Does a Bike Rack Damage Or Scratch Your Car? (Explained)

For bike enthusiasts, a bike rack is an essential. It saves much energy, time and cost while making the biking experience enjoyable. But the comfort of a bike rack comes with a fear of getting the car damages and scratched.

If you are not careful while choosing the bike rack, it might prove to be very damaging to your car. Better to talk to experts and do your research before you get your bike rack attached to your car to use for your bike.

Does a bike rack damage or scratch your car?

If there is serious friction between your car and a bike rack, it will leave damage. The damage is too severe and almost inevitable. The bike racks usually sit against the cars and they are strapped to the edges of the trunks. So it rubs against the car and can cause a scratch or a damage easily.

The bike racks are usually attached behind the car, to the edges of the trunk. It gets a lot of friction as the car moves.

With every turn and speed the car and the bike racks crash with each other ever so slightly. But the damage is already done with that small amount of friction because it leaves a scar.

Amongst all the other bike racks, Trunk Mounted Bikes have the greatest potential to cause damage to your car. The bike rack literally sits against the edge of the trunk. Any type of contact with the car and the rack is severe as it leaves scratches.

With more friction, there is more damage done. Being careful is an option but it is not always possible to keep a look out behind the car, especially while driving.

How to keep the bike rack from scratching the car?

With bike racks, damages and scratches to your car is almost inevitable. Even the slightest friction tends to leave a scratch, be it small.

You have to be extra careful when you strap on a bike rack to your car. There are some ways to prevent your car from scratching due to the bike racks-

Proper installation of the bike racks

Make sure to properly install your bike rack to the edge of your car. Follow the instruction and installation guide point by point and you should be fine. If you feel it is not set properly, go to a garage and get it done. But do not take the risk.

Double Check to be sure

Once attached, take your time with the checking of the bike racks. Take an extra minute to check the sturdiness of the rack. This extra minute will save you a lot.

The type of bike rack that is attached

A lot depends on the type of bike rack you use. Different types of mounted bikes need different types of attachment. For example, the rear mounted rack needs more space on the back for reversing. Keep the different requirements in mind before installing the bike racks.

Keep the contact points clean

Sometimes the dirt between the contact point and the bike rack tends to create more scratches due to friction.

Another common problem is when you use a foam between the contact point of the rack and the car, the dirt stuck there will create a scratch when the foam moves. This is why you should properly clean the points.

Paint protection film

If you notice any specific part of the car that has more friction with the bike racks, be sure to use protection tape or paint protection film there. This will prevent the scratches and wearing down of the car.

The right bike matters

As the bike is what will be carried, it is best to make sure to get the right type of bike to prevent any damage or accident.

These are some of the common ways you can prevent damages to your car because of the attachment of bike racks. Use whichever you find the reason for scratching or damages.

How do you touch up scratches on a bike?

With minor scratches on your car, it is fairly easy to clean and cover up the damage. But with larger and more serious scratches, it is best to go to a garage and let the experts handle it.

If you want to cover the small scratches on your car some of the simple steps are given for out to follow through-

Apply candle wax:

Use Candle Wax to temporarily cover the scratches. Clean the scuffed area and apply candle wax after it dries. The scratch will become invisible for the time being.

Apply urethane paints:

Urethane Auto Paints are a great cover up for the scratches and the scuffed areas. But finding good quality urethane paint is very difficult and it is not usually sold for the general people to use.

Find perfect shade:

Another good way to cover up the small scratches can be found in the makeup vanity. Nail Polish is a good way to hide the scratches. Finding the perfect shade that matches the car is very difficult though.

Apply super glue:

If the scratches are a bit deep the applied paint will seem like dents. To prevent this, it is best to apply a coat of super Glue before you apply the auto paint.

Use toothpaste:

This may come as a surprise but Toothpaste is very useful when it comes to clearing up the scratches. Apply a coat of toothpaste and wipe it off with a paper towel after a while. Repeat it how many times you feel necessary.

Use shoe polish:

Shoe polishes are a great and easy way to make your car shine bright and cover up temporarily. It is best to use a darker shade of the polish to match with the car.

All these are for the small scratches and scuffs. These methods will hide the damage for a little while. In most cases, if the damage is too big, make sure to go to a hardware store and get expert help.

Can you leave the bike rack on the car?

It takes a lot of time and effort to attach a bike rack to a car. If you have a bike, you can keep the rack attached to the car even when you are not carrying the bike. It does no severe or noticeable damage.

If carrying the bike is a one time thing, you can take the rack off. But if you have a bike and you use it regularly, it is a good idea to keep the bike rack attached and leave it there. Taking it off and attaching it repeatedly can cause more damage.

What are the different types of bike racks? – Types of rack that damage or scratch the car

There are many types of bike racks. Not all are harmful. So, it is best to know which are-

Trunk Mounted Bike Racks

Trunk bike racks are probably the most harmful when it comes to car damage. As it is always in contact with the car, scratches are inevitable.

Roof Mounted Bike Racks

These racks are attached to the roof of the car. This type of contact and friction is more dangerous to the car’s body.

Hitched Mounted Bike Racks

Just like a roof rack, the hitched bike rack can hit the car with much friction and cause a lot of damage.

Be sure to check what type of rack you are getting to prevent any damage and severe accidents.

What type of rack should you choose? – Types of racks that don’t damage or scratch the car

Choosing the right type of rack can save a lot of unnecessary damage and problems for the future-

  • Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Trunk Mount Rack
  • Allen Sports Ultra Compact Trunk Mounted Bike Rack
  • Allen Sports Three-Bike Hitch Rack Deluxe
  • Swagman Upright Roof Mount Bike Rack
  • Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Bike Rack

These are some of the most popular and positively reviewed bike racks.

What type of bike rack is the best?

When it comes to bike racks, it is best to go for the one that has the least potential of damaging your car.  It can be difficult to say exactly which rack is the best but as per popularity, the roof racks win.

Are trunk mount bike racks safe?

Mount trunk bike racks are very much dangerous when it comes to car damages and scratches. Most of the time, these racks come off with heavy loads. And the contact is a lot, so the car gets damaged a lot as well.

Do roof racks damage your car?

Roof racks tend to do their fair share of damage to the car and its roof. Most of the time, the damage is less than trunk mount bikes. But still, any slight damage is a lot for the cars.

Are hanging bike racks bad?

There is no real difference between the hanging racks and the platform racks other than their position and way of carrying the bikes. They are equally damaging to the cars.

Why should a roof rack be removed when not in use?

Roof racks tend to add more weight on the car and the aerodynamics of the wind makes it more vulnerable to falling and crashing. This is why it is advised to take off the roof racks when you do not use it.

Bike racks are very much useful if you have a bike that you use frequently. And if that is the case be sure to choose the right kind of rack in order to prevent and avoid any damage to your car. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Fast Can You Drive with a Bike Rack?

How Much Weight Can a Bike Rack Hold?

How Many Bikes Can a Bike Rack Hold?

Why Are Bike Racks So Expensive?

Why Does My Bike Rack Wobble?