With the racing season over, and the cold weather incoming, you will need to store your kart away properly for the off-season. There are a few steps and precautions to take before you pack it away though.
Here are the 10 steps to winterize your go-kart:
- Clear The Fuel Lines
- Change The Oil
- Lube The Chain
- Drain The Radiator
- Check The Joints And Bearings
- Check And Pump The Tires
- Charge The Battery
- Clean Your Kart
- Store Your Kart On A Stand
- Cover Your Kart
It is important to still ensure that your sensitive piece of kit is still well looked after even if it is in a garage. If your kart is not stored properly, a number of problems can arise. When racing season restarts, your engine could seize, or you could even have some rust on the chassis.
The 10 Steps To Winterize Your Go-Kart
1. Clear The Fuel Lines
This is an important part to kart storage that is often overlooked. It is not enough to just empty your fuel tank. Any old fuel that is left in the fuel lines, especially in the carburettor can be destructive to your engine.
Leaving old fuel in the carburettor can cause serious damage to the unit, which can be expensive to replace. Furthermore, any fuel left in the fuel lines can cause the lines to become softer. Soft fuel lines are more prone to breaking and leaking, especially when you get back on track and put the kart through its paces again.
There are two main ways that you can clear the fuel out of your kart’s engine. Both ways are viable, however, the preferred technique to clear your engine differs from person to person. The first way is a bit simpler. This involves mixing fuel stabiliser with your fuel.
There are various fuel stabiliser products available on the market, and generally your local karting store will give you a good recommendation. You will need to mix your fuel stabilizer with your fuel, and then run that stabilised fuel through your kart engine for a good 2 to 3 minutes.
Running the engine for the right amount of time is crucial because you need to make sure that the stabilised fuel has run through the lines all the way into the carburettor and the engine. Of course, this is difficult to determine, which is why method number 2 is also very common.
This method does not involve fuel stabiliser. Instead it relies removing all the fuel from the kart and running the engine until the fuel is out of the engine. This can cause some slight damage to the engine though if it is done wrong, so use this method at your own risk.
First you will need to drain your fuel tank of all fuel. After this you need to start up your kart, and leave the engine running until it starts to cut out. When the engine is cutting out, that means it is not getting enough fuel anymore. But that doesn’t meant that all of the fuel is out of the system.
If you turn the choke on, and then run the engine again, you will notice that the engine will easily start back up again. Run the engine until it starts to cut out again with the choke on. Next you need to open the carburettor up and spray a small amount of fuel into the carburettor and run the engine one last time.
The engine should start and run for a much shorter amount of time than before. Once it cuts out, it should mean that there is only a very small amount of fuel left in the carburettor, essentially only vapor. This will evaporate over the course of a few days. The important part is that there is no fuel in the lines or in the carburettor.
2. Change The Oil
Oil needs to be changed regularly if your go-kart is running, and can become contaminated with dirt very quickly. The off-season is a good time to replace the oil and have it clean and ready for when the engine starts running again in a few months’ time. This is also the ideal time to change your oil filter if it has a lot of hours on it.
That should be good for the engine. It is best to remove the engine from the chassis and keep it somewhere dry and safe. However, it is not essential to remove the engine from the kart. Removing the engine will make cleaning the whole kart an easier process.
3. Lube The Chain
It is important to lube the chain of your kart before storing it away. The chain is a very sensitive element, and the cold weather, plus lack of movement will cause your chain to rust over the course of the winter.
If you want to take even more precaution with your kart’s chain, you can check the tension on it. Generally, there should be about an inch of play on the chain, however as the kart runs, heat and friction can cause this to change.
4. Drain The Radiator
If you are storing your kart in an extremely cold area that can go to below freezing, it is important to drain your radiator of water. If the ambient temperature drops too low, any water left in the radiator can freeze up and expand. This will destroy your radiator, and potentially some parts of your kart’s engine.
5. Check The Joints And Bearings
This is a great time to check through all of your joints and bearings, and even the bolts. If any of them are loosening or wearing out, you will know what you need to get before the start of the next season.
6. Check And Pump The Tires
Tires are important of course, and expensive. Always check your tire wear. If you are running higher caster or camber, your tires will be wearing more one side of the tire than the other. If this is the case, you can use this time to rotate your tires by putting them on opposite rims.
If you kart is standing on the ground (which is not recommended) the tires will deflate over time. Ensure that your tires are pumped up to normal pressures. Ideally you will be able to put your kart up on blocks or on a stand. We will cover this again later on.
7. Charge The Battery
The battery always needs to be removed from the kart and placed on a charger during the offseason. It is fine to leave the battery on charge for as long as it is not being used. The problem with these batteries is that once they have run flat, they are essentially dead, and you will need to buy a new one.
This is particularly relevant with karts. Generally, if a kart battery runs below half charge it will be a struggle to get it to even start a kart.
8. Clean Your Kart
Before storing your kart away, you will ned to give a good clean. You will ideally want to be cleaning the frame of any dirt or rust. You can even clean the floor of the kart, the axle and the exhaust.
Cleaning your kart thoroughly will prevent any dirt build up from becoming tough to remove after sitting for a few months. Whilst cleaning your chassis frame thoroughly is also a great time to check the frame for any cracks starting to form.
This is basically the only time you can thoroughly check the frame because during the season you will not always have time to fix any cracks you spot. It’s also a good time repaint your chassis and your exhaust if needed.
9. Store Your Kart On A Stand
Always keep your kart on a stand or at least on blocks or bricks. Keeping your kart off the ground is important because it takes weight off the wheels as mentioned earlier. It also keeps the kart away from any rodents that might chew into the fuel lines or into the kart’s seat.
Keeping your kart stored on a stand will also take pressure off the torsion bars, the axle and the joints and bearings involved.
10. Cover Your Kart
Keeping your kart covered with a standard kart cover is great because it keeps everything clean. The cover will reduce the amount of dust and dirt to accumulate on the kart during storage. It can also prevent any possible moisture or water from building up on the kart.
A go-kart can’t just be put away in the garage and left alone for 2 months. Karts are extremely sensitive, and they require a process just to store them away. Ideally you will want to take a full day to prepare your kart before storing it.
Storing your kart properly can save you from a lot of headaches when the season restarts. This can include engine rebuilds, engine replacements, or even replacements of small parts like fuel lines and bolts. There’s nothing worse than arriving at the track and not being able to go on track because your fuel lines are broken.
I hope this article has helped you to identify what you need to do in order to properly and safely store away your kart and keep it prepared for when you get back on track. Make sure to check over everything again once you are back on track and take it easy.