A go-kart is one of the iconic images of childhood, and for many people, owning a go-kart is a lifelong goal. In some cases, this means buying an entire go-kart, and in others, it means assembling a go-kart from a number of different parts. Buying go-kart parts is also important for those who already own a go-kart and as like other vehicles, go-karts may require upgrades and replacements from time to time.
When buying go-kart parts, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, it is important to understand what kind of parts make up a go-kart, second, it is important to know what to look for in terms of construction and part quality. Finally, it is helpful to know a few tips for maintenance and upkeep. Keeping all of these things in mind should make it possible for any go-kart fan to find exactly what they are looking for, whether it be in a specialty hobby shop or online via eBay.
Understand the Different Kinds of Go-Kart Parts
While many may think of go-karts as simple devices, they are quite sophisticated and are made from a wide variety of complex parts. It is important, therefore, to know what each part is and how it relates to the go-kart as a whole before making a purchase.
The chassis is one of the most important parts of a go-kart, especially since it is the part that holds the rest of the vehicle together. This means that the the chassis contains the engine mount, the seat support, and the frame for the rest of the go-kart. For the most part, a go-kart chassis is made from metal, usually steel. Sometimes though, this steel is not solid and instead comes in a tubular form. Occasionally, plastic tubing is used, but plastic is obviously less sturdy than steel, and is less likely to resist damage in a crash.
There are different chassis designs as well. Some chassis are open and allow the driver to easily get in and out. Other chassis feature a roll cage that is designed to protect the driver, should the go-cart flip over. This is only important if the driver is planning on taking it to a race or on terrain where this is likely to occur. Another important chassis design aspect is whether or not the seat is centred. Having a centred seat is fairly common, but an alternative is to place the seat on one side, similar to an actual car. For the most part, there is little difference in terms of how a go-kart handles, but long-distance racing tends to involve karts with offset seats.
The body of a go-kart is the most visible part of the kart, and is therefore usually brightly coloured and decorated. The body is attached to the chassis, which means that it should follow the basic design that the chassis establishes. As with a car body, it is helpful to look for one that is aerodynamic, and is not likely to become scratched or otherwise marred during basic go-kart activities.
A go-kart's engine is an extremely important part of a go-kart, for obvious reasons. Go-kart engines can be quite sophisticated, even though they are much smaller than car engines, offering anywhere from 5 to 50 horsepower. Most go-kart engines run on gasoline, although there are electric motors that run on batteries as well. For those concerned about the environment or high gasoline prices, an electric motor is likely a better choice. Electric powered go-karts also offer drivers the ability to drive on indoor courses. Go-kart engines are usually found in two-stroke and four-stroke varieties.
The Transmission System
In most cases, the transmission is built into a go-kart engine, but transmission problems can occur without involving the rest of the engine. For the most part, go-karts have the engine placed in back, which means that all of the thrust comes from the rear, with the power train turning the rear axle. Many go-karts also feature the ability to shift gears, which is helpful during races. These go-karts offer a clutch and a gearshift, two parts that are essential.
A go-kart's tyres are extremely important. A flat, or otherwise damaged tyre, can cause crashes and even injury. Like car tyres, there are many different kinds of go-kart tyres. These include all-terrain tyres, as well as tyres designed to handle flat, dry surfaces, and those better suited for rain or other wet conditions. It is important to evaluate where a go-kart might be driven before any tyres are purchased.
The Braking System
As is the case with cars, there are two different types of braking systems commonly used in go-karts: disc brakes and drum brakes. As with cars, disc brakes are almost always found on the front wheels, but unlike cars, the rear wheels can use disc brakes or drum brakes. When buying brakes for a go-kart, it is important to know where the brakes are going to go and what kind a specific go-kart would use.
Other Important Parts
The complexity of a go-kart means that there are myriad other parts that should be understood before buying them. Knowing how each part is defined and understood can make it easier when diagnosing problems and purchasing replacement parts.
Closes engine valves; makes it possible for air and fuel to enter compression chambers
Oblong shaped bar; allows the pistons to rotate at different times
Regulates the proportions in the air/fuel mixture that allows the engine to run
Part of an engine's cooling system.
Springs and shock absorbers designed to make driving on rough surfaces easier
There are many other parts of a go-kart, such as a steering wheel or a muffler, but their purpose is much more self-explanatory. For the most part, these parts are differentiated in terms of style and appearance, rather than function.
Determine Quality in Go-Kart Parts
Go-karts are generally designed for casual fun, but this does not mean that one should use inferior or defective parts. It is important to look at the way new go-kart parts are made, as well as what they are made of. An example of this is is the chassis. If the main structural supports of the chassis are made of smaller pieces welded together, it is structurally unsafe and may break or collapse on impact. Likewise, it is important to find out if any used go-kart parts have been involved in an accident previously where they could have been bent or otherwise damaged, potentially causing damage or injury themselves down the road.
Perform Routine Maintenance and Upkeep
Just like a car, a go-kart needs to be maintained in order to operate efficiently. The engine needs good quality oil in order to function properly, and it is helpful to know what kind of oil is best for a specific engine. It is also important to use the same brand and weight over a long period of time. At the same time, it is important to keep tyres inflated, and transmission fluid topped off at proper levels. Doing so can make it possible to greatly extend a go-kart's life.
Buying Go-Kart Parts on eBay
Go-kart parts are definitely a niche product, but they can be found in great quantities on eBay, in many cases bought and sold by go-kart enthusiasts from all over the world. Go-kart parts on eBay are usually sold both new and used, which means that they vary in terms of price, and many people can repair, or build an entire go-kart, while achieving significant savings. When looking for go-kart parts on eBay, the most efficient way to find them is to use the search bar, located on any eBay page, including product description pages.
This search bar can be used with simple search terms like, 'go-kart parts' or with more complex terms including words relating to manufacturer, or specific models of go-karts. When a worthwhile item has been found, it is important to read the product description in order to learn the item's history, and if there are any significant issues. Likewise, it is helpful to read a seller's feedback profile and discover how many similar items they might have sold, and how their feedback scores may look.
For many people, go-kart riding is a great hobby and can even allow younger people to understand the workings of an internal combustion engine, before they are old enough to drive an actual car. A large part of owning a go-kart is understanding go-kart parts in order to repair, or even construct a new go-kart from scratch. In order to make an informed decision when buying go-kart parts, it is helpful to know what to look for in different parts, and the role that each part plays in the functionality of the go-kart as a whole.
Some parts require careful study before buying, while others are more straightforward. When it is understood what kinds of parts would be needed, it is important to look at each part before buying. The reason for this being that parts that are poorly constructed, or have been damaged can actually cause more problems than they solve, and potentially leave the driver in a damaged vehicle, possibly with injuries. Likewise, it is helpful to keep existing parts working well and within safety limits to allow a go-kart to be used and enjoyed for years to come.