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Go Kart Won’t Move: How to Fix It Guide

Go Kart Won’t Move: How to Fix It Guide

Go-karts are fun to drive until they stop moving. While steering issues have existed since the dawn of karting, they can still frustrate you when they pop up out of nowhere. Of course, you want to fix the problem as soon as possible, but how does one do that?

The most common reason a go kart won’t move is because the clutch is not engaging or the torque converter has gone bad. Other common issues include misaligned rear axle, worn out parts, clogged fuel lines, or bad spark plug.

Most of these problems have easy fixes that you can do on the spot. However, they are not the only things that might prevent your kart from moving. There, by reading further, you will learn some of the other causes and their symptoms.

Why Isn’t My Go-Kart Moving?

Every go-kart driver will experience at least one moment when their kart will not move no matter what they do. Go-karts will also seemingly stop moving at random times.

Sometimes, you can get years out of a kart before the first issue pops up. Other times, it will happen as soon as you bring your kart home for the first time.

Go-karts break down and fail to move for a variety of reasons, but the most common include:

  • Misaligned rear axle or yoke
  • Not enough nose weight
  • Uneven tire grip
  • Trying to go too fast
  • Broken or worn-out parts

Go-karts break down for as many reasons as there are go-kart drivers. Some of these reasons are easy to understand and notice.

Other times, you might need to do some investigations. Luckily, in most cases, the go-kart is rarely permanently damaged and can be easily fixed. You just need to figure out why your kart will not move to implement the appropriate fixes.

Fortunately, most go-kart problems only fall under a few common categories. We listed these categories below with some popular fixes. We hope this guide will help you troubleshoot them as they pop up in your kart.

Here’s a video showing a possible quick fix, with more solutions below:

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.

Misaligned Rear Axles or Yoke

Most go-karts steer using their rear axles. Directly connected to the drive gear, this axle keeps the rear wheels moving at the same speed. This method allows you to burn out and create donuts while providing better traction while moving forward. However, it has an Achilles’ heel when turning.

During a turn, the inside wheel must move slower than the outside one, but this can bind the axle which must keep the wheels spinning at the same speed.

The growing tension can travel up the drive train and break one or more of the wheels, though it is usually the front wheels that give out first.

An easy fix is to switch out the standard axle with a live one. A live axle turns the wheels separately, reducing the overall strain on the kart. If that does not work, you can add a caster to the yoke to give you better control over the wheels.

Not Enough Nose Weight

Go-karts are lightweight vehicles. Their lightweight lets them glide smoothly down the track, but it can make moving them difficult. Moving requires traction or friction between the wheels and the road. If you and your karts do not have enough weight, your tires may not touch the ground properly.

While the problem can show up in any tire, you will likely notice it in the front tires since the engine is normally in the back of the kart.

Either way, you must ensure that your tires have enough weight to reach the ground while you are behind the wheel. Most professional drivers use movable lead weights to achieve this goal.

Uneven or Too Much Grip

A kart that is too heavy can have the opposite problem. The tires will dig too deeply into the track, preventing the kart from moving.

However, weight is not the only factor here. You can get the same effect if the tire pressures are uneven, which can happen as the tires wear out. Changing to fresh tires can often fix the problem.

Trying to Move Too Fast for Kart

It might seem impossible, but your attempts to move your go-kart might be what is preventing your go-kart from moving. Go-kart engines and drivetrains have speed limits, or the maximum speed they can safely operate.

Beyond this speed, they will start breaking down under pressure. Slowing down, especially during turns, can alleviate some of the issues.  

Broken or Worn-Out Components

Nothing lasts forever. The strain of the racing circuit will wear down every component of your go-kart eventually.

Some parts such as the tires may go faster than others, but you will have to replace everything at least once over the lifetime of your kart. If your kart is not moving, and the above fixes do not work, it might be time for some repairs.

Why Is My Go-Kart Clutch Not Engaging?

If your go-kart has a clutch, there is a chance that it will fail to engage, causing the kart to stop. Clutches can fail to engage for numerous reasons, but a worn-out friction disc is usually the cause.

Applying the clutch, a diaphragm spring presses the disc against the flywheel. With a worn-out disc, the spring will not have the pressure to hold the disc in place to operate the transmission.

What Are the Symptoms of a Bad Clutch on a Go-Kart?

You have a worn-out clutch if your go-kart has the following symptoms:

  • Weak acceleration
  • Grinding gears
  • Loose clutch pedal
  • Sticky clutch pedal
  • Other strange noises when having clutch problems
  • The kart refuses to shift or stay in a gear
  • The kart gives off a burning smell

How Do I Know if My Go-Kart Torque Converter Is Bad?

If nothing else works, you may want to check your go-kart’s torque converter. Most karts use a torque converter to transfer power from the engine to the wheels. When it goes, it kills the kart’s transmission, rending the kart immobile.

Some common signs that you might have a bad torque converter include:

  • The converter jerks while accelerating.
  • The converter sticks, preventing the clutch from disengaging.
  • Your go-kart moves while idle.

Luckily, most torque converter problems are just wrong or worn-out belts or unaligned pulleys, which are easily fixed or replaced.

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.


All go-karts will eventually break down and stop moving. Luckily, most go-kart issues are easy to fix. You just need to do some troubleshooting to discover your exact issue. After that, it is just a matter of choosing the right solution to get your kart moving again.

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