Are you on a maintenance schedule for your karts? You likely know the basics like refueling when the tank is empty and filling tires with sufficient air. But without a formal schedule, there are certain measures you should be taking that could slip through the cracks. A well-maintained kart is more reliable and performs better, keeping racers safe and satisfied with their experience at your track.
Read this checklist to help with your kart upkeep.
How often you change your oil depends on the engine’s particular specifications. However, check levels frequently so you’re able to determine when it’s getting low. When it’s time for a change, bring the engine to operating temperature, but be cautious as the oil will be very hot. The easiest way to remove the old oil sludge is to remove the oil plug and let it drain out; just make sure there’s an oil pan to catch the spilling oil. You can also remove the engine and dump the oil out, which is a little more difficult. If you choose the latter method, do not heat the engine prior to changing.
Adjust & Clean Spark Plugs -- every three months
Every time you change the kart’s oil, inspect and adjust spark plugs according to the specific instructions in the owner’s manual. Remove and clean the spark plugs to rid of excess oil that can negatively impact the engine performance.
While it can depend on various factors, we recommend replacing spark plugs every year.
Replace Air Filter -- once a year
Air filters are critical for engine performance. Dirt and dust that can accumulate from racing, especially at outdoor tracks, which will clog the air filter. Wash your filters, letting them dry completely, then oil them once a week.
Replace the filter yearly or when you can no longer see through it.
With continued use, the chain will stretch and need to be tightened before it falls off completely. Resizing your chain is essential in keeping karts running properly. Don’t remove too many links in the chain, but leave half an inch in the tension to allow for movement. You’ll also need to lubricate the chain by soaking it in lubricant overnight; if you’re not sure which to use refer to the kart manufacturer or dealer.
For those who use electric karts instead of gas, you will have to perform a lot of the same maintenance with a couple extra steps. Electric karts run on batteries and wire connections that can loosen or break. Check these connections on a regular basis so you can fix them before they become a problem. Load test the batteries on a weekly basis to recognize any that may be starting to fail; charge with a low-voltage charger as necessary according to the manufacturer instructions.
A clean kart is not only a nice visual representation of your track, but it is also easier to maintain and inspect for issues. Before you start washing, you must remove the clutch and tape up the engine and opening to the catch tank so no water gets inside. Remove the tires to clean separately.
Using a washrag, a toothbrush for hard-to-reach areas, and rubber gloves, start scrubbing the kart down with a cleaning solution (a diluted mild degreaser works well to clean while protecting the paint). Clean and rinse by spraying with warm to hot water one section at a time so the soap doesn’t dry. Don’t forget to clean under the kart! Dry with an air compressor, getting every small part to prevent rust from forming. Finish by spraying the chains and bearings with lubricant.
BONUS TIP: Winter Storage for Outdoor Tracks
The elements can take a toll on karts, especially those that are driven and stored outdoors. If you store your karts away for the winter, be sure to drain the gas first by letting the engine run until empty. Don’t save this gas as old gas can affect engine performance. Using WD-40, lubricate the ends of the brakes and throttle cables so they don’t seize.
Cover the karts with a tarp to avoid rust and other weather-related damage.
When the time comes to bring the karts out again, fill the karts with fresh gas and run through this list to get everything in top shape before the racing begins!
Other Regular Maintenance:
- Inspect and charge battery
- Inspect brakes
- Inspect steering
- Inspect wheel bearings
- Clean catch tank
- Tighten screws and bolts (replace missing or damaged fittings)