How to Start a Go-Kart the Right Way

In this article, we’ll be exploring the three most important steps on how to start a go-kart the right way. Let’s assume that you are running a 2-stroke engine on your go-kart. In order to start your go-kart properly, you should always ensure that the following things are always checked. Firstly, ensure that there is fuel in the fuel tank. Without fuel, you won’t be able to start your go-kart.

Secondly, ensure that your go-kart has enough engine oil. Simply pull out the dipstick and pull it back out. If it’s completely dry or the oil dark in color, you may want to refill it with new engine oil. After you’ve checked the fuel and oil level, you can proceed to starting your go-kart. You can do this by simply pulling on the starter cord that has a T-shaped pull handle. You may need to pull it a few times, if you’re starting your kart cold. Your go-kart should be running now! If your go-kart won’t start, you should try and troubleshoot it. To summarize, here are the steps to start your go-kart properly:

go-kart fuel tank


  • Ensure that you have enough fuel
check engine oil on go-kart


  • Make sure there is enough engine oil
pull the starter cord


  • Pull on the starter cord to start engine

3 Simple Steps to Start Your Kart Properly

It may sound like a simple task, but starting your kart can be done incorrectly. It’s therefore important that you understand the process before you start your go-kart. You can follow a stimple 3-step process that is explained below.

1. Ensure That You Have Enough Fuel

If the basic instructions don’t make much sense to you, don’t worry. Read on and I will explain everything in more detail. First of all, ensure that the fuel tank has enough fuel in it. Without fuel you’re go-kart won’t be able to start.

If you’re unsure where the fuel tank is, I’ll explain where you can find it. The fuel tank is the largest container on your go-kart. However, the location of the fuel tank depends on the go-kart itself. Usually, you’ll be able to find it underneath the steering column or at the back of the go-kart. Most of the time the fuel tank is made of a translucent white color, which enables you to see the fuel levels from the outside. If you can’t identify the fuel level from the outside, simply twist the cap open and take a peek inside. If there’s no fuel in the tank, simply fill it up.

2. Make Sure There Is Enough Engine Oil

After you’ve checked that there is enough fuel in the tank, you should ensure that the engine oil level is optimal. You should at the same time also check if the quality of the engine oil is acceptable.

Firstly, locate the go-kart engine, which is most commonly at the back of your go-kart. The, locate the dipstick. Most often the dipstick is built into the oil cap, especially on 2-stroke go-kart engines. Now, pull out the dipstick and ensure that there is enough oil. If the oil level is too low, make sure to top it up to the recommended level.

At the same time, you should also check for the quality of oil. You can do this by looking at the color of the engine oil. If the oil is dark in color or you haven’t changed your go-kart engine oil for some time, it’s a good idea to do an oil change.

3. Pull on the Starter Cord

Now, this is the fun part. Once you’ve ensured that there is enough fuel in the tank and the engine oil level is optimal, you should move on to locating the starter cord. The starter cord has a T-shaped pull handle. The cord is wrapped around a starting pulley, which is connected to the crankshaft of the kart engine.

Grab the pull handle between your index and middle finger, while at the same time wrapping your thumb underneath it. This will ensure that you have a good grip before you pull it. Finally, pull the cord all the way back in one quick and long motion and you should hear the engine running. Sometimes, cold starting can take a few attempts. Your engine should now be running and it’s now time to step into your go-kart and start racing!

What Happens If My Go-Kart Engine Doesn’t Start?

If you have followed the above three steps and your go-kart doesn’t start, there could be a potential issue. This issue could be due to the engine, fuel lines, quality or fuel or oil. Most of the time they are engine related and can be fixed quite quickly and easily. In this case, you should start troubleshooting your go-kart engine.

What to Look out For After Starting the Engine

After you’ve successfully started your go-kart it’s important to keep an eye out for any potential issues. Take a look at the engine, torque converter, clutch, sprockets and belts and see if there are any loose parts. You should also try to listen to any irregular or unwanted noises. If you hear or see something that is unusual, it’s best to turn off the engine and start your inspection. 

It’s a good habit to check out the parts of your go-kart after turning on the engine and before starting to race. If you’ve taken a look and the coast is clear, you’re ready to race!

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About Gerrit

Owner, Researcher, Writer & Editor at

Hi, I'm Gerrit. I have been racing go-karts competitively and recreationally for the past 20 years. Apart from actively growing local karting communities, I run GoKartGuide and write comprehensive articles, guides & reviews about go-kart racing. I race, build, mod, & discuss go-karts whenever I find the time. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the read!

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