How to Hook Up a Bike Rack to My Car

Written by rocco pendola
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How to Hook Up a Bike Rack to My Car
(Karl Weatherly/Photodisc/Getty Images)

You should never transport your bike in the back seat of your car, otherwise you risk damaging your bike and car's upholstery. Spare yourself the trouble and invest in a car rack. For your car, boot-mounted racks are the answer a majority of the time.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Bike rack
  • Partner (optional)

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  1. 1

    Locate the straps and hooks on your bike rack that attach to your vehicle's boot. While specifics vary from model to model, most boot-mounted bike racks hook into the groove of your boot. The hooks are typically connected to tether straps that are pulled taut to secure the rack to the boot. Refer to your rack's owner's manual for specifics pertaining to your application.

  2. 2

    Section out the hooks so they hang off of the rack in the general area where they shall attach to your vehicle. For instance, the popular Saris Bones' series of racks contains six hooks—two are labelled "top," two are labled "side" and two are labelled "lower." It is easiest to have them untangled and ready to attach so they do not interfere with your rack's arms and legs.

  3. 3

    Adjust the legs of your rack as instructed by your rack's manufacturer. Most boot racks come with legs that rest on the upper portion of your boot (or lower portion of the rear window, depending on the size of your car) and the top of your rear bumper. In the case of the Saris Bones, you simply loosen each leg's knob and adjust them so the upper and lower legs conform to the contours of your car. You may find that your rack requires you to turn a screw or some other mechanism to allow the legs to adjust.

  4. 4

    Position the rack on your vehicle's boot when you think you have the legs in the proper position. Fine-tune the position and lock the legs into place. Again, precisely how you accomplish this varies from make to make. On the Saris Bones, you simply hand-tighten the knobs.

  5. 5

    Place each hook into the groove of your boot. On the Bones, you will put the hooks labelled "top" in the grooves just below the rear window, the "side" hooks in the side grooves and the "lower" hooks in the trunk's lower grooves, just above the bumper. Some racks and some vehicles call for the lower hooks to fit underneath the bumper.

  6. 6

    Pull each strap tight as to secure the hooks in grooves, allowing the rack to firmly attach to your vehicle. The Saris Bones, for instance, uses tether straps that you pull taut to accomplish this.

  7. 7

    Move the rack from side-to-side once you think you have it sufficiently secured. With all boot racks, when you attempt to move the rack, the entire vehicle should sway. In essence, the rack becomes part of the vehicle.

  8. 8

    Adjust the arms of your rack so that it can accept your bike or bikes. In most cases, you will manipulate the arms in the same way as you move the legs. Place your bike on the arms as suggested by your rack's manufacturer. With the Bones, you rest the bike's top tube over the slots on the rack's arms that have straps that secure your bike. With other racks, you simply slide your bike or bikes onto the rack and secure them with a bungee cord or the excess portion of the straps hanging from the rack.

Tips and warnings

  • Before buying a bike rack for your car, check to see what is compatible. Not all racks work with all cars. In relatively rare cases, you may not be able to find a boot-mounted rack for your car. You may need to go with a roof rack or a hitch rack.

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