Kaos Karting can provide you with guidance, advice and workshop support if you are thinking of buying a pre-loved kart. See here for some karts for sale and detailed information for your consideration.
Ensure the kart you are looking at is up-to-date with current information. Here are a few guidelines:
Cadet karts: Should come with Bridgestone YJL tyres, an approved
AKA Rear Plastic Bumper
TAG Karts: Should come with either Dunlop DFM Tyres for Restricted Class or MG Red/White for Open Class 3 overflow bottles and a legal Rotax Max motor.
National karts: Should come with Bridgeston YLR tyres,
All Racing Karts must have a Plastic Rear Bumpe.
All Cadet and Junior Drivers MUST wear a Vest Protector
The flipside to this is finding out what useful additions any karts have. Wet weather rims and the right tyres, spare rims for slicks, a trolley or some spare sprockets can all add to the value of the package. Assuming the spares you're getting are good. Bent bits and worn out sprockets don't count as spares! And also consider the safety aspects to ensure that the seat fits you correctly.
The same goes for gearing. If the kart has the wrong gearing for the track or weight division you want to race it in then that needs to be changed too. Any kart you buy from a dealer should come with the right gearing fitted.
If you're in doubt as to whether the kart is ready to race or not, have a current racer look at it or discuss it with us. If the current owner won't let someone experienced check it out then walk away.
Here's a bit of a comparison between a "ready to race" special out of the paper and a properly prepared kart from a dealer.
Example A: Clubman Kart from dealer.
Extras spent: $0
Final price: $2200
Example B: Supposedly "ready to run" second-hand
Requires: MG Red tyres $235, Silencer $140, different seat $150, gearing change $30, low speed extended jet $16
Extras spent: $555
Final price: $2255
Sure, that's just an example, but we see it happening all the time. A bargain kart ends up costing more than the initially dearer but complete kart. So make sure the kart you buy is really ready to race, or be prepared to pay to have it corrected.
"It goes real fast!" Every karter advertising their gear will tell you their engine is the best one around and that it's just been rebuilt. If an engine is genuinely that fast (and legal) the owner should be able to prove it. They should let you speak to the engine's builder or let you have it assessed.
The statement "just been rebuilt" is another good one. Our idea of just been rebuilt is that the engine is yet to be run-in or has only done a couple of sessions. Any engine that's done more than two hours is no longer "just been rebuilt" and over four hours it should be sold as "needs a rebuild". If you can't be sure how much work the engine has done, get it rebuilt early ... just in case.
The other big issue here is engine legality. Only a professional engine builder can tell you if the engine can be raced under the rules of your club. Unless you're 100% sure the engine you might be buying is legal, don't buy it. An illegal engine is worth nothing.
Mechanical Condition. Here is a checklist as a bit of a guide. Although if you can have the thing inspected by someone who really knows, that's a good thing.
A) Cracks. Look around the rear bearing carriers,
near the engine mount, seat mounts and around the brakes.
Also look for repairs. A chassis that has been repaired may
still be okay, but beware.
B) Worn out. Check for worn steering joints (which won't pass inspection), sloppy bearings, seats that have flogged out mounting holes, rims with flogged out mounting holes (these are very dangerous) and worn tyres that can cause accidents.
C) Home made parts. Walk away from any kart that uses home made or improvised parts.
D) Bent bits. Try to find out the kart's history - if it has been in accidents - otherwise look for chassis twists, bent axles (a common fault), bent brake discs, bent sprocket carriers, bent wheels, bent steering parts. If it's bent then you will have to spend money soon.
E) Cosmetic stuff. If the kart looks shabby then it's likely the owner wasn't too fussy about the kart as a whole. No one wants to drive a kart that looks like a pig and so allow up to $300 if you want to re powder-coat the chassis and $200 for a new set of plastics to make it look decent.