How to Put a Bike Rack on a Car?

Transportation of a bike from one place to another can be troublesome if you don’t have the proper gear. Carrying your bike inside the car may seem convenient, but it can make the car interior look dirty.

Not only that, the bike will take a large portion of the space of your car. In such situations, a bike rack can be great equipment to transport your bike through your vehicle. It helps carry your bike while ensuring it is secured in place tightly.

Although most racks are easy to set up, one can get confused about putting a bike rack on a car. We will present a step-by-step guideline in this context on placing a bike rack on your vehicle to clarify your confusion.

Why Do You Need A Bike Rack On A Car?

Purchasing a bike rack is a good investment that makes it easier to transport your bike from one place to another. Typically, transporting a bike while traveling you may need to spend money. With a bike rack, you can save money by transporting your bike through your car. As a result, you can travel your bike anywhere you want.

This enables you to enjoy tourism, exercise, or pleasure riding with the convenience and comfort of your own bike. Also, you can explore cycling trails in and out of your area. The good thing is that having a specialized bike rack for your e-bike allows you to hold other types of equipment as well. These types of racks can be used to hold two or three bikes at a time.

Different Types Of Bike Racks For The Car

There are different types of bike racks you will find on the market. Here we have discussed some widely used types of bike racks.

Hitch-Mounted Bike Racks

This type of rack is usually attached to the vehicle hitch and can vary according to the number of bikes carried. With hatch-mounted bike racks, you don’t have to remove the wheel to mount because they require a small distance from the vehicle. There is little chance of getting your car any scratches using these racks.

Hitch Back & Trunk Bike Racks

Hitch Back & trunk bike racks are ideal for transporting one to three bikes. They are designed with straps that help hold tension at different points on your trunk or rear deck. With minimal effort, you can attach and fasten these bike racks with your car. Although hitch back and trunk bike racks are expensive, they are suitable for longer use.

Roof-Mounted Bike Racks

Some rear-mounted bike racks may create an obstacle in viewing the car’s rear portion while driving. But you will not find any such problem with roof-mounted bike racks. These racks are suitable for transporting one or two bikes with your car. You will also find some lockable models of these racks, which are ideal even if the car is driving on rough surfaces. Remember, loading and unloading your bike in these racks may require a lot of strength.

Spare Tire Bike Racks

Spare tire bike racks are suitable for some off-road models and older vehicles. With these types of racks, you can hold up to two bikes. Compared to other bike racks, spare tire bike racks are relatively inexpensive. One downside of these racks is removing the extra tire cover to install this rack.

How to Put a Bike Rack on a Car

Putting a bike rack on a vehicle usually depends on the type of your chosen rack. Below, we have presented an overall step-by-step guideline on placing a bike rack on a car.

Choose The Right Bike Rack

Picking the right bike rack for your vehicle is important to ensure maximum security and stability for your bike. So, you should consider the type of bike rack you want to install in your vehicle. We have already discussed different types of bike racks that you can install in your car. In that case, you can measure the tailgate of your vehicle and the bike rack to ensure the rack is ideal for your car.

Installing The Bike

After picking the right bike rack, you have to install it on your car. In that case, you can first read the user’s manual before starting the installation procedure. For your help, below, we have discussed step-by-step installations on installation bike racks on a car.

Hitch Bike Rack

For installing the hitch bike rack, you have first to measure the size of your chosen hitch. Typically, most hitches are equipped with an adapter for a 2-inch trap receiver. If your vehicle hitch doesn’t match this size, it is also possible to remove the adapter to make the bike rack compatible with your car. Then, lift the hitch rack after removing the cap from the hitch. Once you raise the hitch, smoothly move the rack into the trap receiver. To improve the security, place bolts and lock washers properly.

Roof Bike Racks

If you like using a roof bike rack, you need to ensure that your car has factory-setup side rails with crossbars. You also have to inspect whether your car has mounting places on the top. Once you have found the car has all these things, you can ensure that you can put a roof bike rack. For installing this rack, you have first to measure the distance between the size of your chosen rack against the crossbars.

Hook the rack across each crossbar and stepladder once you measure and fit the bike rack accordingly. After that,  ensure the front rack is aligned with the front crossbar. The rear of the rack should be secured to the crossbar’s back. After making the bike rack flat, secure it to the crossbar using the strap.

Trunk Mounted Racks

These racks are easy to mount and remove from the vehicle. For that, you can easily take the rack on and off when you require it. When putting this bike rack together, you have first to make it flat on the ground so that the straps are separated.

Ensure that each strap is attached to a distinct section of the rack. After that, open your car trunk a little so that you can attach the straps and hook the rack in place. At this stage, you have to ensure that the hook slides under the window and over the top trunk. Lastly, tighten the straps attached to the trunk and close it.

Add Double Security

You can use additional straps to ensure a more secure attachment. These straps will provide more protection for your bike. Simply place the bike tube over the rack and secure it using these straps. This way, it is also possible to immobilize the bike so that they do not spin while driving.

Check For Strength And Sturdiness

No one may want to keep their bike that is unsteady and weak. So you should check whether the rack is positioned tightly in the right place. In that case, shake the rack from side to side to check all the straps and hooks are tight enough to keep the bike rack. If you find any straps and hooks loose, tighten them.

Put The Bike In The Rack

Having secured everything on the rack, carefully pick up your bike. At this stage, you need to place the upper frame between the arms to ensure that the weight is evenly divided on the rack. And also tighten the bike to the rack using the straps properly. To avoid any harm to your car, you can use a piece of cloth between the bike and car. A little thrusting of the bike to your vehicle can cause scratches and ruin the car paint.

Are Bike Racks Safe To Install On A Car?

Bike racks are entirely safe until the rack is well-secured and can hold a bike securely. Once the bikes have been securely placed on the rack, you can transport them without worrying. As a result, you can explore your trip instead of having any trouble.

Improperly installed bike racks can badly damage both the bike and the car during transport. So, you should check the bike rack properly before transporting any bike through your vehicle. In that case, you can check whether all hooks are locked properly and the straps are tight enough to hold the bike.


Putting a bike rack on your car is a wise decision you made. It makes you carry your favorite bike wherever you go for a trip. This way, you can keep cycling even if you are on a trip. However, most people find it difficult to put a bike rack on their car. For that, we have provided a complete guideline on how to put different bike racks on the vehicle.

Following the simple process, you can easily install a bike rack on your car, whether it is a hitch, roof, or trunk-mounted rack. When putting on a rack, ensure you secure the hocks and strips properly. Otherwise, there is a chance of damaging both the car and bike.


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