How To Warm Up Go-Kart Tires Before Race


Are you a go-kart Racer?  Are you looking for an excellent way to warm your go-kart tires?  If so, you have come to the right place.

Honestly, there is no easy way to do it.  Even though it may seem easy, it can be a very complex and challenging thing to do. 

There is a lot of thing’s that come into play.  The kind of track you are on can affect the tires significantly. The traction on a dirt track will be different than on pavement.

On the other hand, the tire’s pressure and the temperature outside also matter, along with many other things. Keeping a log of all the adjustments you make can be an enormous help.

It can take hours to prepare before a race to accomplish the right tire temperature.  Temperature can be detrimental to the go-kart before and during a race.

If the temperature of the tire is not right, the performance of the go-kart will be compromised.  It could even become dangerous for the driver. They could wreck due to the steering of the go-kart being off.

When a racer goes to the pit, they have to warm back up before jumping in line with the other go-karts.  Drivers are advised to always think about the safety of the other drivers as well.

You might even have to consider the go-kart tire size. Not every size takes the same amount to heat up.

You may be wondering, why even do this? For some people, racing is a sport.  A livelihood.  A Career.  It is crucial to make it as safe as possible.  Everything counts.

Where do you start?

How To Warm Up Go-Kart Tires Naturally!

You will find that this is the number one way to heat your tires.  It is the only method that can be used during a race.  There are two steps involved.

  • Pit and adjust the air pressure for a smoother ride.
  • Spend a lap or at least a half lap warming the tires by accelerating the car and then hitting the breaks.  The driver will repeat this technique many times.  The driver may even squeal the tires once or twice. 

Careful not to melt away the rubber.  Doing this allows a Quick boost of heat. It is by far the most common way to warm up go-kart tires due to its convenience.

If a driver feels the tires slipping or sliding on turns, the driver will warm the tires to give them more traction.

The temp of the rubber influences the tire pressure.

Using Chemical Softeners To Help Warm Go-Kart Tires!

It is where things start to get tricky!  There are a lot of different Chemical’s used to Soften tires.  Some are safe to use, and some will damage your tire after one race. 

  • Soaking the tires in Oil, transmission fluid, or WD40. This method does not soften the tires.  However, it will give the tires better traction.
  • Soaking them in kerosene, diesel fuel, or paint thinner. This method will soften the tire.  Some people even grind the surface of the tire to roughen it up a bit.  It helps the chemicals seep into the tire. 

Tires are generally made up of about fifty percent rubber.  The rest is made of chemical fillers.  This solution is temporary and will have to be repeated before each race. 

If the tires are over soaked, they will be ruined. These chemicals can potentially damage the structure of the tire. 

Tire Prep

There are many different tire prep solutions you can buy from any part store.  These are formulated for the sole task of softening tires.  There are many different brands like Grip Tyre Softener, Speedy 500 Tire Prep, Pro Blend 5000 Tire Softener, to name a few.

All of these chemicals have one thing in common.  They soften the tire so that it is easier to heat the tire. It is not the safest method to warm your tires as you run the risk of damage.  However, this is one of the least expensive.

Heating Go-Kart tires using Tire Blankets!

The tires are wrapped in blankets that are specially made to fit the tire snug. The blankets are a good substitute for heal and can trap the heat until it is time to race.  At this point, the driver would keep the tires warm using the natural warming method.

Inside the blanket, there is a heating element that wraps around the tire.  The heating element is wrapped in a heat conductive gel.  The gel touches the surface of the tire, heating it as thoroughly as possible. 

The tires are then stacked on top of each other.  The blankets are attached to a device that controls the temperature of the tires.  The driver is then in full control of the process.

The tires will usually be put in the tire blankets hours before the car is ready to be raced.  The tires have to be constantly checked on, making sure the temperature is right.  When the tires are hot, they have a sticky texture that makes it easy to grip the roadway.

The driver is one with the car when the race is on, feeling every turn.  If the driver knows the tires have been prepped. The driver will be more confident, and this will help the driver understand the kart’s limitations.

When the tires are hot enough, the tire will expand and fit the rim better. It makes it less likely that the tire will skip on the rim. It can cause the driver to lose control for a split second.

Tire Ovens?

A tire oven is similar to a tire blanket.  However, it is more efficient at heating.  It will heat the core of the tire to a higher temperature and heat it more evenly. If the tires were not heated, it would be cold and stiff.

The oven helps give drivers a running start. Tires fresh out of an oven are already warm enough to start the race. Other cars will have to sacrifice the first few laps to warm their tires.

Ovens can disqualify a person from a race. They are frowned upon. It can give the driver a certain advantage.

Tire ovens are one of the most expensive ways to warm your tires. It is designed more for F1 racing.  There is a higher margin for equipment.

It could come in handy if you constantly have to heat your tires. 

DIY Ways to Warm Go-Kart Tires!

  • Wrap the tires in aluminum foil.  Lay them outside in a dry place, preferably concrete.  It has to be in full sun.  Let them heat in the sun for 12 hrs.
  • Get a large plastic swimming pool. Place the tires underneath the pool, in full sun, and let them heat for 8 hrs.
  • Put the tires in the back seat of a car in full sun.  Leave them for 8hrs.

These methods can be used right in your back yard. Street racers mostly use them.  Anyone who has a limited income but still wants their car at peak performance can use one. 

They are not the most effective ways to warm go-kart tires.  They do, however, work when you have limited resources.


So, How do you warm go-kart tire’s?

Whether you decide to DIY your way to the track, drench your tires in chemicals that could potentially be hazardous, or wrap a stack of blankets around them until race time.

You could go all-natural, warming up on the track, or using a tire oven for more thorough heating.  The choices are plentiful. 

Now that you know how to warm go-kart tires, you will be the “Hottest” one on the track.  Who knows!  Maybe you can help someone else, knowing what you know now. 

Knowledge is the most powerful gift!  Thanks for reading!


Hi, I'm Goran, a go-kart enthusiast with years of go-karting experience. I run and write most of the content on the blog. I love sharing my knowledge and passion for go-karts with others and aim to provide valuable insights, tips, and information for anyone interested in this exciting hobby. I'm grateful for the support from the go-kart community and am always looking for ways to improve and provide more value to my readers. Thank you for visiting!"

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