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How To Buy A Used Go-Kart On The Cheap

From my own experience in this field, I’m going to share all manner of wisdom, hints, and tips about how you can race karts competitively without breaking the bank in the process. To do this, you’ll need to learn how to buy a used go-kart on the cheap.

To buy a used go-kart cheaply, you must know what to look for and where to look. It’s often about who you know and not what you know when buying a used go-kart, so it’s best to ask around. Ask people at your local track and even mechanics, family, and friends to find the best cheap used go-karts.

Finding great deals and knowing the best ways to get them will be invaluable as you progress further into karting. Below, we cover in detail how to find these deals and the best way to take advantage of them.

Tony Kart racing go-kart chassis sitting on a stand with a go-kart track in the background, How To Buy A Used Go-Kart On The Cheap

Where To Buy A Used Go-Kart

Get Familiar With The Cost

Before you look at pre-owned rigs, I’d absolutely encourage you to become familiar with the cost of brand-new rigs and parts. That way, you’ll start to get an idea of what is a reasonable price for used items in go-karting.

Say, for example, that you know a new TopKart Twister chassis model starts at $4,000 off the bat. It stands to reason that a pre-owned version of this (albeit an older variation) should be something approximately half the price.

Using this method of trial and error, you can start to build a picture of what your budget for a pre-owned kart should look like, or at least the very rough outlines.

Look Around Online

After spending this time gaining background knowledge in what a new kart would cost, you can start browsing websites that will offer used parts and builds. It’s important to compare prices between listings and also refer back to what you found in new product listings on manufacturer websites.

Using eBay

As for specific places to frequent in your search, I’d start with the online world simply to help grow your repertoire of understanding. And perhaps one of my favorite places to check is, without a doubt, eBay.

You can set all kinds of filters when searching, and over the past few years, the buying and selling site has seen a rise in motorsports enthusiasts utilizing its services. It definitely stands to reason that if you can sell your car through eBay, you’ll be able to dig up some gems for go-karts!

I would definitely recommend using eBay as a place to look for parts as opposed to whole rigs unless the advertisements are exceedingly detailed as to what will be included. At least with the purchasing of gently used parts, the descriptions will be more straightforward and specific.

My dad spent many an hour browsing eBay listings to pick up new tools and spare parts for the kart we owned, and when he entrusted this pastime to me as I got older, he issued a solid piece of advice:

Always check the seller’s credentials and rating to make sure that you’re buying from somebody trustworthy. For bigger parts, it’s important to arrange a viewing of some kind, similar to buying a car.

Verifying In Person

It goes without saying that, if you find a steal of an old chassis on eBay, you’ll absolutely want to go and check it out in person before securing a purchase. But if the seller is local to you, try to arrange a pick-up of the product just so you can check it over.

We did this once or twice when buying go-kart tires through eBay, and on one occasion, it saved us from blindly paying for a set of racing slicks that were barely track legal!

Visit Tracks

Another invaluable place to search involves a much more personal approach, and the potential for bargains is almost without limit. Find a go-kart track close to you, and take a trip over there to do some research and potential bartering. Race tracks will have their own rental karts, and when these rigs get replaced, they’ll need somebody to take the old ones off their hands.

Now, the old rental kart chassis will likely be pretty banged up. But with some TLC, you’ll find that it can be a solid starting rig. It was through keeping a good rapport with our local track that my dad was able to secure the purchase of our first go-kart, and it was race ready, albeit in need of fresh paint and some much-needed tweaks.


• Before you go looking for used karts, familiarize yourself with the prices you should expect to pay

• A great place to find old kart parts is eBay

• If you can, arrange to see the kart/parts in person before you buy them

Buying A Used Go-Kart – Who To Ask

Making Connections

You may have a whole community of go-kart enthusiasts in your local area that you can learn from. Not only will you be able to make friends and rivals to race against, but you’ll have access to a whole wealth of knowledge and buying potential.

You should really never underestimate the power of “I know a guy” in the motorsport industry at large, not only because it can result in sponsorship if you want to get serious, but also because you can meet all kinds of people. Most racers are keen to share what they know, so you can guarantee that great used go-kart deals will follow the makings of good friendship.

The Internet

Aside from being sociable in person with your local scene, you can take to the internet and utilize different ways of socializing. The age of technology has been fantastic for go-karting because, all of a sudden, this motorsport that was based largely on word-of-mouth has expanded into something that everybody can contribute to online.

You’ll find forums dedicated to discussions about what go-kart rigs people have, how much they spent, where they could have saved money… the possibilities in this realm are truly endless!

Starting a forum-based discussion about what you’re looking for can spark a huge call to help you out. A lot of go-kart drivers will actually use these forums to sell their old parts and rigs too, so you can get a better picture of whether those specific things would fit you.


Another valuable tool, similar to forums but more local-centric, is Facebook. Facebook offers their own marketplace system, where users can buy and sell things similar to eBay and other selling sites. The main difference, however, is the fact that Facebook can use your location to make sure that you’re only getting local offers.

Choosing The Right Brand Of Used Go-Kart

As with things in general life, different brands will be more or less expensive depending on their availability. There is a little bit of this evident in go-karting, but for the most part, brand pedigree is down to a personal preference.

In single-speed karting, a Briggs & Stratton isn’t more or less favorable than a Honda. It simply depends on what you’re looking for in an engine. However, there is definitely something to be said in sometimes committing a bit more of your budget to buy something that’ll last a longer time to save money in the long run, so let’s look into that a bit more, shall we?

Substance Over Style

When buying a used go-kart, there are certain parts of the build that can be skimped on a little more than others. You’re better off buying an older chassis and cleaning it up, for example, and all go-kart seats are going to be uncomfortable plastic no matter where you look, so there isn’t much point trying to scour for a padded, luxurious one.

The bodywork of your kart is going to see a lot of damage over its lifetime as well, so I’d always advise looking for substance over style. Any big kart manufacturer will be a solid bet in that regard, and you’ll want to steer clear of more luxury brands like Praga if you’re looking to save some pennies. Top Kart and Tony Kart are great brands that are widely available.

Go-Kart Tires

Go-kart tires are vastly important, especially when considering that they’re the things keeping you on the track when squealing round a corner at 60 mph, so you definitely want to be very diligent when buying those second-hand.

Branding on these is certainly important, and you should look for tire manufacturers like Bridgestone since they’re used in proper races for their reliability. They’ll be more expensive than off-brand tires, but you’ll be able to get far more use out of them and won’t run the risk of failures on the track!


Another crucial area that needs a bigger portion of your budget is definitely the engine. Like I said, the engine brand isn’t actually important as long as it’s being used in the local race series, but the type of engine is certainly something to think about.

Most commonly, two-stroke engines are used for their simplicity and higher raw speeds, but these bad boys can wear out pretty darn quickly if you aren’t on top of maintenance. They’re cheaper to buy, too, which makes them a very attractive option. However, I’d encourage you to consider picking up a four-stroke engine for a couple of reasons.

Sure, they may be more complicated to take apart and fix, but they’re overall a more reliable piece of machinery. Four-stroke engines will also save you some cash in terms of fuel consumption because they’re more efficient than their two-stroke counterparts.

It’s definitely a cost to think very carefully about, and sometimes the cheapest option at the time won’t stay that way going forward due to breakages or failures down the line.


• You can use your existing network and social media sites to get good deals on used karts

• It’s always better to go for substance over style when buying a used go-kart

• You also need to consider the long-term costs of specific engines, tires, and other components

Building Your Own Go-Kart From Used Parts

Aside from finding raw bargain deals on go-kart parts and chassis, the biggest money-saver you’ll find is being familiar with what you’re buying on a mechanical level. This is for a multitude of reasons of course, with perhaps the biggest one simply being that buying (slightly) broken parts and repairing them can be way cheaper than buying working stuff! You could even fully restore an old kart if you have the time.

Repairing Broken Parts

This isn’t without risk of course, and you should be very familiar with how to fix things before committing to this course of action. One of the biggest contributing factors to how my dad and I raced for so long on such a tight budget was because we picked up all kinds of broken components to fix for our rigs.

I was very lucky in this regard because my dad was a mechanical wizard, and he had worked on a lot of cars growing up, so I’d have struggled if not for his know-how. But you’d be surprised how often people give away broken parts when, really, they just need very minor fixes.

For example, we once grabbed some chassis tubing for free because one end of it was cracked the tiniest amount, and after a quick welding session, we had replacement tubing in great condition. Frequenting junkyards can yield some gems every now and then, and it’s another reason making go-karting friends is very important because you can often grab some great freebies.

Cheaper Prices

Another vital reason why being mechanically inclined is a great boon boils down to how much cheaper it is to build karts by hand. Spending $800 on a used rolling chassis, $30 for a set of racing slick tires, and $200 for a solid engine will, nine times out of ten, work out far cheaper than grabbing a fully constructed pre-owned rig.

Provided you have the space to build the kart, or you know somebody who does, you can save a lot of what my dad used to call ‘convenience money.’ There’s also something pretty damn rewarding when you can step back from the rig you built by yourself, knowing that you:

  • Saved a small fortune
  • Have a kart courtesy of your own two hands!

Not only is it important to stay savvy when buying replacement parts and such going forward, but you’ll save a solid chunk of cash by installing upgrades or replacements as your own mechanic.

That, and having mechanical know-how will help you look after the kart better as well, which will mean it’s way less likely that you’ll over-exert it, or ruin tires, or let your engine run out of oil. Being careful with cash when buying a go-kart needs to extend into maintaining it, or else you’ll be defeating the purpose of saving money to begin with!

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of ways to buy a used go-kart and save money in the process. As long as you know where to buy one, such as on the internet or in your local community, you choose the right brand for you, and you’re willing to apply a bit of your own mechanical knowledge, you’ll find good deals.