How To Put A Bike Rack On A Car

So, you want to put a bike rack on a car. There are several different bike racks to choose from, and each style has a different set of requirements for installation. They also have various advantages and disadvantages. You will want to make sure you choose one that’s right for you, your car, and your bike. How about we look at all your options?

There are three standard bike racks available today. One kind of rack fits on the trunk of your car. Another type of bike rack attaches to the trailer hitch of your truck. Finally, there is the type of bike rack that fits on the roof of your vehicle. Most bike racks can be attached to your car without the use of extra tools with one exception. You might require a wrench to install the one that attaches to your trailer hitch.

Now that you have selected the one that will be best for you, it is time to put the bike rack on your car. To illustrate that for you, we will break it up into three different blocks of instruction. First, we will cover the bike rack that you attach to the trailer hitch of your vehicle. It is a bit more complicated than the rest of them, so let’s get it out of the way. Then we will show you how to install the rooftop bike rack followed by the trunk model.

Trailer Hitch Model

If your vehicle has a trailer hitch, you can attach this model. The benefit of this model is that it can hold heavier loads and can adapt to different weights. When choosing this option, make sure it is the right one for your vehicle. Make sure you get a rack that is the right size for your trailer hitch. They come in different sizes, and you will save time and frustration by verifying the proper fit early on.

It is a good idea to check with your manufacturer to ensure your vehicle will be the right fit for a hitch model bike rack. You can usually look this up on the manufacturer's website or in the owner’s manual. If that does not work, you will likely find the information on the bike rack packaging.

Read your instruction manual to see if there are any extra tools or assembly required. It is usually little or no assembly, but that may not be the case with the brand you have purchased. Attaching the rack will typically be easy. It should only require one or two steps.

Often the hitch-mounted rack will attach to the bottom of your vehicle. Although hitch racks can vary widely, the most common assembly will be sliding a pole into the hitch opening. You will then screw a bolt in to lock everything together for safe traveling. Note that some of the hitch-mounted racks will require you to slide under the vehicle to screw the bolt into the assembly frame. You can use a wrench to tighten the bolt. A socket wrench will work best in most situations.

Rooftop Model

If you have crossbars on the roof of your vehicle, the rooftop bike rack may be the one for you. The benefit of a rooftop bike rack is an unobscured line of vision. The other bike racks can block the line of sight when using your rearview or side mirrors. That does not happen with a rooftop rack. The disadvantages are exposure of your bike to the elements, including bug spatter.

To attach a rooftop bike rack, you first want to read your instruction manual. You may consult the owner’s manual of your vehicle for any manufacturer’s recommendations. The first step will be to measure the length and width of your rooftop crossbars. Most roof-mounted bike racks are adjustable, but they do have a limited range. That might be an essential consideration to keep in mind when you are shopping for the rack. It is also essential to consider your height. If you are not tall enough to use a rooftop bike rack, you will choose a different model.

The installation will require you to assemble the rack on the ground. Once complete, get a step ladder and place the rack on top of your vehicle, with the front facing the windshield. Lay the rack on top of the crossbars and align them with the tracks of the bike rack. Next, you will attach the front strap to the front crossbar, and the back strap to the crossbar at the rear. Lock the attachments in place and secure the rack to the vehicle. There may be adjustments needed to the car rack throughout the process because components will differ amongst models of bike rack and vehicles.

Trunk-Mount Model

This model is the standard model. It is the easiest to attach and allows you the most freedom of movement and storage. If you want to take the rack on and off, you can do so with little to no trouble. It is also the rack you want to choose to avoid low hanging trees or underpasses.

To attach the rack, you should first consult the instruction manual and your vehicle owner’s manual to make sure you follow the manufacturers’ recommendations. Once confirmed, simply open your car’s trunk and attach the corresponding straps to the body’s appropriate spots. You will fold the lip over the edge where the trunk stops. Adjust the position of the rack by sliding it along the trunk until it is centered on the pads. Tighten each of the straps once your rack is centered correctly.

And Finally

When using a rack that goes on the rear of your vehicle, it is essential to consider your line of sight. Make sure the rack will still give you ample room to see when the bikes are loaded. If you have a rear-facing camera, do your best to make sure it is unobstructed. Also, keep in mind some bike racks may scratch your vehicle. That is an important consideration if you are concerned about keeping your car in pristine condition.