How to Make a Go-Kart Faster? (9 Best Tips)

One thing that kart racers have in common is that they’re always trying to think of ways on how to make a go-kart faster. While there are a lot of racing techniques to improve your lap times, there are also a number of ways to improve the speed of your kart by fine-tuning a few things on your go-kart.

In order to make your go-kart go faster you can do a few simple things that are often overlooked. Many of these tweaks and optimizations are not as hard as they look and can be done relatively quickly.

In this article we’ll be taking a look at the best ways to make a go-kart faster. However, I need to warn you about two different things. Firstly, while some of these methods are simple to implement, always make sure that you don’t violate any rules.

Certain races have strict rules and regulations and you don’t want to be disqualified. If you’re trying to make your homemade or off-road go kart faster, then the above-mentioned warning can be safely ignored.

Secondly, some of these tips and tricks shouldn’t be overdone. Go-karts have limits and you don’t want to damage them by going over the top. In light of that, act with care and be reasonable with these tips. That being said, let’s make your go-kart faster!

Here are 9 ways to make your go-kart faster:

  1. Upgrade Your Go-Kart
  2. Optimize Your Carburetor
  3. Install a Supercharger or Turbocharger
  4. Re-gear Your Go-Kart
  5. Make Your Go-Kart More Lightweight
  6. Remove the Speed Governor
  7. Change to Larger Go-Kart Tires
  8. Add Isopropyl Alcohol to Your Fuel
  9. Install a NOS Kit

1. Upgrade Your Go-Kart Engine

The engine is the heart of your go-kart that provides power to the driveshaft. The driveshaft is connected to the axle, which ultimately makes your wheels spin, which ultimately accelerates your go-kart. If you want your go-kart to have more power, you can simply upgrade your existing go-kart engine to a more powerful one. 

For example, if your go-kart engine currently has a 3.5 hp engine with a displacement of 127 cc you could look for an upgrade. You can opt for a more powerful engine such as the Titan TX200 (Amazon affiliate link), which is a 6.5 hp go-kart racing engine with a displacement of 196cc. This is a more powerful engine that is commonly used for go-kart racing. 

A more powerful engine will enable your go-kart to transfer more energy and power to the driveshaft, which will enable your go-kart to go faster. Always ensure that your kart is designed to handle the increased power. Finding the best go-kart racing engine depends on your preference and what you want to achieve with it. It’s certainly a good place to start if you’re looking to make your kart faster. 

Things You will Need:

  • More powerful go-kart engine
  • Tool kit for unmounting and mounting
  • Knowledge on replacing engine
  • Toolkit

2. Optimize Your Carburetor

A carburetor is a mechanical device that mixes fuel and air for your go-kart engine. Mixing the right amounts of fuel and air is crucial for combustions inside your kart engine. Each carburetor is set with a standard fuel to air ratio. 

Many people don’t know that you can actually adjust the amount of air the carburetor pumps into the go-kart engine. Think of it this way, the more air the carburetor lets through, the more fuel it brings along with it. This means that you’ll be able to increase the power of your kart engine by allowing more air and fuel flow into the combustion chamber. 

Next to the choke on the carburetor you’ll see an adjustment screw. If you turn the screw clockwise, you’ll allow the carburetor to let in more air and fuel. A counter-clockwise adjustment will do the opposite and fill the engine with less fuel and air. 

You can use this to enable your kart engine to generate more power, which will ultimately make your go-kart faster. Bear in mind thought that you’ll also be increasing the idle speed of your go-kart. Allowing too much air and fuel into the engine can cause damage. Do this with caution.

Things You will Need:

  • Screwdriver to adjust the screw
  • Knowledge on how to tune your carburetor 

3. Install a Supercharger or Turbocharger

If you’re building your own go-kart you can opt for installing a supercharger or a turbocharger. Both components are forced induction systems, which means that they compress the air that flows into the go-kart engine. The more air flows through, the more fuel it can burn. The main difference between these two components is that a supercharger gets its power from the crankshaft and a turbochargers takes it from the exhaust system.

Turbochargers are more common on go-karts than superchargers, because there are more options available and they are easier to install. For the installation of a supercharger, you’ll need to create a mount so that it can run along the crankshaft via a belt. You will also need a manifold between both outlet and intake ports.

Turbochargers on the other hand run on the exhaust pipes, which compresses the air into the intake manifold. There are many guides available for installing turbochargers on go-karts. Take into consideration that you may need a fuel relay and an oil pressurizer system.

Things You will Need:

  • A turbocharger or a supercharger
  • An installation guide
  • Mount, hoses and clamps
  • Tool kit

4. Re-gear Your Go-Kart

Another thing that you can do is to re-gear your go-kart. By re-gearing you can increase the amount of force the engine exerts on the axle, while will make your kart faster. You can do this by either installing a smaller sprocket (smaller in size) or you can install a sprocket that has fewer teeth. 

This will increase the number of revolutions the axle and your wheels do in comparison to your kart engine. Basically, the more the amount of axle and wheel revolutions, the fast you make your go-kart go. Bare in mind thought, not to overdo this. By going to a sprocket that is too small or that has too few teeth, you can cause the engine to exert too much force on the axle. This can either stall the engine or potentially damage your go-kart.

It’s recommended that you do as much planning and calculation as you can, prior to installing a smaller sprocket. There are many re-gearing calculators online that you can make use of. Make sure that you don’t overdo this.

Things You will Need:

  • A smaller sprocket
  • Knowledge on installation
  • Tool kit

5. Make Your Go-Kart More Lightweight

Perhaps the easiest tip on how to make your go-kart fast is to make it as lightweight as possible. Take note of this: a go-kart with a higher power-to-weight ratio will accelerate faster than go-karts with a lower ratio.

This means that you can either try to increase your go-kart’s power by upgrading your engine or installing a supercharger for example. However, you can also try to make adjustments on the other end of the equation, which is to reduce its weight. 

A racing go-kart weights about 170lbs and a typical homemade go-kart about 150 lbs. They’re packed with all the required parts, such as an engine, seat, steering wheel, fuel tank, bumpers etc. Of course you won’t be able to remove essential items like the engine, but you can remove some of the non-essential items.

You can even exchange heavier items to a more lightweight material. Lightweight materials are usually more expensive, but they help to decrease the overall weight of your kart. 

Here is a list of items that you can make lighter:

  • Frame
  • Seat
  • Bumpers
  • Pedals
  • Fuel Tank
  • Mounts
  • Accessories

There is an interesting study that can be found here, where differently weighted people ran experiments with go-karts and weights. The results showed that around 20 lbs in weight reduction equated to about 0.3 seconds of lap time. Let that sink in for a moment!

Things You will Need:

  • Replacement parts
  • Toolkit for part removal or replacement

6. Remove the Speed Governor

Go-kart engines have a speed governor, also known as a speed limiter. A speed governor limits your engine’s performance by only allowing it to run at a certain speed (limiting the rpm). In order to make your go-kart faster, you can remove the speed governor in your go-kart engine

There are several different types of speed governors, depending on the engine. Most commonly you’ll find a pneumatic or a mechanical speed governor. You’ll need to toolkit in order to open the engine and locate the speed governor. If you’re looking for a guide, you can watch this video

Make sure that you don’t constantly floor your gas pedal as it can damage your go-kart engine long term. It’s a great trick to make your go kart faster, but do this wisely. Remember that you can either set the governor to allow a higher engine speed or remove it completely. If you remove it completely, keep in mind that there is nothing limiting your engine’s rpm.

Things You will Need:

  • Toolkit
  • Knowledge on how to remove the speed governor

7. Change to Larger Go-Kart Tires

Another great tip for speeding up your go-kart is by using larger tires. This is particularly important for the rear tires. Now, that may sound counterintuitive to you. You may think that smaller tires weigh less and are also able to complete a full rotation faster than larger tires. With that in mind, how can bigger go-kart tires make your go-kart faster?

Let me explain! Think of it in the following way. Larger go-kart tires allow more force to be transferred to the ground. The driveshaft transfers all of its energy to the axle, and from the axle to the wheels. The larger the surface area between the tires and the ground, the less force it needs to use and the faster your go-kart travels. 

Keep in mind that you shouldn’t go overboard with the size of your tires. If you need more information, you can check out the articles on how to read go-kart tire sizes or get a complete overview of the go-kart tire size chart.

Things You will Need:

  • Larger go-kart tires
  • Go-kart tire removal tool

8. Add Isopropyl Alcohol to Your Fuel

Isopropyl alcohol is also known as rubbing alcohol. Adding rubbing alcohol to your go-kart fuel can make your go-kart faster. The reason why this is the case is the following. Isopropyl alcohol added to fuel will increase it’s octane.

Although mixing your own fuel is mostly disallowed in official go-kart races, go-karters often do this when they are racing for fun or when they are racing their homemade go-karts. As with any type of tuning, adding rubbing alcohol to your fuel shouldn’t be overdone. Adding too much or adding too high of a concentration will cause the opposite effect.

Therefore, it’s recommended to add 91% Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) to your petroleum. You can opt for a 25/75 to 50/50 ratio (rubbing oil to petroleum). There are also other fuel additives that are commonly used to make you go-kart faster. Some of them include ethanol or methanol. Whichever method you end up going for, make sure that you don’t overdo it.

Things You will Need:

  • 91% Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
  • Container for mixing

9. Install a NOS Kit

I’m sure you’ve watched racing movies or played street racing games before. You’ve probably noticed the driver pressing a small red button, followed by a swishing sound before the car speeds off. This is called a NOS boost, which is accomplished by installing a NOS kit, also known as a nitrous oxide kit.

In short, a nitrous kit injects nitrous oxide into your go-kart engine’s combustion chamber allowing more oxygen to be available. This means that the engine is also able to burn more fuel, in turn generating more power which makes your go-kart faster!

There are many different types of NOS kits available on the market. I would recommend the Predator 212 cc NOS Kit (Amazon affiliate link), because it’s simple, easy to install and compatible with most 2-stroke go-kart racing engines. Whichever nitrous kit you opt for, ensure that it’s compatible with your engine and that you know how to set it up.

Things You will Need:

  • Nitrous oxide kit (NOS)
  • Mounting equipment and material
  • Toolkit

Conclusion

I hope that this was an interesting read for you and that these tips will help you make your go-kart faster. I just want to reiterate that you shouldn’t overdo any of these methods, as doing that will most likely cause the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.

I also want to point out that some of the methods that make your go-kart faster require some technical knowledge that you should read them up first, as much as you can. There are many YouTube guides out there that will be able to guide you through some of the processes. When in doubt, ask help from a professional or bring it to a mechanic.

Lastly, a faster go-kart also means that you’ll be exposing yourself to more risk when racing. It means that your go-kart is under more stress and you could have a harder time handling your go-kart. In all cases, always ensure that you are wearing the proper safety equipment at all times. Happy tuning, my friends!

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