Cleaning and Maintaining a Car Bike Rack: a Complete Guide

It might seem like a simple task, but cleaning and maintaining your car bike rack is an essential part of keeping your bike rack looking great. It’s also important to take care of the bike rack to ensure that it lasts as long as possible. With this guide, you’ll learn how to keep your bike rack in tip-top shape while protecting it from road pollutants, rusting, and more.

Sometimes bike racks are left dirty for months at a time because people don’t think about them often enough. But, over time neglect can lead to rusting or corrosion! Don’t let this happen to you! With this guide, you’ll learn how easy it is to clean and maintain your car bike rack so that yours will look great for years!

How do I clean a car bike rack?

There is a different way to clean each bike rack type, so it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for specific cleaning tips.

The following are general tips to consider when cleaning your car bike rack:

  • Use rags with a gentle touch to clean your car bike rack. They can remove dirt and debris from hard-to-reach spaces without scratching the surface.
  • Soak the brushes in water before cleaning to avoid scratching surfaces. Cleaning your rags is an essential step to properly maintain a rack. We have to be mindful of the materials we use because certain materials, such as synthetic bristles, will scratch the surface of the rack. To avoid this problem, soak your rags in water before scrubbing.
  • Use water and dish soap to wash off any dirt. This will be more than enough. You don’t need any detergents most of the time,
  • Rinse the rack with clean water. The best way to wash off the soap is by using clean water. You can wash your car bike rack with a hose or hose attachment, or if you have a bucket then use that,
  • Finally, dry it off with a rag.

How do I maintain a car bike rack?

Along with the general upkeep of your car, there are a few things you should do to maintain your bike rack. These are things that should be done at least once a month, but they can also be done more often if needed (for example, your rack is often water exposed).

When it comes to maintaining your bike rack, there are really only four main steps to take. These are protecting the paint from scratches and rusting, ensuring all moving parts work as they are supposed to (including the lock). At the end of the day, the maintenance of bike racks is essential in order to keep them functional and safe for use:

  • Regularly lube the moving parts of the rack (at least once a month). The moving parts of a bike rack may rust and corrode over time. This will lead to a less secure bike rack which is more likely to fail in transporting bikes. A bike rack’s moving parts need to be regularly lubricated to avoid any rust or corrosion that may occur. Regularly lubricating the moving parts of the bike rack will help prevent possible problems in the future when loading bikes onto the bike rack,
  • Regularly lube the lock of the rack (if your bike rack has it). The main goal of lubing your bike rack lock is to keep the lock lubricated and functioning properly to avoid any kind of malfunction. This can be accomplished by simply applying a thin layer of lubricant on the lock. This will allow all moving parts to move without getting stuck or seizing up as time goes by,
  • Replace loose or losing parts. Especially keep a close eye on the straps. These can wear off causing the rack to fall off while you are driving,
  • Store the rack in a dry area when it is not in use. When you’re not using your car bike rack, store it in a dry area. This way it will be ready for use when you need it. Moreover, you will need to lube it less frequently.

How do I protect my bike rack in the winter?

The best way to protect your bike rack in the winter is to remove it from the vehicle. This will keep it safe from salt, ice, and snow. Bring it inside your home or garage during snowstorms, and you should be good to go.

If this is not an option for you then I recommend:

  • To remove all of the ice and snow from your bike rack. I recommend using a broom for this task,
  • The next step is to apply a layer of petroleum jelly on all of the metal parts that are going to be exposed to the cold, including any screws or brackets that hold the mount together. These vulnerable parts definitely need some extra protection in the winter. This will also help prevent them from rusting. 
  • Finally, it is important for you to clear off any dirt from your bike rack after a winter storm.

How do I keep my bike rack from rusting?

The most important thing you can do to prevent rust from forming on your bike rack is to remove the rack from your vehicle after each use. This ensures that the rack is not exposed to rain, snow, or salt during a prolonged period of time.

To further protect any parts of the bike rack that are exposed to moisture, you should also take a towel and wipe them down with a light application of WD-40 or other rust remover. This will protect the metal from oxidizing and becoming corroded.You should also wax your bike rack as part of your regular maintenance routine. This will help reduce any rusting that may form as well as provide some protection against future corrosion.

Can I leave my bike rack on my car in the rain?

Yes, you absolutely can. All car bike racks are designed to be used outside of your, and, to withstand harsh conditions (road pollutants, dirt, etc.). Even heavy rain won’t damage your bike rack.

The only thing you have to keep in mind is that rain can definitely wash off lubricants which are essential for the moving parts and the lock. As a result, after your rack has been exposed to water, you are supposed to check out if it needs to be lubed.

Are car bike racks waterproof?

If you are looking for bike racks that can protect bikes from harsh weather conditions, then car bike racks are an excellent option. They are completely waterproof and can be used on the outside of your vehicle to secure your bike.


The car bike rack is one of the most important parts of your car if you like cycling. You should always make sure that it’s clean and in good condition.

There are a lot of things that you can do to maintain your bike rack, including greasing it, checking for damage, and making sure it’s tightened down.

Some people also like to cover their racks with a protective layer for extra protection against rust and weather. Doing these things will help ensure that your racks last as long as possible and don’t need to be replaced anytime soon.