Is It Cheaper To Build Or Buy a Go-Kart? Ultimate Guide

  • By: Go Kart Picks
  • Time to read: 10 min.
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Go-karting brings a different level of fun and thrill. It is an excellent way to pass your time and exciting activity for the whole family.

While getting a go-kart is fulfilling, this vehicle can be expensive. You can find a wide array of models and makes with varying price tags on the market. Having in-depth research will help you end up with the best go-kart for your needs. 

You may be torn between building and buying a go-kart. Don’t worry; this guide will help you determine which option can save you a significant amount of money.

Building Your Own Go-Kart 

Building a racing kart is a fun and memorable experience.

Unlike buying your own kart, building it yourself creates a special bond between you and the vehicle.

The more time and effort you invest into it, the more important it becomes to you. 

However, the building process involves stricter rules when it comes to the machine’s quality and safety.

While you cannot build your own engine or chassis, you are free to purchase all the parts separately.

Then, put them together on your own. 

Is It Cheaper To Build Or Buy a Go-Kart

Chassis (New vs. Used)

New and second-hand chassis are available; you can get one based on your budget. You can attach a separate engine to a new or used chassis. If a chassis has no engine on it, you can get it at a lower price tag.

– New Chassis – around $3,000

Buying a brand-new chassis can be quite costly. In most cases, top-notch quality chassis is around $3,000. If that is the price tag, it would be better to get a second-hand chassis that is cheaper and in good condition. 

– Used chassis – around $500 to $1,000

With a second-hand chassis, you may only need to spend from $500 to $1,000. That price range depends on the chassis’ condition, make, and model. However, you must be aware of cracks and scrapes because they can lower the value or become unsafe and useless. 

go-kart chassis

Motor (New vs. Used)

A second-hand motor is much cheaper compared to a new one. However, you may require an engine rebuild due to its poor condition with age to prevent low performance.

– New Motor – around $3,000

A new motor usually costs around $3,000, and you can expect high performance from it. When building a go-kart, people often go for a used chassis that costs about $500 and attach a new motor from it for a total of $3,500. 

– Used Motor – around $1,000 or less

Second-hand motors cost $1,000 or less, depending on the age and condition. You can also find motors that cost $2,500 or more.

Wheels (New vs. Used)

Wheels for go-karts come in varying shapes, types, and sizes. Remember that you will need four of them: two for the front and another two for the back.

– New Wheels – around $60 for a set of four 

Go-kart wheels are relatively cheap. You can get them for about $15 for each new one or $60 for four. 

– Used Wheels – around $25 for a set of four 

If you want to save money on buying wheels, you can opt for second-hand ones. You buy these wheels for as little as $25 for a set of four.

go-kart wheels

Pedals (New vs. Used)

Another component that you can invest in when building your own go-kart. Depending on your budget, you can choose either new or used pedals. 

– New Pedals – around $15 

Getting a new pair of pedals has a slight difference from second-hand ones. You can find a basic set of basic pedals set for around $15.

– Used Pedals – around $10

Used pedals are easy to find, and they go for as cheap as $10 per pair. Remember that you will need one pedal for the left side and another for the right side.

Driver’s Seat (New vs. Used)

One of the best things about getting a driver’s seat for a self-made go-kart is that you can choose what’s best especially for you. If the seat can be mounted, it can be used to build your kart.

– New Driver’s Seat – around $60 to $100

A new driver’s seat starts at $60 to $100. You can expect high quality from that price tag.

– Used Driver’s Seat – around $35

One way to save money when buying a seat is to go for a second-hand one. It can go for about $35, but it requires some refurbishing.

buing a go-kart

Buying Your Go-Kart 

Buying your own go-kart means getting a completely built and ready-to-race kart. In other words, you can race it as soon as possible after buying it. Meanwhile, you have two options when buying a go-kart: buy a brand new or second-hand kart.

Buying A New Go-Kart 

A brand-new go-kart can be expensive, depending on its manufacturer. For instance, you can find a new kart that comes with a pre-installed engine costing more than $8,000. 

It is more expensive to buy that kart than to build one because of the labor cost. Mark up is also involved when buying a pre-built go-kart. 

This option is not recommended if you are new to go-karting and have a limited budget.

Buying A Used Go-Kart 

Many newcomers to karting opt for buying a second-hand go-kart. This option is ideal for beginners because it reduces the cost. It also removes the complications and hassles of putting all parts together. 

Fully-built go-karts vary in price, depending on factors such as the mileage on the kart and the condition of the chassis and the engine. A used kart usually costs between $1,5000 and $6,000. 

Off-Road Go-Kart 

On average, an off-road go-kart costs between $1,000 and $2,000. Beware that several off-road go-kart types come with varying prices. For instance, one-seater and two-seater go-karts have an average price gap of around $1,600 or more.

off-road go-kart

The off-road go-kart depends on the quality of materials used, the vehicle’s size, and its equipment. 

A larger off-road go-kart means higher cost because of a heavy-duty frame, a larger chassis, a larger engine containing more seats, and to power a heavier load. A larger off-road go-kart often costs up to $4,000.

Racing Go-Kart 

A racing go-kart is very sophisticated and equipped with a larger engine and high-end parts, making it more expensive compared to other go-kart types. Average racing go-kart and professional go-kart vary in price.

– Average Racing Go-Kart 

An average racing go-kart usually costs $3,000 to $5,000. It is built with mid-range equipment and is often used for different karting competitions, from national to international ones. It falls within the above price range and sometimes comes without tires and an engine.

– Professional Racing Go-Kart

If you plan to buy a professional racing go-kart, the cost starts at $5,000 and can reach as high as $10,000. In short, it is more expensive than its average counterpart. It features high-quality equipment and is used in international competitions.

racing go-karts

Is It Better to Build or Buy a Go-Kart?

Go-karting is undoubtedly a fun and exciting sport to get into, but it is also expensive. If you are a beginner, it is recommended to save as much money as possible. 

It is often cheaper to build a go-kart than to buy one. You can build your dream go-kart for less than a brand-new kart may cost if you know what you are doing and where to find all the necessary parts. 

However, if you have no idea how to build a kart and want to save money, you can go for a second-hand go-kart.

Before buying or building a kart, it is best to analyze and get familiar with the best possible options. Some people find it better to build a new kart, while others may buy one. 

Overall, you have to compare both options and consider your needs, budget, and other preferences to end up with a go-kart that will give you the best experiences. 

Go-Karting Running Costs

Karting is not only expensive due to high start-up costs but also because of the running costs. 

For example, in sports like soccer, players initially have to invest in a ball and shoes, but kicking the ball around the park or garden is free. Meanwhile, you have to pay every time you drive a go-kart.

Tires 

The cost varies depending on the tires’ brand, but expect to purchase a new tire set for each race. In most cases, leagues require participants to use a new tire set at every race meeting. 

The good news is that you can use them after a race, so ensure to keep some of them for practice or testing. Top-of-the-line kart tires cost around $60 to $100 per set.

go-kart repair

Fuel 

Karting also involves fuel expenses. It varies depending on the fuel costs where you live. A go-kart usually runs on a tank of gas. However, it still depends on the kart’s engine jetting and settings. It is recommended to test how much fuel your kart will use per lap and session to get an excellent budget reference. Plus, you also need two-stroke oil that you will mix with the fuel.

Chemicals 

Chemicals are vital to keeping the kart running safely and smoothly. You can find them at a local kart store, but you can also get them online and see if they have better prices. These chemicals include engine oil, brake fluid, chain lube, and brake cleaner.

Go-Karting Additional Gear 

Whether you plan to buy or build your own go-kart, you will need other components to ensure a safe and secure race. These items include accessories, equipment, and tools. 

Helmet 

A karting wardrobe would not be complete without a helmet. To prevent injuries in the event of a crash, whatever the cost, it is worth it. 

Purchasing it second-hand is not recommended. It is considered one of the biggest expenses for safety equipment. The price range starts at $60 to $600. 

Racing Suit 

You should also invest in a racing suit. Various brands and price tags are available for racing suits. Good quality suits start at $150. A top-of-the-line option can cost twice as much. Racing suits are still available at affordable prices with high performance.

Neck & Chest Protectors 

Neck protectors are as important as helmets when it comes to preventing spinal injuries. When buying this gear, make sure it is of decent quality. 

Avoid using foam donut neck protectors because they do not provide enough support. You can expect to pay $200 to $300 for a good one.

The chest protector prevents bruises on the ribs while providing comfort in a karting seat. Since the go-kart can slightly throw you around in the seat, it is often useful for circuits with fast turns. 

You can expect to pay at least $50 for a decent rib protector. Make sure it has enough padding.

go-kart gear

Shoes 

When you are on the race track, the right pair of shoes is crucial. To remain focused, you will need well-ventilated and comfortable shoes. 

Additionally, good karting shoes will ensure good pedal control. As a result, you can accelerate and brake at optimal times. The starting price is $70, while the average price ranges between $110 and $130. The premium ones can cost over $300. 

Tools & Service 

To work on the vehicle’s parts and keep it running smoothly, you must have the right karting tools. Here are some of the tools you need:

  • Toolbox – around $300
  • Tire gauge – around $100
  • Sprocket – around $80
  • Bead breaker – around $100
  • Battery charger – around $50
  • Nozzle and compressor – around $150
  • Chain breaker – around $50

Service costs vary based on your location. Make sure to compare the prices so you can get the best deal based on your budget.

Gas & Lubricants 

The cost of gas and lubricants depends on where you live. For instance, $24 per two gallons and oil at $12 for 16 ounces is equivalent to $36 for two gallons of mixed race gas. If your go-kart requires four gallons, the estimated cost is $72 per race. 

Go-Kart Stand 

With a go-kart stand, you can easily wheel the vehicle around the pit at your desired working height. Two types of kart stands are available: one-man kart stands and two-man kart stands. They can cost $400 or more. 

Other Costs 

Aside from the mentioned gear above, you also have to consider other costs, including:

Steering Kit 

Suppose you plan to purchase a kart frame attached with a steering hoop. In that case, you have to find a steering wheel, an adjustable shaft, a steering rack, and tie rods. 

You can get them separately, but it is better to purchase a kit with all the necessary steering components. A brand-new set costs around $90, while a second-hand set is often around $35.

go-kart parts

Brake Kit 

A brake kit must consist of a brake line hose, a fluid reservoir, and a master cylinder. 

While you can purchase every component separately, buying them in a set ensures convenience and compatibility. A brand-new brake kit can cost around $70, while the used one is between $40 to $50.

Bearings 

Wheel or axle bearings are affordable, and you need to buy a set of four. You can get a brand-new set for around $6, while the used set can cost as little as $2. You can also find higher-quality ones that cost $20 for a set of four.

Safety Matters in Go-Karting 

At the least expected moment, unplanned circumstances may occur during go-karting. That’s why safety measures are so important. Here are some safety tips you should never overlook:

  • Always wear a helmet 
  • Do not wear baggy clothing 
  • Tie up long hair to prevent getting caught in the spinning wheels or axle
  • Ensure the equipment is always in good condition 
  • Wear a neck brace to avoid traumatic wrenching or whiplash 
  • Wear a seat belt when operating a go-kart 
  • Only drive in the appropriate go-karting areas 
  • Get familiar with the course before driving 
  • Wear as much coverage to the go-kart as possible
  • Do not have an added passenger in the lap to avoid rollovers

Final Thoughts 

There you go! Building a go-kart is usually cheaper than buying a new or second-hand one. That is due to the labor costs and markups involved in putting all parts together. It also gives you the freedom to customize or even spend more money on your cart. 

Overall, getting yourself a go-kart depends on your preference and budget. First, you have to figure out what your expenses will be. With this guide, we believe that we have you covered! 

Read Also

How Much Do Go-Karts Cost 

What Oil Go-Karts Use

The Best Go Kart For Kids 

Best Welder For Go-Kart Frame

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