Through the course of this article, I’m going to outline the steps needed to fully drain and change your kart engine’s oil. Not keeping a regular routine will lead to carbon deposits and build-ups inside your rig. To avoid that happening to you, read on!
So, how do you change the oil on a 2-stroke go-kart? As I mentioned previously, an oil change with a 2-stroke engine isn’t as simple as draining out the oil and re-filling. The steps for changing the oil on a 2-stroke engine are:
- While the kart is still warm after a run, unscrew the drain bolt located on the underside of your engine
- Place a drain pan or bucket underneath the engine to catch all of the fuel-oil mix that drains out. Let it sit for a few minutes to ensure everything comes out
- Replace the drain bolt firmly, careful not to cross-thread it
- Pour your fresh fuel mixture into the engine as normal, replace the fuel cap tightly
- Use a rag to wipe away any residue from the drainage bolt and around the fuel cap. Oil change complete!
There you have it! The process may sound simple and easy enough, but there’s a lot of reasons why it’s such a vital thing to do as part of a regular maintenance schedule. With all of that said and done, let’s look at every step and why it’s essential to remember.
In the above step-by-step, I specified that you should actually perform an oil change while the engine is still warm. You might think it’s pretty counter-intuitive because you could easily burn yourself on the hot component parts, right? Well, there’s a good reason why you should always aim to do a change after a trip round the track.
When your engine’s warm, all of the sticky residue inside of it will be mixed into the rest of the fuel-oil mixture. After that warmth is lost, the residue will settle and stick to parts of the engine as carbon deposits, which are very tricky to remove at the best of times.
By doing an oil change with a warm engine, you’ll have a far better chance of getting all of the nasty old fluid plus all of the solid carbon out of there. Put on a pair of trusty gloves to do the work and you’ll agree that it’s worth having the engine running a little warm to get a proper clean inside of the engine!
Now, having a drainage pan underneath the engine while all of the gross stuff leaks out seems pretty vital to me personally.
On your race kart, you’ll have the metal undercarriage beneath the engine. If you don’t have something in place to catch all of the gunk coming out, you’ll be scrubbing your kart clean for hours.
Of course, you can always remove the engine to do a full drainage of it and therefore not run the risk of getting old oil and fuel all over your kart, and if you have the time, I’d definitely recommend that method. It’s way cleaner and actually a lot more thorough, because you can get hands-on with the engine to tilt it around to get all of the gunk out.
However, if you don’t have multiple hours on your hands to detach and reattach the engine, slipping a drainage pan under the engine while it’s still mounted is still perfectly fine and will get the worst of everything out of the 2-stroke.
Ah yes, the drain bolt. This essential little part handles a lot of heat and strain, as with every part in the 2-stroke, and cross-threading it will mean you need a new one.
There’s no fixing that bolt if it loses its ability to screw into the engine to keep everything contained! So, while you want to make sure it’s tight and secure to avoid leakages, twisting it too hard or incorrectly will lead to a trip out to buy a new one; not ideal for a lot of reasons.
When mixing your fuel and oil together, always follow the recommend ratio that your engine manufacturer recommends! And remember that a little too much oil is better than not enough.
As I’ve said time and time again, that 2-stroke deals with a lot of pressure on its component parts every time that it’s started up. If it isn’t properly lubricated, everything will wear down and you’ll have to get a full re-build done; something that’s time-consuming and expensive.
Also make sure to use a clean fuel can to do the mixing! The last thing you want is contaminated fuel that won’t combust when you start the kart up, after all. Anything with water traces in it is a no-go.
As with anything, maintenance will be your best friend as a kart owner. If you can do your best to prevent future failures and break-downs, you’ll be saving precious time and money in the long run!
Simple things like keeping a clean exterior to your engine will prolong the 2-stroke’s life just as much as a full oil change will. That slight smear of fuel mix on the top of your engine can burn and leave nasty marks after it gets hot, and built-up residue can make the valves seize up so you can’t remove the bolts at all.
It’ll only take you a few seconds to wipe up any mess you’ve made and it’ll just keep everything moving smoothly!
How Often Should I Change The Oil On My 2-Stroke Kart?
No matter who you ask, everybody will have a different answer to this question. And truthfully, it depends on what activities you get up to with your kart on a regular basis.
While I was racing karts competitively, we changed the fuel-oil mix in our 2-stroke after every race. After all, you’re pushing the engine hard for a long period of time!
Even if you changed everything only the day before, the high heat and prolonged power will cause everything to build up and clog the engine all the same. By changing the oil this frequently, your engine will run far longer than average and you’ll never have to worry about premature issues.
During practice sessions and general running, we did a full fuel-oil change every other day.
The engine won’t be getting as hot because there likely won’t be as many karts on the track with you to make it run hotter, and you won’t be absolutely flooring it at every turn to make over-takes. Just top-up with your fuel-oil mixture as needed and make sure to do a full change after the second day of practice.
What Oil Should I Use On My 2-Stroke Kart?
This is largely dependent on what the manufacturer of your 2-stroke engine recommends. Every manufacturer makes their engines slightly differently, even if they’re all ultimately the same.
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For example, Comer and Honda recommend Caster Oil for general running of their engines and even for races. On the other hand, Rotax recommends a fully Synthetic oil for its engines; no matter whether you’re practicing or racing.
The manual of your engine will also likely come with ratios for different occasions, like Rotax specifying that it’s important to use more oil when first using the kart in order to properly ‘break in’ the engine.
The simple answer to this question is to check out your engine manual and see which oil type is recommended. Otherwise, I’d recommend a Synthetic Oil to mix with your fuel because it will stay highly lubricating for far longer, and it’ll withstand higher temperatures without turning into carbon deposits and gunk to cause issues inside of the engine.
Truly, 2-stroke engines are in a class all of their own for the fun they bring and maintenance-friendly MO. Sure, draining all of the fuel and oil in order to just change the oil might seem like a drag, but it’s well worth it to keep the engine running at its full, exciting capacity.
And if you make it part of your maintenance routine, you won’t even notice how long it can sometimes take! You’ll be a pro at the change in no time flat.