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How To Secure Bike Rack To Car

Ensuring the safety of your bike is a must when carrying it in a car. However, people often ignore that the rack itself can be removed if it isn’t secured too well. No matter how many expensive locks you use for securing the bike to the rack, all will be futile if the rack itself can be removed.

This is why it’s equally important to secure a bike rack in the car. In this article, we’ll share multiple ways of doing just that. So, stick with us till the end, and hopefully, you’ll be able to secure both your bike and bike rack from prying eyes.

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How To Lock Bike Rack To Car

In this section, we’ll discuss several locking systems that you can use for securing a bike rack in a vehicle. There are different kinds of products that can help you with this, and it’s important to find the one that’ll suit you best. So, let’s take a look at what each of them has to offer.

Get Bike Rack With Built-In Locking System

There are a lot of bike racks that come with built-in lock systems so that they can’t be removed from the vehicle. The most commonly used locking system is the hitch pin. In this system, the bike rack is to be mounted with the rear hitch. Now, the lock keeps the rack secured on the hitch. It can’t be unlocked without the pin.

Cable Locks

Cable locks are versatile, cheap, and lightweight equipment for securing bike racks. With a cable lock, you’ll be able to secure hitch racks or roof racks very well. We’ll discuss the methods in the later sections.

As these are very flexible, you can loop them through bikes, racks, as well as components of the car. Also, cable locks can be used to secure racks to tow hooks. These are also very cheap. However, they are comparatively easy to cut, so they shouldn’t be the top choice for securing expensive bikes.

Chain Locks

Chain locks are like the upgraded and more robust versions of cable locks. Unlike cable locks that are made with thin steel wires, chain locks are made of wide chain links. Also, they are made of magnesium steel composites. This makes the chain locks much more robust and harder to cut compared to cable locks.

While these are usually very heavy, they shouldn’t be tough to accommodate as you’ll be carrying them in a car anyway. There are two types of chain locks you can use. There are chain locks with combination locks built-in, and there are chain locks that need to be secured with a padlock.


While padlocks can’t be used to secure every sort of bike rack, you can use them on hitch racks. Instead of installing a hitch pin, you can use a padlock instead. As padlocks require keys, they can’t be unlocked without a key.

However, cheap padlocks can be picked easily. This is why we recommend getting a quality padlock from a trusted brand.

Passive Lock Strap

To do this, you can use the Thule passive lock strap. It’s essentially a steel cable and it’s wrapped in a sheath made of nylon. To secure your bike rack with it, you’ll have to loop it through the rack. Then, place the knobbed end of the strap into the hatch and bring the hatch down.

The puck of the strap is too large to pass through once the hatch is closed. So, it will keep the rack with your vehicle even if the straps are cut loose.

How To Lock Roof Bike Rack To Car

There are two ways you can lock a roof bike rack to a car. Firstly, you can use a strap. Loop the strap across the roof rack and into the car. So, once the doors are closed, the rack will remain secure to the car.

Secondly, you can use a long cable lock. In this case, instead of locking the rack to the vehicle, loop the cable through the downtube of the bike, through the rear wheel, and finally through the crossbar of the rack. This will make the removal process much tougher and can potentially prevent theft.

How To Lock Hitch Bike Rack To Car

If you’re using a hitch bike rack, chances are high that you’ve already locked the rack to the hitch with a hitch in. However, you can further bolster the security by looping a cable through the rack and the hitch. In this case, you can either use a cable lock or a chain.

In case you use a chain, you’ll have to use a small padlock to lock the chain. Irrespective of what you get, make sure it’s long enough to be looped around the hitch and the bike rack.

Another way of securing the hitch bike rack is to secure it to a tow hook, in case your car has any. Even if your car doesn’t, you can install a tow hook on the rear, right underneath the rear bumper.

Once the hook is in place, you’ll need to use a cable, chain, or U-lock to lock the bike rack to the tow hook.

How To Lock Trunk Bike Rack To Car

In case you’re locking a trunk bike rack in a car, you can use a passive security strap. Trunk bike racks usually come with straps that can be removed very easily even when the car’s doors and trunk are closed.

To secure these, you can use a security strap. These straps come with a puck at one end. So, you can loop the strap around the bike rack, put the pick in the trunk, and close the trunk. So, if someone tries to take the rack off while the trunk is closed, the puck will get stuck inside the trunk and keep the rack secured to the vehicle.

How To Lock Spare Tire Bike Rack To Car

Spare tire bike racks are designed to fit on the spare tire of your vehicle. These come built-in with straps that keep the rack wrapped around the tire. However, the straps can be removed very easily and quickly. So, it’s recommended that you use some sort of measure of security on these.

The best way to secure the spare tire bike rack would be to loop a chain or cable lock around it. We recommend using a chain lock as these are much more secure and robust. Simply loop the chain through one of the bars of the rack. Then, loop it through one of the rims of the spare tire mounted on your car.

Finally, use a padlock to secure the chain. We recommend keeping the padlock far from the bike’s frame as well as the rim. Otherwise, it may end up scratching either of the two. You can also use a combination chain lock as you won’t have to carry a padlock in this case. However, these aren’t as secure as padlocks and can be cracked by skilled thieves.


Securing a bike rack in a car is important if the rack doesn’t come with a built-in security system. As you can see, each type of bike rack has to be secured differently, but the equipment used to secure them remains more or less the same.

If you had to choose between a chain lock and a cable lock, we’d recommend going for a chain lock. These are much more robust and harder to cut through.






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