Maintenance Tips for Your Go-Kart: Keeping Your Ride in Top Shape
- on April 18, 2023
- Categories: Articles
To keep your go-kart in excellent condition, you should treat it like a motorcycle. The same go-kart care tips apply to dirt bikes, keeping paint shiny and protecting metal parts against the elements. Investing 15 minutes to an hour in maintenance can have huge benefits for the life of your ride. Follow this simple guide to go-kart maintenance for great results.
The Difference in Go-Kart Maintenance for Outdoor Enthusiasts Versus Racing Pros
We created this guide for everyday go-kart users. If you’re a weekend warrior who loves the rush of adrenaline while zipping around outdoors, these tips are made for you.
At Motobuys, we also have experience with go-kart racing. Keep in mind that competition use requires more intensive maintenance because of the higher performance demands and extra heat generated during races. Teams need to check and replace components more frequently.
Everyday Go-Kart Maintenance Tips
These tasks teach you how to maintain a go-kart every time you use it. A quick visual inspection can often save you a lot of time down the road.
Clean Your Go-Kart
You don’t want the headache of dealing with rust if you can avoid it. Essential parts such as brakes and chains need to stay clean, too. With these tips, it only takes 10-15 minutes to clean your go-kart after using it:
- Give the go-kart a light spray down after riding.
- Use gentle cleaning products if needed to eliminate mud and grime.
- Avoid cotton cloths — use microfiber to wash and dry instead.
- Apply WD-40 or an equivalent product to clean grease on metal parts.
- Use a toothbrush to eliminate dirt and debris from hard-to-reach spots.
A quick go-kart wipe-down keeps the majority of grime away and protects important parts. If you spend a lot of time off-roading, once a month your go-kart maintenance should include a deep clean of the main parts, such as brakes, chains and axles.
Keep an Eye on Tire Treads and Pressure
Go-kart tires have to handle a lot of punishment when you’re off-roading. Rocks, dirt and gravel can cause the treads to wear more quickly than you may expect. How often you should replace go-kart tires depends on where you’re riding and what type of tires you have:
- Slicks: Soft tires wear out quickly but deliver the best performance for dry racetracks
- Off-road tires: Dirt and off-road tires provide great clearance for outdoor adventures and last longer than other tires in harsh conditions
- Rain tires (wet tires): Similar to all-terrain tires for cars, wet tires offer a good mix of traction and durability for city streets and rural driving
All go-kart tires have an indicator line that tells you when it’s time to replace them. For safety reasons — and to stay street-legal — you need to keep tires in good shape. As far as air pressure goes, tires should usually be around 8-15 psi. Check your owner’s manual for specific numbers.
Examine Belts and Chains for Proper Tension
It’s easier, faster and safer to keep an eye on your engine belt than to have to fix it once it breaks. Plus, you avoid getting stranded in the middle of nowhere. If you notice fraying, replace the belt. Considering how cheap engine belts are compared to other parts, it doesn’t make sense to wait for it to break.
There are many types of torque converters and belts. Check the owner’s manual to buy the right size belt.
Check and Tighten Bolts
Go-karts are all about speed and excitement. Vibration from road surfaces — especially when off-roading — can loosen nuts and bolts without you realizing it. It’s smart to give your go-cart a quick once-over before taking it out for a spin.
Taking the time to tighten loose bolts is an essential part of any go-kart maintenance checklist. Some owners only need to do this once a month, while others should re-tighten components every week or two.
It all depends on the terrain. Smooth city streets are easier on your go-kart than rocky soils. On the other hand, the pull of off-roading is hard to resist.
Periodic Go-Kart Maintenance Tasks
You need to perform some types of preventative maintenance for your go-kart once a month. Other tasks are necessary every three months or so.
Change Oil and Lube the Chassis
You may not use your go-kart every day, but you still need to take good care of the engine if you want it to last a long time. Every go-kart has different requirements for oil changes, so always follow the instructions that come with the owner’s manual.
Generally speaking, you should check the level and condition of the oil once a month. Replace the oil if you notice a black color. Many manufacturers recommend an oil change every 10-20 hours of use.
Check the chassis and wheel bearings at the same time. Add lube if needed. Usually you’re going to end up applying lube at least every three months.
Clean or Replace the Go-Kart Air Filter
It’s a lot of fun to drive a go-kart in the country, but all that dirt and dust can do a number on the engine’s air filter. Fortunately, replacing the air filter is a breeze, and new filters are cheap.
A good rule of thumb for go-kart maintenance is to check the filter every time you change the oil. Hold the filter up to the light. If you can't see through it, the filter is clogged and needs changing. Swap your air filter at least once a year.
Inspect Spark Plugs and Fuel Lines
Go-karts have a tendency to go through a few sparkplugs every season. Check them every three months. If any are burnt out, replace them all. It’s easier to replace plugs than worry about adjusting gaps if the motor sputters. You should also check your fuel, fuel filter and fuel lines at the same time.
End-of-Season Go-Kart Maintenance Checklist
Before storing your go-kart for the winter or off-season, remember to go through this complete checklist one item at a time. Take the opportunity to lube up your chassis, too. For long-term storage, carefully cover your ride to protect it from annoying critters.