How Much Does It Cost to Build a Go-Kart from Scratch?

Go-karting has gained immense popularity as a leisure activity and formal sport in recent times. The thrill and adventure of owning a vehicle that can relax and entertain you have led to many people investing in this activity. Once you’ve decided to buy a go-kart for yourself, the major question is regarding the cost of buying or building the vehicle.

Let’s make one thing clear! Buying a go-kart is easily a more convenient option. Although you still have to research the multiple options available in the market, it does not demand you to find out the cost, market, and feasibility of installing various parts. However, building a vehicle for yourself is a unique experience; it’s an activity that certain individuals cherish.

All in all, you can build a good-quality go-kart in a home-based garage for $900-1200 if you buy all parts in an unused condition. However, the cost can be reduced to around $600 by opting for a few used parts as well. If you’re on a tight budget, our suggestion is to cut down on the expenses for external components like the seats but you should not be compromising on the integrity of the brakes, engine, wheels, and frame of the go-kart.

Don’t worry! If you’re one of those people who take immense pride in the building process, we’re here to guide you on the most crucial element, the cost incurred during the activity. 

Cost of Various Go-Kart Parts

Here’s a table of the cost of various go-kart parts in a new and used condition:

PartCost if bought in new conditionCost if bought in used condition
Frame$200-250$50-75
Engine$250$100
Seats$60-100$30-40
Wheels$60-70$30-40
Tires$150Not recommended
Steering Kit$90-140Not recommended
Brake Kit$70-80$35-45
Pedals$15Not recommended
Sprockets$20-30Not recommended
Chains$15-20Not recommended
Axle, Throttle and Bearings$50Not recommended

Build or Buy: What Is More Costly?

Well, to be precise there’s no single answer to this. Like any other vehicle, go-karts come in a wide array of options that range in features, look, experience, and cost. You can buy a go-kart for as cheap as $500, and even pick one priced in the six figures!

Similarly, the cost of the entire building process depends upon the kind of final product you’re aiming for. This will lead to a variation in the cost of its parts, equipment, and other expenses incurred to facilitate the model. For instance, a racing kart will certainly be more expensive than a general model made for indoor arenas. 

We will give you an accurate idea of the major expenses you’ll incur by listing the components to be bought and the average price ranges they’re available at. The exact figures differ from one market to another and can be based on the quality of these components. An additional list of optional parts will also be covered to help you evaluate the total cost beforehand.

Cost of Buying a Go-Kart Frame

Undoubtedly one of the most important components of the go-kart, the frame gives your vehicle a strong foundation. It not only adds to the physical appearance of the kart, but the quality determines how safe you’ll be from an unfortunate accident. 

An average frame will cost around $200-$250. These are customized for go-kart vehicles and come with appropriate hooks to help you during installation. In case, this seems out of budget, you can opt for a used option. Used frames cost somewhere around $50-$75 and are easily available on retail sites like eBay.

However, as we pointed out, the frame is the foundation of your go-kart. Thus, be very careful and do the appropriate research before buying a used pick. You do not want to be involved in any financial or health-related losses for the sake of a few extra bucks!

Some users suggest using steel pipes instead of frames. We generally go against such ideas as they’re not feasible for regular users. At the end of the day, we want you to be safe during this experience.

The Main Engine

Well, if the frame is the mind of a go-kart, the engine is its heart. The most luxurious model will go useless if its engine is not up to the mark. Experts categorize different engines into three groups. The first basic option is for beginners, the second one for intermediate-level drivers, and the last one for experts. This division is based on its output and horsepower.

These options will cost around $150, 250, and 400 respectively. If you’re building a go-kart, we won’t classify you as a beginner and thus, the second option seems most feasible and budget-friendly for most users.

If you’re going for a used option, you can get some good deals at garages. The exact price depends upon the area you’re operating in but an average used engine will cost you around $100. Once again, make sure this component is in usable condition. The replacement can cost you time and money in the future.

While focusing upon the initial purchase price, also look out for the maintenance of these engines. It would help if you opt for a part that can be easily cleaned and serviced. Most importantly, keep an eye on the dimensions and pick an option that fits with your vehicle design.

Go-Kart Seats

Seats are essential parts of a vehicle. On a basic level, they determine your vision and angle while driving around. On the other hand, premium options enhance your experience and provide a luxurious feel during the drive. Depending upon your choice, the total cost will vary in this category.

Used seats can be available at garages for around $30-40. You can buy two or four of these according to your design plan. Some owners use regular mountable seats in their cars. These can be very friendly on the pocket but prove to be uncomfortable in the long run.

New seats specifically designed for a go-kart vehicle are available in the range of $60-100. Extra add-ons such as leather coating can cost more.

Cost of Go-Kart Wheels

The tires of any vehicle are crucial in determining its quality of drive, grip, and safety. Until and unless you’re going for an all expensive professional racecar, go-kart models are comparatively smaller. Thus, their wheels are separately designed and are very reasonable. This is one category where you won’t find a major difference between used and brand new options.

New wheels are easily available at $60-70. Mind you this is the total cost incurred for buying a set of four wheels. Used picks will range between $25-40 dollars per set. Although the metal quality is average, they can run out of use in a shorter time and thus lead to higher replacement costs.

You can also choose between various designs and models in this category. Please note that this does not include the cost of the rubber tire attached for better grip on the road.

How Much Do the Tires Cost?

The strength of the main wheel will hold your tire with the frame. Meanwhile, the main rubber tire grips onto the road and makes sure you have a smooth driving experience. Well, the exact material depends upon your choice and budget. High-elasticity rubber is suitable for heavier racing models while a PU foam will do well for smaller go-karts.

You should carry out some research and decide whether regular racing tires will go well with your design. If not, look for more standard options designed for go-karts in particular. The lighter options will cost around $80-100 a set, whereas the heavier ones are available for $150-250.

Just like wheels, tires can also be bought in a used condition. However, they have a limited life, and the previous usage if rough can lead to them running out of air in no time. It’s always wise to consider the long-term costs in this regard.

Steering-Kit of a Go-Kart

Your steering kit is attached to the mainframe and is the main component under your control while driving. Its overall cost will vary in different situations. If your frame comes with a hoop installed beforehand, you’re good to go. Otherwise, you need to weld this part before getting to the main wheel, rack, rods, and brackets. 

Before moving any further, always make sure your hoop comes with a kill switch for safety purposes. The entire set of parts costs $90-140. You can even purchase these parts separately if that seems more feasible to you. The set makes the process convenient and safer as all parts are designed to fit well with each other.

The shaft proves to be very helpful during the assembly. This is a very tricky phase and requires great attention and precision. We recommend being careful and consulting an expert for the steering kit assembly.

Go-Kart Brake Kits and Pedals

If you’re planning to upgrade your vehicle to a racing model for an outdoor arena, there has to be special attention paid to its brake kit and the main pedals. The kit is an application of simple physics. It increases the overall surface area resulting in greater friction and leading to better application of emergency brakes.

The pedals on the other hand also have to be well-installed and smooth enough for comfortable and safe driving. Just like any other vehicle you need two pedals for a go-kart as well. While one of them is used to accelerate the vehicle the other is connected to the brake pad and stops the kart. 

A new kit is priced at $70-80 on the market whereas a used option will cost you $35-45. The pedals can be easily available from functioning garages for $15 per set. 

Cost of Sprockets and Its Chain

This is another important component used for balancing your go-kart’s drive and overall speed. The sprocket size is key in determining the acceleration rate and top speed of your vehicle. A smaller size will help achieve a greater top speed while a larger one aids swifter acceleration.

The chain keeps the sprocket in place and also aids in a more functional movement. Installing a sprocket without a chain is dangerous for you and your vehicle. A new chain can easily be bought from a regular garage and should cost you between $15-20. Avoid picking used chains as they’re rusted and thus corrode pretty quickly.

The main component is priced at $20-30 dollars if purchased in a new condition. You can even get a used model for 10-15 dollars. Some sprockets are already chained and save the extra cost and effort in this regard.

Axle, Throttle, and Wheel Bearings

The final list comprises menial components that can be very important to maintain the balance of your vehicle while ensuring its safety standards. While axles will provide power to the rear wheels, they also make sure the brake kit works effectively. These are not too expensive and should cost somewhere around $20-30.

Throttle cables are used to connect the main pedal to the engine. It is the main reason you can accelerate your car by pressing on a smooth pedal. These are very cheap and cost $5 dollars a piece. All you have to be careful about is its size; it should fit with the design you’ve planned for the go-kart.

Finally, the small bearings connect the wheels with the main axles. Thus, they’re key to the proper rotation of the go-kart’s wheels. Normal sets would cost you under $10 a set. However, more customized fits for racing designs are priced up to 50 dollars.

Unfortunately, the expenses don’t end here. Depending upon your usage there are some other parts, facilities, and utilities that will add to the burden on your pocket. Let’s have a look at some of those examples in detail!

The Cost of Safety Gear

Go-karting like any other sport has certain risks attached to it. You need to take all appropriate measures to keep yourself safe in case of an unlikely collision or accident. The most common safety gears include helmets and jackets. The headgear aids you in avoiding a head injury which can cause long-term damage to the skull and lead to severe complications.

The driving suit including the jacket, boots, and gloves, protects other body parts in case the vehicle catches fire. These expenses are not directly linked to go-karts built in-house. However, as the assembly process is complex, these charges tend to be ignored initially.

Facility Costs

A go-kart, no matter how small, requires parking space. Moreover, until and unless your model is approved for use on freeways, you also need an arena or zone to drive it in. All these things require space which has to be bought or rented. If you’re building the model yourself, you also need a garage space that can house the equipment and tools before assembly.

Once again, most of these facility costs will be incurred while buying a vehicle too. However, as building a professional model is generally more expensive these costs can prove to be burdensome in the future.

Maintenance Costs

This category includes the day-to-day expenses that help keep the vehicle in a usable condition. It also encompasses the expenses incurred to replace vital components and parts. The fuel cost is a hefty amount you have to pay on a day-to-day basis. A vehicle designed by a professional uses an optimal engine that reduces gas consumption and saves this cost.

However, your design can look appealing and yet consume more fuel over time. You can also look out for electric go-karts but they have a much more complex design and are harder to assemble at home.

To be candid, we’d suggest going for this option after carrying out a proper research, thinking the costs through, determining your feasibility, and comparing it with the readily available models on the market. Building a vehicle for yourself is truly an experience people take pride in, but the process is hard. Thus, it needs to be performed optimally after great consideration.

FAQS

Will building an off-road or racing model cost more than a regular go-kart?

Yes, it certainly will. Off-road vehicles have to abide by excessive legal and safety measures compared to regular models. You need to add roll bars, a windshield, light indicators, and emergency wipers depending upon the state you live in. The model design will also be a little bigger and can cost $600-1000.

How hard is it to build a go-kart?

This depends upon your interest, research, preparation, resources, and the support available at hand. For some, the activity can be adventurous, challenging, and refreshing. While for others the process can prove to be tedious and too hard to complete.

Can you use a lawnmower engine for a go-kart?

Yes, many users have successfully tried this out. A lawnmower engine can fit and function within a small go-kart vehicle. However, it has several restrictions regarding speed, acceleration, quality of drive, and sustainability over time.

How fast is a 212cc go-kart?

A regular model will pace up to 35 mph. In some cases, the turbo variant can also have a speed limit of 40 mph.

How much does it cost to set up a go-kart track?

Setting up an entire track is a huge investment. The exact amount can vary between 100,000 to half a million dollars. This variation mainly arrives due to the size of the arena. It also depends upon other facilities equipped in the area.

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