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Are Bike Racks Safe to Use? (Quick Answers)

Bike racks are such a useful stable framework that can be attached to vehicles like cars or buses for transporting bicycles mounting on them.

However, when it comes down to the safety of the vehicles on which bike racks are attached, most of us might not know whether bike racks are safe or not. Therefore, it can raise an important issue in your mind that are bike racks actually safe to use or not.  

So, this article is going to explain whether the bike racks would be safe to use on vehicles like cars or buses to transport your bicycle via them or not. 

Are Bike Racks Safe To Use?

Bike racks are not safe to use if they are improperly installed on vehicles like cars or buses, not securely used during transporting bicycles, or badly maintained throughout the whole time. Because these situations can badly damage both the bicycle and the vehicle to which the rack is attached. 

A bike rack or bicycle carrier is a stable framework that holds the bike while transporting it from one place to another or while going for a trip. Even though bike racks are so useful tool but sometimes it’s not that safe to use.

Because bike racks are installed on the vehicles like cars or buses that carry both the rack and bicycles, so if the bike rack is improperly installed, it can damage the car. 

Moreover, if the rack is not secured and stable as well as badly maintained, it can damage both the bicycle and the vehicle to which the bike rack is installed. 

Are Roof Bike Racks Safe? 

Roof bike racks are safe until the rack is well-secured and can hold a bicycle securely. Because if the bicycles have been securely placed on the bike rack, you can transport the bicycles without worrying or can enjoy your trip without having any trouble.

Also, it’s quite cheap, so you will enjoy both the advantage of spending less money and having a moderately secure bike rack just by installing the bike rack properly. 

But do remember that overly torqued or under-torqued, improperly fitted, and overloaded roof racks always will damage your vehicle(cars or buses). 

Are Trunk Bike Racks Safe?

Trunk bike racks are also known as the boot bike racks are the least safe option for bicycles to be mounted on while transporting them. Because truck bike racks/boot bike racks usually use foam pads to be installed on top of a car.

And these foam pads are in contract with the car all the time, therefore, it rubs against the car’s painting and causes scratches. 

Also, if the straps fastened to the car are not tightened, they will rub against the paint of the car causing scratches on the car’s surface. 

Besides, boot bike racks are the least secured, so the front wheel of the bicycle can move and rub against the car’s painting resulting in a faded painting over time. 

Are Hitch Bike Racks Safe? 

Hitch or towbar bike racks are quite much safer to use to transport your bicycles using it. Because hitch or towbar bike racks don’t have any direct contraction with your vehicle(cars or buses).

Also, the locking feature of the towbar bike racks securely tightens the bicycle to the bike rack and the bike rack to your vehicle. 

However, if somehow the towbar is not properly secured or if the bicycle’s wheel moves or sways, it surely can whack against your vehicle causing damage to the car. 

Is It Safe To Drive Long-Distance With Bike Rack? 

It’s safe to drive a long-distance with a bike rack as long as you are using a locking bike rack. Because locking bike racks have a locking feature because it securely locks the bike to the bike rack and the bike rack to your car.

Therefore, when you’ll be driving a long-distance, there are very less chances that your bicycle will get stolen. 

However, it’s absolutely not safe to drive long-distance with a roof bike rack. Because on the way you can get road debris or bumpy roads, or you may drive under bridges too. Therefore, roof bike racks can’t protect your bicycle while driving.

How Do I Make Sure My Bike Rack Is Secure?

Therefore, to make you understand whether your bike is secure or not, here some tips have been provided for you through which you can understand. 

Choose A Suitable Rack 

The first tip is to purchase the most suitable bike racks that provide a locking system, such as towbar bike racks. Because towbar bike rack secures the bicycle to the tow hitch and the bike rack to your car. 

Look For Unscrewed Bolts 

After locking or mounting on your bicycle, look thoroughly for any unscrewed bolts or looseness near the structure of the rack’s base. If you see the bike rack is easy to move, don’t latch your bicycle to the rack. 

Never Lock To An Easily Removed Sign

Don’t ever lock your bicycle to a sign, especially when it’s a sign shorter than you and can be removed easily from the base. 

Use A U-Lock/Burly Chain

Use a U-lock or a burly chain to lock your bicycles to the bike racks. It’s always a better option than using a cable lock. 

Secure Your Bike Wheels 

By using a lock, secure your bicycle’s down tube and the front wheel to the bike carrier. You can use a chain or cable to secure your bicycle’s back wheel too.

How To Keep The Bike Rack From Swaying? 

Here’s very easy to follow step-by-step guidelines have been explained for you to fix the bike rack swaying. 

Get A Suitable Hitch Clamp 

Bike rack swaying mainly happens on a hitch bike rack, therefore, to fix this problem, you’ll be only needing a hitch clam.

So first get a suitable hutch clamp to stop your bicycles from shaking back and forth while driving. Hitch clamp is just a U-bolt, you can find it on Amazon.

Place The Hitch Clamp Closer To the Hitch 

Now, go all way down to the hitch of the hitch bike rack where the bike rack is just shopping around. Then place the U-bolt exactly on top of the hitch and the steel plate that came along with the U-bolt, just let it slide through its oblong holes. 

Secure The U-Bolt And The Steel Plate 

It’s the very last step. Just take lock washer and bolts then tightly fix the steel plate with the U-bolt. 

*Hitch clamp is universal so you can place the u-blot and the steel plate from any side that suits your vehicle the most*

Do Bike Racks Damage Your Car?

Bike racks can damage your car if you did not install the bike rack properly on your car or the bike rack is not secure at all. Also, the type of bike racks can also be responsible for causing damage.

Generally, roof bike racks and hitch bike racks cause less damage to any car so they are considerably safer to use. But if you are using a trunk bike rack then there are high chances that your bike will surely get damaged.

Because trunk bike racks get installed against a car’s paint and have a contraction with a car so it rubs against the car’s paint causing scratches. 

Do Trunk Bike Racks Damage Your Car? 

Trunk bike racks are the most likely to damage your car. Because this type of bike racks uses foam pads while being installed over the car.

Therefore, the foaming pads have a direct and constant contraction with the paint of the car. As a result, it keeps rubbing against the car paint and over time causes scratches on the car’s surface. 

How To Keep The Bike Rack From Scratching The Car?

Bike racks can severely damage your car by scratching it. To prevent scratching first you need to make sure that you have installed the bike rack regardless of what type properly by following the manufacturer’s instruction.

Then do double-check to make sure that the rack is secured and stable. 

Also, be aware of your bike rack to prevent scratching. Like if you have a roof bike rack, you must have a clear knowledge about whether it can pass through low bridges or drive-thru or not. And have more space in the back while reversing the car if you have a rear-mounted bike rack. 

Moreover, always correctly install the trunk bike racks, if you are using one. And use painter’s tape to protect the car’s paint. 

And lastly, choose the correct right bike rack always to prevent all types of scratching. 

How Do You Protect A Bike On A Bike Rack?

Protecting your bike on a bike rack is crucial, therefore, three tips have been given for you so that you can follow them and protect your bike on a bike rack. 

The Trunk Lock 

It’s the most cheapest way you can adopt to protect your bike on a bike rack. The trunk lock is a long cable-type strap with a round puck at end of it. Make a loop with the trunk lock and fasten the loop to secure the frame of your bike. 

You can especially use it for securing bikes on roof racks. 

The Tow Loop 

This is another way to protect your bike on a bike rack. In this way, you’ll be needing an outer tow hitch tool to protect your bike. You have the choice to make a loop with a strong cable under the bumper or over the cover of your bicycle. 

Bike Cover 

No matter what locking system you might be using, you got to use a bike cover to protect your bike from dirt and dust, also bike cover will cover all metallic parts of the bike, even if you keep your bike on a bike rack for a long time.

Do Bikes Get Damaged On Roof Racks?

Bikes mounted on roof racks have much possibilities to get damaged. Because the bikes are attached to your car’s rooftop and if you are not aware of the clearance of your vehicle, your bike will get damaged. 

As you will surely get some low object on your way such as low bridges, low drive-thru, or garages. So if you don’t know how much clearance your vehicle needs, your bike can be pulled off the rack or shoved against your car getting damaged.   

How Do I Stop My Bike From Hitting Each Other On The Rack?

There are two ways to stop the bikes from hitting each other on the rack. The ways are explained below. 

Detachable Bike Bumpers 

It’s an easy but expensive solution. All you need to attach the bike bumpers to the places where you want to affix them. Then take a latch hook and step to secure the bumpers in the right spot. 

Pipe Insulation Tubes 

In this way, you got to wrap the parts of your bike frame with foam padding. Just measure the size of the part you want to protect. Then cut the foam tubes and attach them to the parts, lastly secure them with adjustable and Velcro straps. 

How To Keep Handlebars From Moving On The Bike Rack?

You can use the strap that comes along with the bike racks. Just tie your bike’s handlebars with the bike rack with that strap to keep the handlebars straight. The straps work pretty for tying the handlebars and not hard to use. 

How To Keep The Wheel From Spinning On The Bike Rack?

The most cost-effective way to keep your bicycle’s wheel from spinning on the bike rack is using bungee cords.

Purchase bungee cords and wrap the cords around and inside of the bike’s wheel and the frame so that there’s no movement can happen. And quite a good manner your bike’s wheel will stay in place without swinging. 

As long as you are properly installing the bike racks on your vehicle and making sure that they are secure, bike racks are safe to use. So maintain proper installing of bike racks. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are Bike Racks Universal? Can They Go on Any Car?

Are Bike Racks Waterproof?

Are Bike Racks Worth It?

Do Bike Racks Need a Hitch Ball?

Do Bike Racks Need Lights?