The fruits of our winter labor have arrived, my friend. Sunny summer weather is here, the bike trails are in great shape, the light is bright and long into the evening, and you are ready to spend some time in the saddle! This means you have likely taken your bicycle to your local bike shop for a full tune-up and once over. All in good working condition. BUT WAIT! Before you take off to hit your epic ride, you need to spend some time making sure that your car rack is ready.
In anticipation of the start of the summer riding season, I consulted with our knowledgeable test engineer, Todd, to give us the best and most important considerations for bike rack upkeep.
1. Consult the Fit Guide!
This is the first step in the sale of any bike rack, and an important point to consider at the start of the season. Did you get a new car since last using your car rack? Are you putting your rack on your friend's car for the first time? Before making a leap of faith in assuming your rack will be a fit, DOUBLE CHECK THE FIT with the Saris bike rack fit guide. Our guide will check our expansive database to see if your vehicle's year, make and model is a fit for your rack. Plus, it'll provide any additional considerations and help you to match the right bike rack with the right car.
2. Clean the Vehicle's Contact Points.
Before installing the bike carrier, wipe down the car at all the points where your rack will make contact with the car. A simple wipe with clean cloth will remove any fine grit, pollen, and other tiny, unseen particles. This easy gesture will not only mean a smooth ride for your bikes, it will also ensure a better fit for the rack. This point primarily applies to those with trunk racks, such as the Bones.
This simple, quick wipe of your vehicle's surface before mounting the car rack does wonders.
3. Clean the Bike Rack's Contact Points.
Along the same lines as the point above, make sure that the rack components are clean - focusing on rack feet and hooks. This point is especially useful on trunk racks, where the feet will be placed on the car. We recommend storing the rack off the ground, or at least on its side so that the rack feet are not sitting on the dusty garage ground (okay, I'm talking about MY garage floor, not making any judgement about yours. But, just sayin').
4. Check for Damage.
Before loading your precious cargo onto the rack, give your bike rack a close look-over and check for any signs of wear to straps, hooks, scoops, and other components. If you see any that are wearing or damaged, replace them before using the rack.
Your Saris car rack comes with a lifetime warranty. And that means that we take care of you and your rack for as long as the first owner owns it. If you see anything on the rack that doesn't look just right, we would happily help you get everything good to go before heading out on the road, so drop us a line. And, by anything, we really mean anything – believe me, we have seen it or heard it before.
Give your bike rack the once over to look for broken or worn parts before the inaugural ride for the year.
5. Keep Your Bike Rack Clean.
Our car racks prefer to be washed by hand with a mild detergent. Dish soap works well (here's lookin' at you blue Dawn). But whatever you do, do not – I mean do not take your bicycle rack through an automated car wash!
6. Give Your Locks Some Love.
The lock on your bike rack is a lot like your bike chain, if you don't move it – things can get sticky. Cycle the lock periodically throughout the year and lube as necessary to prevent the lock core from seizing up. A couple turns every now and then will go a long way in the longevity of the car rack and this important security feature.
Check in on your rack during the year and move all moving parts. That way your rack will be ready to hit the road when you are.
The key takeaway here? It's just as important to keep your bike and bike rack in good working order. So from us to you, please don't forget to take care of your bike's ride. If you treat it well, it will treat your bike well, and you will in turn be rewarded in the payment of great bike rides (not to mention worry-free transport).
And so, with that, I send you on your way. As always, please get in touch with any questions. Happy riding, and safe travels.
-Sarah Reiter, Saris Car Rack Product Manager