Informational Guide

How To Put A Bike Rack On A Car

If you have a bike that needs transporting then this guide is essential. Learn how to attach any bike to your car with our complete guide.

When you are taking a road trip or heading to a new trail, you need a bike rack attached to your vehicle for proper transportation.  

To ensure the safety of the equipment, you want to know how to put a bike rack on a car.  

Trunk Mount Racks 

The least expensive option is the trunk mount bike rack. You can typically find a style that will fit almost any vehicle, and most can carry up to three bikes at a time.

When it isn't in use, the bike rack folds down into a compact design for easy storage. However, these can damage the paint if you don't know how to put a bike rack on a car trunk. 

What We Like

  • Affordable 
  • Models available for most cars 

What We Don’t Like

  • Can damage paint 

Hitch Mount Racks 

If you have a large or tall vehicle, you might prefer the benefits of the hitch bike rack. With these bike racks, you can fit more bicycles and have better access to any roof cargo. 

However, you might need to install a hitch, and it could be harder to see out of the rear window of your vehicle.  

What We Like

  • Works with larger, taller vehicles 
  • Carries more bikes 

What We Don’t Like

  • Requires a hitch 
  • Hurts rearward visibility 

Roof Mount Racks 

If you have a smaller vehicle, you may prefer sticking the bikes on top of the vehicle. Learning how to put a bike rack on a hatchback car isn't difficult, and it allows for easier visibility out the back window.

However, this option will decrease the clearance of the vehicle, and it does require a little more effort to get installed.  

What We Like

  • Ideal for small vehicles 
  • Clear visibility out the back window 
  • Leaves trunk open for easy access 

What We Don’t Like

  • Requires a roof rack 
  • Increases height of vehicle 

Truck Bed Bike Racks 

If you have a pickup truck, it makes sense to utilize the bed to hold your bikes. The majority of options are sturdy and affordable.

However, you might need some additional equipment when you learn how to install a bike rack in the truck bed. It can also cause some visibility issues out of the back window, depending on the type you use.  

What We Like

  • Sturdy design 
  • Affordable option 
  • Utilizes existing truck bed space 

What We Don’t Like

  • Might require more hardware 
  • Can block rearview visibility 
green and black mountain bike

How To Put A Bike Rack On A Car? (By Bike Rack Type) 

If you want to know how to put a bike rack on your car, you need to follow the appropriate steps based on what type you purchased. We will cover various types, such as how to install a rear bike rack, so you can ensure it has been done correctly.  

Installing Trunk Racks 

If you want to know how to put on a bike rack to a car, the steps are pretty basic. However, learning how to put a bike rack on a car with a spoiler can be a little more challenging. 

  1. 1
    Separate the straps of the bike rack on the ground before mounting it. 
  2. 2
    Open the trunk. 
  3. 3
    Put the top straps and hooks in place. 
  4. 4
    Lay the rack on the trunk. 
  5. 5
    Place the hooks into the bottom of the trunk. 
  6. 6
    Close the trunk and tighten the straps until the rack no longer wobbles. 

You can easily remove this rack if you need access to the trunk once again.  

Installing Hitch Racks 

If you have a larger vehicle, it’s important to know how to install a towbar bike rack. Follow our steps for success.

  1. 1
    Know the vehicle’s hitch class. You don’t want to use a hitch that requires a higher rating. 
  2. 2
    Determine the towing capacity of the vehicle. You should never overload your vehicle. 
  3. 3
    Ensure you have the right adapter for the hitch rack. 
  4. 4
    Slide the hitch rack into the receiver on the vehicle. 
  5. 5
    Line up the holes with the rack and receiver.  
  6. 6
    With a washer and bolt, tighten the rack and ensure that it has been secured.  

Installing Roof Racks 

Do you know how to install a bike rack on top of a car? With these steps, you can get the job done quickly. 

  1. 1
    Measure the length and width of the vehicle to determine the appropriate roof rack. 
  2. 2
    Evaluate the mounting system, so you know what extra equipment you need.  
  3. 3
    If you want to know how to install a bike rack on a hatchback, you may need some special adapters, especially if the car is small.  
  4. 4
    Assemble the roof rack frame 
  5. 5
    If the vehicle has mounting locations, you shouldn’t need to drill holes. Otherwise, you need to drill into the roof to attach the rack. 
  6. 6
    Tighten up all of the screws. 
  7. 7
    Clamp mounts to the crossbars.  
  8. 8
    Make sure the rack is secure.  

Installing a Thule Bike Rack on Your Car 

Thule bike racks are some of the most popular on the market. The company makes a variety of bike racks that fit many vehicles, but they are also expensive. However, customers are happy to pay more, knowing that these are sturdy bike racks that will secure their precious cargo.  

Figuring out how to put a Thule bike rack on your car depends on which type you purchase. The good news is that the company offers detailed instructions with every bike rack that is sold, so you shouldn’t run into any trouble. If you do, the manufacturer also offers superior customer support.  

Mountain bike

How To Install A Bike Rack On A Car? (By Car Type) 


If you want to know how to install a bike rack on a hatchback, we suggest going with a roof-mounted option. In this case, you would follow these steps. 

  • Measure the vehicle to ensure you get the right size. 
  • In some cases, you may need to purchase special adapters. 
  • Assemble the roof rack frame. 
  • With existing mounting locations, there is no need to drill holes.  
  • Tighten up the screws. 
  • Clamp the mounts to the crossbars. 
  • Secure the rack.  

You can choose to use a different type of bike rack with your hatchback, but the roof-mounted model tends to make the best use of the space.  


Do you know how to put a bike rack on an SUV? The majority of SUV owners prefer the benefits of using a hitch-mounted bike rack. With this type, you will follow these steps. 

  • Know the hitch class and towing capacity of your vehicle to ensure you don’t exceed any recommendations. 
  • Buy the appropriate adapter for your vehicle. 
  • Slide the hitch rack into the receiver on the vehicle. 
  • Line up the holes with the rack and receiver.  
  • With a washer and bolt, tighten the rack and ensure that it has been secured.  

Safety Measures When Using Bike Racks  

Learning how to install a rear car bike rack is only one step of the puzzle. You want to ensure it is always done safely. Here are a few tips to protect you.  

  • Choose the right bike rack type for your vehicle. 
  • Always follow the installation instructions provided by the manufacturer.  
  • Spin the bike pedal once it is mounted to ensure it doesn’t touch the vehicle. 
  • If the bike rack doesn’t feel properly secured, don’t use it.  

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Are bike racks bad for your car? 

The majority of them won't harm the vehicle as long as it is installed correctly. The trunk-mounted rack has the most potential to damage the paint, especially if the pedals rub against the car body.  

Can you open a trunk with a bike rack on it?  

You should not open the trunk with a bike rack attached. The hinges of most trunks are not designed to lift this amount of weight. Instead, you will need to remove the bike rack to access the trunk safely.  

What is a towbar bike rack? Are they easy to install? 

The towbar bike rack is installed on the hitch receiver of your vehicle. If you know how to hook up accessories to the hitch, adding the bike rack shouldn’t be complicated.  

How much does it cost to install a bike rack? 

Aside from the cost of purchasing the bike rack, having it installed could add another $40 to $100 onto the bill. However, if you can do it yourself, you save a lot of money.  

How fast and far can you go with a bike rack? 

You can travel as far as you want with a properly secured bike rack on your vehicle, but you should keep the speed to a minimum. Generally, it’s recommended to stay under 75 mph with these accessories attached.  


Is it easy to learn how to install a rear mounted bike rack on your vehicle? Absolutely! Most manufacturers provide the instructions you need to hitch up your bike for a real adventure.