Your Go Kart Tire Guide
Go kart wheels or tire information is sometimes hard to come by. Go kart tires are specially designed for fast paced racing. We depend on these tires to keep us on the track and get us around those tight corners without getting off track. There are two types of go kart racing tires: slicks for dry racing and rains (grooved tires) for wet/rainy racing.
There are a few different brands of slick racing tire to choose from. They include Dunlop, Vega, Bridgestone and Mojo to name a few. These go kart wheels or tires are specially designed to make as much contact as possible with the track underneath of you to ensure excellent grip and a precise center of gravity for the go kart. This helps the go kart stick to the track and nail those corners increasing speed. The tread is made of a thin layer of rubber that includes a various amount of compounds that make the tire have either really good grip or have a greater resistance to wear.
Rain tires are specially designed to help you race in the rain. Some people hate it, but with the right knowledge and some practice racing in the rain can be just as fun as in the sun. The grooves in the rain tires reduce the amount of contact area that a slick tire would give and therefore help keep you on the track. They are constructed the same way as slicks in the way that they have a compounded rubber tread surface that can again be made for more grip or resistance to wear depending on the compound type.
How do you know what pressure to run? This can be of personal preference to some racers. Generally, on an average day when the track is dry and you have your slicks on a good pressure to start at is around 14-16 psi. Once you get out racing on the track your tires will heat up and the pressure inside will build. Depending on how hot it is outside you can expect the pressure to rise between 1-3 psi. You can then add or release pressure depending on how you feel out on the track. Some people also split up the pressures and add more on the front go kart tires and less on the back or visa-versa to improve their cornering. It’s a good habit to start checking your tires before you go out on the track each time. This ensures your pressures are good and that you don’t have a tire malfunction like a leak causing a flat tire!
If you are racing with rain tires, you may want to increase the pressure by about 1-5 psi. Once the track dries out though, ensure you change back to slicks as soon as possible. If you don’t your rain tires could get worn out quickly!
How do you know when it’s time to change your go kart tires? If you have been racing while, you can feel when your tires need to be replaced. You won’t feel as smooth through the corners which can affect your speed and you may even feel in less control of the go kart because it won’t “stick” to the track as well. A good indicator is the go kart tire itself. On slick tires and wet/rain tires there are small holes that indicate how much rubber has been worn off. When these holes get shallow it’s an indication that the rubber has been worn out and you probably have to change tires.