A go-kart seems like a perfect investment for any adrenaline junkie! However, the cost of buying a brand-new go-kart is quite costly. Prices starting from $2000 at the very least. Thus, many kart fanatics are now looking into purchasing used go-karts or building their own.
So, how to buy a used go-kart? Well, there are no set rules for finding the perfect go-kart of your dreams. Many used go-karts are an absolute hit or miss!
They range from being perfectly pristine to a glorified hunk of junk. So, without the correct guidance, just like a car, buying a used one could be a nightmare.
But luckily, we have some tips for you, so you don’t unknowingly buy a pile of scraps. All the while, making the process a whole lot simpler!
Frame Condition Is Vital!
The metal frame is the most crucial factor in a used go-kart’s condition, but why is that? Well, go-karts do not have any suspension systems in place. Which means the frame absorbs all impacts the kart experiences on the track.
A significant cracked or bent frame can be the “death” of a kart, severely decreasing its value. Even with costly repairs, often a kart can never return to its original state after a significant collision. So, it would be best to steer clear from dented or cracked frames on used go-karts.
To avoid this, you should do a frame check! Frame checks can be done by only looking and feeling along the frame of the kart. A visible dent or crack is a big red flag and should be brought up to the seller immediately.
Next, check whether the tires are level to the ground or shake the kart to check for warping.
If the tires are suspended, it is a clear sign that the kart might have issues running. A quick frame check would save you a lot of future hassle and money if done initially.
Inspect the Undercarriage of the Kart!
Even if you have a seemingly pristine frame, you aren’t out of the woods yet! The bottom of the frame is often forgotten in the inspection before purchase. This oversight can be very detrimental in the long run.
Karts are almost always built aerodynamically and low to the ground. It means the frame’s undercarriage may scrape the ground in the event of a collision or fast turn. Often, the bottom of the frame is the first to deteriorate when on the track.
Frame guards are essential in the preservation of the condition of your kart. If the previous owners didn’t use frame guards, a check underneath is a must! Try asking the seller if the previous owner uses frame guards if none are attached to the kart.
But why are frame guards so crucial to the wellbeing of the go-kart? Frame guards serve as a barrier between the pavement and the bottom of the frame. It absorbs the impact of the collision, minimalizing damage to the frame and to the kart itself.
The damage below could severely affect the performance of the kart if gone unchecked. The most common issue is flattened frames, which almost always drastically affect the performance of the kart. If you find a kart with a completely flat undercarriage, it is a no-go!
Don’t Forget the Engine
The engine is an essential part of any moving vehicle. So, this is an obvious step, but an important one, nonetheless! The ideal engine would be a clean-sounding engine with little to no heat.
Doing a general engine test would help ease your mind or raise any red flags. Look for any leaks as they are a surefire sign that something is wrong in the go-kart. You could also try revving the engine to listen for any abnormalities.
A typical engine issue used go-karts encounter is oil leaks. It is a severe issue that cannot be left unaddressed as the leaky engine could cause engine failure and a fire hazard.
Another way to check is to test drive the go-kart, which you would enjoy.
Check the Condition of the Tires
In the grand scheme of things, tires are a minor factor in picking the right kart. Tires are often the cheapest part of a go-kart, but they can be a hassle to replace. So, checking tires could help you decide between two equally good karts and save you a few bucks.
Check the tread grip strength. Worn tires usually won’t have much power in the treads, causing more drift. Next, try testing the spin of the tires. If you hear any noises, it could indicate unlubricated or rusted bearings.
To test the give of the tires, try stepping on the brake pad and turning the steering gently. Little to no give indicates that the used go-kart is quite worn and used.
Ask for the Go-Kart’s Racing History
“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it,” go-karts are no exception to that rule. Ask the seller the number of times it DNF (Did not Finish) and reasons why. It is so you will know whether the kart has crashed and the severity of it.
If a go-kart has crashed before, be wary, especially if it is labeled as “repaired.” Often karts that are visibly damaged are priced lower, though a possibility the “repaired” ones still have the same issues.
Thus, any sellers try to fix up the visible issues before putting the go-karts on the market.
If a kart has severely crashed before yet looks perfect, it may not perform as well as it seems. It also may have some underlying issues yet to be fixed, which might cause problems in the future.
Inspect for Rusting
Rusting is one of the most overlooked factors when purchasing a go-kart. However, if left unattended, it could cause severe damage to the go-kart down the line.
If you see no signs of rusting at first glance, I implore you to take a closer look. Specially check the joints as they are the first to show signs of rusting. The most common places are where the wheel joins the frame and where the steering joins the frame.
Although rust can be combatted, it could go out of hand if not under the right care. If the go-kart is rusting severely, you might want to check out other go-karts before settling.
Ask About the Previous Owner’s Measurements
If you found the go-kart of your dreams, there is still one hurdle in the way. Ask about the previous owner, specific details such as weight and height. These are crucial as it gives insight into whether this go-kart is the perfect fit for you.
The reason behind this is relatively simple. Every go-kart is built with a specific driver in mind, including their measurements. If the person is significantly bigger or smaller than you, the kart may not fit as intended.
However, this is not always a deal-breaker, quite the opposite. More often than not, some tweaks would suffice in converting the used go-kart to your own.
Simple adjustments such as seat height and seat type could be done for non-jarring differences in measurements.
Ask About the Maintenance Schedule of the Go-Kart
Another crucial detail that you should be asking the seller is the maintenance schedule. The maintenance schedule of the go-kart allows you to get a clearer picture of the kart’s condition.
Ask things such as whether the chain tension was checked or how frequently they cleaned the frame.
Knowing such details will give you peace of mind when purchasing. Not only that, but also be ensured that the used go-kart was well cared for before you.
Look for a Local Go-Kart Supplies Shop
When dealing with used go-karts, you should have some spare parts on hand. Before investing in your new ride, research the local shops that supply that go-kart brand.
Not only for the occasional breakdown, but it also reminds you to keep track of the condition of your kart.
Another positive is because you have a used go-kart, customizations to it is easy as pie. You don’t have to break the bank every time you replace something. So, go out there and pimp that go-kart out to your heart’s content.
Regardless of the condition of your kart, spare parts are always a good idea. While you are there, maybe pick up a business card in case worse comes to worst. Who knows, you could even ask the local shopkeeper about your newly bought go-kart!
Used go-karts are an great introduction to racing. Since you save a lot of money by getting it second-hand, what’s better than that?
Sometimes used go-karts just need a bit of tender love and care. Hopefully, you will use these tips next time you go-kart shopping. That way, you will find a reliable used go-kart that provides you nothing but fun and excitement!