If you race go karts, you will undoubtedly know the pain and heartache of changing go kart tires. It not only hurts, but it takes forever to get them on! No matter how many times you claim to have done it. The only thing we can do here at Go-Kart-Source.Com is offer you some advice on how to make this task a little bit easier for everyone.
You first of all should know the ins and outs of your tires, and your rims. This will make the whole process go a little smoother.
A slick racing tire is made of rubber obviously. The rubber is generally stiff and hard to handle when it’s at room temperature or less. The tire has three parts that are important to you when changing tires. The tire wall, the tire tread and the tire bead. These are all illustrated to the right.
The rim is what the rubber tire sits on, and it might just be your enemy when going to mount tires. You might be thinking… Why is this stupid rim too small for the tire! This is impossible!
Sensibly though, the tire must be a little smaller than the rim to ensure a snug fit, other wise your tire would fall right off, and you can’t win a race without tires. All you need to know about a rim is that there is a wide end and a less wide end. The less wide the end is where you will plan your attack against when mounting your tires. The rim is illustrated to the right.
How to Mount a Go Kart Tire
If you are mounting your tire at home or in the garage, you can do it on a table low enough so that you will be able to get some leverage. If you can find a non-slip surface to do it on such as an old piece of carpet or some taped down cardboard that’s even better.
Half the battle of mounting tires is trying to keep the tire in one place. It’s also a good idea to have a friend help you by holding the tire if you don’t have a non-slip surface to do it on. If you are at the track, a table is a good idea again, but you can always use the grass as a non-slip surface. Just make sure you don’t get any grass in between the tire bead and the rim or you could run the risk of a leak.
Pro Tip: Try heating up the tires if possible. If you are at home this is easier because you have access to an oven, a hair dryer maybe. If you are at the track, this is a little harder, but on a nice sunny day we all know that those black rubber tires can heat up pretty quick! Just leave them lying in the sun to try and soften up that rubber.
You are going to need some lube. Generally, dish soap is an inexpensive solution. If you’ve ever wondered why some people have dish soap sitting out at their pit area, that’s probably why. Lube up the edges of the tire with lots of dish soap and get ready to push!
Getting the rim into the tire is all about getting the correct angle. You want to keep pressure moving downward as you push the tire rim into the tire. Some people make it look easier than it is I admit, but mounting a tire is no easy feat for a beginner. Its much easier to mount an uninflated tire as tire full of air requires much more force to get it on the rim.
Below is a step by step guide on how to mount a tire.
- Lube Up! Both the rim and the go kart tire bead.
- Grab the tire like a rim like a steering wheel with a really firm grip
- Place the small side of the rim onto the tire at an angle
- Start pushing like it’s your job and use your body weight
- Flip the tire over and push the second bead over the rim
- Use your body weight to get the rest of the tire over the second bead
I’m not gonna lie. I always find the second bead a little harder to get on than the first. But trust me that second bead will slide on eventually when you have applied enough force.
With practice you will find the perfect angle and learn little tricks with weight positioning, etc. Now just complete the whole process again for your other 3 tires! And then make an appointment for your chiropractor. I’m sure you’ll feel like you need it.
Mounting Inflated Tires
If you are mounting inflated tires its better to put the rim on the ground and then push the tire onto it. It requires alot of strength and often help to have someone hold the rim. The key to doing an inflated tire is getting the correct angle of the tire to the rim. You will still need to lube up the rim and the bead before you start pushing.
**Disclaimer** Mounting a go kart tire, as mentioned above, is really quite hard to do for most people. The above is just a few suggestions on how to make it a little easier for those who have never done it before. We here at Go-Kart-Source.Com take no responsibility for those of you who unfortunately get injured while mounting tires. Keep in mind it might just happen. So be careful!