Whether you’re a seasoned go-kart racer or race your go-kart on the track occasionally, it’s always important to keep your tire pressure at optimal levels. That’s why it’s always recommended that you measure the air pressure in your tires before you head to the race track and before the race, using a go-kart tire pressure gauge.
Having the right air pressure in your tires is vital for performance, as it helps to distribute the weight effectively across your go-kart. Additionally, it also helps with fuel efficiency, overall safety and increases the lifespan of your go-kart tires. In this guide, I’ll be taking you through some of the important factors for choosing the right tire pressure gauge for your kart.
What Is a Go-Kart Tire Pressure Gauge?
A tire pressure gauge measures the pressure of your go-kart tires. This is done by pressing the air chuck of the gauge onto the valve stem of the wheel. On the display of the gauge you’ll be able to read the current air pressure in each go-kart tire.
There are two types of tire pressure gauge displays: digital and analog. Digital displays indicate the pressure using a digital display (LCD), whereby analog tire pressure gauges use a traditional needle.
You will see that the display will indicate the tire pressure in either one, two or both units of measurements: Bar (kPA) and/or PSI (pound-force per square inch). We’ll go more into details on these units later on.
What’s the Best Go-Kart Tire Pressure Gauge?
There are many go-kart tire pressure gauges available on the market. To be honest, most of them are fairly similar and use the same techniques and methods to measure the air pressure in a go-kart tire.
I personally prefer to use an analog tire pressure gauge. It feels more authentic and you also don’t need to replace any batteries. I would rather invest that time in maintaining my go-kart.
If you’re looking for a tire pressure gauge for your go-kart, you can consider the JACO ElitePro Tire Pressure Gauge. It’s reasonably priced and features an analog display that shows the air pressure in PSI. The product is also manufactured in NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) accredited industrial facilities to ANSI Standards. There will be more details on ANSI standards in the sections below.
How Do Go-Kart Tire Pressure Gauges Work?
I’ll explain how tire pressure gauges work in layman’s terms and will try to keep it as simply as possible. The components inside a tire pressure gauge are relatively simple. There’s a piston, a calibration rod and a spring.
When you push the air chuck of the tire pressure gauge against the valve stem of the tire, the air pressure is forced into the pressure gauge, as the air pressure inside the tire is greater than inside the pressure gauge. This causes the air to fill the chamber of the gauge and push back the piston, until the air pressure in the tire and the gauge are equal.
The piston then pushes back on the calibration rod that is held in place and cushioned by a spring. The further the calibration rod pushes back, the higher the air pressure. Technically speaking, a tire pressure gauge takes the measurement of how far the calibration rod moves backwards, through air pressure. This mechanism translated into the needle moving in an analog pressure gauge.
How to Read a Pressure Gauge for Go-Karts
Reading a tire pressure gauge is very simple and straightforward. All you need to do is to ensure that you’ve correctly connected the gauge to the tire valve. You’ll then start to see the needle of the go-kart tire gauge move accordingly.
The scale will either refer to the reading in Bar (kPA) and/or PSI (pound-force per square inch). Europe prefers to use the unit “bar” to measure internal air pressure, whereas the USA prefers the usage of “PSI”. All you have to do is look where the needle points to and read the value accordingly. An example would be 13 PSI, which would equate to about 0.9 bar.
How to Use a Tire Pressure Gauge?
Connecting your tire pressure gauge to your go-kart tire is also very straight forward. Simply take your gauge and connect it to the valve on the tire. If you’re looking for detailed steps, you can refer to the guide below.
- Locate the air chuck of your pressure gauge (The end with the adapter)
- Locate the valve of your go-kart tire
- Unscrew the valve stem cap
- Press the air chuck against the valve step
- Read the analog or digital display of the pressure gauge
- After you complete this, screw the valve cap back on
What Are the Important Specifications to Look Out For?
Most tire pressure gauges for go-karts are the same as the ones used on any other type of recreational vehicle. If you’re planning to buy a go-kart tire pressure gauge, you should look out for the following:
- Unit of measurement (bar vs PSI)
- Range of measurement
- Type (analog vs digital)
- Standards (ANSI)
- Adapter type
- Build quality
Can You Use Any Other Type of Tire Pressure Gauges for Go-Karts?
Yes, mostly! You can use any standard tire pressure gauge for your go-kart tires. Most of the tire pressure gauges can work on go-karts, cars, motorcycles and bicycles. This is because they often use a common valve. Therefore tire gauge adaptors usually have the same adapter.
Please note that this doesn’t necessarily apply to air pumps in a petrol or gas station. This is because these air pumps are unregulated and emit high-pressure air, as they are designed for cars and motorcycles.
What’s an ANSI Certification and What Does It Say About Tire Gauge Accuracy?
ANSI (American National Standards Institute) is a name of a non-profit institute and also a standard for various industries. When a company manufactures their products to ANSI standards, it means that their products are adhering to the conformity assessment and consensus standards of the American National Standards Institute.
The ANSI B40.1 standard specifically applies to tire pressure gauges. It has different grades, depending on how accurate the tire gauge is. There are a total of four grades: A, B, C and D. A is the best grade and D the worst. Each grade shows the accuracy of the tire gauge with its respective margin of error.
- ANSI B.40.1 Grade A: +/- 1%
- ANSI B.40.1 Grade B: +/- 2%
- ANSI B.40.1 Grade C: +/- 3%
- ANSI B.40.1 Grade D: +/- 4%
When measuring the air pressure of a go-kart tire the accuracy rating applies to the middle half of the scale. At the first quarter and last quarter of the scale, the accuracy usually dips by about +/- 1%.