Whether just for fun or in a more formal racing circuit, getting started with your first go-kart can be daunting. Especially when you’re unsure just how much a go-kart will cost you.
A new go-kart will cost you, on average, between $500 and $3500, but used go-karts can cost you half the price. Several different factors influence cost, including:
- Brand names
- Engine displacement (power)
- Any additional features, such as crash bars
Go-karting is a complex activity, and the price is just one part of that complication. Beyond cost, potential owners also need to consider go-kart maintenance and common mistakes. Like the initial buying process, these can affect how much money a person ends up investing (or sinking) into their go-kart. We’ll cover all of this and more in further detail below.
How Much Does a Go-Kart Cost
The cheaper models of go-karts can cost as little as $500, and sometimes less depending on sales or other events. But other models can cost thousands of dollars, ranging from $3,000 for the mid-line models to as much as $10,000 or more for the deluxe models.
Some popular retailers and their price ranges are outlined below, demonstrating this broad price spectrum:
- GoKarts USA – The cheapest adult model listed is the Racing go-kart 49cc, which costs $700; the most expensive model is the Joyner Sand Viper EFI 1100 5-Speed over $10,000.
- Tractor Supply – The least expensive go-karts are pedal models that are under $300; the most costly options include Coleman and Massimo two-seaters, which are $3,000 and $2,800, respectively.
- Amazon – Amazon has everything, and go-karts are no exception. Cheaper models like the Razor Force cost as low as $350; more expensive options include the Coleman Powersports Off-Road, roughly $1,600.
- Coleman – The Powersports 100cc gas-powered go-kart generally costs around $700; their Trailmaster Ultra Mini XRX/R+ model costs nearly $2,000 depending on the retailer.
Similarly, brands can have wildly varying price ranges that depend on the specific model and features included. Some brands have their websites where they offer products at better or comparable prices to retailers, whereas others only sell their products through online or local retailers.
Despite this, their prices still show a large disparity between the most budget-friendly and expensive models:
- Joyner – All of Joyner’s products are more expensive compared to other brands included on this list. Sand Viper 1100cc EFI’s cheapest model is $11,000; their most expensive is the Trooper T4 1100cc EFI at $13,500.
- Trailmaster – The Trailmaster Ultra Mini and Mid XRX models all cost under $2,000, usually close to $1,500; their 150XRS/XRX 150cc is listed as nearly $3,000 from the most expensive wholesale retailer.
- Massimo – According to the models listed on their website, the cheapest go-kart available is the GKM125 at approximately $2,000; their most expensive model is the GKA 200 at almost $3,000.
- Motor HQ – Unlike other brands, Motor HQ stands out for its scarcity. Currently, only their latest model is available: the Captain 200cc with auto transmission/ reverse, which retails for just under $3,000.
These are just a few brands that are more well-known within the go-kart community. However, they are not necessarily the best brands, nor are they the only option for those looking to buy. Brands can be useful when considering model reliability and part availability, but many other factors are considered.
Ultimately, those looking to buy a go-kart should do thorough research to determine which model and buying option best fits their uses and budget.
Factors That Affect Go-Kart Price
Not all go-karts are created equal, which is why there is such a broad range when it comes to their price. Two go-karts may look the same, but one often costs at least a few hundred dollars more.
Several factors affect costs and drive these divides, such as:
- Size – In general, a go-kart made for children will be cheaper than a go-kart designed for adults.
- Purpose – Whether you’re using the go-kart for off-roading, racing, or another purpose can determine how expensive it is.
- Brand – Certain brand names that have become established in the business charge more; sometimes, this is based on quality, but other times it’s based on brand recognition.
- Brakes – Many go-karts have hand and foot brakes, but some also have disc breaks in the front, rear, or both.
- Seating – go-karts aren’t known for their roominess, but several models offer two seats versus the traditional one.
- Mileage – As a rule, brand new go-karts will cost more than used go-karts that may need repairs or a little TLC.
- Customization – Customized features like seat material and go-kart color can cost more, depending on the options available and how in-demand they are.
Some of these factors are entirely justified and affect quality. Others are merely cosmetic and don’t affect how your go-kart will drive or how long it will last.
Though frustrating, buyers will have to consider all of these factors and how important each one is to them. Each aspect has a price tag, and buyers must consider whether or not they’re willing to pay for it.
Costs of Different Types of Go-Karts
Go-karts all have the same essential components and function more or less the same. But there are a few different types that each cater to specific needs and users. These include:
- Go-karts for kids – Kid-friendly go-karts are usually smaller, lightweight, and less powerful than the adult-sized versions. Even so, they still need responsive steering and reliable brakes. Expect them to cost less due to their lower power requirements.
- Go-karts for adults – As you may expect, adult go-karts are larger, sturdier, faster, and generally more powerful than those made for children. Decent recreational adult go-karts can be found in the $500 to $1500 range.
- Racing go-karts – These go-karts are made to go as fast as possible in the shortest amount of time, so they’re usually built simple, sturdy, and speedy. Expect these to be on the high end of the pricing scale.
- Off-roading go-karts – Because off-roading usually translates to rough terrain, these go-karts typically focus on traction, balance, and support. Safety is more important than speed when it comes to these karts. Also, expect these to be in the mid-high of the price range due to their need for sturdy construction and safety features, like rollover bars.
- Electric go-karts – Also known as battery-powered karts, these are made to charge up and go. Generally, they accelerate quickly and easily and feature hand-operated brakes. The “old type” of electric go-karts can be reasonably cheap, but the newer ones that take advantage of the recent leaps in electric car tech are still on the pricier end (expect this to change as they become more common).
- Pedal go-karts – This kart is entirely human-powered and goes as fast as whoever is pedaling can. Operation is simple, easy, and fun. They are the cheapest of the selection of karts but are only go-karts in the loosest definition.
Depending on what you intend to use your go-kart for, it may be worthwhile to look into specific brands or models with a reputation for reliability in that area. Knowing what type you want and the information about it can also help you during the buying process, such as bargaining down prices or making sure you’re getting a fair deal.
What to do Before Buying a Go-Kart
Before you buy a go-kart, there are a few simple steps you should take to prepare:
- Research (and research more) – If you want to buy a go-kart, do your research first. Look into how much they cost, the different types, what their upkeep entails, and other common aspects of owning a go-kart.
- Take a test drive – If possible, try out karting to see if you like it and would enjoy it as a long-term hobby. Think about how often you could realistically drive it, where you would drive it, and for what purpose (racing, off-roading, etc.).
- Be honest – Be brutally honest with yourself and examine how much time and money you have to dedicate to a go-kart. Go-karting can be a time-consuming and expensive hobby. If you’re not ready for that, consider renting instead of buying a go-kart.
- Establish a budget – Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for in a go-kart and what you’ll use it for, establish a realistic budget. When shopping, make sure to stick to it! Be firm with yourself and don’t compromise.
Go-karting is undoubtedly fun and provides many people with a rush. But going from occasionally karting to buying a go-kart and regularly driving it can be a big jump.
If you’re truly ready for a go-kart, then good luck! There are many different types out there, including the one that’s perfect for you.
How to Save Money on Go-Karts
Not everyone has the money to go out and buy whichever go-kart they want. Many owners, both new and seasoned, need to be frugal and look for ways to lower the costs. This is a common dilemma.
Thankfully, it’s also one that is easily solved. There are many ways to save money on go-karts:
- Compare prices – Don’t look at just one retailer or website. Similarly, don’t focus on only one model of a go-kart. Instead, shop around to find comparable karts and the most competitive price.
- Check for discounts – Though this is becoming less common, many stores still offer discounts for certain occupations or demographics. Military, teacher, student, and senior discounts are examples provided by many retailers.
- Monitor sales – A simple way to save money on go-karts is to monitor the models or retailers you like and take advantage of sales. Holiday, anniversary, grand opening, and going-out-of-business sales tend to produce the best deals.
- Buy used – One of the easiest ways to save money on a go-kart is to buy a used one instead of a new one. There are a variety of ways to buy used, including friends or family. More information on this is in the next section.
- Build your own – If you’re up for a fun project, you can also build your go-kart. This will take more time, but you can customize it precisely to your needs and budget. Scroll down to learn more about how to do this.
Go-karts are undeniably expensive. And many people who begin looking into buying a go-kart experience some sticker shock. But if you want one, there are several ways to bring the cost down and save some money.
Where to Find Used Go-Karts
Used go-karts are usually much cheaper than new go-karts, even when compared to lower-end models. Buys can save a hefty chunk of change if they’re willing to put the time, effort, and research into finding a quality used go-kart.
Some familiar places to find used go-karts include:
- Online – Online marketplaces like Craigslist often have used go-karts for sale. Another great place to check is social media groups, such as on Facebook.
- Shops – Though most shops only sell new go-karts, some also offer used models. Call and ask if your local sellers offer this option.
- Track pits – The pit at the track is another excellent place to search for used go-karts. But keep in mind, any karts sold there may have more wear and tear.
- Swap meets – Like the track pits, swap meets are usually guaranteed to have used go-karts for sale. These will also likely have serious miles on them.
You can also check out local garage sales, scrap dealers, and similar events. Though these may not consistently feature go-karts for sale, there’s usually a good deal to be found when a go-kart does pop up.
Between the options above, you’ll find the right go-kart in no time. But remember to do your research. Always find out a go-kart’s manufacturer year, mileage, and previous care before purchasing.
Pro Tip: If you’re unsure about the year a kart was produced, check the serial number. Sometimes serial numbers include a date stamp, such as on the brake caliper plate or the yoke on the front axle.
Does Building a Go-Kart Save Money?
If you want to build your go-kart, there are plenty of resources to help you get started. These include:
- Online guides – How-to guides like these from Popular Mechanics and Instructables provide readers with a step-by-step overview of building go-karts.
- Forums – go-kart forums are a great place to gather first-hand knowledge, troubleshoot and find solutions, and learn about the nitty-gritty details that most guides leave out.
- YouTube – It’s no surprise that YouTube has go-kart building tutorials. Some videos cover the build process from start to finish, while others focus on specific steps.
But before you decide if this is the right option for you, be aware that this is a time-consuming process. It can also potentially be just as expensive as buying a new or used go-kart, depending on the parts you source and their quality. But in general, building a kart is much more cost-effective, so long as you are to trade the cost for your own time.
Below is a chart outlining some of the most basic go-kart parts and what they can cost. (Note: these are approximate estimates; actual prices may vary depending on the retailer and other factors.)
|Go-Kart Part||New Part Prices||Used Part Prices|
|Chassis/ Frame||$200 – $300||$50 – $100|
|Wheels||$60 – $100||$25 – $50|
|Tires||$100 – $200||$30 – $50|
|Steering Kit||$80 – $150||$35 – $50|
|Brake Kit||$80 – $120||$40 – $80|
|Pedals||$20 – $50||$10 – $30|
|Engine||$200 – $300||$100 – $150|
If you’re ready to build a go-kart, start researching how and begin sourcing your parts. Soon, you’ll have a road-ready kart!
Go-Kart Parts and When to Replace Them
As the owner of any vehicle knows, the cost goes far beyond the initial purchase investment. They need maintenance, and this is something you should plan for when budgeting.
Go-karts are comprised of many different parts, but there are a few key components that every owner should know about. Even if you buy a new go-kart, it’s very probably that you’ll have to replace at least one of the parts at some point.
Whether you buy replacement parts new or used, you’ll still need to be able to identify when they should be updated— preferably before your go-kart breaks down or stops working. Here’s a handy cheat sheet that might help you save money on mechanic bills later on.
|Chassis/ Frame||Description: These are technically two different parts, but both are important and related. The chassis is the skeleton or framework of a go-kart. The frame, among other factors, attaches to the chassis to provide its structure.|
Signs to Replace: Lack of responsiveness, stress cracking, chassis flexing
|Wheels/ Tires||Description: Similar to the chassis and frame, wheels and tires are separate but related parts. Wheels are round objects attached to a hub and axle, while tires are the parts on a wheel that provide traction or touch the ground.|
Signs to Replace: Lack of tread, lack of traction, balding, cracking sidewalls, holes
|Steering Kit||Description: Steering kits come with several different components, including spindles, brackets, axles, and more.|
Signs to Replace: Lack of responsiveness, difficulty turning, jamming, locking, alignment issues
|Brake/ Pedals||Description: Brake kits often include pedals, drums, and bands, among other parts depending on the brake type. Kits may vary depending on what kind of brake you need, such as a handbrake or a disc brake.|
Signs to Replace: Lack of responsiveness, squealing or clicking, vibrations, grinding
|Engine||Description: The engine is essentially the core of your go-kart. It includes the shaft, cylinder, housing, fuel tank, and oil tank. |
Signs to Replace: Malfunctioning or non-functioning drive system, idling issues, acceleration issues, non-functioning key and kill switches, erratic engagement
These are some of the most critical parts of your go-kart, as well as the ones most likely to become faulty as they age. Average lifespans vary, so you’ll need to regularly check your kart for parts that are rusting, breaking, etc.
Make sure to examine the parts before replacing them thoroughly. Several of the signs in the chart above can also be attributed to other causes and/or solved with a thorough cleaning. Depending on the part, however, replacing it outright may be cheaper than fixing it.
Keep in mind these are not the only parts that will need to be maintained. Parts like the spindles, sets, sprockets, throttle cables, axles, and bearings will all need to be replaced as well.
How to Not Lose the Money on Go-Kart Maintenance
Unless you want to reach into your wallet again, once you have your go-kart, it’s essential to take care of it. Regular and thorough maintenance and care will prevent long-term issues that could cost you.
Here are some tips on how to keep your go-kart in the best condition possible and avoid unnecessary repair costs:
- Check the chain, clutch, and sprocket – After every use, it’s best to check, clean, and lubricate your chain, clutch, and sprocket, all of which are in the same area. Make sure to use the correct cleaners, such as brake cleaner for the clutch casing).
- Remove, disassemble, and clean the carburetor – You don’t have to do this after every ride, but carburetor cleanings need to take place regularly. Remember to remove the throttle cable, screws, and jets. Solvent spray and compressed air work best for cleaning.
- Check and clean the spark plugs – Because they’re essential to performance, spark plugs should be checked and cleaned either before or after every go-kart ride. You can easily clean them with a metal brush.
- Monitor your engine cables, hosing, and overflow tanks – Since all of these can wear out over time or as a result of heat, it’s best to check these regularly to make sure they’re attached and in good condition. Make sure none are damaged and that the tank is full.
- Check the battery or gas tank – Depending on if your go-kart runs on gas or battery power, you’ll need to check the gas tank and battery to make sure it’s filled up or charged, respectively.
Other parts of your go-kart to keep an eye on include the exhaust, axles, wheel hubs, and air filter.
You don’t have to be a mechanic or expert to take care of your go-kart. Though it may seem daunting at first, you can learn how to maintain a go-kart with a bit of time and patience.
If you’re willing to put in some elbow grease, apply actual grease, and remember these tips and tricks to take care of your go-kart, then you can save the cost and frustration of frequent repair bills.
Avoid Mistakes That May Cost You
Everyone can make mistakes, even experienced drivers who have been working with go-karts for years. But beginners are much more likely to make mistakes, either related to buying a go-kart or driving and maintaining it. These mistakes can be nasty hidden costs—a medical bill for a broken arm can easily cost more than the kart itself.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts:
- Do remember safety – When driving, remember to protect yourself and any passengers. Wear a seat belt and, if necessary, protective gear such as helmets. Though they’re slower than other vehicles, you can still be seriously injured in a go-kart crash.
- Don’t be overconfident – Just because you know how to drive a car doesn’t mean you know how to drive a go-kart. Take the time to train and learn about how to properly and safely operate a go-kart. If necessary, consider taking karting lessons.
- Don’t waste money– By all means, try to save as much money as possible. But make sure to be realistic in the process. A used or “fixer-upper” go-kart may be cheaper, but will you be able to fix it? If not, it’s worth it to invest in a racetrack-ready kart.
- To learn about your kart – Like any other vehicle, a go-kart is a complex machine that needs upkeep and care to continue running safely and efficiently. Learn about your go-kart so that you can maintain it.
- Do provide supervision – You wouldn’t let an untrained driver or child take your car out for a spin, and the same principle applies with go-karts. Make sure to provide adequate supervision and be prepared to take over driving.
How much could a kart cost you? Thousands of dollars in medical bills if you don’t drive smart and be safe.
These won’t apply to everyone, but they’re useful tips for the average beginner. If you’re just starting in the go-kart circle, make sure to do your research to avoid making some of the mistakes mentioned above, especially since errors can be costly.
Costs of Go-Karting Explained
There you have it! We covered a lot of ground today, but here are the basic key points to remember:
- A new go-kart can cost you, on average, between $500 and $3000.
- Used go-karts cost significantly less upfront but may require more maintenance (hidden costs).
- The cost will vary depending on what you want the go-kart for.
- Building a go-kart costs less money but takes a considerable investment of your own time.
- Remembering to conduct regular maintenance will reduce the amount you spend on future repairs.
- Some repairs are more cost-effective in your shop, such as the ones we listed.
Finally, be safe! Go-karting can be extremely safe and fun, but just like any motorsport, it carries the “hidden” cost of medical bills if you fail to follow safety practices.