Do Trunk Bike Racks Damage Your Car?

Trunk bike racks are one of the most popular bike racks out there and they’re pretty easy to install and remove (see our 8 Best Trunk Mounted Bike Racks). However, using a trunk-mounted bike rack may do more harm than good. Do trunk bike racks damage your car?


If you’re concerned about how to protect your car from damage, you’ll definitely want to read this article. 

Do Trunk Bike Racks Damage Your Car?

Yes, unless you take special care to prevent your bike rack from damaging your car, it will damage the paint. Even the best trunk-mounted bike rack can damage the paint of your car, and that’s if you fit it properly. These bike racks sit against the trunk using metal clips, and these clips scratch off the vehicle’s paint. 

Additionally, moving bits of the bike—the pedals and tires for example—can damage the car’s finish too. 

How Do I Protect My Car From The Trunk Bike Rack?

The first thing to do is to choose a rack that is compatible with your car. An ill-sized rack is more likely to have fitting issues and cause damage. Invest in a good-quality trunk rack that comes with foam built into the rack to lessen damage to the trunk. 

Additionally, make sure to tie down the pedals and wheels of the bike so they don’t scratch the car; and ensure the tires aren’t near the exhaust, or that may melt the rubber. 

Finally, never overload your bike rack. Follow the weight limit given by the manufacturer to prevent the trunk rack from breaking while driving. If the rack breaks or dangles, the damage to the car will be extreme. 

How Fast Can You Drive With a Trunk Bike Rack?

You should not drive faster than 55mph if you’re driving with a trunk rack. Since trunk bike racks are secured by straps and are lighter than other types, they are also not as safe. Do trunk bike racks damage your car if you drive fast? Yes, they can drop, dangle, or move around more, damaging the car’s exterior as well as the bike. 

Car Scratch Protector for Trunk Bike Rack

You can find a lot of scratch protectors for your trunk bike rack online. E-commerce sites like Amazon carry a lot of affordable options. Some are made from rubber and are meant to cover the metal hooks of the rack to protect your car. 

Paint protection strips work well for trunk racks too. Simply glue the transparent film on your car where you fear the paint will scratch. Most film is scratch resistant, easy to peel off, and does not damage the paint when removed. 


Trunk racks are both affordable and lightweight, which makes them a favorite amongst people. However, the question is, can trunk bike racks damage your car? If you don’t take the necessary care, yes. 

If this is something you’re concerned about, hitch racks or roof tracks may suit you better. 

Also read: Are Trunk Bike Racks Safe for Long Distances?

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Arsal Sher — Mud Bike Writer

With an interest in dirt bikes developing from an early age, Arsal now pursues his passion for bikes by restoring old ones. He specializes in vintage collectibles and works hands-on with motorbikes when he has time to spare from his content writing career.


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