Basics of Tire Pressure

In go kart racing there are many tweaks and updates drivers can use to take their karts to the next level. Tire pressure is easy to adjust and once you understand how it works and affects your kart, it can make quite the difference in your speed and cornering.
Finding the perfect tire pressure is best done using a trial and error method. (There is no magic number.) It is suggested that you pick a number to set your tires to, say 16 psi, and then run a few laps around the track watching your speed, time and how the kart is handling at that tire pressure. Then, adjust the pressure 1-3 psi at a time until you find the tire pressure that works best for you and your kart.
Many things will affect your tire pressure when you’re at the track. You can expect your tire pressure to rise 1-3 psi during a race depending on how hot it is. Therefore, it is always good to check and adjust your tire pressure before every race.
A general rule of thumb to remember is as temperature rises, lower your tire pressure and as the temperature falls, raise your tire pressure. During the summer, the track will have more rubber residue from the tires due to increased tire temperature. This can cause resistance when driving and it is suggested that you lower your tire pressure to reduce heat generation by the tire.
If you notice that you are having understeering issues with your kart try raising the rear tire pressure about 3 psi to correct the issue. Lowering the rear tire pressure by 3 psi can also help with over steering issues.
It is important to never over fill or under fill your tire with air. A tire that is overinflated will tend to “crown,” this means the center of the tire will wear out more than it should and your tire will not ride flat on the ground. The opposite happens to underinflated tires, the edges will wear out versus the center.

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