Go Kart Motor Buying Tips

Most people believe that the motor of the go-kart is the most crucial part of the vehicle. It is an essential component of a go-kart; without it, you cannot drive the car. If you’re trying to find somewhere to learn more about, go-kart engines, either replace the one in your current go-kart or install one in a new go-kart you build from scratch.

Always remember that a go-kart can accommodate a wide variety of motors. Go-kart engines typically combine four-stroke and two-stroke designs, and their power output can range from 3.5 to 20 horsepower.

Various characteristics, such as air cooling, overhead valves, a vertical shaft, and many others will distinguish them from others on the market these motors. An extensive selection of motors is available, each with its features and specifications. It is essential to grasp why some engines may be better suited for your go-kart than others.

This article evaluates several engines based on their overall value, performance, and craftsmanship. Consider these elements to make an informed purchase.

Considerations When Buying a Go Kart Motor

It’s critical to remember that there are additional considerations to consider if you want to choose wisely. Here in this buyer’s guide, we’ll dive deeper into the many other factors that should not be overlooked.

The effectiveness, shaft orientation, efficiency, size, features, and price of the go-kart motor are all relevant factors. Let’s check it out!


There are many things to consider, but performing the motor is one of the most important. When constructing or replacing the engine in a racing or off-road go-kart, it’s essential to keep its intended purpose in mind. Because faster acceleration and higher top speeds necessitate more power, go-karts designed for racing need even more.

Since off-road go-kart races typically take place on rocky terrain, extra horsepower is also required for these vehicles. It’s a good idea to get a less powerful engine if you plan on building your go-kart or if younger drivers or teenagers will use the go-kart.

Shaft Orientation

Know what sort of shaft orientation your go-kart calls for. A go-kart motor’s shaft can either be oriented vertically or horizontally. The configuration of the motor is also affected by this. A good rule of thumb when swapping out engines is to keep the shaft orientation the same.

To customize your go-kart as you see fit, start from scratch. Remember that engines with horizontal and vertical shafts have different designs. Due to limitations in the chassis, most go-karts employ horizontal shaft engines.


It’s also helpful to know how efficient a go-kart motor is. If your engine isn’t fuel efficient, you’ll waste gas, add to pollution, and pay more at the pump. The power required to run an engine is a measure of its efficiency.

With this in mind, let’s consider the engine’s fuel efficiency in go-kart racing. Here, we’ll use the DuroMax XP7HPE as an illustration. At 50% load, this engine is estimated to use 0.25 gallons of fuel per hour. If you run this engine at 50% of its maximum load, it will only use a quarter of a gallon of fuel per hour.

The load a go-kart engine is put under, and the amount of power will determine how efficiently it uses fuel.


It’s easy to see a wide range of engine sizes among go-kart racing motors. When shopping for a new go-kart engine, it’s essential to remember that not all replacements will be direct swaps and that some will be smaller or larger than the one they’re replacing. Typical points of reference for such calculations are the engine and the shaft.

The rest of your go karts parts need to be under these dimensions for everything to work correctly.


Basic features are needed to run a go-kart, as these engines are typically found in cheaper models. A shaft, cylinder, housing, fuel tank, and oil tank are the fundamental elements of any machine. There are a few variations of go-kart engines, each with advantages.


Costs for go-kart motors vary greatly depending on the engine’s specifications and the features it provides. Prices start at around $140 for beginner motors, $220 for intermediate users, and $350 for professionals.

There is a motor for any budget, even the tightest of ones. Select an engine that falls within your acceptable price range.

Go Kart Motor Maintenance

Your primary duty is to maintain a smooth operation of all moving parts by ensuring they are adequately lubricated. Ensure the chain is well-oiled before you hit the track, or you risk damaging the engine in no time.

The engine will need to be oiled after a few races. You need to do more than just oil the motor; you must also ensure the air filter is clean. If it becomes clogged with grime and other debris, the engine will overheat frequently and wear out. Likewise, after each use, the engine of a go-kart must undergo a thorough cleaning.

Tips for Maintaining Your Go Kart’s Motor

It’s not uncommon for your go-kart engine to get dirty quickly, mainly if you use it for off-roading or in a racing environment. Grease, oil, and mud can soon become embedded in your engine and leave noticeable stains. If that’s the case, you can always follow these standard housekeeping procedures.

  1. The go-kart must be stopped with the engine turned off.
  2.  Apply engine degreaser of good quality to oil or grease stains.
  3. Water should be used gently to break down the mud before driving an off-road go-kart through it.
  4.  With the degreaser applied, the grease should wipe off easily with a damp cloth.
  5. Towel off again, but this time skip the degreaser.
  6. This time, let it dry completely before driving after wiping down the engine’s exterior with a wet towel.
  7. Make sure the machine is dehydrated and no moisture remains.

Best Go Kart Motors

There is no single best motor for every go-kart racing category because there are many different types of karts and racing series. That’s why it would be fun to list the top three motors and then order them based on who they’re intended for.

Best Beginner Go Kart Engine: Honda GX200

To put it simply, Honda is more dependable and has more power. The GX series offers the most reliable 4-stroke motors, with the GX200 being the most affordable option at less than $400.

It has a lightweight design (only 35 lbs/16.1 kg) and a powerful output (6.5 hp). I’ve ridden a rental kart powered by a GX270, and it was surprisingly quick for a 4-stroke machine.

Best Enthusiast Go Kart Engine: Rotax 125cc Engine

Since most Rotax motors are 125cc, you can enter any model into your regional championship or league. The Rotax engine is the most dependable on the market, but it can cost as much as $3000.

Rotax engines typically range from about 64 to 145 kilometers per hour (100 to 60 miles per hour). They get heavier as you progress in class but are still effective.

The IAME KA100 is a beautiful piece of machinery you could consider an alternative.

Best Professional Go Kart Engine: Rotax 125cc Shifter Engine

A kart with a shifter engine is a necessity for competitive racing. Rotax makes the best shifter engine, but I also highly regard the Vortex Rok Shifter Engine. Extreme power can be had from either of these engines for about $4000.