Can You Really Make a Go-Kart From a Lawn Mower?

Have you ever looked at your dusty, neglected lawnmower and thought, “There has to be more to this thing than just mowing the grass?” Well, you’re not alone. For many, a lawnmower holds the potential for a whole lot of fun, especially if you’re a DIY enthusiast with a knack for tinkering. But can you actually transform a humble lawnmower into a thrilling go-kart? The answer, surprisingly, is yes! This article will guide you through the process, from choosing the right mower to building the frame and ensuring safety.

A Brief Overview

Building a go-kart from a lawnmower requires a mix of creativity, technical skills, and a dash of daring. The process involves repurposing the mower’s engine and transmission to power a custom-built frame. While the mechanics might seem daunting, this project can be a rewarding experience, allowing you to unleash your inner engineer and create a unique, fun, and potentially quite fast machine.

Choosing the Right Lawn Mower

The first step is selecting the right lawnmower. Not all mowers are created equal, and some are better suited for this project than others. Here’s what to consider:

Engine Power and Size

You’ll want a mower with a powerful engine that can handle the extra weight and stress of a go-kart. Engines with a displacement of 10 cubic inches or higher are generally recommended. Larger engines will provide more speed and torque, but they also add weight and may require more fuel.

Transmission Type

Go-karts often use a direct drive system, meaning the engine directly drives the rear wheels. Therefore, a lawnmower with a manual transmission (typically a single-speed) is preferable to an automatic transmission.

Wheel Size and Type

The lawnmower’s wheels will likely be too small and not durable enough for a go-kart. You’ll need to replace them with larger, more robust wheels designed for off-road or go-kart use.

Building the Frame

Once you have your mower, the next step is to build a frame that can support the engine, transmission, and driver. Here’s a breakdown of the process:

Design and Materials

Start by sketching out a design for your go-kart frame. Consider the size and weight of the mower, the desired seating position, and the overall length and width of the kart. For construction, steel tubing is a popular choice due to its strength and durability. You can purchase pre-cut tubing from a hardware store or cut it yourself using a metal saw.

Welding and Assembly

Once you have the tubing cut, you’ll need to weld the pieces together to form the frame. This requires welding equipment and some skill. If you’re not comfortable welding, consider hiring a professional or finding a friend who is experienced in welding.

Installing the Engine and Transmission

With the frame built, you can now install the lawnmower’s engine and transmission.

Mounting the Engine

Mount the engine securely to the frame using sturdy brackets and bolts. Ensure that the engine is level and properly aligned. Pay close attention to the placement of the engine’s exhaust pipe to prevent potential burns.

Connecting the Transmission

Connect the transmission to the engine and rear wheels using a drive shaft. This may require using a custom-made drive shaft or modifying an existing one.

Steering and Braking System

To control your go-kart, you’ll need a steering system and brakes.


A simple steering system can be made using a steering wheel, steering column, and steering linkage. The steering column should be mounted to the frame, and the linkage should connect the steering wheel to the front wheels.


You can use a simple disc brake system or a drum brake system to control the speed of your go-kart. The brakes should be mounted to the rear wheels and connected to a brake pedal.

Safety Considerations

Safety is paramount when building and operating a go-kart. Here are some important precautions:

Roll Cage

A roll cage is an essential safety feature that provides protection in case of a rollover. It’s recommended to install a roll cage made of sturdy tubing that surrounds the driver’s area.

Seat Belts

Always use seat belts when operating your go-kart. This helps to keep you secure in the event of a sudden stop or crash.

Helmet and Protective Gear

Always wear a helmet and protective gear, including gloves, long pants, and closed-toe shoes, when operating your go-kart.

Test and Inspect Regularly

Before operating your go-kart, thoroughly test and inspect the brakes, steering, and engine. Ensure all bolts and nuts are tight, and all components are functioning properly.


Building a go-kart from a lawnmower can be a challenging but rewarding project. With careful planning, attention to detail, and a commitment to safety, you can create a fun and exciting machine that will provide hours of enjoyment. Just remember, always prioritize safety and never operate your go-kart without proper training and safety gear. So, are you ready to unleash your inner engineer and create your own lawnmower go-kart?


Can I really make a go-kart from a lawnmower?

Yes, you can absolutely make a go-kart from a lawnmower! It’s a popular project for hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts. You’ll need to modify the lawnmower, adding a frame, wheels, steering, and a seat. Many resources are available online, including plans and tutorials to help you through the process.

While it might seem like a simple project, it’s important to approach it with caution and safety in mind. Make sure you have the necessary tools and skills before starting, and always wear protective gear when working on your go-kart.

What kind of lawnmower is best for a go-kart?

A sturdy, powerful lawnmower with a rear-mounted engine is ideal for a go-kart. You’ll need enough power to propel the go-kart, and the rear-mounted engine provides better weight distribution and stability. Consider a lawnmower with a larger engine and a robust frame.

While you can use a push-mower, it won’t provide the same level of performance and requires significant modifications. A riding lawnmower with a powerful engine is a better choice for a go-kart.

How do I modify a lawnmower for a go-kart?

Modifying a lawnmower for a go-kart requires several steps. First, you’ll need to remove the deck and any unnecessary components. Then, you’ll need to create a frame to hold the lawnmower engine, wheels, and steering.

You’ll also need to install a seat, a steering wheel, and a control system for the engine. Finally, you’ll need to connect the wheels and tires to the frame. Remember to consult with available plans and tutorials for detailed instructions.

Is it safe to drive a lawnmower go-kart?

While it’s possible to make a safe lawnmower go-kart, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. Always wear protective gear, including a helmet, gloves, and sturdy shoes. Be aware of your surroundings and drive at safe speeds.

It’s also essential to ensure your go-kart has working brakes and a stable steering system. Never drive a lawnmower go-kart on public roads or sidewalks, as it’s not designed for such environments.

How fast can a lawnmower go-kart go?

The speed of a lawnmower go-kart depends on various factors, including the lawnmower engine’s power, the weight of the go-kart, and the terrain. However, a typical lawnmower go-kart can reach speeds of around 20-30 mph.

It’s important to remember that exceeding the safe speed limit for a lawnmower go-kart can be dangerous and should be avoided.

What are the costs involved in building a lawnmower go-kart?

The cost of building a lawnmower go-kart varies depending on the materials used, the complexity of the project, and the lawnmower itself. You can expect to spend anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Consider factoring in the cost of the lawnmower, frame materials, wheels and tires, steering system, seat, and other necessary parts. It’s always a good idea to research prices and compare options before starting your project.

Where can I find plans and tutorials for building a lawnmower go-kart?

There are numerous resources available online and offline for building a lawnmower go-kart. Search for “lawnmower go-kart plans” or “lawnmower go-kart tutorials” on websites like YouTube, Instructables, and Pinterest.

You can also find books and magazines dedicated to DIY projects and go-kart building. Before embarking on your project, be sure to explore different resources and find plans and tutorials that best suit your skill level and budget.

Leave a Comment