One of the most serious risks comes from roof-mounted bike racks. It's all too easy to forget that the bikes are up there and drive into your carport or garage. When this happens, even if your bike escapes major damage, it's likely that the roof rack and car top will be bent or worse. And, car roof repair can be shockingly expensive. So, it's definitely worth it to avoid the hassle of driving into things with the bikes on top.
Remind Yourself That Bikes Are On Top One trick that might help is placing the garage remote control in a cycling glove. This way, when you see the glove, it should trigger your mind to remember that there's a bike on top. This trick won't work if there's no remote control. Instead, you might place a sign on your dashboard or try hanging a flag on your carport with a picture of a bike on it. Maybe even a mirror mounted on your garage wall that lets you see the loaded roof rack as you pull up. One of these suggestions just might save you major grief.
Rear-Rack Precautions There are two reasons careful bike placement can't be emphasized enough when using a rear rack. First, the bikes need to be high enough so that if you hit a rough road, there's no way the wheels can strike the ground as the car bobs up and down.
Second, you must keep the wheels well above the exhaust system to prevent the heat from melting tires and popping tubes (illustration). Try mounting the bike with the rack's arm inserted beneath the seatstays, which will raise the bike and wheel. Or, just ask and we'll take a look and recommend a solution for your rack, bike and vehicle.
For Safety, Check And Re-check Occasionally check the rack installation, too. It can loosen over time and you definitely do not want the rack flying off on the highway. Snug bolts and attachments, inspect all components, and apply lube to parts that may rust or corrode. For rear racks, make sure the pads are still in place and protecting the car.
Finally, remember to stop occasionally on trips to check the bikes and rack. And, don't neglect to protect your precious cargo at stops. If you don't have a lock, leave someone with the car or park next to a window so you can watch your precious cargo.