Since you won’t find one just around the corner, it would be good to look in the classified ads section of the local newspapers. Typically there will be some listed in the hobbies section of the classifieds. The ads won’t be overflowing with these, but there should be an example that pops up once in a while.
There are also racing magazines that publish buying and selling advertisements on their pages as a service to their readers. There you can find many examples clustered on a page, so you can see which ones perk your interest and call the owner for negotiations.
If you still haven’t found a particular example that you fancy taking a closer look into, you can still go online and enter a search for the type of used go kart you have in mind. Online auction sites like eBay will have more than a few examples available for immediate bidding. This is a good way to find the specific type you are looking for, sorted out according to your wishes.
When you’re buying something secondhand, it pays to take a close look at the condition of the item in question. The same rule applies to go-karts. It really isn’t that different from buying a used car, bike, or truck. If you have experience in buying secondhand automobiles, then this is still up to your alley. However, if you don’t have any prior experience, you can ask someone with mechanical know-how to accompany you while checking out your prospective racer. This will help immensely so you can check out the possible trouble spots and stay away from karts that would seem like automotive lemons. As there is often no warranty for used units, shop carefully.
Assuming that you’ve already found a possible candidate for your go kart, look at the chassis over carefully. Check how the construction has been welded and see if there are rust spots forming where there are joints. This could also be a possible trouble sign. Since there is no suspension, the wheels, brakes, and tires are mounted directly to the steel tubing. It also holds the engine in place, so now you know why it’s important to check this out carefully.
The engine itself is another matter because you’ll have to be quite adept at mechanical stuff to spot a bad engine from the outside. A clean, shiny engine could be holding lots of nasty surprises inside. Check if there are any oil leaks around the seals. Something as simple as a bad oil seal could seize your engine up and end your race pretty quickly. Check the compression and the general running of the engine to see if it still functions correctly. There are some signs that should seem pretty obvious to even amateurs looking at an engine that would indicate whether something is about to give.
Looking at a used racing go kart to kick-start your passion is a great way to enter the hobby without breaking the bank. Durability is everything when it comes to sports like racing that place high stresses on components, and you’ll realize it’s worth checking your hardware out when you’re out on a track.