Car Rack Care: 6 Ways to Help Your Bike Rack Survive Winter

Car Rack Care: 6 Ways to Help Your Bike Rack Survive Winter

Our hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, is a city of four seasons. Commuters love it for the variety in conditions (as it provides the excuse to own multiple bikes). Our car rack product team and engineers dig the seasonality for rack testing. And now, more than ever, people are riding year round - which means they're using their car racks year round too.

Based on the rigorous testing we conduct all year long; we know that your Saris rack will function in any weather condition. In fact, we have a partnership with Green Cab of Madison in which they keep our racks on their fleet of cabs 365 days a year.

Bike rack on Green Cab

To help make sure that your winter riding experience is as good as is possible, here are some tips to help your bike rack survive ice, grime, salt and snow - and stay in tip-top shape for years to come.

1. Wash Your Bike Rack

Step one, part one: Do not take your bike rack through an automatic car wash. This type of car wash will damage your rack, and is not covered by our warranty.

There. Now that we've got that out of the way we can tell you that our car racks prefer to be washed by hand with a mild detergent. Dish soap is our go-to, after all - if Dawn is safe enough to save wildlife, it's safe enough for your car rack.

Need a little more water power? A happy medium between automatic car wash (bad) and hand washing (good), is the power washer at the self-wash station. Plus, the power washer is good for when you've already put away the garden hose for the season.

2. Remove When Not in Use

In some ways car racks are like people. Good care and maintenance can go a long way in ensuring a longer lifetime. And while we aggressively test and design our car racks to last a lifetime, one way to decrease the life of your rack is to leave it on your vehicle 24/7 – no questions asked.

In short, if you don't need your rack for the next couple days, weeks, or months, we recommend a well-deserved rest for your hard-working bike-hauler. We've made this easy to do by manufacturing the lightest car racks around. Better for your rack, easier for you.

3. Check for Damage

Before tucking your bike rack away for the winter, or giving it a break from all the fat bike adventures, take a close look at your car rack for any damage. Things to look for include wear to straps, hooks, wheel holders and any other moving parts.

Your Saris 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 us, we have seen it or heard it before.

Winter cyclist with bike rack on Green Cab

4. Properly Store Your Rack for Next Season

If you aren't a frequent winter rider, then your rack is ready to be nestled neatly away for the spring. After you've properly cleaned the ‘betweener or winter season gunk off the bike rack, find a place where dirt won't collect on any of surfaces – especially those that touch the car.

Pro Tip: store your trunk rack (like the Bones and SUPERBones) so that the "feet" are kept away from the grit and grime of the floor. This'll help keep them dirt-free and ready for install when you're ready to get back out and ride.

5. Lube the Locks for Longevity

Similar to your bike chain, the lock on your bike rack can take a toll after exposure to the elements.

Simply take any silicone-type lube (bike lube would be just fine), squirt a little in the direction of the lock surface, insert the key and cycle a few times. We generally recommend checking in periodically on your bike rack locks and cycling with a key for maintenance. Because there's nothing more frustrating that a sticky lock, and nothing more heartbreaking than a stolen bike.

6. Wash Your Car

With the bike rack removed from your vehicle, you may now take your car through the automated car wash. And don't forget to select the undercarriage cleaning from the wash options. Road chemicals, salt, grime and who-knows-what-else can take a toll on the metal parts of your car.

So if you can, pay the extra couple dollars to clean the whole car. You and your car will thank you later.


Bonus: Need a refresher on basic car rack care and maintenance? We've got you covered there too.