Why Does My Car Sound Like a Go-Kart?

Most vehicles make sounds and those are significant to each other – don’t you agree? There are even lots of discussions over the web regarding car sounds. Some of these sounds are pleasing and others are indicators of something terrible. For instance, the go-kart like sound – it may attract your attention. So, my blog for today is on answering to “Why does my car sound like a go-kart?”

Usually, “go-kart” sound refers to a car engine with a high-pitched, hoarse, and intense sound when you turn them on (1). It may also point to other things like engine misfires, exhaust system and ignition problems. Sometimes you may hear this sound due to worn or damaged engine components too.

At a point, this type of sound may feel like you hear an aeroplane or jet engine. However, if you hear it from your car, you should immediately act. It may save your car engine and other parts. Also, you can prevent future problems by checking and solving any issue relevant to go-kart sound.

Go-Kart and Other Common Car Sounds – What They Mean

Over time, a silent car can start producing different noises. For example, the screeching sound when braking indicates the brake pad wear indicator rubbing against the rotor (2). If it comes from under the hood, there is maybe a loose or worn serpentine belt (3).

Sounds appearing with a decrease in power may refer to a problematic catalytic converter (4). Again, a humming noise when accelerating could indicate a problem (5). Similarly, a high-pitched hissing while the car is running might be a sign of a leak in a vacuum line, hose, or fitting (6).

Suppose your car has engine misfires with one or more of the cylinders is not firing correctly. Then, it may cause a knocking sound like a go-kart (7). It may also happen due to a leak in the front flex pipe of the exhaust system. However, there are more reasons for this noise.

Certainly, there are other common sounds, including:


I am not talking about all these noises as my prime focus is on go-kart sound. So, I request you to complete reading this blog to know its explanations and solutions.

Potential Causes of the Go-Kart Sound in a Car

Hearing noise doesn’t always mean there is something wrong with the engine. Yet you can hear this sound for several reasons. Sometimes, these reasons require immediate attention, and sometimes, we may take more time. Whatever it is, like other professionals, I also suggest you inspect the causes of the go-kart noise and take further steps.

Exhaust System Issues

Often, the high-pitched noise appears due to exhaust leaks. A cracked or leaking exhaust manifold, metal parts corrosion, road debris damage are the reasons for exhaust leaks (8, 9). Thus, exhaust leaks can be dangerous if they come close to fuel or other flammable elements (10).

Muffler issues like odd sounds due to broken baffles and broken catalytic converters are also causes why you hear kart sound (10, 11). Also, faulty oxygen sensors, excessive smoke, rust, and broken hangers are sources of noise (12).

Ignition Problems

If you hear go-kart sound, it can be a sign of engine misfiring. It means one or multiple cylinders is not firing correctly. As a result, you may hear a knocking sound like I said earlier.

An ignition system’s ignition coil, spark plug, or spark plug wire set are crucial components. When they fail or become faulty, they can cause this strange sound (13). Thus, a failing ignition switch may cut off power to the ignition and fuel systems. It will cause the engine to stall (14).

Some symptoms of a bad ignition switch are a car that won’t start, engine stalling, and a blinking instrument cluster. Even the ignition may stay on after removing the key (15).

Engine Problems

Engine problems can sometimes cause your car to produce a go-kart sound. For example, worn-out bearings can make a grinding noise when driving or idling (16). Other loose or damaged suspension parts, like shocks, struts, or bushings, can cause a rattling noise. Mostly, it happens when you drive the car over bumps or rough roads (17).

Engine noises can also be a result of issues with ignition wires, air filters, distributor caps, and ignition modules. Also, they may appear due to engine compression or worn brake pads or rotors (18).

Worn or sticking hydraulic lifters can often cause noise that may resemble a go-kart engine (19). Additionally, poor engine combustion due to broken valve seals, holes within cylinders, or overused piston rings causes a knocking noise (20).

Loose or Damaged Parts

Damaged parts in your car can be the reason for go-kart sounds. Well, a misaligned driveshaft, broken or loose heat shields, and low transmission fluid cause a rattling sound when accelerating (21). Also, a clogged or damaged carburetor can cause go-kart-like acceleration problems (22).

If your car has bad wheel bearings, they can initiate a grinding or squealing noise. Again, damaged spider gears or excessive backlash between the ring and pinion lead to clunking noises (23). Hence, broken rings or worn cylinder walls cause low ring tension. When the tension goes lower, it may create a clicking noise during acceleration (24).

Incorrectly Installed or Modified Aftermarket Parts

Have you installed any aftermarket parts in your car recently? If so, it can be the culprit of a go-kart-like sound. More precisely, incorrect installation or incompatible parts are the reasons for this noise. For instance, improperly installed stereos can cause random problems. They may not function as expected.

Mostly, third-party manufacturers make aftermarket parts. But they may not fit perfectly like the original manufacturer parts. So, this misfit causes noise issues.

Then again, incorrectly installed windshields can allow wind to enter through cracks and crevices. Though it may not feel like go-kart noise, it can increase the intensity of that noise.

How to Diagnose and Fix a Go-Kart-Like Sound in Your Car

In this part, I will explain how to address the issue. After that, you will learn how to prevent or fix unnecessary sounds in your vehicle.

Diagnosing the Causes

The first thing you need to do is visually inspect your car. So, I suggest you look for any visible damage or wear and tear signs on the engine, exhaust system, and transmission. Also, check for any leaks, cracks, or loose components.

After inspection, you may follow this step – listen carefully. It can be better to take notes of when the sound occurs. Besides, note any changes in the sound at different speeds or under various driving conditions. 

Still, if you cannot figure out what is going on, you can seek professional help. In some cases, the sound may be due to a combination of issues requiring an expert’s expertise.

Fixing a Go-Kart-Like Sound

After identification of the causes, you can start troubleshooting the intense sound. For sure, fixing the cause may make you replace parts, repair damaged parts, or adjust the car’s systems.

If the sound appears due to engine issues, you may need to replace its parts. For example, you may need to replace worn-out or damaged pistons, bearings, or other engine components. Similarly, exhaust problems can be solved by repairing or replacing the exhaust pipes, manifolds, or catalytic converter.

Keep the exhaust out of flammable objects. Also, inspect and cure the exhaust leaks thoroughly. Then, you can refill the transmission fluid to keep the transmission running well. It will prevent the go-kart sound from appearing.

Solutions to Minimize Unwanted Car Sounds

You can reduce the noise level too, okay? For this, you can adopt several strategies. For example, you can install sound-reducing mats on the cabin floor. It can reduce noise and vibrations from the car engine and exhaust system (25).

You can also check and replace worn rubber door seals. They can block out wind and exterior noise. Then again, using synthetic oil or oil additives can prevent engine knocking. It may reduce engine noise, too.

Another way is applying foam sound-deadening sprays. Even the installation of rubber undercoating can be a good idea.

Final Words: Why Does My Car Sound Like a Go-Kart?

It’s time to wrap up the whole story. I guess my explanation was excellent and easy enough to understand the reasons, right? If not, I request you to go through the blog again, please!

So, problems with the exhaust, ignition, and engine are the main reasons for the high-pitched sound. Also, you may hear the noise if any parts of these systems get damaged. So, you should listen and check the source carefully. Then, figure out what you should do.

If it requires replacement, you should do that. For repair jobs, you may call a mechanic. Otherwise, take your car to the dealer to solve the problem.

That’s it. Thanks for sharing your precious moments.

Leave a Comment