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How to Choose a Bike Rack Cover featuring Minivan with Bike

How to Choose a Bike Rack for a Minivan

If you're looking for a bike rack for a minivan such as a Toyota Sienna, Chrysler Pacifica, or Kia Sedona, consider the following types of racks. All of the most common types of racks - hitch-mounted, roof-mounted, and trunk-mounted - can work for you. But some may work better for you than others. We'll explain the differences among the most popular types of racks to help you decide. Then, we'll show you our favorite bike rack picks for minivans!

Bike Rack Options

Hitch-Mounted Bike Rack
Bikes on hitch-mounted bike rack
Attach to a hitch at the back of your vehicle
Roof-Mounted Bike Rack
Roof-Mounted Bike Rack on Vehicle
Attach to a roof rack system that has crossbars
Trunk-Mounted Bike Rack
Trunk-Mounted Bike Rack on Vehicle
Attach to the trunk, hatch, or rear doors of your car, van, or SUV
Suction-Mount Bike Rack
Suction-Mount Bike Rack on Vehicle
Attach to the trunk, roof, or glass of your car, van, or SUV
Hitch Bike Rack on Minivan
Hitch Bike Rack

Hitch-Mounted Bike Racks

Hitch-mounted bike racks are easy to use. To mount them, you slide them into your minivan's hitch and secure them with a pin or lock. You don't have to lift bikes very high or remove any wheels to load your bikes. Because hitch-mounted racks connect to a hitch, they don't make contact with your vehicle, so you won't risk damaging its paint. These racks can interfere with opening your minivan's hatch or rear doors. Look for folding or swing-away models if you want to access the back of your minivan while the rack is mounted. These racks tilt down or swing out of the way to give you access to your vehicle. Look for lighter racks if you are interested in finding the easiest racks to mount. If your car doesn't have a hitch, you can install one. Most hitches can be installed with basic hand tools and don't require drilling into your car. See our fitguide to find a custom-fit hitch for your minivan.
Pros:
  • Easy to install and remove
  • Allows hatch access
  • Easy to mount bikes
  • Large capacity - up to 5 bikes
  • No damage to vehicle finish
Cons:
  • Requires a hitch
  • Prevents use of hitch for towing (specialty towing bike racks allow you to tow)
Roof-Mounted Bike Rack on Minivan
Roof-Mounted Bike Rack

Roof-Mounted Bike Racks

A roof-mounted bike rack is a good choice if you want the best access to your vehicle while you are carrying bikes. This type of rack mounts to crossbars on the roof of your vehicle and carries your bikes up out of your way. This allows you to easily open the hatch or doors of your minivan. Most minivans are taller than the average vehicle, though, which means you'll have to lift a bike higher than you would to mount it on a hitch- or trunk-mounted rack. Lifting a bike that high can be challenging for some people. Consider a step stool if you need extra reach. You can transport a number of bikes, but you'll need a roof-mounted bike rack for each one. The only limits to the number of bikes you can carry are the maximum weight capacity of both the crossbars and your vehicle's roof, and the width of the crossbars.If your minivan doesn't have crossbars, you can have them installed, or install them yourself. See our fitguide to find a custom-fit rack for your vehicle.
Pros:
  • Easy to install and remove
  • Allows full access to back of vehicle
  • No damage to vehicle finish
Cons:
  • Bike loading can be awkward
  • Requires crossbars
  • Requires a rack for each bike
Trunk-Mounted Bike Rack on Minivan
Trunk-Mounted Bike Rack

Trunk-Mounted Bike Racks

Trunk-mounted bike racks are equipped with hooks, straps, and buckles that allow them to be attached to the back of your minivan. These racks do not require any extra equipment (a hitch or crossbars), which can make them the most economical choice for transporting bikes. Trunk-mounted bike racks usually have pads of some type where they make contact with the vehicle. But be sure to clean the places on your minivan where they do make contact before mounting them to help eliminate any potential scratching of its finish. You can't open the hatch while a trunk-mounted rack is installed, even if you have no bikes mounted on it. A spoiler can interfere with the fit of these racks, though some racks are designed to mount on vehicles that have spoilers.
Pros:
  • Requires no hitch or crossbars
  • Least expensive option
  • Can be swapped among different vehicles (Check fit information)
Cons:
  • Interferes with hatch access
  • More difficult to install
  • Interferes with automatic rear windshield wiper
  • Improper installation can cause damage
Vacuum-Mounted Bike Rack on Minivan
Vacuum-Mounted Bike Rack

Vacuum-Mounted Bike Racks

Vacuum-mounted bike racks attach by means of vacuum cups to the trunk, roof, or glass of your vehicle. You don't need to have a hitch or crossbars on your vehicle to use a vacuum-mounted rack - these racks can be attached anywhere they will fit. And they can easily be transferred to different vehicles. So if you have more than one vehicle but don't want to have to consider buying more than one rack, a vacuum-mounted rack could be a good choice. These racks are also easy to attach and remove, taking just seconds. When you attach the rack, be sure the mounting locations are clean to help eliminate any potential scratching of your minivan's finish. These racks could interfere with opening your minivans's rear hatch, depending on where they're located.
Pros:
  • Requires no hitch or crossbars
  • Flexible mounting options
  • Easily attached and removed
  • Can be swapped among different vehicles
Cons:
  • May interfere with hatch access (depending on location of rack)
  • Vacuum cup plungers require occasional lubrication
Related ArticlesRelated ProductsUpdated on: 4/26/21


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