How to Install a Hitch-Mounted Bike Rack

March 11, 2019 by Amanda Ellis, @WanderRedFox

Accessing the roof of larger vehicles like trucks, SUVs, vans or crossovers isn’t always easy, making roof-mounted bike racks hard to use. Hitch-mounted bike racks bring accessibility closer to the ground while providing a reliable method for storing gear that frees up interior vehicle space.

As long as a vehicle has a hitch receiver, it will be compatible with a hitch-mounted rack. Variables such as a hitch’s class and the vehicle’s towing capacity play into which rack works best, but many follow the same general guidelines for installation.

If you don’t want to pay someone to install your rack, these general guidelines will help you do it yourself.

Determine vehicle’s hitch class: If your vehicle has a hitch receiver, it will likely accept a hitch mount. Hitches are divided into classes ranging from Class I to Class V. Hitch racks are typically compatible with Class II to Class IV hitch receivers.

Verify tow capacity and type of rack needed: Next, verify the vehicle’s towing capacity before investing in a hitch mount. Different types of mounts different types of bikes, depending on the vehicle’s tow capacity. Some even swing or fold away from the vehicle, offering access to rear doors. Determine how many bikes the rack needs to hold and if rear-door access is needed.

Install the hitch-mounted rack: Slide the bike rack arm into the vehicle’s hitch mount. Line up the hole in the receiver with the hole in the hitch mount. Then take the bolt and make sure it has a lock washer sitting before the bolt head, followed by the flat washer. Screw the bolt all the way in, attaching the hitch mount to the receiver and tightening it with a wrench. Finally, insert the pin into the bolt, locking it into place.

Read Next: How to Install a Roof Rack on Your Adventure Vehicle

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