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In the effort to reduce weights on our automotive vehicles so as to increase gas mileage, materials on vehicles are changing from steel to aluminum or fiberglass. Bumper designs are also changing, as are trunks and hatches (more glass being used). In many cases this poses problems for fitting trunk racks to the back of our cars, SUVs and mini-vans. Here are some tips to installing your rack safely:

  • If you see a “no fit” on the fit list, then install a Class II or higher hitch on your vehicle. Although it will cost more it is the safer approach to carrying your bikes.
  • Check the materials on your trunk, steel works best and do not attach hooks to plastic, glass or fiberglass.
  • If your vehicle has a spoiler, be sure to use the correct rack (usually Baja or F6 will clear the spoiler)
  • Clean the surface of your trunk prior to installation
  • Never exceed the weight limit of your rack
  • Always use at least two tie-downs or bungee cords when securing your bikes and keep the bike tires at least 12”/30cm away from the vehicle’s exhaust pipe.
  • Check the rack, bikes and straps regularly during use
  • Drive slowly when the rack is used on bumpy or dirt roads

For installation of the lower straps, the bumper may not be suitable due to its flexibility or softness. Look below the bumper for correct attachment points such as tow loops (side or center locations) and holes in the vehicle’s frame.

If installing the upper hooks to OEM or aftermarket cross bars (when the trunk is not suitable) be sure the straps are firmly attached and not contacting the spoiler (if there is a spoiler).

In some countries such as the United Kingdom, be sure the number plate and lights are visible at all times.