How To Drastically Reduce Go Kart Vibration

There’s nothing worse than getting out in your go kart and being shaken to death. I’ve been plagued by horrible vibration so I scoured the web and came up with some good fixes. 

Vibration is either rotational parts out of balance or vibration from the engine. Both are diagnosable, fixable, or replaceable. Let’s look at some of the most common problems.

Rotational Part Out of Balance

This is directly relatable to driving a car. When you’re going down the road and feel vibration only when braking, it’s obviously something going on with your brakes. Most likely your rotors. On a go kart its the same solution. If you are able to feel a vibration while braking, check your brake rotor for warp. One way to do this is to prop your go kart frame up on a jack or jack stand and pull on the accelerator cable on the engine to spin the wheels. Then look real close at the disc to see if it’s true. If it wobbles a little bit, slightly hammer it against a flat block to see if you can improve it.

While you have the go kart up in the air, look at the rear axle. This can be a huge source of vibration if it doesn’t spin perfectly. Make sure to watch it at different RPM’s as things can change with more load. If your axle is not spinning perfectly, you can try to straighten it, but your best bet for a perfect axle is to replace it. Before you do though, make sure your axle bearings attached to the frame are functioning correctly. Assuming those are, if the vibration is bad enough, you might consider a new axle shaft. 

Wheel’s and tires are next up while you have the go kart suspended. While you are revving the engine take a look at the wheels. They will almost always wobble a little bit because they typically don’t have any weights on them. You can purchase tiny stick on weights and adhere them to the wheel surface to attempt to balance the wheels. Without a real balance machine, this is trial and error at best. 

Lastly, inspect your front wheels and tired. Lift up the front of your go kart on a jack or jack stand again and manually rotate them. You should be able to get them going fast enough to tell. Same as with the rear tires, you can trial and error with stick on weights, but this is a very tough task. 

The best spend of your time in this department is to check the axle, brake disc, or drum and make sure your wheels aren’t too far off. I wouldn’t suggest spending a lot of time on the wheels as any improvement here will be very minor. 

Engine Vibration

Small engines are pretty good at being balanced from the factory. The best way to verify this is to actually remove the engine from the go kart, attach it to a solid surface, and start it. It’s pretty difficult to get a solid surface that a small engine won’t vibrate too much, but if you don’t have anything you can just start it on the floor. It will jump around quite a bit but you should be able to see if the drive shaft rotates true. 

This is a lot of hassle to verify something that’s honestly pretty likely to be fine. If your engine isn’t internally balanced, it’s probably displaying other issues that should tip you off that it’s in need of some help.

Instead what you can do is isolate the engine as much as possible. Car engines have motor mounts that are made of rubber or even sometimes fluid filled rubber that gives and moves with the engine as the car drives. Go kart engines are mounted directly to the frame so there’s nothing in between the engine and the frame. What you can do is unmount the engine, and put in rubber grommets in between it and the frame. Look for something like this

Just remember, once you add the grommets you’ll also need to adjust where it sits to get the chain tension just right. It’s a good idea to check the tension of the chain before removing the engine so you have a good starting point for when you put things back together.

General Dampening Options

Rubber grommets can be used all over your go kart as well. It depends on how far you want to take this. After the engine, the next best place is to put rubber between the seat and the frame. This is also a perfect opportunity to assess the quality of the seat and cushioning. The more plush your seat is the more vibration it soaks up and doesn’t transmit it to you.

From here if you intend on doing everything possible to remove vibration, look to any spot where metal is bolted to metal. You can buy rubber grommets in all sorts of sizes and can even make your own out of sheets of rubber cut to size. Just unbolt the connection and reconnect it with rubber in between. 

Lastly, consider the steering wheel setup. My go kart has the steering shaft come up towards me through a hole in a metal bracket. Essentially it is metal on metal without anything in between. This one has long been a thorn for me because it audibly vibrates when I’m not touching the steering wheel. In the future, my plan is to make the hole larger, get a rubber grommet that would go on a car’s firewall for wires, and then grease the steering shaft. That should solve this issue right up!

Other Vibration Factors

One issue I had previously was related to my suspension and an aftermarket exhaust pipe. I had my pipe installed and the frame was resting on it. Little did I know that this was limiting the travel of the rear suspension and causing more engine vibration to go directly into the frame. It’s a good idea to go around the go kart and just make sure everything is functioning and not interfering with other parts. If you’ve added something recently and just started noticing more vibration, your first place to look should be whatever you modified last.

Perfection Isn’t Possible

At the end of the day, just remember that you are driving a go kart that was never engineered to be comfortable. Even with all these suggestions, you will still experience some vibration from your go kart. To me, this is part of what makes a go kart fun to drive. It’s being able to feel the feedback from the engine as you wail across the ground. Just don’t get too frustrated trying to snuff out every last vibration, you’ll forget to enjoy your go kart and go crazy! My suggestion is to hit the most common items and just enjoy the ride. 


I love to drive my kids around in our go kart and I'm always looking for an opportunity to share what I've learned with others!

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