There are plenty of parts that make up a go-kart. From engines to tires, to transmission, axles and plenty more. I’ve created a list of all the essential go-kart parts that you can refer to. This list contains the part images, part names and also the descriptions so that you’ll be able to understand all of their functions. It will also cover racing, off-road and homemade go-karts that are either gas-powered or have an electric motor. If you require more information about the parts and how they function, you can find a link to more detailed guides and articles embedded in the descriptions below.
|Part Image||Part Name||Information|
|Air Filters||Read More|
|Fuel Filters||Read More|
|Fuel Pumps||Read More|
|Fuel Tanks||Read More|
|Ignition Coils||Read More|
|Key Switches||Read More|
|Seat Belts||Read More|
|Spark Plugs||Read More|
|Steering Wheel||Read More|
|Torque Converters||Read More|
|Tie Rods||Read More|
|Electric Motors||Read More|
1. Air Filters
An air filter is a device that is attached to the air intake manifold of a go-kart engine or a carburetor. It helps to filter out any foreign particles in the air before it enters into the combustion chamber of the go-kart engine. It’s important that the air is clean and doesn’t contain any dust, debris or dirt, as this could potentially damage your engine.
Air filters are most commonly found on racing go-karts, as they’re equipped with a carburetor that mixes air and fuel before it enters the gas engine. Air filters are not required for electric go-karts as they run on electric current, as opposed to gasoline.
An axle is a shaft on the rear of the go-kart where each end is connected to a wheel via a hub. There is a sprocket located towards the center of the axle that is connected to the crankshaft or the jackshaft of a go-kart via a chain.
The axle provides rotational motion to the rear wheels from the torque that is generated through the engine. You’ll find that go-karts have a live rear axle, as it transfers rotational power from the engine directly onto the rear wheels through the rear axle. Go-karts don’t have a front axle, as the two front wheels are connected to the frame via spindles to allow for steering.
Electric go-karts are equipped with batteries that store energy, in order to power the electric motor. There are many different types of batteries that can be used on go-karts. The most common go-kart batteries contain lead-acid and lithium-ion. The amount of batteries required for a go-kart depends on the size of the motor and the weight of the go-kart itself.
Batteries on go-karts are most commonly connected in sequence, in order to match the rated voltage of the speed controller and the electric motor. The average go-kart battery is rated at 12 volts with a typical capacity between 3 to 6 Ah.
More Information: Best Go-Kart Batteries
Bearings are mechanical components that support the axle and help it to rotate. They’re typically made of a high carbon chromium steel that contains rolling elements, which are found in-between the outer and inner race. This helps to support the axle and also reduces the friction when the axle is spinning.
These go-kart bearings are inserted into pillow blocks that hold them firmly in place. The pillows blocks are mounted onto the go-kart frame, so that the axle is securely held in place. Each go-kart is equipped with four bearings, two in the front and two at the back.
Belts, also known as drive belts, are used when a go-kart is equipped with a torque converter, as opposed to a clutch. The belt is responsible for transferring the torque from the driver pulley to the driven pulley. It’s made of rubber and required to be a specific size, in order to fit the torque converter.
Drive belts differ in outer circumference and top width. There are also symmetrical and asymmetrical belts that depend on the shape of the torque converter pulley. To ensure that the torque converter on a go-kart runs optimally, a torque converter is required to be correctly sized. Incorrect sizing will cause faster wear and potential damage.
More Information: Go-Kart Belt Size Chart
Brakes are one of the most important components of a go-kart, as they are the only way to actively slow your kart down. There are different types of brakes that a go-kart is equipped with depending on the design and type of go-kart itself. The most common braking system for go-karts are disc brakes, as they are the most effective and work by calipers clamping on the brake disc.
There are also drum brakes, which use friction materials that press onto the drum, in order to slow the go-kart down. Band brakes are the most simple form of brakes, where the brake band tightens on the drum. Drum brakes and band brakes are more commonly found on homemade go-karts, whereas disc brakes are more suitable for off-road and racing go-karts.
Cables have an important role, as they connect certain components of a go-kart. There are many different types of cables and they run along the frame of the go-kart. The most common ones that are required are reverse, choke, brake, throttle and shifter cables.
Most of these cables are required for gas-powered go-karts. Electric go-karts do not require most of these cables, as their components are connected via wires that run from the components to the speed controller.
A carburetor is a mechanical component that is attached to the engine of a go-kart. The function of a carburetor is to mix the air and fuel ratio to an optimal level, before it goes into the combustion chamber of the engine. In order to do this, it requires fuel via the fuel inlet and air via the air intake.
Carburetors are most commonly found on racing go-karts, as they’re geared towards performance. While you don’t need a carburetor to operate a kart, getting a balanced air to fuel ratio helps to increase the performance of go-karts. Therefore, they are occasionally installed on off-road and homemade go-karts.
More Information: Best Go-Kart Carburetors
Go-kart chains or roller chains have multiple applications depending on the type and setup of the go-kart. The main function of a chain is to connect two sprockets, in order to facilitate rotational power transfer from one sprocket to another.
Most commonly, a go-kart chain connects the crankshaft sprocket to the rear axle sprocket or to the jackshaft. If a go-kart runs on a jackshaft or torque converter, there will be a chain connecting the jackshaft to the rear axle instead. Roller chains come in different size, pitch, diameter, width and tensile strength.
More Information: Go-Kart Chain Size Chart
A clutch is one out of the two common transmissions found on go-karts. It’s a mechanical device, which is directly attached to the crankshaft of a go-kart. Once the engine reaches a certain speed (rpm) the clutch will engage, which causes it to rotate and transfer power to the rear axle via two sprockets and a chain.
Go-kart clutches work by centrifugal force being applied to the friction shoes which press against the drum when the crankshaft spins at a certain speed. The most common application for clutches are on racing go-karts. They’re usually equipped with a multi-disc clutch for increased performance. Homemade go-karts are usually equipped with standard centrifugal clutches and off-road go-karts with torque converters instead.
More Information: Best Go-Kart Clutches
Speed controllers are devices that are found on electric go-karts and have very specific functions. While they mainly control the speed of a go-kart they can also provide reverse and dynamic braking functionality.
A speed controller is connected to the electric motor, accelerator and brake pedals, as well as the battery. There are different types of speed controllers available that differ in terms of voltage, wattage and type (speed controllers are different for brushed and brushless motors).
Go-karts are either powered by electric motors or gas engines (petrol engines). Gas engines are also known as internal combustion engines, which are a type of heat engine. These engines use a fuel and air mixture, in order to power the go-kart through internal combustion. The internal combustion causes the pistons to move inside the cylinder, which in turn rotates the crankshaft.
These engines are typically two or four-stroke engines depending on the type of go-kart. Most standard, homemade and off-road go-karts run on one-cylinder two-stroke engines, such as the Predator 212 cc or the Briggs & Stratton 550. Performance go-karts that are geared towards racing are equipped with more powerful two or four-stroke engines that have multiple cylinders, such as the Rotax 125 Max DD2 Evo.
More Information: Best Go-Kart Engines
13. Fuel Filters
The fuel filter has a very important function for go-karts. It ensures that impurities, such as debris, dust and rust do not enter the carburetor and engine. It’s connected between two fuel lines. One of them is connected to the fuel tank and the other to the carburetor via the fuel inlet.
Go-kart fuel filters contain a magnet band that helps to remove the rust from the fuel. Separately, it also contains a sieving material that keeps other impurities out. Fuel filters are extremely important, as using fuel that has impurities can cause damage to the carburetor or the engine. Furthermore, carburetors have small jets that can clog, which could mean that the engine doesn’t receive enough fuel to provide optimal performance.
14. Fuel Pumps
A fuel pump ensures that there is constant flow of fuel to the carburetor from the fuel tank. Fuel tanks are more common on racing go-karts, as a constant fuel supply ensures better performance.
The most common fuel pumps on go-karts are vacuum fuel pumps, due to the fact that they are purely mechanical and are not required to be connected to a power source. When the piston in the cylinder strokes downward it creates a suction, which opens a diaphragm allowing the fuel to be pushed down the fuel lines.
15. Fuel Tanks
A fuel tank is a container that holds the fuel for a go-kart. On racing go-karts, the fuel tank is typically positioned just below the steering column, in order to minimize the overall space requirements. There are some manufacturers who place the fuel tanks on the side or towards the back, closer to the engine. Off-road go-karts have their fuel tanks towards the back of the go-kart right next to the engine, as they have ample space.
Go-karts fuel tanks also come in different shapes and sizes. They are also manufactured from different materials. Fuel tanks for racing go-karts are commonly made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), as they are extremely lightweight, whereas fuel tanks for off-road go karts are made of either stainless steel or aluminium.
Wheel hubs are an intermediate connector between the rear axle or spindle to the wheel of the go-kart. They work as an adapter and ensure that the wheel is securely held in place. As the wheel hub is required to be heavy-duty and light in weight, it’s most commonly constructed with aluminium or stainless steel.
The front and rear hubs of a go-kart are different. The front hubs contain a socket for bearings, as they’re connected to a spindle, instead of an axle. The rear hubs are connected to the axle, instead. Both front and rear wheels are fastened via three or four nuts and bolts. Hubs are also differentiated by size, which are denominated in metric units or inches for US sizing.
17. Ignition Coils
The ignition coil is located near the engine. Its function is to send a high-voltage pulse through wires to the spark plug. Without an ignition coil, there wouldn’t be any components to transfer the voltage. An ignition coil also converts low-voltage to high-voltage so that the spark plug can ignite the air/fuel mixture in the cylinder.
A jackshaft is a component that is installed on certain types of go-karts. It’s an intermediate shaft between the rear axle and the crankshaft that helps to transfer rotational force. In order for the jackshaft to transfer rotations force, it needs to be equipped with sprockets and a chain that leads to the crankshaft and to the rear axle.
Jackshafts are most commonly used on go-karts where the crankshaft cannot be directly connected to the rear axle due to size or space constraints. A jackshaft is placed in-between for better access. Jackshafts are also used for go-karts with torque converter setups, as the driven pulley is not able to connect to the rear axle by itself. Therefore, it needs to be connected to a jackshaft, as torque converters run on belts.
Some go-karts have an exhaust system. This is more common for racing and certain off-road go-karts, whereas homemade go-karts don’t tend to have an exhaust system installed. The exhaust pipe is made of either steel, aluminized steel or carbon fiber and is connected directly to the exhaust manifold.
Although aluminum is lighter, it’s not commonly used as it’s too temperature sensitive. Some exhausts also come with a muffler and a catalytic converter equipped. A catalytic converter helps to convert harmful gasses into carbon dioxide and water vapor. You’ll often see this equipped on gas-powered rental go-karts that are used at indoor racing facilities.
20. Key Switches
There are several ways to start a go-kart. On some go-karts, you’ll need to pull the starter cord, push the on button or turn the key switch. The way to start a go-kart depends on the type of the go-kart. Key switches are typically found on racing and off-road go-karts that are gas-powered.
Some go-karts are also upgraded from a pull-start to a key switch system. A key switch can be installed anywhere on the go-kart and are made of either plastic or metal. They come in a 3-wire or 4-wire configuration, which is connected to a 3-pin or 4-pin connector, respectively.
Racing go-karts usually don’t have any lights, as they require a battery and also drain power. This would affect performance and therefore, are not commonly found on racing go-karts. Instead, the race track has spotlights installed for night races.
However, certain electric go-karts have lights, especially for indoor usage. While indoor lighting is often not always that great, the LED lights on go-karts help with the vision and are connected directly to the battery. Off-road go-karts have lights that are usually mounted on top of the frame or on the front. They’re usually halogen lights or LEDs.
The parts of a racing go-kart can heat up fairly quickly, especially when it’s equipped with a high performance engine. While the lower-powered go-karts tend to be air-cooled, high-performance go-karts are water cooled through a radiator.
Go-kart racing radiators are typically made of aluminum or brass, as these materials have good heat dissipation. The cooling agent that is used is either water or coolant and via water pump flows around the cylinder to cool the engine. The heat is subsequently dispersed once it flows through the go-kart radiator. Off-road, electric and homemade go-karts are not equipped with radiators, as they are not performance oriented and are cooled via airflow.
23. Seat Belts
Seat belts are an important safety feature on go-karts. However, not all go-karts are equipped with it. Seat belts are mostly found on rental karts and off-road go-karts, due to the following reasons. Indoor karting locations usually allow kart racing without any safety equipment due to the controlled environment. Therefore a seat belt assures that a racer is kept firmly in place.
Off-road go-karts are also equipped with safety belts, due to the uneven terrain they are driven on. They are usually a 3-point or 5-point safety belt that go around the waist and shoulder. Professional racing go-karts usually don’t have seat belts, as drivers want to avoid being inside the go-kart when it flips, as they have the appropriate safety gear.
Go-karts have different types of seats depending on the type of go-karts. Racing go-karts focus more on function rather than comfort. The seats are required to be as light as possible and need to have a tight fit. This is because a more lightweight seat increases the kart’s performance and the better a seat fits, the better a driver can use it to lean against corners.
If the seat in a racing go-kart is too large, it can affect the performance and comfort of a driver. Off-road go-karts are usually geared towards comfort. That’s also why their seats are usually padded and larger. Good padding is required due to the fact that racing on uneven terrain can be uncomfortable. You’ll also see that off-road go-karts can have a seat capacity of more than one.
25. Spark Plugs
The spark plug is connected to an ignition coil. It’s function is to ignore the fuel and air mixture inside the cylinder that enables combustion, which in turn makes the pistons move. It also has a secondary function for go-kart engines, which is to disperse heat through an electrode and insulator.
Most spark plugs used in go-karts are of a standard size and are made of either copper, iridium or platinum. Each material has its own benefit and different spark plugs have different applications for go-kart racing.
Sprockets are toothed-wheels, similar to cog wheels. These sprockets are attached to various parts on a go-kart and their primary function is to rotate a shaft via a chain. Parts that contain a sprocket are the crankshaft, clutch, jackshaft and rear axle.
Sprockets have a set number of teeth and the ration between the sprockets k up the rear ratio of a go-kart. Sprockets also have various types of compatibility with regards to chain sizes. It’s therefore important to ensure correct sprocket and chain compatibility at all times.
27. Steering Wheel
Every go-kart is equipped with a steering wheel, as it’s the primary steering component on a go-kart. A go-kart’s steering wheel is attached to the steering shaft, which is held in place by the steering column.
Steering wheels for go-karts come in various shapes and sizes. They have either a 3 or 5-hole mounting pattern that is required to match the steering wheel hub. As far as materials are concerned, they most commonly feature a steel, polyurethane foam or leather construction. There are round steering wheels and butterfly-styled steering wheels. Some even have ergonomic features that enhance the driver’s grip and dampen vibration.
There are many different go-kart tire sizes and types. These tires have different features depending on the type of weather, surface, performance and application. Racing go-karts typically use slick tires that have no profile. These types of tires are perfect for dry track conditions as they provide maximum grip. Wet tires have profiles and are designed to be driven during rainy days.
Off-road go-karts on the other hand have larger tires that have a profile. These larger tires help the go-kart navigate around challenging terrain, help to provide them with a higher clearance and absorb the shocks that result from off-road racing.
More Information: Go-Kart Tire Sizes
29. Torque Converters
A torque converter is another type of go-kart transmission and is different from a clutch. Instead of a fixed gear ratio, a torque converter has a variable gear ratio and is therefore called a continuously variable transmission (CVT). A torque converter achieves it’s variable gear ratio through a pulley system and a belt.
There is a driver pulley that is connected to the crankshaft and a driven pulley that is attached to the jackshaft. Once the crankshaft starts turning, the belt will expand, causing the gear ratio to change. It can even go into overdrive attaining a gear ratio of 0.9:1. Torque converters are more common on low-speed and off-road go-karts, while clutches are more common on racing go-karts.
More Information: Best Go-Kart Torque Converters
The frame, also called a chassis, is the main supporting structure of a go-kart. All of the components are connected to the frame either directly or through other parts. The frame acts as a solid base of the go-kart and also ensures that all parts are securely held in place.
Frames are mainly made of AISI 4130, AISI 1018 or other types of steel. Racing go-karts have frames that are typically made of magnetic steel and have a tubular thickness between 28 – 32 mm, to ensure lightweightness and structural integrity. Off-road go-kart frames are more durable and often made of stainless steel.
Go-kart wheels are typically made of aluminium, stainless steel or magnesium, depending on the type and its application. While racing go-karts tend to have a larger width, they’re more focussed on being lightweight. Wheels constructed from magnesium are usually preferred as it’s the lightest metallic material available and also exceptionally durable.
Off-road go-karts on the other hand feature a smaller width but a larger diameter, to account for the larger tires. There are many different properties to take into account when it comes to go-kart wheels. The wheel diameter, width, height, material and bolt pattern are important factors.
32. Tie Rods
Tie rods are connected to the lower area of the steering shaft. The right tie rod is connected to the right spindle arm and the left tie rod is connected to the left spindle arm. Once the steering wheel is turned, the tie rods push the front of one of the wheels outward and the opposite wheel inward that enables the go-kart to turn.
Spindles are attached to the front sides of the go-kart frame. Their function is to carry the hub of the wheel. There is no front axle on a go-kart, as steering is required. This is achieved through tie rods, spindle arms and spindles.
34. Electric Motors
Electric motors are becoming increasingly popular, especially on indoor rental go-karts. They emit less noise and no pollutants, which makes them great for indoor and outdoor racing. The great thing about electric motors is that they require less maintenance and parts in order to run, compared to gas-powered engines.
Electric go-kart motors vary in size, power, voltage, speed and design. Electric go-kart motors have a rated output that is measured in watts. They’re powered through a battery and the speed of the motor is typically regulated through a speed controller.
More Information: Best Electric Go-Kart Motors
All go-karts have two pedals. Racing and off-road go-karts are equipped with an accelerator pedal and a brake pedal. This is also the case for both gas-powered and electrically-powered karts. However, the way these pedals are connected are different. While the pedals for gas-engines are connected via wires, the pedals for electric go-karts are connected to the components through cables.