How to Install Bicycle Rack on a Car

Bike rack installed on SUV

Going on a road trip, especially in the summer months, is a beautiful experience.

If you’re a biking enthusiast, and you know how to install a bicycle rack on a car, you’ll be even happier!

You can enjoy the warm weather in all its glory and the sights and sounds of nature. And when you have a bike in tow, you can hop on it once you reach your destination and explore freely.

Transporting your bike in a car may be difficult for those who have not done it before. A bike rack for car is a simple solution so you can mount your bike and safely drive it around.

There are specific types of bike racks available for different models and sizes of cars and bikes. They include hitch racks, roof racks, and trunk racks.

In this article, we will walk you through how to install a bicycle rack on a car using different types of racks. This guide will help you choose the right bike rack and prevent you from scratching or damaging your vehicle while mounting it.

We will also answer all of your questions and concerns about the safety of mounting your bike on a rack. Read on for all you need to know.


Guide for How to Install A Bicycle Rack on A Car

Guide for How to Install A Bicycle Rack on A Car

Tools and Equipment

Here are the tools and equipment that you need to attach the appropriate bike rack to your car:

  • Car hitch
  • Adapter for a 2-inch hitch receiver
  • Bolts
  • Lock washers
  • Retractable measuring tape
  • Step ladder
  • Extra straps

Step-By-Step Guide

1. Select the Right Bicycle Rack

Hitch rack - How to install a bicycle rack on a car

First, choose the appropriate bicycle rack for your car. This step is the most important one as the fit and compatibility of the rack will determine the level of stability and security of the attachment.

Factor in the type of car that you own to understand the rack size ideal for it. To do this, measure your car’s tailgate or boot. Next, check with a professional at a local bike shop about the type of bike rack your car needs.

Here are the most common types of bike racks:

  • Hitch racks: A hitch rack is ideal if your car has a trailer hitch. It can easily carry large and heavy mountain bikes. Check if your chosen rack is suitable for the size of the trailer hitch.
  • Roof racks: A roof rack is an excellent option if your vehicle has crossbars on the roof and know how to install bike rack on top of car. The best feature of roof racks is that they do not block your rearview mirrors’ line of sight. However, you will not be able to glance at the state of your bike as you drive; you need to stop and get out of the car if you want to check in on it.
  • Trunk racks: These are the standard rack models used for cars. They are very easy to install, and you can unmount them whenever you need.

2. Install the Bike Rack

Strenghtening bicycle rack

Look through your bike rack’s manual before you begin the installation. This way, you can orient yourself with the specific features and go through the step-by-step process without getting confused or turned around in the middle.

The specifics of installation differ depending on your rack:

Hitch Racks

Measure the hitch size. Many hitch rack models come with an adapter for a 2-inch hitch receiver. If the hitch is not of this size, remove the adapter to make it compatible with the hitch rack.

Uncap the hitch and raise the hitch rack. Put the rack into the hitch receiver and secure it with bolts and lock washers.

Roof Racks

To use a roof rack, your car must have side rails along with crossbars. Check the roof and see if it has mounting points so you can use the bike mount attachment.

Measure the distance between the crossbars and compare it with the rack size. Install the rack as per the measurement.

Ensure that the front and rear of the rack are aligned with the front and rear of the car’s crossbar. Flatten the rack on the bar and secure the attachment with the strap. Make sure the rack is secured firmly on the vehicle and does not rattle around before mounting your bike.

Trunk Racks

Place the rack on the floor and separate its straps. Each strap corresponds to a particular area of the rack.

Lift the trunk of your car to hook the straps securely. The hook must slide between the top of the trunk and under the back window. Shut the trunk and fasten the straps.

3. Add Extra Straps

how to install a bike rack on a hatchback - few extra straps for safety

Add extra straps to your bike for better protection. Mount the bike tube on the rack with these extra straps. Secure the wheel to prevent it from rotating while you drive.

4. Inspect the Stability of the Rack

Finally, double-check the attachment’s stability by jolting the bike rack in all directions.

Hold the bike frame and move the rack. If it shifts along the side of the car, it means that you’ve correctly attached the rack.

Are Car Bike Racks Safe?

Transporting bicycles with bike racks

Bike racks – no matter what kind – are undoubtedly top-notch solutions for transporting your bike.

As long as you choose the right type of rack for your car and bike and mount it correctly, bike racks are absolutely safe. They prevent your bike from moving around during transport and guard it against damage and scratches.

When you choose a rear-mounted rack, you can check on your bike frequently in your rearview mirror even as you drive. Moreover, they free up space in your vehicle so that you store and transport other essential supplies for your road trip.

Do your due diligence and look for a high-quality bike rack to mount on your vehicle. A durable rack will last many years, and you can take it all over the country.

Before you drive off, double-check the rack and make sure it is mounted securely. This is crucial so you can rest assured that it will not endanger other drivers or damage your car or bike.


We hope this guide answered all your queries about how to install a bicycle rack on a car. These simple steps – along with the manufacturer’s instructions – will make the job a breeze.

If you wish to read more such articles on biking, head to our website for our vast collection of blog posts and guides. Happy reading!


Last Updated on June 25, 2023 by Danijel Cakalic

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