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Go Kart Brakes Not Working: How to Fix It Guide

Go Kart Brakes Not Working: How to Fix It Guide

Braking is the primary safety mechanism on your go-kart. Without it, you will find yourself slammed into a wall or possibly other drivers. A few things you can check before you head out on the course will let you know if you have proper braking. So how do you fix go-kart brakes when they aren’t working?

If the brakes on a go kart aren’t working it is usually due to the brake pads being worn out or the brake cables have been disconnected or have snapped somewhere. If the brakes work with brake fluid, the brake lines could have a leak somewhere.

Several things can go wrong before you head out onto the go-kart track. But, by knowing these things, you prepare to handle any problems that might arise and give yourself a chance to take home a trophy. So read on and learn everything you need to know about fixing go-kart brakes.

How do Brakes Work on a Go-Kart?

Go-kart brakes aren’t much different from those on your street-legal car. They use one of three braking systems to protect the driver and kart from high-speed collisions. In addition, the parts associated with the different types of brakes can also fail and cause a headache if you aren’t watching closely.

What Causes Brakes to Not Engage?

Chances are when your go-kart brakes don’t engage, either the brake itself or one of the brake system components has locked up or failed. When this happens, you can only inspect the braking system and search for failed parts. This sounds like a headache, but by following a few guidelines, you can get back to racing in a snap.

Some of the things that can cause go-kart brakes to fail are as follows:

  • Broken Lines – One of the biggest problems with go-kart brakes that aren’t working is they have a problem with the brake lines. This could be a fluid leakage or an inability of the line to compress the brake correctly. Removing and repairing are your best options for broken brake lines.
  • Worn Pads – Brake pads are the material that rubs against the wheel and allows the friction created to slow the kart. If you have pads and not a band or drum setup, you can quickly check the width of the pad. If there is a lack of padding, the kart will have trouble stopping and could fail.
  • Bad Brakes – It sounds like a cliche, but sometimes when the brakes aren’t working, the brakes have gone bad. This refers to the individual brake system on the kart, not pieces, like lines, often associated with brakes. Brake systems can be faulty in several ways, and knowing the signs can save you some grief.
  • Broken Cable – Some go karts use a cable to pull the brake pads down. If the cable is disconnected or snapped, the brakes won’t work.

The reasoning behind the brake problem can be one of the above things and are often easy to check. In addition, if you are a competitive racer, installing new brakes each day you take the track might be a good idea.

Finally, if your brakes aren’t an easy fix, you can find comfort because go-kart brakes are often cheap and easy to install.

Here’s a cool video showing a brake install so you can see the common parts of go kart brakes:

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What are Signs of Brake Problems?

One of the best things about the braking system is that it leaves little doubt when it needs repair. There are some obvious signs when the brakes are going out in your go-kart that you will hear and feel before you see them.

A few of the signs your go-kart has brake problems are as follows:

  • Noises – One of the most apparent signs that brakes give is when they start making noises. You will need new brakes if your brakes are making screeching, grinding, or rubbing sounds. Noises are a great indication because all you have to do is pay attention when you are pressing the brakes, and the problem is easily diagnosed.
  • Soft Pedal – Another way to tell if you have brake problems is by pressing the pedal and getting no response. When there is a soft pedal, it usually means that the brake lines have an issue and the brake caliper doesn’t close correctly. Be careful with soft pedals if you are on the track and exit as soon as you have the option.
  • Smells – When your brakes have a smell emanating from them, there is a good chance that you have fluid leaking or a steel-on-steel rubbing problem. When pads get older and need replacing, they will put off an odor when used. Pay attention to the smell, as it could indicate that the pads have run their course.
  • Leaking – If a puddle of fluid beneath your kart doesn’t smell like water, chances are you have a leak in the brake lines. Brake fluid has a distinct smell that makes it easy to pick out around gas. Search for the leak and tighten or replace the line to stop the leaking.

When these sounds and soft pedals reach your senses, exit the track and spend some time in the garage. Remember that your brakes are more than a pedal on your kart. They are a way to ensure that the driver doesn’t have high-speed impacts that could cause potential injury to drivers and others on the course.

How do you Bleed Kart Brakes?

The best way to bleed go-kart brakes is to angle the kart nose down and fill the master cylinder with brake fluid.

Once filled, you must allow the kart to sit for at least 30 minutes. While it sits air bubbles will migrate upward while it sits, leaving the brake pedals solid and responsive.

You can press on the brake pedal with the brake lines disconnected from the caliper to push fluid out.

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Brakes are one of the most essential systems on your go-kart. It protects the driver and allows them to use their brakes to strategize and move up through the pack.

In addition, unresponsive braking can make a driver dangerous and ruin the plans of drivers around them. Always pay attention to the wear and tear of your kart and those around you.

The critical thing to remember when your brakes aren’t working is to: look, listen, and feel for the responsiveness of the brakes.

Using your senses gives you a good chance of diagnosing the problem on the spot, which could save you precious time in a race. Also, always remember that high speeds go-karts require more concentration from drivers for safety.

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