Here's How To Make a Go Kart Street Legal

Do you want to make your go kart street legal? Are you tired of getting your ass kicked at the local go kart track, and now you want to take that fire to the open road? Do you have a custom-built Ariel Atom lookalike that you need to get street legal?

You’re in the right place. In fact, we’ve already done it.

Before we talk about how to make any go kart street legal, we’re going to cover some really obvious things about safety. You know, for legal reasons.

She could probably kick your ass in a go kart race. (   source   )

She could probably kick your ass in a go kart race. (source)

Why Make a Go Kart Street Legal?

Because it would be awesome to have a street legal go kart, that’s why.

They get incredible gas mileage, and you can build one in your garage. Plus, they’re easy to store and loads of fun to drive.

Imagine you’re off to class or work, so you hop on your trusty go kart and zip across town. Maybe your friends all want you to take them places, but hey! Your cart only has one seat! Guess they’ll have to find another way to Chipotle.

But it’s not all rainbows and unicorns.

Go Karts are Dangerous

I’m gonna sound like your mom for just a second but bear with me.

Go karts have:

  • Wheels the size of grapefruits

  • Less suspension than a covered wagon, and

  • Crash protection that doesn’t exist

In short, go karts are decidedly not cars. A total lack of safety equipment means you need to gear up by wearing a helmet and whatever other protective gear you can find to make the act of riding a street legal go kart as safe as it can possibly be.

Of course, maybe your go cart has enhanced safety features like a roll cage – just be realistic about the safety of what you’re doing before you go anywhere near the open road.

After all, you’re 100% guaranteed to be the one losing the fight in a crash.

Unless this is your go kart. In that case you’re basically invincible. (   source   )

Unless this is your go kart. In that case you’re basically invincible. (source)

What Defines a Go Kart?

Most states classify a go kart as a vehicle with open wheels, diminutive size, and nimble handling thanks to low ground clearance and a low center of gravity. Of course, that description isn’t exactly legally binding.

To translate that idea to legalese, some states define a go kart the same way as other oddball vehicles, like golf carts – in other states, they’re not even considered motor vehicles.

In short, states are usually reluctant to make a go kart street legal. You can’t just walk into the DMV and ask nicely with a smile on your face.

Street Legality and the Humble Go Kart

The problem with a street legal go kart lies with the safety standards we talked about earlier, notably the lack thereof. The typical go kart is missing several critical things it needs to be street legal, safety notwithstanding:

  • Seat belts

  • Horn

  • Head lights, tail lights, and turn indicators

  • Windshield and wiper

  • Side and rear view mirrors

  • Speedometer and odometer

You can find a lot of these items in cheap kits on eBay, but chances are you’ll end up having to make a few of them yourself. It’s really not that much different from making a dirt bike street legal, or anything else for that matter, you just need to make it as much of a “car” as you can before starting the licensing process.

What About a License Plate?

If your go cart looks like what you’d find at the local tourist trap go kart track, you’re in luck. It’s not impossible to make the basic “one seat and a rear engine” style of go kart street legal, but it’s much easier if you start with a vehicle which already ticks a lot of the boxes we just discussed.

Or maybe you built a custom made go kart in your garage, and it looks more like an exoskeleton on wheels or a handyman’s take on an Ariel Atom. In that case, good on you, mate. You’ll have it even easier.

The biggest thing standing in your way with making a go kart street legal would be this short sequence of items:

  • Without a VIN number you can’t get a title

  • Without a title you can’t get a license plate, and

  • Without a license plate you can’t get insurance

Seems like a bit of a dead-end, right? A catch 22?

This guy did it, but how? (   source   )

This guy did it, but how? (source)

That’s Where We Come In

It’s going to be on you to install the parts to make sure your street legal go cart passes all of your local laws and safety regulations, but Dirt Legal can do the rest.

Dirt Legal specializes in making weird things street legal. We can do the hard part for you by getting a title, tag, and registration for your go kart, and you can take it from there. We can even shed light on getting a VIN number for your ride.

Just contact us with the specifics of your go kart, and for a small fee we’ll do all the legwork for you.

Why the Hard Sell?

Because Dirt Legal knows your time is worth money.

Sure, you could do it yourself. You could spend hours and hours poring over your state’s rules about go karts, which will often change at the drop of a hat. You could cross your fingers that all your paperwork is correct the first time, because if it isn’t, you’ll be paying for it in cash and wasted time. And after all that, something could still go wrong.

Dirt Legal carries a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. If we fail to make your go kart street legal, you get your money back. No questions asked.

Call, text, or email us today to find out how you can make your go cart street legal with the help of Dirt Legal.