How to Reduce a Bouncing Bike Rack Installed on a 2004 Nissan Quest

Question:

I have the Hidden Hitch class III on my 2004 Nissan Quest along with the 5 bike Thule hitch carrier and Thule hitch lock. The carrier bounces when we hit a dip in the road, go over a bridge, etc, sometimes violently, when on the interstate with 5 bikes. Is this anything I need to worry about, or, is this normal?

Expert Reply:

Having a bike rack, loaded or unloaded, bounce some is common but there are measures you can take to reduce the movement of the rack. The issue is that the shank on a bike rack has to be slightly smaller than the receiver opening for it to fit correctly so there will always be some play.

Some racks come with an anti-rattle device that usually takes the form of a threaded bolt uses to pull the shank of the bike rack tight to the side of the receiver to reduce or eliminate the movement in the hitch.

When the rack is loaded, especially a 5 bike rack, you are going to see more movement on larger bumps and dips due to the amount of extension from the receiver and the amount of force it takes to cause such movement when 5 bikes are loaded. Consequently, bumps that would normally jostle an unloaded rack probably would not have much effect on the loaded rack.

So what you can do to add another level of protection is to use an additional anti-rattle device such as the Roadmaster Quiet Hitch, # RM-061. This will take up the remaining play between the shank and receiver. When traveling also make sure the bikes are secured with the straps as tight as you can get them. The idea is that you want the rack to be like an extension of the hitch by providing the most solid connection amongst all the parts in the equation.

You could also use a strap like # 18050 to help support the rack. This strap will need to be snug, not overly tight. Take a look at the helpful link I have added showing how it installs.

expert reply by:
Michael H

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