How To Keep Your Vehicle Damage Free When Using A Bike Rack


Avid bicyclists all seem to share one problem when traveling with their bikes. It is all centered around bike racks and the damage it can cause to your car.

Whether it is mounting the rack, traveling with, or dismounting your bike there are all kinds of risks to your paint job if you don’t take precautions.

The roof rack, the hitch rack, and the infamous trunk rack all come with their own unique issues when it comes to traveling but here are some ways to keep your vehicle damage free when using your bike rack.

Common Problems when using a bike rack.

Bike Rack Problem
Bike Rack Problem

Most of the time the problems begin when you first mount the rack. If the car is not clean or there is dirt where you are planning on mounting it the rack will scratch the paint.

Another problem lies in the fact that when you drive the bikes tend to move around if not secured properly. So make sure that every time you mount a bike rack that it is firmly secured to your vehicle.

If your bikes are not locked into place it can lead to pedals scratching your paint or dinging your car. However, most of the time damage occurs when we simply forget that the bike rack is there and accidents happen.

Setting up little reminders where you can see them can help reduce these kinds of accidents. Place a post-it note on your dash or put your garage key in one of your small biking backpacks.

Each type of bike rack comes with its own set risks but most can be averted if you follow these simple tips.

Protect your car and bike by doing the following:

  • Roof Racks

    • Remember your bikes are there!
    • Remove front wheel on bike when using roof racks to allow you to go through lower over passes.
    • Be careful when loading and unloading your bike so you don’t scratch your car.
    • Do not overload your bike rack.
  • Hitch racks

    • Secure bikes so they do not hit your car.
    • Make sure your wheels are kept away from the exhaust system so it doesn’t melt your tires.
    • Be careful when reversing.
    • Make sure all bikes are locked so they don’t shake loose while driving.
    • Check to make sure you mount the hitch high enough so the bikes don’t hit the road
  • Trunk Racks

    • Be careful when using the straps because :
      • when they are new they will spring back on you if not secured correctly.
      • they tend to stretch over time so make sure your bikes are tightly secured.
    • When loading your bikes turn the pedal of the first bike toward your license plate so it doesn’t ruin your paint.
Hitch Mount Bike rack Crash!
Hitch Mount Bike rack Crash!

Car damage can cost thousands of dollars if you are not careful. So be mindful of your bike rack as it is very important if you want to keep both your car and bike damage free.

When mounting a bike rack you can add an extra layer of protection like Scotchguard paint or a protection film like Rack Guard. This can help with reducing scratches caused by roof racks as well as trunk racks.

Sometimes bike racks come with mounting accessories that help protect your car. For example, some roof racks come with little clear protective stickies that you can attach where the feet meet your vehicle.

If you do find these little clear protectors be sure to use them as they will reduce scuff marks caused by the bike rack itself. Remember to mount your bike rack onto a clean surface, inspect your bike rack before you go from one place to another, and always remind yourself where your bicycles are located.

Here is some day to day tips on how to protect your vehicle when using a bike rack.

  • Always be mindful of your surroundings.
  • Leave yourself an obvious reminder of where your bike rack is located so you don’t hit anything.
  • When loading your bike remember to check all straps, clamps, and locks before traveling.
  • Do not try to overload your bike rack because it runs a higher risk of causing it to sway or fall which can seriously do some damage depending on what type of rack you are using.
  • Before using your bike rack make sure all parts are intact.
  • The last tip is to try to put your bike rack away if you are not using it. Leaving a bike rack on a vehicle only increases the chances of it damaging your car. Also, subjecting a bike rack to extreme weather can cause it to deteriorate more rapidly.

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