Are Car Bike Racks Bad For Your Bikes?

Can car bike racks damage your car?

Before moving to the point, let’s learn what bad can happen to your bikes if you would like to carry them on a car bike rack:

  • Bikes can hit each other on the rack which can result in scratches, or, even some parts of your bikes can get damaged (for example, gears and brakes),
  • The exhaust can melt the carbon rim. It can also explode the tire if the rack has not been properly installed.

But first of all, there are different bike rack types, and some of them indeed can damage your bikes under certain circumstances while other racks won’t cause any problems basically no matter what:

  • Roof bike racks won’t damage your bikes so this is the safest option in this sense,
  • Hitch bike racks can damage your bikes if installed in the wrong way (the exhaust might melt the carbon frame and explode the tire),
  • Trunk racks can do both, bikes will basically always hit each other causing at the very least scratches. Moreover, the exhaust can damage the tire (and the carbon frame).

Don’t get discouraged though if you are planning to transport your bikes on a car rack. It can definitely be done in a safe way.

I have an article on how to handle the exhaust issue so the tire of your bike won’t get destroyed

How do I stop my bikes from hitting each other on the rack?

To be honest, the best way to do it is to buy the right bike rack in the first place:

  • Roof bike racks due to their nature ensure that your bikes won’t be hitting each other (both wheel-mounted and fork-mounted racks will get the job done),
  • Platform hitch racks is another good solution as the bikes will be separated and won’t contact each other in any way,
  • Trunk bike racks, on the other hand, is not the best choice (to put it mildly) if you have expensive bikes and really care about them.

It is true that you can put a barrier between the bikes which may help. However, the bikes will be bumping into each other anyway giving away annoying noise. Moreover, it will be very tedious to install such a barrier each time you would like to cycle somewhere else (most likely you will use some rags and attach them with ropes to the bikes).