It is the time of the year when you hit the road, tow your bikes to the car, and drive towards your destination. Thus, you wouldn’t want to reach your station with one or more damaged bikes!
A bike rack is a piece of great equipment that makes transportation of your bicycle easy and quick. It not only helps carry your load from one place to another but keeps it tightly secured in place. Where most racks are easy to install, one can still get a bit confused as to how to put a bike rack on a car.
The instruction manual that comes long these bicycle racks mentions the step by step process, but even then, some people fail to put up the rack perfectly.
If you’re amongst those who find it hard to follow the manual, here is how you can put a bike rack on a car:
Opening the Rack
First things first, unpack the tool and unfold it. Most racks are arched shape, thus you need to completely open it for the arch to take its form. Hold the rack from the clamps. If the bike holder is facing upwards then it means you are holding the rack right direction.
As for hatchbacks and SUVs, one end of the frame mounts near the rear window while the other one easily fits on the boot of the trunk. On the contrary, for sedans and minivans, the rack measures the size of the trunk, fitting one end on the top and the other one at the bottom of the car trunk with ease.
Attach the Hooks Right
Once you’re done with unpacking and checking for the right side, next you need to do is to clip it to the vehicle. The hooks of the bike rack fit in the tiny space between the trunk and the car. Find a spot where these hooks slide in easily rather than using force or else the sharp metal edges will damage the vehicle.
In case you get confused as to which hook goes on which side, most racks come with hooks that have words like “bottom, “side” and “top” mentioned on it for assistance. Look for the instructions and work as guided!
Remember, every clip and a hook that comes along the rack is meant for a purpose. So before you position your bike in, make sure no clip or hook remains un-attached.
Tighten the straps
After the hooks have been clamped right in place, pull the straps to tighten the frame. Do not pull the straps with force or else it can break off. Be gentle in your action but ensure the frame is tightened well in place and is steady.
Caution: If there is a clip that is loose and you’re unable to fix it, do not use it. this is because in case you’re driving and it comes off, the rack will fall off, hurting you and others on the road. Thus, it always better to be safe than sorry!
Test for Strength and Sturdiness
You wouldn’t want to have equipment for your expensive bike that is weak and unsteady. Before you go for a ride, shake the rack with all you might to ensure it remains tightly in place.
Shake it from side to side. If it remains firm and steady than you can surely enjoy an adventurous ride and turn corners without any worries.
Nonetheless, if the rack moves when you’re shaking, re-check all the straps and hooks to find loose pieces and tighten them. For you to enjoy a hassle-free drive it is important to have a bike rack for car trunk that is sturdy and super strong.
Pull up the Bike Arms
Every rack is designed differently but the arms make the same clicking sound when pulled up! The bars that hold the bicycles in places, when pulled up should make a clicking sound. Most of these arms come with a screw to tighten it in place, a height that suits your need well.
Adjust the arms according to the size of your bike and screw it in place. Usually, two arms need to be angled upward and hold the bike. Why are the arms raised high? This allows gravity to hold the bike in place even if the straps cut loose. Until you tighten the straps again, the arms keep the bike secure and safe from falling off.
Put the Bike in the Rack
Once you have installed the rack and sure that everything is locked in place, next comes the bike. Carefully pick up your bike and place it in the arms. Place the top frame in between the arms and make sure to distribute its weight evenly or it can make the rack unsteady.
Be careful while handling the bicycle and place a clean piece of cloth in between the bike and car to avoid any damage to the vehicle. If left uncovered, the bicycle can scratch the car and ruining its paint job.
Clamps down the arms on the bike frame
There may be a strap or clamp, depending on the design of the rack to lock down the bike securely in place. Whatever is available, make sure it runs through both the arms and the bike frame to catch it tightly in place.
Next, shake the bike from side to side to make sure it has no loose ends. If it makes a rattling noise, it means a clamp needs to be tightened, thus go over all the straps and clamps to make sure everything is set well in place.
Bike Carrier Options for Riders
Want a roof-top rack for your car? Or thinking about getting one clamped to the boot of your trunk? Well, honestly, the type of bike carrier you choose all depends on the size and weight of your bicycle.
If you own something as heavy as a mountain bike, it is recommended to go for a car trunk bike carrier. Why? Because these bicycles are heavy and if placed on top of the vehicle can damage the roof.
Likewise for lighter weights, especially kids and ladies bicycles, you can easily opt for roof-top bike racks, which are super convenient and easy to install. If you’re in search of a rack for your bike, here are the types of carriers you should know about:
As already mentioned above, roof racks make a great choice for bikes that are smaller in size and lighter in weight. They do not take extra space on the vehicle and fix them easily. And most, importantly, the roof racks can easily fit up to 4 bikes at a time without damaging your vehicle.
These come with an extra bar that ensures your bike is held tightly in place. Roof carriers take less up space and are designed for convenience. But once you install it on the roof of your car, you need to be careful of garages and spaces with lower doors, or else it can damage your rack.
Car Trunk Bike rack
These work great for bikes that are heavier especially mountain bikes. Car trunk carriers fix easily to the boot of your trunk and are sturdy, ensuring complete safety of your bike when driving through bumpy rides.
Most racks can carry 4 bikes at a time but yes, take a lot of space on the back of your car. If not strapped in properly, the rack can become unsteady and fall, posing a threat of injury to those around it.
But, in most cases, the car trunk bike rack is super reliable. And yes, affordable with more space to carry multiple bikes at a time without damaging the vehicle. Some bike carriers for the trunk are foldable and easy to de-install, while others are compact enough to use less area on the boot of the trunk, giving you ample space to open the trunk and reach for things you’re looking for.
For adult bikes, this type of bicycle carrier is one of the best tools to get hold of!
Tips and Tricks for Installing a Rack
Looking for some quick tips to get you through the installation phase of the rack? Here are some useful tips:
- Always get hold of extra straps, clamps, and hooks for the rack in case one or more of those that come along the frame break off. The extra straps will help you fix the bike tightly in place because extra safety hurts no one!
- Before heading out to buy a rack, consider the size and weight of your bike to choose a carrier that is right for use.
- While installing the rack, take your time to read through the manual and move through every step slowly to ensure you haven’t missed out on anything.
Installing a bike rack on a car isn’t rocket science! If you still don’t know how to put a bike rack on the car, either look up for detailed instructions on the internet or call a professional for help!