Can bike racks be stolen? How to Prevent Theft

When looking for a bike rack, there are many options to consider. When you make your rack selection, the last thing on your mind is whether it will be stolen or not. This blog post takes a look at bike racks and how they can be secured.

First things first, Yes, bike racks can be stolen. But it’s rare. So rare I didn’t find many articles about this topic but I found this one. One of the reasons it’s uncommon is because racks kinda differ depending on the make and the model of the car, different hitch sizes for example.

So if you want to steal a car rack and, let’s say you want to sell it on eBay or Craigslist, you just have to find someone looking for that special rack that also fits their specific make and model of their car. So it’s not an easy steal and sale. The only other reason someone wants to steal it is that the bike rack is made of steel and they can sell it to a scrapyard or something.

Or as read in the article where I linked out to, for personal use.

Are bike racks easy to steal?

Yes, It’s as simple to install as it is to remove, and the process is straightforward. So if you own a car and it has a hitch, anyone can steal the rack of your vehicle. If it’s not locked on the hitch or roof (or trunk) just take the straps off unscrew the screws and walk off. And now you can find it on the Facebook marketplace, sold as slightly used.

Just to be clear I’ve never taken a rack, and I don’t want to suggest that it’s something you should do.

How do I keep my bike rack from being stolen?

Now you know how easy it is to steal a rack let see if we can find a way to make it harder for a thief to steal it. If it’s your bike rack stolen, your bike, car, or your house being robbed, the principle stays the same. They usually go for the easy “kill”. This means you just have to make it harder for them to steal it so they will move on to an easier target. The following tips and tricks should do the trick:

Serial number

Write down the serial number of the rack. this makes it easy for identifying your rack when it’s retrieved. Or you need to prove it’s yours. Take pictures of your rack, especially when there are unique scratches or marks on the bike rack. Having something to show for is so much easier than” It is mine, really!”

Take it off when not using it

The rack is the easiest to steal when it’s on your car. If you don’t use it, take it off and lock it in a garage. or put the bike rack inside your car if you can fold it. If you have your rack installed on your car and you don’t want to take it off, park the car close to a wall or tree so it’s harder to get close and to dismount.

Lock up your rack as well as possible

When locking up the rack avoid using cable locks for securing bikes because it’s way too easy for a thief to cut the cable. Just use a metal rack and lock it with a strong U-Lock or chain lock that can be locked around your rack, car frame then put another one on the rack itself. Use stronger locking mechanisms if possible because thieves will go after weaker ones first.

Hitch lock

One of the things I really like is when you have a hitch-mounted bike rack is that you can add a hitch lock or hitch pin. It’s a big steel bolt that goes through the rack and your hitch. If you have nothing else going for it, this will be enough to make someone change their mind before taking off with your rack.

You can add other things like chains or locks on the rack itself but I don’t think they are necessary if you use a bike rack lock.

Keep it in your eyesight.

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to prevent your rack from being stolen is to keep it in your eyesight. So if you are on a day trip and stop for lunch make sure you can see your car where you going to sit. If you have children keep one as a guard while you enjoy your lunch.

Joking aside, parking your car in an area with a lot of people or well lit is a great idea if you cant take your rack from your car.

Things to avoid

According to this article, there are some things you could do to decrease your chance of your bike rack being stolen:

  • Parking anywhere overnight in a public area.
  • Parking in dark or badly lit areas
  • Parking your car in Low traffic areas

If you leave your car on the street, in a parking lot, or in a parking garage overnight, the chances of it being broken into will be significantly greater. When possible, take your car home with you. If not, try to park near a business that will still be brightly lit after closing time. Burglars like to work in the dark, so putting your near a source of light, like a streetlight, will help a lot.


We hope these tips help you protect your bike rack from theft. If anything, it should make you more aware of the risks and steps to take to safeguard your property. Park your rack in a safe place and you’ll be less likely to have it stolen. Avoid parking overnight in public areas, or the chances of someone stealing your bike rack will increase exponentially.

See also  Can a Bike Rack Rest on Glass?

Similar Posts