Go-karts are known to be powerful machines that can achieve outstanding speed in a short time, however, their durability is still questioned especially under wet conditions.
Beyond their power and speed, go-karts are designed with tough parts and engines that can generally withstand water. Go-karts can get wet and be raced in wet tracks even under the rain. The wet weather doesn’t usually cause any significant damages to the kart unless electrical components are exposed. In addition to electrical components, the engine can also be a concern for driving in wet conditions.
Karting is a versatile sport that can take place even in some undesirable weather conditions however that still doesn’t make karting a weatherproof sport. Proper karting knowledge and safety are still needed.
Can a go kart get wet?
The short answer is yes. As we have briefly discussed above, go-karts are designed to withstand water.
The outer parts of the go-kart are usually made with plastic and metal which works best for keeping off the water from the track or rain. What kart drivers should be concerned more about are the electrical components that might be exposed. When water gets access to these electrical components, the kart can experience malfunctions and lead to mishaps. Nonetheless, this situation rarely occurs and can easily be avoided with consistent kart maintenance and inspections.
Next to the exposed components is the engine. In most motor vehicles, getting the engine exposed to water can cause major damages but for go-kart engines, it is relatively less of a concern. Go-kart engines may appear to be small but they are tough enough to handle most weather conditions. However, getting the engine exposed to water often and not drying it properly can shorten its lifespan and efficiency. In order to avoid this situation, it is highly necessary to inspect the overall kart conditions before and after any races.
Whenever water hits a running kart, the outer materials hold off the water. If the water enters the engine, the engine’s heat can typically cause evaporation of the water. Hence, a moving kart is actually safe from damages caused by water. A kart is more susceptible to water damages when kept in storage as the engine can’t produce any heat to evaporate the water.
Is it dangerous if water reaches the engine while racing?
No. In fact, if water reaches the engine while it’s running, the engine can easily protect itself through its heat. The heat of the engine is usually hot enough to cause evaporation of the water.
The water is only dangerous to the engine if it remains inside and is not dried completely after racing. If the water remains in the engine, it can accumulate and break the engine. The longer the water sits on the engine, the more possibility there is for corrosion in the engine components. This can easily cause permanent damage to the engine when started. To avoid this situation, proper engine inspection should always be done before and after any race or usage.
Go-karts require high maintenance so drivers or mechanics should always run checkups every day. In addition to the engine, other parts of the kart like the clutch, carburetor, spark plug, and power valve should also be given attention.
In many cases, the water reaching the engine poses few risks to safety. What matters more is the driver’s skills and techniques in kart driving. Before getting into the race, the driver should understand the difference between dry and wet tracks first. It is also highly advisable to get completely familiar with the go-kart mechanisms for efficient utilization. Finally, practicing before racing can keep the driver and other kart drivers from any accidents.
Is it possible to go karting when raining?
Rain racing is completely normal in kart racing. However, the severity of the rain is still the primary determining factor in whether karting is possible on a rainy day.
Light rain or wet tracks are usually fine for karting but with wind and lightings, it may be prohibited by tracks officials due to safety concerns. Aside from strong rain and winds, karting is also generally not allowed during snowy weather and thunderstorms.
Rain and water on the tracks aren’t likely to cause any permanent damages to the engine as long as they are dried out properly.
Karting while raining is relatively difficult and riskier compared to karting in dry weather. The rain causes tracks to be slippery reducing traction and adding up the speed. Therefore, before any drivers drive a go-kart under the rain, they should be skilled enough to practice safe driving.
Moreover, the rain can also affect the driver. When it is raining, the temperature can be cold resulting in chills. The rain droplets can also block the view of the driver from their helmet. Because of this, drivers are encouraged to drive more carefully and wear extra safety gear.
Beginners or inexperienced drivers will surely have some difficulties with driving in the rain. Thus, they should practice driving the kart in the rain first before getting into a race with others.
How to dry a wet engine
The method to dry a wet engine depends on how wet the engine has gotten.
A slightly wet engine without accumulated water inside can simply be removed and mounted on a stand to dry. Running it until it’s hot can make the water moisture evaporate quickly and more effectively. To make sure that the inside of the engine is dried, fogging oil can be used as well. Simply spray the oil inside into the engine and dry off the internal components.
If the water has accumulated inside the engine during a race or while in storage, it should be dismantled and checked thoroughly. Every wet component should be dried off. After drying off, they should be inspected again and separated from the broken ones. Never reuse a defective component on an engine.
If the water has been accumulated for a long time, the engine may need a carburetor rebuild.
The longer the water sits on, the easier the engine’s performance and lifespan deteriorate. That’s why a consistent inspection should be done at all times.
When not in use, it is best to secure the go-karts in completely dry areas far from water or rain to avoid any undetected water entering the engine.
How to drive safely in wet weather
We know that driving on a wet track reduces traction which can result in more difficult driving and more chances of sliding. Generally, the experience could be risky but there are some precautions that drivers can practice to ensure safe driving even in wet weather.
Practice hitting the pedal with short and sharp action
Since the traction is reduced, the rear tires may have difficulty gripping onto the track. By means of short and sharp hits on the pedal, the driver can maintain a nice grip of the tires on the track. However, hitting the brake too hard should be avoided as it can increase the risk of locking up.
Take extra care when accelerating
Remember that wet tracks add up to the speed of the cart. Make sure to push the accelerator with caution as pushing it too aggressively can spin the wheels too much. In the wet tracks, drivers can still hit 75 km./h. but they have to ensure that there is extra time for braking before heading into corners.
Check the kart and wear wet proof gears
The condition of the kart is always a major consideration regardless of any weather. Make sure that the engine is free from any water before racing. Wearing wet-proof gears is also a good practice to observe. Go-kart drivers can purchase and use wet weather suits with thermal technology to protect them from chilling and the wind.
Stay off the racing line
Racing lines have rubber in them that is very good for traction in dry weather. However, under wet weather, this rubber can be very slippery. It is safest to run off the race line and find a non-rubber line which is usually around the outside of the corner of the track.