How To Install Hatchback Bike Rack? (With Pictures)

When planning to go on long bike rides, the last thing you’ll want is to be stuck with a clunky bike on your car’s back or strapped onto the roof. You want something secure and stable that won’t take up extra room in your trunk or car bed.

That’s where trunk-mounted bike racks come in. They’re specifically designed to fit into car trunks or SUV backs to keep your car tidied while securely transporting your favorite two-wheeler.

However, installing one isn’t as simple as popping it into place. And if you aren’t careful, you can easily dent the trunk or damage the paint job. That’s why you need to learn how to install a Hatchback bike rack appropriately. Let’s break it down for you.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Installing Hatchback Bike Rack

You should first consider the following benefits and drawbacks of using a trunk-mounted bike rack before going ahead with the installation.

Benefits

  • Least expensive among bike mounting options
  • Can be used on almost any car
  • Easily carries 2-3 bikes
  • Easier portability
  • Provides hassle-free access to low-level garages
  • Fuel-economy-friendly
  • Ideal for recreational cyclists

Drawbacks

  • Restricts rear-view of your car
  • Limits trunk access
  • Higher risk of damaging your car’s body
  • May block your license plate

Tools and Materials Required to Install Hatchback Bike Rack

Installing a trunk-mounted bike rack doesn’t require many tools, as most of the tools necessary are usually included in the package. Just make sure you have the following.

  • A bike rack for your specific vehicle. Make sure to choose one that fits your car’s shape and its make, model, and year.
  • Tools such as a wrench and screwdriver (or socket set), depending on which type of fasteners were included with your bike rack. 

How to Install Hatchback Bike Rack?

Let’s now move on to the step-by-step guide on properly installing your trunk-mounted bike rack so there won’t be any wobbles or damage to your car.

Step 1: Position the Straps of the Rack on Your Trunk

The first step is to place the straps over the trunk of your car. The straps must be placed loosely and flat on the top of the trunk to avoid blocking any part of your rear window or blind spot. You’ll want to make sure that there are no twists in these straps as well.

Next, you’ll need to find a center point for your rack. This will help you determine how far apart each set of hooks should be when installing it later on in this process.

Step 2: Connect the Straps around Your Car’s Bottom

Now it’s time to connect the straps around the bottom of the car. Bring one end of each strap around a side of your vehicle and connect it to its counterpart at each end with an adjustable buckle or clip. 

You’ll want to run these through as many points on your car as possible so there’s little movement in your rack when you’re driving.

Step 3: Make Connection through the Plastic Loops

Two straps need to be connected through the plastic loops on each side of your car.

First, put one strap through the loop from front to back and pull it tight. Then, pass another strap through from back to front and pull it tight. 

Connect these two straps by looping them together with a clove hitch knot. If you don’t have any available on your rack, you can use a binder clip or other heavy object as an anchor point for your bungee cord. 

Finally, make sure that all connections are secure by pulling until there is no slack in any part of the rack’s mounting points or straps.

Step 4: Join the Top Straps to Each Other on Top of the Rack

Take the two top straps and attach them to each other on the rack’s top. You can use these in conjunction with a lock or an additional cable lock for added security if you wish. 

Make sure that you attach these to their appropriate loops—the shorter straps should go through the smaller loops on the side, while the longer ones should be run through the larger loops on top. Once all of your straps are secure, you’re ready to load up your bike.

Step 5: Load Your Bikes

Check the instructions for your bike rack, as it may differ for different models.

Place one tire inside each V-shaped cradle and pull the other tire into place behind it so that the bike’s frame is touching both cradles with no gap between it and the rack’s bars.

Secure your bikes with a locking cable (if provided) by looping it through each wheel, around the handlebars, and back through itself at least twice before locking tightly together with a key or combination lock; this will help prevent theft.

Step 6: Clamp Down Each Leve

Clamp each lever down the sides until it’s tightened around the bike frame. These levers will keep your bikes from moving while you’re driving, so make sure they’re tight enough that there’s no give when you try to wiggle the bike.

Step 7: Check All Connections and Straps

Before heading out on your journey, it’s essential to check all of your rack’s connections and straps one last time to ensure that everything is secured tightly. 

You can test out by safely driving up to 50 kilometers per hour for about 15 minutes, ensuring that there are no rattling noises or loose parts. If you notice any part of the rack wobbling or moving, stop and adjust until it’s snugly fit and tight.

Now that you know how to install a trunk-mounted bike rack, you’re ready to hit the road with your bikes in tow!

How Much Does It Cost to Install Hatchback Bike Rack?

It won’t cost you a buck if you install your trunk-mounted bike rack yourself, especially now that you know how it’s done. But if you’re not the do-it-yourself type or don’t have the time, most professional roof rack installation companies will charge around $100 to $150 for the entire process.

Do Hatchback Bike Racks Damage Your Car?

It depends on the quality of your car and rack. If you have an older vehicle that isn’t designed to accommodate these attachments or a rack that isn’t well-made, there’s a chance it could scratch or dent your car when you’re on the road due to wobbling or coming apart. 

And as we’ve mentioned earlier, if you don’t install it correctly, it could also rub against your car while you’re driving and cause damage to its paint job.

Are Hatchback Bike Racks Worth It? 

Why not? Trunk-mounted bike racks are a great way to transport your bikes without putting them inside your car, where they could scratch or dirty the valuable interior. 

They’re also more convenient for those that don’t want their bikes taking up space on the car’s exterior. And in most cases, you don’t have to worry about parking in a garage with a low ceiling. Besides, trunk-mounted racks barely impact your car’s aerodynamics and fuel economy the way a roof rack does.

However, if you’re looking for something without much complications in its installation process, a hitch-mounted rack might suit you better. They’re more secure and don’t require much installation know-how.

Thoughts

So, there you have it, a complete guide on how to install a Hatchback bike rack. For the best possible results, you should read your instructions thoroughly. A lot can depend on exactly how the rack is fitted, so don’t skip a step. 

Also, if you have trouble with a step or the rack won’t fit properly, don’t try to force it in. Instead, consult your owner’s manual or the manufacturer for more help and make certain that you adjust anything accordingly.

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