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Can Bike Rack Damage Car?


If you’re transporting your bike with your car, the question you will have of can bike rack damage car?

The answer is yes, a bike rack can cause damage to your car. However, there are safety measures you can take to prevent such damage. This article outlines the possible damages bike racks can cause to your car, how to prevent them, and how to choose the right bike rack.

How Bike Racks Can Damage Your Car

There are three different types of bike racks for cars and they can cause different damage to cars when poorly installed.

Hitch-mounted Bike Racks

This is a bike rack that has little contact with the car as it’s hitched to the car with a hook. However, if not properly secured, this bike rack can sway and hit the car when you speedily hit the brakes.

Furthermore, you need to be cautious when reversing to avoid pushing the rack into the back of your car.


Roof Racks

Roof racks sit at the top of the car and while they are very safe, they can cause damage if you run into an overhead.

If you park in a garage or pass through a low bridge, a roof-mounted bike rack can hit the overhead and cause significant damage to your car.

Trunk-mounted Bike Racks

You strap this bike rack to your trunk hence it’s always in contact with your car. If not properly secured, it can rub against the car and scratch the painting. It also elongates your car, thereby making reversing and driving in small spaces difficult.

How to Prevent a Bike Rack from Damaging Your Car

Seeing that there are three types of bike racks with varying capacities to damage your car, you have to find ways to prevent the damage. You can follow these tips to prevent bike racks from damaging your car.

Install The Bike Rack Properly

The first step is to properly install the bike rack to ensure it doesn’t fall off and damage your car. When installing the bike rack, ensure you carefully follow the instructions.

If you can’t install the bike rack yourself, you can visit a bike shop where a technician can help install it.


Double-Check The Bike Rack

If you ride often, it’s important that you double-check your bike rack every time you’re going out to ensure it’s in place. You should check the sturdiness of the rack and strength to ensure it’s well secured.

Be Conscious of Your Bike Rack

You need to be conscious of the fact that the bike rack changes the dimension of the bicycle. Moreover, you need to be aware that the bike rack makes your car bigger in different places.

This consciousness will help you to drive with caution when approaching low overheads or when driving in tight spots.

Before navigating small corners, ensure that the rack will fit the road before driving in. When reversing, remember the rack takes up extra space, hence you should be more careful.

Clean Trunk-Mount Contact Points Frequently

You should clean the contact points between the bike rack and the car to ensure dirt doesn’t accumulate there.

Over time, dirt can gather under the rack frame and it will run against the paint and scratch your car. Therefore, you should clean the contact points from time to time to avoid damage.

Use Painter’s Tape or Paint Protection Film

You can use painter’s tape or paint protection film to prevent a bike rack from rubbing against a certain part of your car. This is common with a trunk-mounted bike rack, so to avoid scratches on your car paint, you should cover the surface. 

Choose The Right Bike Rack

The type of bike rack you use affects your car over time hence you should buy the correct bike rack. If you use the bike frequently, you want to avoid a trunk-mounted bike rack because it causes scratches to your car and wears down the paint.

If you park in a garage, you should avoid using a roof-mounted bike rack because of the low overdrive. The only alternative to this is to remove the bike before parking. This is not only stressful but it can weaken the bike rack.

You should avoid using hitch-mounted bike racks if you park in congested areas such as public parking spaces. This bike rack extends your car length and makes reversing difficult.

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Bike Rack

These are the factors you should consider when choosing a bike rack.

The Type Of Bike

You should consider the weight, wheel size, and grand of the bike. This will determine the size of the rack you should purchase. You can visit a bike shop to get a suitable bike rack recommendation for your bike.


You need to consider the usability of the bike rack to determine if it’s a good choice. You should consider the features of the bike rack such as weight, storage capacity, ease of installation, and portability.

The size and weight of the rack will determine how easy you can carry it. For example, you need a portable bike rack that you can easily carry if you live on the upper floors of a tall building.

Additionally, the weight of the bike rack will determine the amount of gas you will burn transporting it. Therefore, these are factors you need to consider to choose the right bike rack.



Bikes can cost a lot and so also bike racks, hence you want to keep them safe. You want a bike rack that guarantees the security of your bike and rack, therefore this is an important factor to consider.

You should consider the security features of the bike rack to ensure there’s sufficient provision to keep the bike safe. Additionally, you want to ensure the rack can be well secured to your car.


It’s important that you consider the cost of the bike rack to determine if it falls within your budget. Bike racks vary in price hence you should choose a bike rack that meets your needs and which is within your budget. However, you shouldn’t compromise on quality in a bid to save cost.


If you’re a biker, you require an easy and efficient means of transporting your bike in your car. Choosing the right bike rack, it’s very important that you choose a bike rack that will not damage your car.

To determine the right bike rack for your car, you should consider the bike, the functionality and ease of usage, and the security of the rack.

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