Breaking Down the Cost to Build a Go-Kart

Go-karts are a lot of fun, and building one can be a bonding experience between parents and children, giving your family something fun to experience together.

If you think you’re going to build one of these little cars out of stuff, you have laying around the house, think again.  Unless you’re experienced in welding, and auto mechanics and don’t mind taking a few safety risks, you’ll want to buy some or all of the materials needed to put your go-kart together. This family project can be a lot of fun, but it’s even more fun if you have the right items to make your little car go fast.

How Much Should I Expect to Spend?

There are many ways to cut down on the costs associated with building your fun little go-kart, but you have to consider the trade-off value. In some cases, you can buy used parts and pay less than half of what you would for new items. Its estimated that building this vehicle could cost $860 or more when you use all new parts. If you want to save most of that, you could spend around $400 when all used parts are part of your kart. Most likely, you’ll have a mixture of the two.

What Component Are Required to Build a Go-Kart?

You can add more items to the mix, but it’s not advisable to remove any when you want a go-kart that runs and performs as desired once completed. The basic items needed for your family project are:

    • Frame
    • Steering Kit
    • Wheels
    • Tires
    • Spindles
    • Pedals
    • Seat
    • Sprocket
    • Chain
    • Brake Kit
    • Throttle Cable
    • Live Axle
    • Bearing
    • Engine

Before you begin, make sure you have all the parts needed to get the job done. It might only take a weekend to put your go-kart together, and you’ll want to reward your kids with some fun driving it around your neighborhood.

What are All the Parts For?

Some of the items on the list might be a bit foreign to you, while others are pretty basic. If you’re looking for ways to shave your budget and cut costs, you’ll want to know what all of the items are for. Let’s take a look:


The frame is the foundation and structural support of your go-kart. This is typically the most expensive item, but it doesn’t have to be. You could find some used frames for go-karts on eBay or craigslist, which could save a lot of money in the long run.

Steering Kit

If you can’t turn, then you’re only going in a straight line. The steering kit includes tie rods, a steering rack, an adjustable shaft, and a steering wheel. It’s probably a good idea to buy these items as a kit to ensure they all fit together properly.


When you’re ready to build your go-kart, the wheels might be one of the most affordable items you find. These little wheels are typically pretty inexpensive; just make sure you get four of them; otherwise, you won’t be going anywhere.


If you’re going to let your kids play with the go-kart around the neighborhood, used tires should be fine, and they will save you a lot of money. If you want to race your go-kart on a track and compete every weekend, you’ll want a new set of rubber.


The spindles attach to the steering system and allow the front tires to turn in whatever direction you need. Most go-karts don’t have a front axle because of the steering system setup. These are a relatively inexpensive item for your go-kart.


You won’t save a lot getting used pedals, but if you’re a bit frugal and want to save everywhere, you can, then used items are a great option. Either way, you need two pedals for your go-kart, one for the gas and one for the brake. These are great teaching items when you build your go-kart with your family.


If your kids will operate the go-kart, you want a seat that feels right and is a bit secure. If you’re ok with a kart that has a homemade seat or none at all, you could save some money on this part. Of course, if your go-kart is for racing, the league you race in might have some rules about the seats.


The sprocket is the wheel that attaches to the chain to drive the wheels. Think about how the pedals on a bike turn the rear wheel, and you’ve got the idea. These items are relatively inexpensive, and a new one is typically the right way to go.


When you get your chain, you might think it looks like a bike chain because it does. Some people will build a go-kart using a sprocket and chain from a bicycle, but if you’re not ready for that action, you’ll want to order a chain that works with the sprocket of your go-kart.

Brake Kit

The brake kit should have a master cylinder, calipers, a fluid reservoir, and a brake line hose. This is another package of items that should be bought as a kit to ensure all of the items are made to work together.

Throttle Cable

Before you order the throttle cable, you need to know the measurement from the throttle connection on the engine to the gas pedal. This will help determine the length needed. This is one of the cheapest items you’ll buy when you want to build a go-kart with your family.

Live Axle

The live axle is the rear axle for your go-cart, and it’s the axle that drives the vehicle when you hit the gas pedal. Sometimes you can buy this item with a brake kit, which could give you a decent amount of savings.


Another item you need four of is the axle and wheel bearings. Make sure you have the right size for your go-kart; otherwise the build won’t be much fun for your kids. These items range in price quite a bit, but you can find some used bearings for a great price.


The thing that makes it all work. If you’re building a go-kart for your kids to play with in your neighborhood, you shouldn’t have to pay more than $100 for it. If you’re looking for a high-performance model for the track, expect to pay up to three times that amount. Some people will use an old lawnmower engine to power their go-kart.

Now that you have all the necessary items get out in the garage with your family and build your go-kart together. Once the job is done, everyone in the neighborhood will want to take a ride.

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