Go-Kart Dies When Accelerating? Try These 7 Things

Having your go-kart die when you’re accelerating is one of the most common problems kart drivers face. It can be tough to figure out the issue, as there are many different reasons your kart might turn off when you accelerate.

7 ways to stop your kart dying when accelerating are:

  1. Open the choke
  2. Check the fuel lines
  3. Clean the air filter
  4. Inspect the throttle cable
  5. Clean the carburetor
  6. Check the spark plug
  7. Check for other engine issues

It’s not normal for a go-kart engine to cut out when accelerating. Below, I’ll discuss why your go-kart dies when you press the gas pedal, and I’ll also explain the above fixes in more detail.

Why Does My Go-Kart Turn Off When I Press The Throttle?

Before we dive into the potential fixes for this problem, we first need to understand the root cause of why your kart’s engine is cutting out when you hit the accelerator. This will help you to understand what you’re looking for when trying to find a solution to the problem.

A go-kart engine uses a combustion process that involves a mixture of fuel and air. The fuel and air mixture is drawn into the engine’s combustion chamber through the carburetor. The carburetor is designed to mix the fuel and air in a precise ratio, which is adjusted by the jetting and needles inside the carburetor.

This mixture is then ignited by the spark plug, causing a controlled explosion that pushes the piston down and turns the engine’s crankshaft. If the fuel and air mixture is incorrect, the combustion process can be disrupted, leading to poor engine performance and, in some cases, the engine cutting out entirely.

Lean vs Rich

A mixture that is too lean (not enough fuel) will cause the engine to run hot and may cause the piston to seize. On the other hand, a mixture that is too rich (too much fuel) will cause the engine to run cold and may cause moisture to build up on the spark plug, leading to the engine cutting out.

When you press the accelerator pedal, the throttle opens up, allowing more air to enter the engine. If the carburetor is not sending the correct mixture of fuel and air into the combustion chamber, the increased airflow may cause an imbalance. For example, if the carburetor is set too lean, the increased airflow may cause too little fuel to be drawn in, leading to the engine dying.

So, there are a few reasons your kart might be dying when you press the gas pedal. But what are the best ways to stop this happening?

7 Ways To Stop Your Kart’s Engine Dying Under Acceleration

1. Open The Choke

One possible reason for your kart dying when you accelerate is that the choke may be closed, causing a rich fuel mixture (too much fuel) that can lead to the engine stalling.

The choke is a component in the carburetor that controls the amount of air entering the engine. When the engine is cold, the choke is closed to restrict the airflow, increasing the ratio of fuel to air and helping the engine to start more easily. However, if the choke remains closed after the engine has warmed up, it can lead to a rich fuel mixture, which can flood the engine.

To fix this issue, the first thing to check is the position of the choke. If the choke is closed, open it gradually while accelerating to see if the engine begins to run smoothly. If the engine runs better with the choke open, it means that the rich fuel mixture caused by the closed choke was the likely cause of the engine stalling.

2. Check The Fuel Lines

If opening the choke doesn’t solve the issue of your go-kart cutting out when accelerating, the next step is to check the fuel lines. The fuel lines are responsible for carrying the fuel from the fuel tank to the engine, but they’re also prone to wear and tear over time.

If the fuel lines are clogged or damaged, they can restrict the flow of fuel to the engine, causing the engine to cut out when accelerating. To check the fuel lines, disconnect the fuel line from the carburetor. Then, inspect the fuel line for any signs of damage, such as cracks, kinks, or leaks. If the fuel line looks good, blow through it to check for any obstructions or clogs.

If there is a clog or obstruction, you’ll need to clean or replace the fuel line. You can clean the fuel line by blowing compressed air through it or using a wire to dislodge anything that is blocking it. However, if the fuel line is damaged or too clogged to clean, you will need to replace it. Luckily, they are not that expensive.

If the fuel line looks good, the next step is to check the fuel filter. The fuel filter is a component in the fuel line (usually next to the seat) that removes dirt and debris from the fuel before it reaches the engine. If the fuel filter is clogged, it can block the fuel from flowing to the engine. In this case, you will need to replace the fuel filter to fix the issue.

3. Clean The Air Filter

One of the most common issues that can affect the performance of your go-kart’s engine is a clogged air filter. The air filter is responsible for filtering the air that enters the engine, removing dust, dirt, and other particles that can cause damage if they get inside the engine itself. However, over time, the filter can become clogged with dirt and debris, preventing the airflow to the engine and causing problems.

When the air filter becomes clogged, the engine may struggle to get enough air, resulting in poor performance and reduced power overall, and often causing the engine to cut out. The engine may also run hot, which can cause damage and reduce the engine’s lifespan. If the air filter is left unmaintained for too long, it may eventually cause the engine to fail entirely.

To fix a clogged air filter, the first step is to remove the filter from the housing and inspect it for signs of dirt and debris. If the air filter is slightly dirty, you can clean it by tapping it against a hard surface or blowing compressed air through it. This will remove any loose debris or dirt that has accumulated on the filter.

However, if the filter is heavily clogged, you’ll need to replace it. When replacing the air filter on your kart, make sure you find one that is compatible with your kart’s air box, as they come in different shapes and sizes depending on your engine manufacturer.

4. Inspect The Throttle Cable

Another possible cause of your go-kart engine cutting out when you accelerate is a malfunctioning throttle cable. The throttle cable is responsible for transmitting the input from the accelerator pedal to the engine’s carburetor. If the cable is damaged or worn out, it may not transmit the input properly, meaning the engine is not receiving enough fuel to run smoothly.

The throttle cable is connected to the accelerator pedal on one end and the carburetor on the other end. Look for any visible signs of damage, such as fraying or corrosion. If you see any signs of damage, you may need to replace your throttle cable. However, they usually last several years unless they get damaged.

Next, check the tension of the cable. The cable should have enough tension so that when you press the accelerator pedal, the cable pulls the carburetor open smoothly. If the cable is loose, it may not be transmitting your throttle input correctly. Adjust the cable tension if necessary.

It’s important to keep in mind that a malfunctioning throttle cable can be dangerous. If the cable fails while you’re driving, you may not be able to control the speed of your go-kart. So, you should always keep an eye on the throttle cable and make sure it’s in good condition.

5. Clean The Carburetor

A clogged carburetor can cause your kart’s engine to die when you accelerate. The carburetor is responsible for mixing air and fuel in the correct ratio and feeding it to the engine’s combustion chamber. If the carburetor is clogged, it can’t deliver enough fuel to the engine, which can cause it to stall.

To clean the carburetor, you’ll need to remove it from your go-kart and disassemble it. Make sure to clean all the components thoroughly, including the float, float pin, float needle, main jet, pilot jet, and carburetor itself. Use an appropriate carburetor cleaner and pay special attention to the main and pilot jets, as these are the components most likely to become clogged.

Regular maintenance of your go-kart’s carburetor is important to keep it running smoothly. Make sure to clean it every time you go to the track to drive your kart and check it regularly for any signs of wear or damage. This will help prevent any future issues with the engine cutting out when accelerating.

6. Check The Spark Plug

The spark plug is another component that can cause your go-kart’s engine to cut out. The spark plug provides the spark that ignites the fuel in the combustion chamber. If the spark plug is dirty, worn out or damaged, it can prevent the engine from starting or cause it to misfire, resulting in a loss of power when accelerating.

To check the spark plug, start by removing it from the engine. Inspect the electrode and the ceramic insulator for signs of wear or damage. If the electrode is black and covered in soot, it’s an indication that the spark plug is fouled and needs to be cleaned or replaced.

If the electrode is white or light grey, it may indicate that the engine is running too hot, and the spark plug needs to be replaced with a cooler one. Always use a wire brush to remove any carbon buildup on the electrode when cleaning a dirty spark plug.

If the spark plug is severely fouled or damaged, it’s best to replace it. If you are replacing the spark plug, make sure to use the correct type and gap specification that is recommended by your engine manufacturer. Most karts use similar types of spark plugs, but it may vary depending on temperatures and weather conditions in your area.

7. Check For Other Engine Issues

If none of the solutions above are working for you, then your kart’s engine might have bigger issues. It could be worth asking someone more experienced to take a closer look at the engine to find out what’s causing it to cut out when you accelerate. Just make sure that you’re aware of the potential costs involved with this process if you’re unable to look at it yourself!

Final Thoughts

It can be incredibly frustrating for kart drivers when their engine simply cuts out while accelerating. The root cause is usually that the air and fuel mixture inside the engine is imbalanced. This can be caused by a few things, but luckily they are relatively quick and easy to troubleshoot and fix.