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Do Go Karts Have Titles? What You Need to Know

Do Go Karts Have Titles? What You Need to Know

Go-karts are fun personal vehicles. They require very little training to operate as well, meaning kids can enjoy driving them as much as adults. However, not all go-karts are equal. Some go-karts let you go off-road. Others are better suited to paved streets. In either can, you may be wondering what you need to have to own one.

You will not need a title to have a go-kart in most situations. They are not considered street-legal vehicles in most states. As such, anyone can own one without having to register them with your local DMV. You just have to keep them on private property or use them for off-road driving.

However, this is not always the case. Some go-kart types are street-legal and therefore may require a title in your state. By reading further, you will learn what these types are and how your local regulations affect them.

Do You Need a Title to Own a Go Kart?

Vehicle titles are legal documents that define the legal operator and owner of their respective vehicles. They exist to help reduce expensive disputes over ownership responsibilities.

Because of this, they are necessary for road-legal vehicles such as cars, trucks, and motorcycles. However, they are rarely needed for non-road-legal vehicles such as go-karts.

Most go-karts fall under the low-speed vehicle (LSV) classification. LSVs require no official ownership registration, title, or documentation.

In most cases, your purchasing receipt is the only legal document you need to claim ownership. While this makes owning a go-kart easier, it does prevent you from operating it on public roadways.

Only Off-Road Go Karts May Require Titles

Off-road go-karts are the only exception to the rule. Many states deem these go-karts street-worthy and therefore require full ownership registration and title to operate.

The exact specification and regulations can vary wildly between different states. So, you should always check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles if you have any questions.

This is where we got our Offroad Go Kart Buggy for the kids off Amazon. We went with the Trailmaster buggy but they also have smaller karts and all electric options with great reviews.

Registering a Go Kart with Your Local DMV

If your state requires you to register your go-kart, you should follow the instructions that come with your local DMV vehicle registration form. This form will not only let you register your kart, but it will also tell you if you need to register it in the first place.

This is because you only really need to register a go-kart if you plan on operating it on a public road. If you will only operate the kart on private property, you can skip the registration process.

This even applies if your only street running would be during officially sanctioned races on public unpaved roads. However, that changes if you must operate them on any other type of roadway.

Please note that registering your go-kart will require passing every road safety inspection test your state requires for road-safe vehicles.

That means your go-kart must have:

  • Seat belts
  • Lights
  • Speedometer
  • Mirrors
  • horn
  • Turn signals and blinkers
  • Windshield
  • Exhaust

You may also need auto insurance and anything else your state requires you to have while driving. Fortunately, most off-road go-karts come with these features already. So, you may just want to register your kart for a title regardless.

Go Kart Title Information

If you need a title for your go-kart, the title will contain the following information about your go-kart:

  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Make
  • Model year
  • License plate number
  • Technical specification
  • Owner or purchaser name and address
  • Lienholder, if applicable

Do Go-Karts Have VIN Numbers?

Go-karts do not have VINs in the traditional sense, even if you have a title for it. Instead, go-karts have serial numbers. These serial numbers act like VINs, serving as your proof of ownership.

As such, you want to find it as quickly as possible and then keep a record or picture of it. Luckily, most go-kart titles will list the serial number as the VIN.

Either way, you will find your kart’s serial number on the chassis or in the owner documentation that came with your kart.

Is it Legal to Drive a Go-Kart on the Road?

Most go-karts are not street-legal. As such, you can only legally operate them on dedicated go-kart tracks or private property. However, some types of go-karts are street-legal. This includes off-road karts and modified street karts.

That is because you can make any go-kart street legal through modifications.

Either way, it all depends on what your local laws define as street legal, and these definitions can vary from state to state or even between counties. Therefore, if you must know if your go-kart is legal to drive in your area, you must ask your local DMV office.

Fortunately, there are a few common policies that work everywhere. For instance, all states agree that no LSV go-karts are street-legal.

So, if you want to drive your kart on the road, it must fall under one of the following categories:

  • Utility vehicles (UTV)
  • Off-road vehicles (ORV)
  • Off-highway vehicle (OHV)

Generally, if you have an OHV kart, you can drive it on any road provided that it has a valid OHV decal and cleared inspection. While some states will allow you to legally drive some of the other types of karts, they usually restrict them to certain types of roads or communities.

Making a Go Kart Street Legal

Making your go-kart street legal just means modifying it to include the usual safety features your state expects road-legal vehicles to have. These modifications are the same features your kart needs to register and obtain a title as mentioned above.

You may also want to take your go-kart for a speed test as well. That is because most states will require you to obey every traffic law and speed limit while on the road. Remember, if your go-kart cannot operate like a normal vehicle, it is probably not fit for the open road.

This is where we got our Offroad Go Kart Buggy for the kids off Amazon. We went with the Trailmaster buggy but they also have smaller karts and all electric options with great reviews.


You can operate most go-karts without a title. However, you will need to register for a title if you plan on driving your go-kart on certain public roads. If you have any questions about your situation, you should check in with your local DMV.

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