How to Attach a Bicycle Rack to a Car

Written by ashley garay
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How to Attach a Bicycle Rack to a Car
If you want to take your bike with you, a rear-mounted rack with straps fits most cars. (rack with bikes image by Canakris from Fotolia.com)

Though there are many different types of bicycle racks, a simple rack with straps to attach to your boot or hatchback fits most cars and is simple to install. Consumer Reports points out that strap-on boot-mounted carriers tend to be the least expensive option, often fit on multiple cars with few adjustments and are easy to remove and store. However, the weight of the bicycles resting against your car can cause paint damage and the bikes may obstruct your tail lights or number plate, so be careful to adhere to product guidelines when attaching a bicycle rack to your car.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Bicycle rack with straps
  • Foam blocks or pool noodles
  • Bungee cord or bicycle lock
  • Bicycle

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Hold the rack on the back of your car over your bumper with the "hook" on the end curved upwards to hold your bicycles. You may want to ask a friend to hold this for you. The lower bar should rest near your number plate, and the upper bars should rest either on the top of your boot or against your hatchback rear window with the bicycle rack bars protruding out of the back of your car.

  2. 2

    Loosen the straps on the rack to create some slack in the strap. Pull the piece of the strap that is between the buckles up and then pull the part closet to the metal hook on the end of the strap to create more slack in the strap. Repeat for all four or six straps as appropriate for your rack.

  3. 3

    Stretch the top left strap straight up and insert the metal end in the crack between the rear of your boot and the body of your vehicle near the left corner. In a hatchback, this will be on top of your car. Pull the end of the strap to tighten, but leave a little bit of slack to adjust later.

  4. 4

    Stretch the top right strap straight up and insert the metal end in the crack between the rear of your boot and the body of your vehicle. In a hatchback, this will be on top of your car. Pull the end of the strap to tighten, but leave a little bit of slack to adjust later.

  5. 5

    Stretch the bottom left strap straight down and insert the metal end in the crack between the bottom of your boot, where you open it, and the bumper. Pull the end of the strap to tighten, but leave a little bit of slack to adjust later.

  6. 6

    Stretch the bottom right strap straight down and insert the metal end in the crack between the bottom of your boot, where you open it, and the bumper. Pull the end of the strap to tighten, but leave a little bit of slack to adjust later.

  7. 7

    Stretch the left strap, if you have side straps, to the left and insert the metal end between the boot or hatchback of your vehicle and the body of the vehicle. Pull the end of the strap to tighten, but leave some slack for adjustments.

  8. 8

    Stretch the right strap, if you have side straps, to the right and insert the metal end between the boot or hatchback of your vehicle and the body of the vehicle. Pull the end of the strap to tighten, but leave some slack for adjustments.

  9. 9

    Adjust your bike rack as needed so it fits in the centre of your hatchback or boot.

  10. 10

    Pull all straps tight by grasping the loose end of the strap, bracing a hand against the buckles, and pulling until tight.

  11. 11

    Insert the bicycle rack bars through the crossbars of your bicycles to load. Do not exceed the number of bikes recommended by your bicycle rack product information. You may want to insert foam blocks or pool noodles between bicycles or on their crossbars to prevent scraping.

  12. 12

    Check that the straps have not loosened after loading bicycles and adjust as necessary.

  13. 13

    Thread a bungee cord through the bicycles and connect the end hooks to secure bicycles onto your bicycle rack. You can also use a bicycle lock.

Tips and warnings

  • Be very careful reversing with a rear-mounted bicycle rack on your vehicle.

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