How to Measure Go-Kart Wheel Bolt Patterns

Whether you’re building your own go-kart or looking to change your go-kart wheels on your racing go-kart, understanding how to measure go-kart wheel bolt patterns is extremely important. Knowing the correct measurement techniques is especially important if you’re building your own go-kart, as you need to match multiple parts and ensure that they are all compatible.

The dimensions of a go-kart wheel are measured by the number of the bolts, the bolt hole diameter and the bolt circle diameter. Let me give you an example. An American go-kart wheel with dimensions of 5 1/2” x 6” has 5 bolt holes, with a 1/2-inch diameter bolt hole and a 6-inch bolt circle diameter. A metric go-kart wheel with the dimensions of 3/58mm has 3 bolt holes and a bolt circle diameter of 58mm.

However, when measuring you’ll need to pay attention to the number of bolt holes, as that determines the technique of measuring. If you’re looking for a detailed guide on how to measure go-kart wheel bolt patterns, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s do this step-by-step, and I’ll explain to you how you can measure go-kart wheels correctly.

Different Types Bolt Patterns on Go-Karts

Go-kart wheels come in different sizes, depending on the type. Racing wheels for go-karts most commonly have a 3-bolt pattern. Off-road, homemade and custom go-karts typically run on wheels that have between 4 to 8 bolt holes. Usually, go-karts use 3-lug, 4-lug, 5-lug and 6-lug wheels, so I’ll focus on these four bolt patterns when explaining how to measure them. Hover or click over the red exclamation mark below to understand how to read go-kart wheel size for the example below.

measuring a go-kart wheel

How to Read the Bolt Pattern Above:

  • Each wheel has 6 bolt holes
  • Each bolt hole is 1/4-inch in diameter
  • The bolt circle diameter of 6-inches

How to Measure Wheel Bolt Patterns for Go-Karts

When measuring your go-kart wheel you firstly identify how many bolt holes it has, as the measurement technique depends on that. You can identify the bolt holes by laying the wheel onto the side, so that you’re looking at the circular shape of the wheel from the top. You’ll notice a large hole in the center, which is for the wheel hub. The smaller evenly spaced holes on the outside are known as the bolt holes.

For example, a go-kart wheel with a description of 3 1/4” x 2.5” has 3 bolt holes, each having a 1/4-inch diameter and the bolt circle diameter is 2.5-inches. If that’s still a little too confusing for you, don’t worry as we’ll go into how each component is individually measured depending on the bolt hole pattern.

3-Lug Bolt Pattern

how to measure 3 lug go-kart wheel

How to Measure:

Diameter of virtual circle through the middle of all bolts

Example: 3 1/4 x 2.5
No. Bolts: 3
Bolt Hole: 1/4-inch
Bolt Circle: 2.5-inches

4-Lug Bolt Pattern

how to measure 4 lug go-kart wheel

How to Measure:

Middle of two bolts that are opposite of each other

Example: 4 1/2 x 6
No. Bolts: 4
Bolt Hole: 1/2-inch
Bolt Circle: 6-inches

5-Lug Bolt Pattern

how to measure 5 lug go-kart wheel

How to Measure:

Middle of first and corner of the second bolt, with a bolt gap

Example: 5 1/2 x 6
No. Bolts: 5
Bolt Hole: 1/2-inch
Bolt Circle: 6-inches

6-Lug Bolt Pattern

how to measure 6 lug go-kart wheel

How to Measure:

Middle of two bolts that are opposite of each other

Example: 6 1/4 x 6
No. Bolts: 6
Bolt Hole: 1/4-inch
Bolt Circle: 6-inches

How to Measure 3-Lug Bolt Pattern Go-Kart Wheels

Measuring a 3-lug go-kart wheel can be a little tricky, as it requires you to take an extra step, which I will explain later. Let’s stick with the example of a go-kart wheel with 3 1/4″ x 2.5″ dimensions. You know that the first digit indicates that the wheel has 3 bolt holes. Each bolt hole has a 1/4 diameter and the bolt circle has a diameter of 2.5-inches.

The bolt circle is measured by creating an imagination circle that goes through the center of each bolt hole. The diameter of this circle is known as the bolt hole circle, which in this example is 2.5-inches. In other words, the red line in the illustration below is 2.5-inches.

how to measure 3 lug go-kart wheel

Measuring Guide:

  1. Count the number of bolts on your wheel (3)
  2. Measure the diameter of the bolt hole (1/4″)
  3. Draw an imaginary circle which crosses center of all bolt holes
  4. The circle’s diameter is the bolt circle (2.5″)

Example: 3 1/4″ x 2.5″

How to Measure 4-Lug Bolt Pattern Go-Kart Wheels

When it comes to 4-lug go-kart wheels, measuring becomes much easier. As there are four evenly spaced bolt holes, creating an imaginary circle is not required. All you need to do is to measure the gap of two opposite bolt holes that cross the hub hole in the center (for example top left against bottom right). You’ll need to ensure that you measure the distance by starting and ending in the center of each bolt hole. That distance is the bolt circle diameter, which is 6-inches in our example.

how to measure 4 lug go-kart wheel

Measuring Guide:

  1. Count the number of bolts on your wheel (4)
  2. Measure the diameter of the bolt hole (1/2″)
  3. Measure distance between center of 2 bolts across hub hole
  4. The circle’s diameter is the bolt circle (6″)

Example: 4 1/2″ x 6″

How to Measure 5-Lug Bolt Pattern Go-Kart Wheels

Measuring 5-lug go-kart wheels is also relatively simple. Select 2 bolts that have a 1 bolt spacing on either side. Now, start at the outer wall of the bolt hole and measure all the way to the center of the other bolt hole. This distance will give you the bolt circle diameter for a 5-lug go-kart wheel. In our example with a 5 1/2″ x 6″ wheel, the bolt circle diameter is 6″

how to measure 5 lug go-kart wheel

Measuring Guide:

  1. Count the number of bolts on your wheel (5)
  2. Measure the diameter of the bolt hole (1/2″)
  3. Select 2 bolt holes with a 1 bolt hole gap. Measure distance between outer wall for starting bolt and center of ending bolt.
  4. The circle’s diameter is the bolt circle (6)”

Example: 5 1/2″ x 6″

How to Measure 6-Lug Bolt Pattern Go-Kart Wheels

You measure 6-lug go-kart wheels the same way you would measure 4-lug wheels. As all 6 bolt holes are evenly spaced out in a circular pattern, simply select two opposite bolt holes. Once you’ve selected them you should see that there is a 2 bolt hole gap on both sides. Now, measure the center of the two bolt holes you selected. That distance is the bolt circle diameter, which measures 6-inches in our example.

how to measure 6 lug go-kart wheel

Measuring Guide:

  1. Count the number of bolts on your wheel (6)
  2. Measure the diameter of the bolt hole (1/4″)
  3. Select 2 bolt opposite bolt holes. Measure distance between the center of both bolt holes.
  4. The circle’s diameter is the bolt circle (6)”

Example: 6 1/4″ x 6″

The Difference between American and Metric Wheels

When it comes to go-kart wheels, somes regions use wheel descriptions with different units of measurement. US pattern go-kart wheels (also known as American go-kart wheels) use imperial units of measurement. That’s why you’ll see something like this: 3 1/4” x 2.5”. This indicates that this wheel has 3 bolts, each bolt hole having a diameter of 1/4-inches and a bolt circle diameter of 2.5”. US pattern go-kart wheels are mostly used by manufacturers in the United States. 

On the other hand, there are also metric go-kart wheels. As the name suggests, metric wheels use metric units of measurement and are most commonly used outside of the US, typically in Europe or other parts of the world. Metric go-kart wheels have a description that looks like this: 3/58mm. This would mean that the wheel has 3 bolts and the bolt circle is 58mm. The bolt hole diameter is usually mentioned separately. 

Regardless of US or metric pattern wheels, the way they are measured is exactly the same. This means that the technique that you learned above can be used on any type of go-kart wheel that has standard measurements.

Example of US Go-Kart Wheel: 3 1/4” x 2.5”
Example of Metric Go-Kart Wheel: 3/58mm. 

What Wheels to Use for a Go-Kart

The type of wheels that you decide to use on your go-kart is completely up to you. In fact, there is no system that is better than the other. At the end of the day you should use a go-kart wheel that suits your current setup. You just have to make sure that whichever wheel type you go for, you have the appropriate wheel hub so that it matches your wheel dimensions.

If you’re building a custom go-kart from scratch, I would suggest going for a wheel and hub standard that is the most available to you. On a side note, racing go-karts commonly use a 3 bolt wheel, whereas other types of go-karts use anything from 4 bolts to 8 bolts.

Conclusion

I hope that this guide has made it easier for you to understand how to measure go-kart wheels. There is a simple rule that you can follow. For odd-numbered bolt hole wheels (5, 7, 9 etc. bolt holes), you’ll need to select two opposite bolt holes across the wheel hub and start measuring at the end of the first bolt hole to the center of the second selected bolt hole. There is an exception for 3-lug go-kart wheels, where you’ll need to draw an imaginary circle.

For even-numbered bolt hole wheels (4, 6, 8 etc. bolt holes), you simply select two bolt holes that are opposite of each other, crossing the wheel hub. Here, you’ll need to measure from the center of the first bolt hole to the center of the second bolt hole. It’s also important to always be precise when measuring your wheels, to avoid getting the wrong pair of wheels or wheel hubs.

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