switch.
  • Once the bypass switch is activated, you can start the golf cart as you normally would.

02. Using a Screwdriver

It is very easy to start your golf cart with a screwdriver. This is a simple process that requires minimal specialized training. To begin with this process, follow these steps carefully:

  • First and foremost, the ignition switch of your golf cart must be on. To verify this, navigate the switch’s location and make sure it is properly turned.
  • To minimize fire hazards, blow into your ignition switch. This will also remove any dust or debris.
  • Insert the screwdriver into the ignition switch as far as it will go, but stop if you encounter excessive resistance.
  • Turn the screwdriver on the ignition switch until the cart starts. This may take a few tries. So, be patient and keep experimenting until you are successful.

03. Using Jumper Cables

When the golf cart’s battery runs out of power, jumper cables are used. Follow these steps to start the cart with jumper cables:

  • For this process, there should be another golf cart with an active battery. The procedure is to get power from the functional golf cart’s battery by using jumper cables. As a result, the dead battery will start to function.
  • Connect the positive (+) and negative (-) terminals of the jumper cable on both golf carts. Make sure all the cables are connected securely.
  • Now, start the engine of the functioning golf cart. If the engine has a starter, you can use it. If not, you can use a 12V battery to start the cart.
  • Once the engine (or 12V battery) is running, connect the positive and negative terminals on the dead golf cart. The dead cart’s battery will start to charge as a result of this.
  • The golf cart should start up once the battery is sufficiently charged.

04. Using a 12V Battery

I have already mentioned in the previous process that you can also use a 12V battery to charge the dead cart’s battery if you can’t find a functional golf cart. So, the process is very similar to the previous one.

You can use a 12V battery to jump-start the electrical system when the golf cart’s battery is malfunctioning. Here are the steps:

  • Just like in the previous procedure, you will need to connect the positive (+) and negative (-) terminals of the 12V battery and the golf cart battery. Ensure a secure connection to prevent any electrical hazards.
  • Start the engine of the golf cart. This time, you won’t be able to use a push-button start or a keypad for this method.
  • The engine must be running for the batteries to transfer power. The 12V battery will provide the necessary power.
  • The batteries will transfer power to equalize their charges. When the dead golf cart’s electrical system starts to operate, the engine will run.

05. Replacing The Ignition and Key

In some cases, it may be best to replace and upgrade the current ignition switch for increased security. You can protect your golf cart from theft better than ever with a new ignition upgrade. Consult with a professional or refer to the cart’s manual to perform this upgrade.

06. Hot Wiring Golf Cart

Unlike a normal car, the wires inside a golf cart are typically easier to find. Plus, golf carts have fewer security measures compared to a normal car. So, hot wiring a golf cart is simpler than hot-wiring a car. Here is how you should start with this process:

  • To minimize the risk of electrocution, turn off the ignition switch on your golf cart. You need to confirm that the power to the cart is still on for this process to work.
  • Next, locate the wires for the cart’s ignition switch. Usually, these can be found behind the seat. Refer to the cart diagram for confirmation.
  • Use wire snips to cut these wires away from their connectors. After that, strip the ends with pliers to reveal the metal. While doing so, you must keep the wires apart to avoid electrical injury.
  • Carefully touch the stripped wire ends together to bypass the ignition switch and send power to the engine. Be cautious while doing this to avoid electrocution.
  • Keep touching the wire ends until the engine turns on. To prevent complications or fires, don’t hold the wires together for too long.
  • After the cart starts, carefully wrap the wire ends together and attach them closed with electrical tape. This will keep the cart running and prevent fire damage.


Tampering with the ignition system or hotwiring should only be done as a last resort. To operate the golf cart safely and properly, it is essential to address the underlying issue.

How To Start A Golf Cart Without Key: A Quick Overview of The 5 Methods

how to start a golf cart without keyNow that you have learned the best ways to start a golf cart without a key, let’s take a look at their pros, cons, and required tools. The following table will provide an overview of all the methods I have discussed for starting a golf cart without using a key.

Method Pros Cons Required Tools
Using a Bypass Switch –          Relatively straightforward.

–          Minimal damage to the cart.

–          No electrical hazards if done

–          May require specific knowledge of the cart’s wiring.

–          May not be legal in some areas.

Bypass switch specific to your golf cart
Using a Screwdriver –          You don’t need to be an expert.

–          Quick and easy.

–          Potential for damage to the ignition switch. Screwdriver
Using Jumper Cables –          Effective for dead battery situations.

–          Minimal damage to the cart.

–          No specialized knowledge is required.

–          Requires a working vehicle with a 12V battery or a separate 12V battery.

–          Potential for electrical hazards if not handled carefully.

Jumper cables

Another working vehicle with a 12V battery

Using a 12V Battery –          Effective for electrical system issues.

–          Minimal damage to the cart.

–          There is no need for special expertise.

–          Requires a separate 12V battery.

–          Limited to addressing electrical system issues.

A 12V battery
Replacing The Ignition and Key –          Enhances security and prevents theft.

–          Ensures a proper and legal solution.

–          Long-term solution.

–          Requires professional installation.

–          Potential costs for parts and labor.

–          May not be practical for older golf carts.

–          New ignition and key set

–          Tools for ignition replacement

Hot Wiring Golf Cart –          Quick solution when no other option.

–          You don’t need to have any specialized knowledge required.

–          May cause damage to the ignition system.

–          Not a long-term or recommended solution.

–          Electrical risks that could occur for poor handling.

Wire snips, pliers, and electrical tape.


Even the best of us may lose the golf cart’s key. But as we have discovered, being keyless doesn’t have to mean being cart-less. There is always a method that can get your golf cart running again.

Just remember, the aforementioned techniques are best used in emergencies or as temporary solutions, until you can address the root issue. The tricks on how to start a golf cart without keys will become valuable pieces of knowledge.

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