Can You Open Trunk With Bike Rack?

Given that most bike racks extend over the trunk area, it’s normal to be concerned about trunk access. So, can you open trunk with bike rack?

Bike manufacturers don’t recommend opening the trunk with a rack as you could damage the trunk’s door hinges and bring the door down or scratch the painting.

Remember, the door’s hinges are not meant to support the rack’s weight, and so the door could quickly come down if you forcefully open the trunk.

However, this problem is common with trunk racks and, to some extent, ladder racks and tailgate racks.

That leaves you with a few exceptions, including rooftop racks, truck bed racks, spare tire racks, and hitch racks.

I’ll shed more light on all these bike racks to help you make a better judgment.

Let’s jump straight to the effect of opening a trunk rack.

bike rack for the trunk

Can You Open Trunk With Bike Rack? (Going into Details)

Trunk racks can transport both light and heavy bikes but are better suited for lighter ones. The bicycle rests on the trunk, which means you cannot access it (the trunk).

Overall, here are two dangers of forcefully trying to open a trunk with a bike rack:

  • The trunk hinges are not built to tolerate the rack’s extra weight, and so the trunk’s door could come down if you forcefully open it.
  • There is the risk of damaging the trunk’s painting and other vehicle parts if the rack accidentally falls on it.

So what?

If you would want to access the trunk while using a trunk rack, consider a foldable option to allow you to fold it down to open the trunk quickly.

One such trunk is the Saris Bones 1-Bike Trunk Rack (View on Amazon).

This trunk rack easily unhooks and folds down to allow you to access the trunk easily.

This rack can hold up to 2 bikes weighing 35 pounds each. You can also count on it to protect your trunk’s painting, thanks to its rubber feet.

Sari Bones Bike Trunk Rack

Other Bike Racks That Restrict Trunk Access

They include:

a) Ladder Bike Rack

A ladder rack suspends your bicycle on a ladder system, as the name suggests. These racks suit SUVs, trailers, and motor vans as they have a higher capacity to transport more cycles.

The racks are sturdy, thus great for hauling your bike over a long distance.

Note, however, that not all ladder racks attach to the trunk. If they do, then it’ll be challenging to open the trunk.

If you force it open, you could damage the trunk. In that case, consider other racks if you would want to access the trunk as a ladder rack restricts access.

b) Tailgate Bike Rack

With a tailgate bike rack, you transport your bicycle on a protective pad above the bike rack. Most tailgate bike racks can hold up to 7 bikes.

However, the good thing about tailgate bike racks is that you can organize the bikes well not to obscure the lights or the license plate.

Unfortunately, opening the vehicle’s trunk isn’t something easy. I could say it’s nearly impossible as you secure the bike firmly onto the vehicle’s rear.

You typically lock it with a robust locking shell which also plays the role of an anti-theft device.

So, if you try opening the trunk, you could damage it as you are more likely to force it open.

Overall, tailgates are not the best when you want to access the trunk because they are more of a permanent attachment.

What Bike Racks Don’t Restrict Trunk Access?

You wouldn’t worry about how to open trunk with bike rack using any of these options:

a) Hitch Bike Rack

Hitch bike racks are known for their super strength and hauling power. You can count on them to haul multiple bikes.

Unlike most bike racks, hitch racks are easily detached to easily access your car’s rear end, including its trunk.

It generally takes minutes to unhook the bike rack from the vehicle’s hitch receiver and access the trunk.

The attachment is equally fast and seamless, making hitch racks one of the best options when you want to access the bicycle rack.

Note, however, that you don’t always have to detach the rack as it can be overwhelming.

Some hitch racks are tilt-able backward to allow you to access the trunk when empty (without a bike).

Their back-tilt design allows you to tilt it and access the trunk easily. The trunk is super-strong, given that it lets you haul up to 5 bikes.

Unlike most hanging-style hitch bicycle racks, your cycles don’t wobble on transit. That’s thanks to the rack’s no-wobble system.

Moreover, it enjoys a patented tie-down secure mechanism that individually holds the bikes on transit.

Hitch Bike Racks

So what?

Even though you can detach any hitch rack to access your trunk, consider a tilt-able option. It saves you from the hustle of having to disconnect and mount back the bicycle rack.

b) Rooftop Bike Rack

Accessing the trunk is never an issue when you have a rooftop rack. Since the bike rack is on the car’s roof, you can access the car’s rear end as much as you want.

Rooftop racks are pretty secure and stable to allow you to haul one or two heavy bikes. They are also quite versatile, given that you can also use them to carry boats, surfboards, and other water vessels.

Their only issue is that they require you to lift the bike and are less likely to fit in spaces with low clearance.

c) Truck Bed Bike Rack

Truck bed racks are designed for trucks, as their name suggests. You fit them on the truck beds, which allows you to access the trunk easily.

The good thing about truck bed racks is that they can hold multiple heavy bikes. But since the bikes are on the truck bed, they occupy a lot of your storage space.

d) Spare Tire Bike Rack

Spare tire racks rest on your car’s rear spare tire. So, they don’t interfere with the rear access, which means you can easily open the trunk.

The racks are seamless to install and don’t require any hitch to do it. They also take up small space when not in use.

Their downside is that they only hold a few bikes, 1-2. The other issue is that your bike could sway if the racks get loose, more so when you speed up.

Overall, it’s essential to consider that the rack is compatible with your vehicle. If it’s not, then it won’t fit.

Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack main


1. Can You Open Trunk With Hitch Bike Rack?

Hitch bike racks are easy to detach to allow easy trunk access. Note, however, that you don’t have to disconnect them if they are foldable. By folding them, you can access the trunk.

2. Are Trunk Bike Racks Safe?

Trunk bike racks are only safe when they are securely fitted on the car. If they are loose and happen to be swaying against the car’s body, they could damage its painting.

So, double-check the rack and its straps to ensure nothing is loose or swinging.

3. Can You Open Boot With Bike Rack?

If the rack is not obscuring your boot, you can easily open it. That’s often the case with rooftop racks, hitch racks, spare tire racks, and truck bed options.

4. Can You Open Trunk With Saris Bike Rack?

Saris, the manufacturer, doesn’t recommend opening the trunk if the bike rack is attached. That’s because the rack’s weight could bring the rear door down or damage the painting.

5. Can You Use A Trunk Bike Rack On A Hatchback?

You can easily fit a trunk bike rack on a hatchback. Just ensure you secure it firmly with its straps.

The good thing about using a trunk bike rack on a hatchback is that you don’t need any hitch. So, the installation is almost seamless.

6. Can You Open Trunk With Thule Bike Rack?

You shouldn’t try opening a trunk with a Thule bike rack unless it’s foldable. If you forcefully open it, you could damage the trunk’s hinges or painting.

7. How Do Trunk Bike Racks Work?

Trunk bike racks rest on the vehicle’s trunk and are supported by solid straps. They usually feature foam pads at their contact points to avoid scratching the car’s trunk.

8. Do Bike Racks Damage Your Car?

Rear bike racks like trunk racks and spare tire racks will likely damage your car if they are loose and swaying against the car’s body.

Other than that, they can scratch the painting if they accumulate dirt or if their fasteners (straps) are defective or loose.

In Conclusion, Can You Open Trunk With Bike Rack?

Unless a trunk rack is foldable or tilt-able, you could damage the trunk if you forcefully open it. Tailgates and ladder racks also restrict you from accessing the trunk.

However, you’ll have no problem opening the trunk with a spare tire, rooftop rack, hitch rack, or truck bed rack.