Some time ago, I was installing speakers in my friend’s golf cart. Because there were some tricks during installation, I decided to write an article about speakers’ installation in a golf cart and share my experience with you.
In general, the fastest way is to install Bluetooth wireless battery speakers to the top struts in the golf cart. Another way is to install powered Bluetooth speakers or complete speaker bars with an external amplifier.
The next level of installation that includes simple battery wiring are speaker pods and under roof bars. Bars offer better quality and more dynamic sound thanks to separated woofers, mid-range, and tweeters. Also, they are often equipped with an amplifier.
The most complicated installation is for customized enclosures that require a lot of wiring and installing external amplifiers with batteries.
Let’s go into more detail through these few speaker types.
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Tip: If you want the installation to be straightforward and quick, the simplest way is to install Bluetooth speakers powered by a battery that you can easily pair with the phone and enjoying the music in no time. My favorite portable Bluetooth speakers are AmpCaddy.
If you want to have stronger and more dynamic sound, and do not mind a 15 minutes installation, excellent results you will achieve with PowerBass XL-800 with its eight speakers and 300W. This bar however, requires using a 12V battery, but the effect is worth the dollars spent.
In the article below, I will go with details through the installation process and highlight simple tricks to make the speakers’ installation in your golf cart straightforward.
Do I Need Speakers in a Golf Cart?
In many areas, golf carts are used more often than cars, so if you have an audio system in a car, why do you not put it in the golf cart and enjoy your favorite music while driving through the neighborhood?
The golf cart sound system does not have to be annoyingly loud for the neighbors to give you pleasure from high-quality music. But, on the other hand, it has to be powerful enough to hear the music in an open environment.
This is a kind of stereo system we actually installed in a friend’s cart. It does not make a boom effect but makes all rides enjoyable for his family with kids, and this was the goal of the project.
Installing was not too complicated, however time-consuming. Many people think this will take days to wire the complete audio system, but in reality, unless you want to connect a radio and customized subwoofer enclosures and many speakers all around the golf cart, it will not take more than few hours.
Actually, for us, it was a great few hours of fun while having an evening barbecue.
Another reason for adding speakers to a golf cart is to make it more personalized. It is a fantastic way to add a little of YOU and your heart into the cart and make it equipped differently than everybody else’s.
It is a great feeling, and adding something different makes us feel much better while driving the golf cart. Even if the golf cart has the same color or wheels as others, these tiny details inside make me feel unique.
What Is the Best Sound System for a Golf Cart?
When you search through the speakers, you will see hundreds of models that, according to the advertisements, seem to be more powerful than everything else.
Well, in reality, all speakers you can install in the golf cart belong to one of the groups below:
Bluetooth speakers are the most popular choice for golf carts.
Some models do not even require wiring to the battery, so their installation takes less than a minute, such as magnetic ROKFORM G-ROK, which you can mount on any metal surface.
There is a wide variety of speakers you can choose from, and the choice depends primarily on your budget. For example, you can have simple speakers mounted to the bar for $60-$80, but they will not give you much pleasure while listening to music. On the other hand, there are speakers equipped with amplifiers that cost over $400.
More advanced are soundbars that are equipped with multichannel amplifiers. You can purchase them in the range of $200 to $500 for the most durable models.
Soundbars have a better dynamic of the sound, and their installation is also straightforward. If you are a party fan, an excellent choice is the Bazooka BPB24-G2 with LED lights.
For more than just speakers or bars, you can make a customized system with amplifiers and single speakers mounted in the speaker pods or individual enclosures.
When you want to use enclosures for your speakers, make sure they are made of either plastic or fiberglass. Speakers are used outside, where they can contact water, so do not use any wooden boxes for golf carts.
The most developed system can cost several thousands of dollars, and the sky is the limit for design and combination alternatives.
How Do I Choose a Good Bluetooth Speaker for a Golf Cart?
They are great with dynamic sound and at the same time not too expensive. Of course, we would touch a top shelf for any hi-end golf cart sound system improvements, but Polk did an excellent job for now.
When you are searching for good Bluetooth speakers that will fit your project, you need to consider several crucial factors:
- Speakers must be water-resistant and able to handle moisture and rain. Do not use any other than marine speakers in your golf cart. All wires connection should be either stainless or gold to protect your system from corrosion.
- Speakers enclosures must be sealed without any gaps left and made from materials that do not absorb the moisture, like plastic or fiberglass.
- Consider additional batteries when you plan to use powerful speakers with amplifiers. A smart way is to not mix a sound system with your cart’s electrical system, so I recommend an additional 12V battery.
- Use speakers with directed sound, like marine types. Because they will play in an open area without doors and windows, they must be able to play in an outdoor environment.
Do I Need an Amplifier for Golf Cart Speakers?
An amplifier is always needed when you want to listen to high quality and clear tones.
Although many soundbars for golf carts are already equipped with amplifiers, in our case, we used a four-channel Kenwood KAC-M1824BT.
This marine Bluetooth amplifier is a fantastic way to power any speakers in the open area, like in golf carts, ATVs, or bikes, not to mention boats. It also has a USB charger so that you can charge your phone right in the cart.
Although it makes sense to install an amplifier close to the battery to reduce the wire length, I would not recommend doing this for two reasons:
- The amplifier in the battery area is exposed to the heat coming from the engine.
- The engine area in the golf cart is not covered from underneath, which means that dirt, mud, or debris can get to the amplifier.
Our Kenwood was installed in the front area of the golf cart, on the flat shelf behind the bumper.
It is enough room there for even bigger amplifiers. Our amplifier took less than half of the space, and it has a lot of the room around, so there is no risk of overheating.
An amplifier will need power either from a 12V battery or converter, depending on the golf cart from 48V or 72V to 12V.
Although using a converter is cheaper, we decided to use a battery without interfering with the cart’s electrical system.
Depending on the golf cart model you have, there may be various places for the battery, but we put ours in the battery area on the left side, right below the driver seat.
How to Hook up Speakers to a Golf Cart?
Installing speakers in a golf cart is a much simpler process than in the car. A complication of the installation depends on the speakers you choose and also if there will be an additional amplifier or just battery-powered Bluetooth speakers.
For our golf cart audio system, we wanted to install both front and rear speakers with an external amplifier. Although it is not the cheapest option, we were happy with the final effect.
Installing Front Speakers in a Golf Cart
We started the whole project by filling speaker pods with a thin layer of acoustic foam. This makes the sounds more dynamic and prevents pods from rattling against the floor.
Not everyone uses acoustic foam in the golf carts, but we wanted to ensure no noise from rattling wires inside pods. So here is what we did step by step to install an amplifier and front speakers:
- At first, we removed 5 Torx bolts on each rocker panel. These are Torx 40, then take both panels off.
- Then we took floor matt off. To do it, you have to remove seven plugs from the floor. You can use a wide but thin screwdriver for this. We removed the floor to place front speaker wires underneath, and it was also an excellent opportunity to wash a floor properly. Golf carts are not sealed, and while driving, you know that you have a lot of dust under the floor in no time.
- Next, we removed from the floor panel four plugs, so you can later place speaker wires in the channel.
- Take off the dash, unscrew three Torx, and when loose, unplug the cables.
- Next, unscrew the bottom of the cup holder, there are four 3/8″ nuts. Use socket end for this.
- Cut a hole for an amplifier remote. It can be mounted in any place in a dash, but we chose to be I on the flat surface. The plastic used on a cup holder is not too thick, so we used a Stanley blade knife to cut the hole.
- Next to the amplifier remote, in our cup holder, we placed a switch for the stereo, because we do not want an amplifier to be running nonstop and drain the battery. It is a simple on-off switch with blue wire attached from the amplifier. The other wire will go from the switch directly to the positive terminal in the battery. To place a switch, we drilled a hole next to the remote location using a 3/4″ drill bit.
- Place a switch in the hole, it has small locks on both sides, but we also used a little glut to make sure it will sit solidly in the cup holder.
- Push a mounting cover for the amplifier remote in the hole. To make sure it does not come loose, we also glued the cover to the edge using a 2-piece Loctite Epoxy Plastic Bonder, and it sits stable in place.
- Next, push a remote wire through the hole and place a remote in the cover.
- Mount a cup holder back in place, screwing it back from the bottom side.
- Remove a front bumper and place an amplifier in the room. Screw it to the panel making sure it sits tight. Amp we used is small, and there is lots of room for wires left.
- Now is time to work on amplifier wires. Take a harness, separate all speaker wires from the power wires, and push them towards a control panel. We used only front speaker wires for installation.
- Take amplifier power wires, place them inside a gap in the floor panel, and then push wires under a battery cover. Original cables in the amplifier were not long enough, so we had to extend them.
- If you will install rear speakers, run wires for the rear speakers together with power cables. If you do not plan to connect other speakers, you can leave them with an amplifier behind the bumper.
- Add connectors to the amplifier power wires. Many people screw ground to the chassis, but we made both positive and negative connections directly to the battery. This will stabilize the voltage for the amplifier.
- Plug back floor panel to the cart chassis and put the floor mat back in place. Even though our golf cart is four years old, a rubber floor after cleaning looks brand new.
- Take sets of front speaker wires and push them through small cracks just on top of the front side of the floor mat. Do not pull them too hard. Make sure they are loose behind a dash.
- Put bumper back in place.
- Mount a dash, do not forget to plug back key switch and a battery charge meter. Push dash back towards the frame, and when it sits solid, screw it back using Torx. Before tightening all screws, make sure your speaker wires are loose on both sides and long enough.
- Pre-drill holes in the pods for the speakers. Take one speaker and place it in the mounting hole. Speakers have a loose fit, so try to center them as much as you can. Be careful when drilling, and do not damage a speaker’s surroundings or cone.
- Now take the speaker pods, place them into the mounting position under the dash. Before installing, you have to pre-drill 1/16″ holes for the screws.
- Place both speaker pods into a place and screw them to the floor. Make sure you first pull wires through the mounting holes.
- Pull speaker wires through the gaskets and connect with speakers.
- Place speakers in the mounting holes and screw them through the attached covers.
- The last step is to mount back rocker panels on both sides.
Installing Overhead Rear Console with Speakers
Although two front speakers will be enough for the music in many cases, we wanted to develop the system further. It will be a family of four driving around a neighborhood each weekend, so let’s add some sound to the back seats.
The option we have chosen from all of the available bars and speakers was RAD-556 overhead console placed on the back of the roof. From the original console, we removed an amplifier and left Boss CH6930 speakers.
Although Boss speakers did not look too strong, we wanted to give them a chance and decided to power them from our stronger 4-channel Kenwood.
Let’s start step by step and install a golf cart Bluetooth overhead soundbar:
- At first, we removed the roof from the cart. This is not necessary, but it makes installation simpler.
If you want to install a complete console, just screw it to the channel in the roof and run attached wires to the battery. But we decided to connect these speakers to our 4-channel amplifier, so there are few more steps to take.
- Disconnect original speaker wires from the speakers and remove an amplifier from the console with the rest of the cables.
- Place an acoustic foam on the console’s inner walls and the roof, where you will mount speakers.
- Connect new speaker wires to the speakers. Original cables from the amplifier are not that long, so you will need to connect them with extensions after installing rear speakers.
- Put wires on one side out of the console and mount them to the roof. Use attached screws.
- The console is mounted, now put a roof back on but do not bolt it yet.
- Run speaker wires inside the roof strut down until you see the wire coming out at the bottom of the mount.
- Now you can mount the roof back to the struts. To ensure there will be no moisture running through bolt holes in the roof, we added rubber shims on top of the roof.
- Run speaker wires into a battery area and connect them with speaker wires coming from an amplifier.
- Connect power and remote cable with a positive battery terminal.
- Place a ground wire on the negative terminal and lock it solid.
Now, when all speakers are ready, it is time to test them. Switch power onto the amplifier, and you should see a remote with the light on. That means the amplifier is connected and active. Pair an amp with your phone, and you can enjoy the music.