Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

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Section 8 of 38

Chapter 7: Miscellaneous Originals

7.045 Golf Carts (VC §§345, 21115, 21115.1, and 21716)

Golf carts are motor vehicles designed to do all the following:

  • Carry golf equipment.
  • Carry no more than two persons, including the driver.
  • Have at least three wheels in contact with the ground.
  • Weigh no more than 1,300 pounds unladen.
  • Not exceed a speed of 15 miles per hour (mph). Golf carts may not be operated on any highway with a posted speed limit of over 25 mph, except by ordinance or resolution by a local authority (such as city or county government).

Golf carts weighing more than 1,300 pounds cannot be registered as a golf cart and are considered to be a regular motor vehicle which must comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and California emissions standards.

On-Road Use—The applicant must submit:

  • A completed Application for Title or Registration (REG 343) form.
  • The California Certificate of Title, manufacturer’s certificate/statement of origin, bill of sale, or other acceptable documents to establish the chain of ownership.
  • A Verification of Vehicle (REG 31) form.
  • A Statement of Facts (REG 256) form signed by the vehicle owner or an authorized representative indicating the vehicle:
    • Has not been modified.
    • Meets the definition of a golf cart as defined in VC §345.
  • Fees must:
  • Assign the body type model (BTM) of “GC” for golf cart.

Electric and gasoline-powered golf carts are exempt from emissions testing; however, gasoline-powered golf carts are not exempt from California Air Resources Board (ARB) emission requirements. The REG 31 must indicate the golf cart has a label certifying compliance with California emission requirements for on-road use. Without this compliance label, the golf cart can only be registered for off-highway use.

Modified Golf Carts—If the golf cart is modified to travel more than 15 mph or carry more than two persons (including the driver), the vehicle is considered to be a regular motor vehicle and must comply with the FMVSS for a regular passenger motor vehicle.

Golf carts operated for a distance not exceeding one mile from a golf course on a highway designated for such operation by ordinance or resolution are exempt from registration. If a golf cart becomes subject to registration, the registration requirements are the same as for an original or nonresident motor vehicle.