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How do I install a bike rack?

How do I install a bike rack?

If you plan to travel with your bike, you'll need a good bike rack.  But transporting bikes in a car isn't always easy. The trunk of a car isn't always big enough to fit a bike. That's why you need a bike rack to carry one or more bikes, no matter what kind of vehicle you have. There are many different types of bike carriers, and not all of them are suitable for every car.

What are the different types of bike racks?

A bike rack is a piece of automotive equipment that makes it easy to transport your bikes in or in your car. There are several different types of bike carriers, each with its advantages and disadvantages, depending on your intended use and your vehicle. Here's a description of the most common types:

Hitch-mounted bike carrier

This type of bike carrier attaches to the hitch of your car. It can hold up to four bikes and is often considered the safest and most stable of all bike carriers. It's also easy to install and remove. However, it can be expensive and may require professional installation.

Trunk or tailgate bike racks

This type of bike rack attaches to the back of your car and is supported by the trunk or tailgate. It can hold up to three bikes and is generally less expensive than hitch-mounted bike racks. However, it can be more difficult to install and may not fit all types of vehicles.

Although the trunk-mounted bike rack is an economical solution, it is not recommended because it has several disadvantages:

  • It's difficult to access the trunk of your car when needed;
  • Reduced rear visibility for the driver;
  • It is not suitable for all types of vehicles;
  • Installation is complicated and you need to check regularly that the straps haven't slackened;
  • Impact and friction can damage your bodywork.

Roof-Mounted Bike Carrier

This bike carrier attaches to the roof of your car using roof bars and can carry up to four bikes. It's easy to install and doesn't block access to the trunk or tailgate. However, it can be difficult to load and unload, especially if you're carrying heavy bikes.

There are also some disadvantages to consider:

  • You'll need to buy roof racks if you don't already have them;
  • You'll need to buy roof racks if you don't already have them; - Be careful as bikes can crowd the top of the car, so always check the maximum height;
  • Roof racks also increase fuel consumption;
  • Installation can be tedious, depending on the weight of your bike, as you'll need to carry it at arm's length to install it;
  • You won't be able to carry an electric-assist bike with this type of rack.

Spare wheel bike carrier

It attaches to your car's spare wheel and can carry up to two bikes. It's easy to install and remove but can be less stable than other types of bike carriers and may block access to your spare wheel if necessary.

How do I install a bike carrier on a tow ball?

  • Screw the platform onto the tow ball by hand
  • Tighten the side bracket with a wrench
  • Unlock the anti-theft device with the key
  • Raise the center bar
  • Place bike on the carrier
  • Attach center bar strap to bike
  • Attach front and rear wheel straps
  • Repeat for other bikes
  • Connect bikes
  • Lock the manual tilt

Mistakes to avoid for a perfect installation

Don't forget to protect the car body

Hooks and straps can scratch your paint if they rub against the bodywork. Quickly mark the position of each item, then protect the body with tape.

Disable the windshield wipers if necessary

On some models, the bike rack can block the rear wiper blade. And even when it's not raining, the wiper blade can start up unexpectedly, such as on the rear steps. To avoid burning out the wiper motor, disengage the wiper motor before driving. The method should be explained in your car's owner's manual. Otherwise, a quick search on the Internet should help.

Don't obstruct the license plate

Once installed, check that the license plate is perfectly legible. If it's not, you'll need to install a separate one using a separate bracket. If your bike rack doesn't come with one, it should be possible to install it without blocking the license plate. Check the bracket settings.

How much does a car bike rack cost?

The price of a bike rack can vary widely, depending on the mounting options and the number of bikes it can hold. Here's an estimate of the average price for each type of mount:

  • Hitch-mounted Bike Carrier: A hitch-mounted bike carrier for two bikes can cost between $50 and $150, while a model for four bikes can cost between $150 and $400.
  • Trunk or tailgate-mounted bike carriers: Trunk or tailgate-mounted bike carriers are generally the least expensive, costing between $30 and $150 for a two or three-bike model.
  • Roof-Mounted Bike Carriers: Roof-mounted bike carriers are often more expensive than other types. In general, a roof bike rack for one or two bikes can cost between $50 and $300, while a model for four bikes can cost between $300 and $600.
  • Spare wheel bike carriers: Spare wheel bike carriers are generally the least expensive, costing between $50 and $150 for a two-bike model.

It's important to note that these prices are general estimates and the actual price may vary depending on the brand, quality, and features of the bike rack.

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