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Introduction to Go Kart Tires
Introduction to Go Kart Tires


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Introduction to Go Kart Tires

Choosing the right go kart tires for the weather and track conditions is crucial if you want to be successful racing go karts. Choosing the wrong type of go kart tire can lead to drifting and sliding, difficult handling, and accidents. Tires impact the handling and the speed of the kart directly and need to be selected based on a variety of factors. Most kart racers have a variety of tires to suit the elements on the day of racing because if you race go karts and want to win, understanding tires is one of the most important criteria for being successful on the track.

Reading Tire Sizes

The numbers on the tire tells you all you really need to know. For example, let's take a tire size of 10 x 4.50 - 5. The 10 stands for the diameter of the tire which is 10 inches. The 4.50 stands for the suggested width of the rim that the tire will mount to which is 4.5 inches wide. The last number 5 is the wheels diameter that the tire will mount on. In this case, it is a 5 inch wheel. Most go karts use either a 5 inch or 6 inch wheel.

Choosing Tire Tread

The tire's tread depends on the surface of the track where you are racing. Slicks have absolutely no tread on them and are used for racing on paved track or dirt track oval tracks. They give you the best traction on dry surfaces. Treaded tires resemble car tires with normal looking treads. They do not grip the track as well as slicks, but provide a mechanism for water to be pushed away if you are on a wet surface. Knobby or studded tires are used in off-road environments where the kart needs to handle well on very rough dirt and uneven surfaces because they grip better.

Tire Maintenance

The most important part of tire maintenance is keeping the right tire pressure. Make sure all tires are properly inflated (within the manufacturer specified range) each time you go out. Underinflated or overinflated tires will not wear as well so you will reduce the life of the tires. Tires improperly inflated can also cause stability problems because they will not have the proper shape.

Pay attention to the wear on your kart's tires. When go kart tires become overly worn they should be replaced. It's usually not difficult to know when to change them because your ride will begin to feel less smooth, especially through turns. You may also notice less track grip along with excessive drifting or sliding in the turns. Additionally, go kart tires are made with small holes that can help you determine when they are overly worn. If you examine these holes and see that they are not very deep it's a good indication that it's time for new go kart tires. If your tires have this indicator, check it regularly as part of your prep routine, because it will tell you when it is time for some new tires.

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Do NOT mount tires unless you know how to do so and you are following all appropriate safety measures such as tire containment devices and a locking air chuck. Air pressure should not exceed manufacturer recommendations.

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