Bike racks are designed to safely and securely transport your valuable bicycles, but protecting your vehicle should also be an important concern. It is useless if a rack keeps your bicycles in mint condition but causes expensive damage to your car. A cheap or incorrectly mounted hitch, spare tire, and SUV bike rack can cause major damage to your bicycle and car. Taking proper precautions ensures that your vehicle remains as protected as your bicycle when using a rack.
Be mindful of your surroundings.
Often, when you have a new bike rack or mounted one for the first time, you can cause damage to your vehicle by not being mindful of your surroundings. We call to get into certain driving habits after a while, and adapting to changes to the vehicle, such as an added bike rack, can take a while. This is particularly dangerous in the case of roof-mounted bicycle racks, as if you are not used to them. It is all too easy to forget that they are even there.
Needless to say, this can be disastrous if you are used to driving into your garage or carport with the bikes still on the roof. The bikes and rack will be damaged, and the vehicle will likely require expensive repairs. The same goes for taking tight corners with a trunk-mounted bike rack. To prevent the presence of your bike rack from slipping your mind, you might have to place signs or reminders to alert you that your vehicle now needs extra clearance for maneuvers you might be used to performing without thinking.
Mount The Bike Rack Properly
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to correctly mount your bike rack, no matter what type of rack it is. Double-check the instructions with your chosen bike rack and follow them to ensure the rack is fitted securely. You’ll also find a wealth of online resources regarding the proper mounting of bicycle racks, so don’t be stubborn and search for help if you are unsure how to proceed.
Do Not Overload Your Bike Rack
All bike racks are designed to fit a certain amount of bikes and carry a certain amount of weight. The exact numbers will be indicated on the packaging, as well as assembly instructions for the rack. As tempting as it might be to keep using those two bike racks when you buy an additional bike, you place your equipment and vehicle at risk. Pay heed to the limitations of your bike rack and purchase a new rack when you start transporting multiple bikes instead of overloading your existing rack.
Regularly Inspect Your Bike Rack
Even a properly mounted and secured bike rack is susceptible to a certain amount of wear and tear through regular usage. When loading your bikes, double-check that all the straps and mountings are still secure and in place to avoid anything shifting or coming loose while on the road. Neglecting to do so can cause the bikes to loosen while traveling at high speed, which is dangerous for yourself and other motorists on the road and can also cause serious damage to your vehicle.
Most rear racks feature pads that protect your car’s paint job, so make sure that these have not shifted or worn out. Through regular inspections, you can minimize the risk of damage to your vehicle by the bike rack.
Fasten Bicycles Securely To The Rack
Traveling at freeway speeds can cause a lot of movement from your bikes if they are not properly strapped down. It doesn’t help if your bike rack is securely mounted, but your bicycle pedals are left spinning in the wind and potentially scratching up your vehicle’s paint job. Instead, take the extra time to properly fasten the bicycle using extra straps to keep everything stable and secure. If traveling long distances with the bike rack, it is also a good idea to make occasional stops to double-check if everything is still fastened properly.
A UK native, passionate writer, and outdoorsman, Nathan enjoys piercing words together to share his knowledge on cycling, kayaking, and camping in intriguing and engaging ways. As a father to twins and a keen runner, he is passionate about helping people make the most of their time and health.