Do You Need a Hitch for A Bike Rack? Solved!

You have a car and a bike and you are looking to go on trips and enjoy cycling, a quick google search and people tend to favor hitch-mounted rack for ease of use.

But if you don’t have a hitch you might like to know if the alternatives are a great option or not. Here we answer a couple of questions one might have.

Do You Need a Hitch for A Bike Rack?

No, don’t need a hitch for a bike rack. If your car does not have a hitch, don’t worry there are plenty of other options for you. Trunk mounted or rear-mounted and even suction cup bike racks are also great options.

These types of bike racks attach to the trunk and hatchback or rear door of your car. It takes slightly more time to install the rack and if you are not very tall or have heavy bikes you might struggle a bit with putting the bike on the roof.

Other than that, they are great options.

Do You Need a Hitch for A Bike Rack?

Can You Attach a Bike Rack without A Hitch?

Yes, you can. Trunk-mounted racks use straps to install the bike rack to the rear of the car, so they don’t need a hitch. If it’s the first time installing a rack, reserve some time.

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After you did it a couple of times you should be able to install the rack in less than 15 minutes.

You can also consider the roof-mounted bike racks.

They take a bit more time to install and you need to be careful not to exceed the maximum weight limit, but if your car has no hitch and you want to take your bikes with you in style and comfort then they are a great option too.

Don’t forget that you need roof bars for your car or crossbars for your SUV, van, or truck.

Read Also: Can You Drive with an Empty Bike Rack?

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Hitch for A Bike Rack?

The cost of installing a bike rack starts at around $150 and goes up to $800. Keep in mind that you’ll have to buy the hitch or rack separately, which can easily run for another $150-$200.

The cost of installing a Hitch by a professional, I am not talking about somebody knowing “a guy who knows a guy”, is mainly the cost of labor.

They need to use some parts and tools and they need to charge an hourly rate. You can expect that if you use a professional then the price comes on the higher end of the spectrum.

If you buy the parts yourself there are some items you need to purchase ( I’ve added some amazon options)

Can You Install a Hitch Yourself?

yes, you can install a bike rack on your car by yourself. you will trade money for a time as it might take some time to install, but you won’t need too many tools.

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Make sure to read the instructions carefully and if you have never done it before reserve some time and plan for mistakes.

I could write an installation manual myself, but this one is a really good one.

Can you add a hitch to an SUV?

Sure, you can always add a bike rack or trailer hitch to your SUV. You might need some help from someone who is strong enough to lift the spare tire and give you a hand with installing it.

It’s probably best if you do not leave it to the last minute as this type of installation takes up most of the day.

Can you add a hitch to a car?

Yes, you can add a bike rack or trailer hitch to your car. Depending on the year and model of your car this might take from 1-4 hours.

The only thing that varies is the tools needed for installation and some specific steps if you have certain types of vehicles. If it’s your first time installing like this make sure to make a list of the tools you need and double-check if you have all of them before starting.

What is the difference between a Class I, II, III, and IV Hitch?

there are a couple of differences between those four classes. I go about it in more detail in this article. It differs if you have a small car or a giant truck.

It also depends a little on what you want and need.


So the answer to your question do you need a hitch for a bike rack, is no. You can always find a way to make it work and you can install a bike rack on your car.

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Of course, the safest choice is to get a hitch installed by a professional but if you don’t want to spend that kind of money then go ahead with putting the bike rack on your trunk or buy roof-mounted racks.

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