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How To Put A Bike Rack On A Car

September 04, 2019
How To Put A Bike Rack On A Car
How To Put A Bike Rack On A Car

Getting your bike from point A to point B doesn’t have to be a pain in the keister. Bike racks can fit on the top or back of your vehicle, and many models are able to accommodate multiple bikes. What’s more – you don’t have to be a handyman to learn how to put a bike rack on a car. 

Let’s dive into the three main types of racks and what you need to know about installing a bike rack. With a few tools and some patience, you and your sixthreezero could be en route to a new trailhead in no time. 

Roof Racks

A lot of cars have a combination of factory-installed siderails, towers, and mounting points on the roof. If your vehicle has a roof rack, all you need is a bike mount attachment.

If your vehicle’s roof doesn’t have one already, you have a few options for bike rack installation. You can install an entire rack system, or you can use door jam mounts to create a rack that may be removed at any time. To put a door jam rack on your car:

  1. Measure the door for proper placement. Based on the manufacturer’s recommendations, the rack clips will need to be a certain distance from the place where the front and back doors meet (an area called the B pillar). For instance, for compact cars, the front clip should be about 35 cm from the B pillar and the back clip will be about 45 cm from the B pillar. 
  2. Place the clips in your door jams. The rails may be attached to the clip, or they may need to be screwed in after the clips are installed.
  3. Tighten the clips as necessary so that they are tightly affixed. You should be able to easily open and close your door without disturbing the door clip. Attach the rails (if necessary) and add a bike mount to the rails. You’re ready to go!

Hitch Racks

If your car has a trailer hitch (or you’re willing to install one) this is another great option. It’s easier to lift a bike onto a hitch rack than a roof rack, and you won’t have to worry about the height of your bikes when you’re going through a tunnel. Installing hitch racks is easy:

  1. Measure the size of your hitch. Most hitch racks come with an adapter for a 2-inch hitch receiver. If your hitch is 1 ¼, removing the adapter is typically enough to make the hitch and the rack compatible. 
  2. Remove the cap on your hitch and lift the hitch rack. 
  3. Slide the rack into the hitch receiver (the open square). 
  4. Once the hole on the side of the receiver is lined up with the hole in the rack, use bolts and lock washers to secure the rack to the hitch. You’re all set!

Trunk Racks

If you have an open and close trunk (in other words, not a hatch back), a trunk rack is a simple and removable option. You can install this type of rack every time you need to take your bike somewhere and remove it at the end of the day. To add a trunk rack:

  1. Lay the rack out on the ground so you can separate the straps and have them oriented in advance. 
  2. Open the trunk a few inches and put the top straps and hooks in place. The hooks will slide between the top of your trunk and the bottom of your rear window. 
  3. Lay the rack as you want it on the top of your trunk. 
  4. Put the bottom hooks around the bottom of your trunk. 
  5. Close the trunk and tighten the straps so the hooks won’t slide or move. You’re ready to attach your bike!

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