Go Kart Maintenance Secrets the Pros Don’t Want You to Know

  • By: Kevinsmak
  • Date: January 12, 2023
  • Time to read: 9 min.
Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Maintaining a go-kart is important to extend the life of your investment and keep you safe while you race. Here are a few tips on go-kart maintenance.

  • Change oil regularly
  • Clean air filters
  • Keep the chain with WD-40 or CRC
  • Adjust or change the clutch
  • Brakes maintenance
  • Clean the entire go-kart regularly
  • Have a pre-drive inspection before starting the engine

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced go-kart driver, it is important to know how to maintain your go-kart properly.

In this blog post, I will discuss tips for go-kart maintenance.

Go Kart Maintenance

To maintain your go-kart, you must perform a few crucial tasks. These comprise:

Change the Oil Regularly

The oil is one of the most important fluids in your go-kart. It helps to keep all the moving parts lubricated and running smoothly.

You should change the oil every few races or practice sessions, depending on how often you use your kart.

With usage, the oil in your kart warms up and cools down. However, the oil may get thicker and stickier, as a result, making it more difficult for it to perform its function.

Additionally, the oil may include small quantities of residual dirt, carbon build-up, or metallic shavings, which are bad for the engine. As a result, your engine’s lifetime may be significantly extended by routine oil changes.

Steps for Changing the Oil

Warm up the engine: A warm engine will help the oil flow better and make it easier to remove the old oil.

Place a drain pan under the kart: This will catch the old oil as it drains out.

Remove the drain plug: The drain plug is usually located on the side of the engine near the bottom. Allow all of the used oil to drain out completely.

Remove the filter: Most go-karts have an oil filter that needs to be replaced at each oil change. Consult your owner’s manual to find the location of the filter.

Install the new filter: Make sure you put a small amount of oil on the rubber gasket before installing the new filter. This will help create a seal and prevent leaks.

Fill with new oil: Check your owner’s manual for the recommended type and quantity of oil. Then, slowly pour in the new oil until it reaches the full mark on the dipstick.

Replace the drain plug and wipe up any spills.

Clean the Air Filter

The air filter prevents particles of dirt and other matter from entering your engine, which might seriously harm it. The air filter will eventually fill up with dirt and need to be replaced.

After each race or practice, you should inspect your air filter and clean it as necessary.

To clean the air filter:

  • Remove it from the kart and gently tap it on a hard surface to remove any loose dirt.
  • Use a brush or compressed air to remove any stubborn dirt.
  • Soak the filter in a cleaning solution, such as soap and water, for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse the filter with clean water and allow it to dry completely before reinstalling it.

Chain Maintenance

You should always keep the chain of your go-kart well-lubricated to ensure its long life and avoid an untimely breakdown. Before every race or practice, you should inspect the chain and lubricate it if necessary.

If the chain is not properly aligned, you must also make adjustments.

Chain Lubrication

To lube the chain:

  • Remove any dirt or debris from the chain using a brush or compressed air.
  • Apply a lubricant, such as WD-40 or CRC, to the entire length of the chain.
  • Wipe off any excess lubricant.

Chain Alignment

You need to check the alignment of the chain if it starts to make noise or if the kart is difficult to steer. To check the alignment:

Place a straight edge, such as a ruler, across the two sprockets. The chain should be perpendicular to the straight edge.

If the chain is not aligned properly:

  • Loosen the axle nuts
  • Adjust the position of the axle until the chain is aligned.
  • Tighten the axle nuts and recheck the alignment.

Go-Kart Clutch Maintenance

The clutch is an important part of your go-kart and needs to be properly maintained. However, you could assume that the clutch is less significant in a go-kart since there isn’t a clutch pedal as there is in a vehicle.

The clutch, though, is important and does eventually wear out. Therefore, you should check the clutch before each race or practice session and change it or just oil it.

How to Replace the Go-Kart Clutch

Sometimes, the clutch will need to be replaced. To replace the clutch:

  • Remove the engine from the chassis: This will vary depending on the make and model of your go-kart. Consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions.
  • Install the crank locking device.
  • To remove the retaining nut, use a spanner.
  • Remove the clutch drum and retaining washer.
  • Install a new clutch drum (if needed) and retaining washer.
  • Remove the O-ring and washer that holds the clutch shoe in place.
  • Undo the bolts that hold the clutch shoe in place
  • Take off your clutch shoe.
  • If required, swap out the clutch shoe.
  • Reverse the order of assembly to reinstall the clutch.

It’s crucial to routinely inspect your clutch. Although it may last a long time, it is preferable to repair it as soon as cracks start to show up since they will cause the clutch to wear out considerably more quickly.

How to Oil Your Go-Kart Clutch

Oiling your clutch the right way will increase its lifetime significantly. It’s therefore important that you apply oil to the right area.

You may follow these easy steps on how to oil a go-kart clutch.

Remove the chain from the clutch: You will need to unscrew a few screws to reach the clutch.

Remove the clutch cover: Some models have a special tool for this purpose, but you can use a regular screwdriver if your model doesn’t come with one.

Oil around the Bushing: Apply generously around the bushing. You can use a toothpick to ensure the oil reaches inside the clutch.

Replace the cover and screw it back on: Make sure you don’t overtighten the screws, as this might damage the clutch.

Put the chain back on: Now your clutch is properly lubricated, and you can put the chain back on.

Brakes Maintenance

The brakes are an important safety feature of your go-kart and need to be properly maintained. You should check the brakes before each race or practice session and adjust them as needed.

Brake Pads

The brake pads need to be checked regularly for wear. The pads should be replaced when they are worn down to less than ¼ inch thick.

You should check the thickness of your brake pads before each race or practice session and replace them when they get too thin.

Brake Rotors

The brake rotor is the metal disk with which the brake pads make contact to stop the go-kart. If the brake pads are not replaced when they get too thin, they will start to damage the brake rotor.

Once the brake rotor is damaged, it will need to be replaced.

Brake Bleeding

To keep your brakes “tight” during the race, it is crucial to bleed them often. When you say you have tight brakes, you’re referring to how sensitive your brakes feel when you’re racing.

Your ability to stop, maneuver, turn, and pass may be compromised if your brakes become loose.

To bleed the brakes:

  • Simply undo the bolt that secures your hydraulic brake fluid, then use a brake bleeding pump to dump the old fluid into an empty container.
  • Using a funnel, you next pour fresh brake fluid into the brake line until it is just about full. 
  • To ensure that the fluid properly circulates through the hydraulic system, be sure to push the brake pedal.
  • You shouldn’t be able to move the back wheels after fully depressing the brake pedal.

Other Go-Kart Maintenance Tips

There are other DIY go-kart maintenance tips you can follow to keep your vehicle in good condition:

Clean the Go-Kart after Every Use

It is important to clean your go-kart after every use to prevent dirt and grime from build-up. First, you should wipe down the body of the go-kart with a damp cloth and mild soap.

You should also clean the wheels and tires with a brush or hose.

Check Tire Pressure

Each time you go out for a race or a practice session, you should check the pressure on your tires. Checking the tire pressure should also be done when the tires are cold.

Go-karts typically function best with tire pressure at between 20 and 30 PSI.

Check the Chain

The chain’s condition needs to be monitored on a regular basis. The sprockets should be inspected for signs of wear as well. To prevent the chain from slipping off the sprockets, it should not be excessively slack.

Damage to the sprockets might occur if the chain is too taut. Most go-karts function best with around half an inch to three-quarters of an inch of play in the tension.

Pre-Drive Inspection

You should do a pre-drive inspection before each race or practice session. Check the fuel system for leaks, the body and frame for damage, the chain or belt for tightness, the clutch for wear, and the tires and brakes for wear and fluid levels.

Before your next race, replace any worn or broken parts. Then, to maintain your go-kart in good shape, schedule a professional tune-up at least once a year.

Go Kart Maintenance Guide | FAQs


If you want your go-kart to endure a long time and perform well, regular maintenance is a must. Brake, tire, chain, and clutch maintenance must be performed often.

It’s recommended that you get an annual professional tune-up as well. You may rest assured that your go-kart will always perform at its best if you follow the advice on this page. All of your support is much appreciated.

Please be careful and use at your own risk
None of the authors, contributors, administrators, or anyone else connected with RCRideOnCars.com, in any way whatsoever, can be responsible for your use of the information contained in or linked to these web pages.