Go-Kart Tires – Everything Racers Need To Know Before Buying

Go-kart tires are the tires or wheels used to propel a go-kart at a high rate of speed. In other words, tires are one of the most important things to consider when making a go-kart. 

Deciding how strong your tires depend on what you plan on using your go-kart for. Are you planning on using your kart to race? Are you going to use your kart to drive around your backyard? 

Here is something you need to know before buying go-kart tires. Let’s explore now!

What Kind Of Tires Do You Put On A Go-Kart?

Treaded tires

Many different go-kart tires have been thrown on the market, each with its pros & cons. It’s not as simple as buying tires for your bike or automobile because go-karts operate differently than other vehicles.

The tires can either be made of hard rubber or a softer rubber and the material of the tire and the tire’s tread pattern both affect the speed of the go-kart, along with many other factors.

Basically, go-kart tires come in two types: wet and slick. Continue reading for more detail!

Wet tires

Slick tires

If you are talking about driving a go-kart, then a wet (asphalt racing) tire is the one you want. Every race day should have at least two pairs of wet tires. Rain can fall at any time, so it’s best to be ready.

Wet tires, also known as treaded tires, perform exceptionally well in wet or muddy conditions. Still, being a soft compound tire, it will also wear out fairly quickly, but it doesn’t matter much on a track where you only drive one or two laps. 

The grooves in the tires force the water away, which leads to more traction. It is wonderful that they do not leave any rubber behind since rubber combined with water is slippery to drive on.

It’s important to remember that wet wheels will wear out quickly on a dry track with high temperatures.

Slick tires

Go-Kart Tires

Slick tires are made of rubber and will not have any tread on them; instead, they have a smooth and hard rubber surface. When it’s dry, and on tracks, it’s better.

Besides, this type is rather broad, which means that a substantial portion of their carcass makes contact with the track. As a result, cornering becomes easier.

The rear tires are typically bigger than the front tires. This improves weight distribution by shifting more weight to the rear, giving you greater traction and control. However, the fronts are substantially worse in terms of wear and may be destroyed before the rears.

On the other hand, you can put on any type of tires for go-karts as long as they fit on the wheels. However, it is always better to have a set of high-speed tires as these have almost no tread and are made of a compound that provides speed but no traction. This benefits go-karts as you do not have to slow down for turns or corners.

How Do I Choose A Go-Kart Tire?

Choosing the right go-kart tires is a challenge, and today, we’re going to give you the lowdown on how to pick the best go-kart tires. To choose the right tires, you must know what kind of uses the go-kart will be subject to. 

Do you want tires with tread on them, or do you want to get a slick tire? Do you want hardened rubber tires or softer rubber tires? Do you want to race on a dry track or a wet track?

In fact, you can use regular street tires if you plan on using the go-kart on a dry surface with little to no off-road activity. Moreover, by knowing the brand and model of the go-kart, you can narrow down your options.

The most common type of go-kart tire is the pneumatic tire, a solid rubber balloon inflated with air. Still, if you have a racing budget, you may want to consider an air-free tire. 

A solid rubber tire is more durable than an airless tire because it is made of solid rubber. In addition, you’ll get a better grip with an airless tire than a pneumatic one.


What Size Tires Go On A Go-Kart?

The kart’s weight determines the size and kind of tire. Typically, a larger tire provides more grip when the kart is cornering but at the cost of losing traction.

The wheels of go-karts are usually 5″ or 6″ in diameter. Rear wheels are often broader than front wheels; however, this varies depending on the style of race. The widths of the wheels and tires must be compatible. 

In addition, the proper motocross tires for a go-kart are from 7″ to 10″, but the 10″ tires are used in professional racing and are not often used for casual outings. 

Finally, a 6″ tire is the most common size for a go-kart and is used for most racing events.

How Do I Know What Size Go Kart Chain I Need?

Regarding size, drivers often want a fairly wide tire because a narrow tire will make the corners much tighter. Also, the wider tire will help the car break traction earlier and quicker, which is an advantage on a track with many corners. 

Those who compete on outdoor tracks tend to have larger wheels, while those who race on indoor tracks tend to have smaller, performance-style wheels. The smaller wheels are better for indoor tracks because the smaller surface area allows quicker turns and more maneuverability.

Ensure the tires are mounted on the rims properly, so they don’t come off while driving. This can be very dangerous. If you are unsure about which tire size is ideal for your go-kart, see an expert. All racing stores can provide you with all of the necessary information.

What Are Go Kart Tires Made Of?

Polyester, rayon, and nylon are the most often utilized textiles in the construction of kart tires, which are used for “slicks” and “wet” tires. A cloth cord’s weaving density determines whether it is double-ply or triple-ply.

On the other hand, go-kart wheels can be composed of either magnesium or aluminum. Although magnesium wheels are highly sturdy and light, they are more costly. Therefore, aluminum wheels are an excellent all-around option for balancing performance and price. Either casting or shaping makes them.

Are Go-Karts FWD Or RWD?

Most go-karts are RWD instead of FWD. They are less expensive to develop, maintain & perform better.

In addition, RWD systems are also more efficient for the operator’s position. A racer is situated in the middle of the kart, putting more weight in the right spot to maximize grip. They also allow you to lower the operator’s seat as low as feasible.

RWD cars are faster than FWD ones. They have a superior grip when accelerating. That is because of the dynamic load shifting to the vehicle’s driving wheels.

Furthermore, they have improved braking grip. This occurs due to the static load at the back, resulting in a balanced weight on all four wheels of the vehicle. RWD karts always win on long straights owing to a higher acceleration grip.

On the other hand, the RWD system is superior in corners. The front tires steer without much weight, making it easy for the driver to turn them.

Last but not least, you can construct an RWD at home if you understand the mechanic’s fundamentals and follow some simple guidelines. In contrast, building FWD will be more difficult if you’re a newbie.

How Long Do Kart Tires last?

Kart tires generally have a shelf life of 6 years from purchase. This depends on the frequency of use, the quality of the track conditions, and the frequency of cleaning. Hence, a thorough inspection of your tires is recommended before each use.

If you find cracks, it is recommended that the tire be replaced immediately and never used again. Once a kart tire has been cracked, it is highly likely that it has become unstable and could explode, causing serious injury to the user.

Next, if the tire is dirty or has been used in harsh conditions, it should be replaced before use. Also, tires should be replaced if there are deep cuts or other visible deformities. 

Furthermore, a worn-out tire is dangerous, so always keep an eye on your tires and replace them before it is too late. However, if you’re only interested in racing and don’t mind losing a second every lap, you can use the same tires for as long as you like. Remember that pushing worn tires increases the chances of a puncture, so be cautious.

Lastly, you should replace sun-bleached tires as soon as possible. The sun corrosively affects the rubber, making the tire less elastic.

Can You Put Car Tires On A Go Kart?

Go-kart tires are made to perform at high speeds while keeping your kart on the circuit. Feel free to use car tires if you want to install them on a home go-kart for fun. However, if you wish to accelerate and reach speeds of more than 15 mph, you must have adequate tires for your kart.

There’re many different types of go-cart tires available; it depends on how you want to utilize them! New and old tires will be available for purchase directly from stores, internet marketplaces, classified advertisements, and manufacturers.

Here are some options:

  • Walmart
  • Amazon
  • Craigslist
  • eBay
  • Kart Parts Depot
  • BMI Karts
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • GoPowerSports

Why Do Go Karts Have Small Wheels?

Racing karts have a distinctive design. They are low profile and lightweight, without suspensions or differentials. Let’s take a deeper look at the advantages of small wheels.

  • Reduced Center of Gravity

A low center of gravity is highly beneficial for go-karts since it makes them less prone to flipping as the turning force rises. This is critical for turning quickly and overtaking maneuvers.

  • Improved Jacking Effort

Smaller wheels enable more proficient jacking. Larger wheels will not readily allow this owing to the additional weight and risk of turning over. Jacking may be done safely and successfully since smaller tires have a lower center of gravity.

  • Enhanced Maneuverability

Small wheels also improve cornering performance. This does not imply that the steering will be easier to use. Still, smaller wheels allow you to shift your go-kart’s vector (direction) more efficiently, making turning sharper and easier.

  • Increased Acceleration

Smaller wheels give faster acceleration at low torque levels. Given that engine torque and output are normally the same, smaller tires would revolve quicker than bigger tires.

  • Less Weight

Go-kart is a lightweight racing vehicle designed for maneuverability and speed. As the go-kart’s weight decreases, its acceleration and top speed increase. This is also why they are normally stripped of any non-essential components.

  • Less Costly

Smaller wheels are often less costly since less material is utilized in their manufacture. Although this is not the primary reason why go-karts utilize smaller wheels, it is still a benefit.

How Much Faster Do You Go With Bigger Tires?

Bigger tires will allow your kart to accelerate faster. Since they have a larger surface, the engine does not have to work as hard. Your top speed, however, will diminish.

In summary, bigger tires will have no discernible effect on driving. Instead, they will have a considerable influence on the kart’s handling. By expanding the contract patch, or the area of the tire in contact with the ground, it increases tire traction. 

In terms of understeering, bigger tires will be helpful.

How Do You Prepare Go Kart Tires For Dirt Track?

Preparing tires for go-kart racing begins with planning. You will need to decide how many coatings you want on tires. You may compute this by analyzing the sort of track you’re on and the current condition of your tires.

When racing on a dirt track, use 1 ounce on the inner tire and 2 ounces on the outer tire. If you believe the track has a lot of bites, you can even forego tire prep entirely.

In addition, you should think about the state of your tires. Because new tires have less traction and are smoother, they often have less grip. Scuff tires or a heavier coating of tire prep compound in this situation.

What Chemical Will Soften Tires?

Try the following eight chemicals to soften tires:

  1. Mineral Spirits: moderate softener, commonly used as a foundation or cutting ingredient in other preparations
  2. Acetone: strong softener, dries out tires, usually used with less aggressive chemicals or lubricants
  3. Acrysol: moderate softener, cleaning, typically used to cut another prep to allow quicker or deeper penetration
  4. WD-40: a light oil, mostly used to refill tire oil
  5. Diesel: harsh softener, typically applied before the racing day and combined with a grip enhancer
  6. Hotlap: conditioning the tire, provides grip, accelerates tire fire, and extends tire life
  7. Goatpee: a strong softener with a quick bite
  8. Creo: moderate softener, strong grip agent, dries tire off

Final Thoughts 

That’s all there is to know about go-kart tires for the time being. In subsequent posts, I’ll keep you up to speed on specific tire kinds and how to choose the ideal go-kart tires for you. Let’s tell us how they worked for you in the comments!

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