5 Steps for Installing a Hitch Rack
- The first step to installing a hitch rack is ensuring you have the correct hitch receiver pre-installed on your vehicle. Many trucks and SUVs come with a hitch receiver, but some do not. You may need to purchase and install an after-market hitch to your car or SUV if you do not have one.
- Next, determine your hitch receiver size. Hitch receivers are rated by “Class”. There are 5 unique classes ranging from Class 1 and Class 2 hitches (which have 1.25-inch openings) to Class 3 or Class 4 hitches (which have 2-inch openings). Class 5 hitches are reserved for heavy-duty commercial vehicles. Note: if your hitch receiver is too wide for your rack, you can purchase an additional adapter to increase the size of your rack shank which goes into the receiver.
- Choose the correct hitch bike rack for your hitch receiver and assemble the rack according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Pick up and load the rack into the hitch receiver. You may want a second person to help you lift the rack if you are susceptible to back injuries. Most racks weigh less than 50 pounds.
- Once you have the bolt holes lined up from your rack and your receiver, insert the hitch bolt included with your rack and tighten it firmly with a wrench. The bolt should have a lock washer and/or flat washer included as well. Many racks will also have a “cotter pin” which you should now insert on the opposite end of the bolt from the head.
- Make any necessary adjustments to the rack itself before loading your bikes onto the rack. Be sure not to damage your car or bike when loading it into position. Tighten all straps and telescoping bar clamps over the frames or wheels. Push and pull firmly on the rack and bikes to ensure everything is securely attached and locked before driving.