How to Keep Hitch Bike Rack from Swaying?

When you cannot resist watching the swaying bike rack while riding towards the bike trail and the weird thoughts of the bike rack falling off, have already stolen your peace of mind. Then there remains no fun on a bike adventure!

Why not fix bikes from swaying on bike rack to get relief from all that? The best part is that the solution to this is not expensive either. Investing a few bucks on a hitch clamp and using it to tighten up the bike rack can do wonders for you.

Let me unveil the truth in more detail for you, on “How to Keep Hitch Bike Rack from Swaying”, so you can put off your eyes from the rear mirror and also forget about the rattling bike rack noise annoying you in the cabin.

How to Keep Hitch Bike Rack from Swaying?

How to Keep Hitch Bike Rack from Swaying
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Give a quick glance at the cause that drives you nuts to grasp the actual core of the solution and its working mechanism.

Why My Hitch Bike Rack Sway?

Hitch bike rack swaying is not unusual and does not happen to a few racks only. No matter how good your bike rack is, and how reputable its manufacturer is, the hitch bike rack starts swaying at some point of use. And the reason for this is hidden in the bike rack mechanism! Also read about bike rack for car without hitch.

Here’s how; Whenever you have to attach the bike rack to your car, 2 components come into action including;

1. Hitch Receiver

2. Tow bar

You slide the hitch receiver of the bike rack into the tow bar of your car, to get it attached.

When the receiver slides in, it does not occupy all the empty space in it. Instead, a small wiggle room always remains between the tow bar and the hitch receiver. In biker terms, there will always be slop or play-in, which means a room to move the bike rack back and forth, up and down. Hence, cause a bike rack to sway.

Manufacturers can’t even exclude it, as it is intended to be there to keep the process of sliding bike racks in and out smooth. With frequent use, the room keeps on widening, play in increases and bike rack starts rocking back and forth more aggressively. All thanks to the metal-to-metal contact, and the wear and tear in it.

The more widened wiggle room, and the aggressive swaying, mean more rattling noise fastening your heartbeat and making you worried about your bikes. One more thing to know, the intensity of your bike rack swaying also depends on the type of bike rack you are using.

Types of Hitch Racks

There are 2 types, including;

1. Hanging Hitch Rack

2. Tray Hitch Rack

You will find the hanging hitch rack swaying more than the tray racks. Because of the fact that the tray rack holds and controls the bikes on the platform, getting more privilege to stop the bike rack from swaying.

Whereas, hanging racks hold bikes from their frame, which results in more freedom of movement and swaying.

If you own Subaru Forester, have a look at bike racks for Subaru Forester

Main Reason of Hitch Bike Rack Swaying

Knowing that the wiggle room between the tow bar and the hitch receiver is the main reason for your bike rack swaying. For Jeep Wrangler owners, it is recommended to read about jeep wrangler bike racks.

How to stop hitch bike rack from swaying?

What do you think, how to fix it? Yes, by reducing the gap between and tightening up the gap. You can use multiple ways to get it done. Following are the tested and the most effective ones to follow;

1. Use Hitch Clamps

The hitch clamp is a simple component consisting of the following parts;

  • U-bolt
  • Steel plate
  • Washers
  • Nuts

It does not cost a lot but can stop your bike rack from swaying effectively. You need to get the one that goes with your hitch receiver, as they come in different sizes.

We always suggest measuring your hitch receiver correctly, before you order one. Most of the hitch clamps can easily be fitted with the 1.2-2.0 inches tow hitch receiver.

Using only a single hitch clamp is more than enough until and unless you are using an adapter. If you are using an adapter, then you should be using 2 hitch clamps to tighten up both connection points.

Otherwise, the swaying won’t stop at all. Don’t forget that adding a hitch clamp as an add-on component only works to reduce the freedom of your bike rack from swaying.

It does not help at all in enhancing its loading capacity. You will be able to load the bike rack with the same amount of weight as before. No more, no less. If you own a minivan, read about bike racks for minivan.

How to Install Hitch Clamp?

  • Put the U-bolt over the hitch receiver, close to the tow bar.
  • Slides the steel plate into the U-bolt, covering the tow bar and hitch receiver.
  • Tighten up the washer, and lock the washer and the nuts to both of the sides of the U-bolt.
  • Ensure to tighten up the steel plate to both tow bar and hitch receiver equally to remove the freedom of hitch receiver to move freely.

If you own Nissan Rogue then you can read my review about Nissan Rogue bike racks

Best Hitch Clamps for Bike Rack to Consider

Here are the few cost-effective yet best-performing hitch clamps to consider, if you are planning to get one;

1. CZC AUTO Hitch Tightener

CZC AUTO Hitch Tightener

CZN Auto Hitch tighter is recommended because of being compatible with the receiver hitch of 1.23-2.0 inches and goes perfectly with any well-established brand. Its ability to withstand different weather conditions, and being rust-free are some additional convincing features. We have found it easy to install and effective to eliminate the rattling noise.

You must consider getting it, to have a peaceful journey toward your bike trail. Also have a look best bike racks for Jeep Cherokee.

2. LIBERRWAY Hitch Tightener/clamp

LIBERRWAY is another best hitch tightener that is available in different sizes and can be used with 1.25 inches to 2.0 inches hitch receivers. Let it be an SUV, trailer, RV or a truck, installing it on any of them won’t be an issue.

The quality of this hitch clamp is not only the reason for grabbing this, the responsive customer support also makes it an ideal option to consider. Grab it, before your bike falls off the car and costs you more in repair and maintenance. You can also read about best Honda CRV bike racks.

2. Use Anti-Sway Straps

Using the anti-sway straps is another effective way to keep your hitch bike from swaying. You can strap the bikes tightly using them to reduce their movement and the chances of them getting loosened and falling off.

Though, it is not recommended to use solely. Because it can’t help with horizontal movement. We suggest using it along with other methods as an added layer of security.

Best Strap Kits

Following are the best and most effective ones that you could consider using;

3. Use Anti-Rattle Hitch Pin

An alternative to the Hitch clamp/tightener is the Anti-Rattle Hitch Pin, which is also quite effective. It works to reduce the wiggle room and stop the slop drastically.

Here’s how to use Anti-Rattle Hitch Pin

Insert the metal into the hitch tube, and slide it into the tow bar. Then use the threaded pin and washer to tighten them up. Tighten it up, until you feel no wobbling and swaying of the bike rack.

Best Hitch Pins

Following are some of the top Anti-rattle hitch pin kits;

If you want to transport electric bikes, read a detailed guide about best electric bike racks

Final Thoughts about Keeping Hitch Bike Rack from Swaying

You should invest a few dollars on a hitch clamp or a hitch pin, whenever getting a hitch bike rack. Because you cannot deny the fact that it will wobble or sway at some point of use.

However, if you have decided to ignore the problem to save a few bucks, then be ready to lose your hard-earned money on a repair. The swaying is notorious for loosening the connection, causing the bike to fall off and making you learn the lesson the hard way.

Related Bike Transportation Guides

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