Bike Rack Maintenance tips & tricks
Cleaning and regular maintenance can add years to the life of your bike rack. While it seems like it may be challenging to do, the truth is, it’s not. By devoting about half an hour to maintenance every year, you can ensure your rack stays good as new.
This guide will be broken up into a few sections: Things to do regularly, Things to do monthly, and Things to do in the off-season.
Things to do regularly
Everyone who uses their bike rack will have their own experience. Some may be driving through the city and going to a paved parking lot to unload. Others may be driving on some backroads or up a mountain to find the best trailhead. No matter where you take your rack, most likely, there will be plenty of dirt, grime, and other road junk sticking to your rack. This dirt can add up over time and degrade your rack. That is why it is important to wash your rack regularly, preferably between every use. Clean your rack like you would your bike, a quick rinse with hot water and soap, then a quick towel off, and you are good to go.
One of the simplest things you can do to increase the lifespan of your rack might just be the hardest for some people to achieve. If you don’t plan on using your bike rack, take it off your vehicle. There is no point in causing unnecessary wear and tear to your rack when you don’t have to. By taking your rack off your vehicle you are saving it from any dirt or oils that could have gotten on it from being on your vehicle. It is also wise to put a hitch cover on your hitch receiver to prevent that from rusting too!
Things to do monthly
When the weather is great and bike season is in full swing, the last thing you want is for your bike rack to start giving you headaches. As such, there are a couple of key things you should do monthly when you are repeatedly using your bike rack. The first is very simple but one of the most important things you can do. Apply a small amount of oil to all moving parts. Products like Boeshield T9 that are geared towards preventing metal from rusting or corroding are ideal. A small drop in all your locks and any pivot points on the rack will help keep them clean and moving like they are intended.
The more you use your rack and become comfortable with it, you may find yourself missing key issues with it. It is important to check for any damage or missing parts. Maybe your rack has some features you don’t use regularly? Pull them out and give them a test run to ensure nothing has seized or broken without you noticing. Many bike racks come with lifetime warranties, so make sure you are using them! If it is clear your rack has been broken for a while and neglected, companies have the right to waive the warranty. So the more you check it the better!
Things to do in the offseason
After a good season of biking, it’s important to ensure your rack will be all good to go for next year before you put it away. Nowis the perfect time to give your rack a thorough clean and expectation, make sure all your parts are clean and in a good working condition before you put it away. If anything is broken, this is the perfect time to warranty it, so you aren’t left reckless in a time of need.
Storing your rack can be as simple as leaning it against a wall in the garage, or maybe you have a designated rack holder? Whatever your situation, it is important to keep your rack and all spare parts together during storage. Perhaps you change your bike? Or you get a new vehicle in the off-season? There are a lot of variables that may mean you need to change parts on your rack. Instead of searching your junk drawer for those necessary parts, having them attached to your rack already will save many headaches in the long run!
The RackDock from Küat. A sophisticated solution for storing your hitch rack. With easy wall installation and the ability to hold a 4-bike rack. This little guy will be your new best friend.
In the end, owning a bike rack is supposed to be helpful and not a chore. Your rack is always there for you when you need it; by investing a few minutes back into it, you can ensure it works as well in year 5 as it did in week 5. If you’re ever unsure about your rack, maybe an arm is sticky, or it’s moving more than it should, swing by your local Rack Attack and let us look and it and ensure it’s as good as it should be!