Yes, you can open your trunk with a bike rack on it. You have to find the right type of bike rack that will allow you to do this. Some types won’t let you do so due to their design, however.
The fact is that it really depends on what type of bike rack you’re using. There are some bicycle racks for trucks that won’t allow you to open the trunk of your vehicle without first removing them, but there are also some bike racks that can be installed on your truck and allow you to open the trunk.
This is due to their design and functionality, but in general, these types of bike racks will not work:
- Bike hitch rack: Bike hitch racks are designed to carry bikes fastened directly above or behind your vehicle’s rear tire by a metal or plastic bar, and they often require a hitch receiver to be installed on your vehicle. The bikes hang vertically, and the handlebars protrude, blocking access to the trunk.
- Swingarm: Swing arm bike racks swing open like a door mounted on your vehicle, allowing you to walk around them instead of maneuvering through them. These bike racks are designed to carry one bike, and they’re typically made of metal.
- Platform: A platform type of bike rack is designed to carry your bikes on a horizontal bar. They require the bikes’ front wheels to be mounted onto brackets, which protrude vertically and block the trunk’s access.
Bike rack that allows you to open the trunk with a bike rack on it
The first, and main bike rack that people like to buy that allows for a trunk to be opened is the roof mounted option. These roof mounted bike racks have the bikes away from the trunk, or rear hatch, leaving plenty of room for you to open up your trunk.
The downside to these being that it makes your vehicle considerably taller, and is more difficult to remove the bikes from when you get to your destination.
Another type of bike rack that allow you to access your trunk with a bike rack installed are generally the type of bike racks that mount onto your vehicle’s spare tire. The bikes sit in a cradle or horizontally across the top, and both designs allow you to open the rear door without having to remove them.
These truck bike racks typically have a swivel front wheel bracket, and some can be folded down for storage. The factors that will determine whether these types of bike racks will work on your truck are the spare tire mount and the weight of the bikes.
If you try to install a traditional type of trunk or hitch-mounted bike rack onto your vehicle with a spare tire mount, the spare tire may cover up one or more of the bike rack bars. If this is the case, your trunk will not be accessible when a bike rack is installed. In addition, many types of spare tire mounts are too small to accommodate a traditional type of trunk or hitch-mounted bike rack.
For these reasons, it’s best not to install a bike rack on your vehicle with a spare tire. If you want to use an extra mounted bike rack, some come with an extension arm that allows you to clear the tire easily. Two examples of truck bike racks are Yakima’s Hitched and the CURT class 3 trailer hitch-mounted bike rack.
To add, some types of spare tire-mounted bike racks sit on a platform and keep the bikes’ tires off the ground. The trunk will remain accessible with them, as long as you don’t put too much weight onto it or if they’re not overcapacity.
These types of spare tire-mounted bike racks include the Yakima SpareDown and the Thule Sidearm.
Some models of roof-mounted bike racks can also be installed on top of a spare tire, but because they’re typically heavier than the trunk or hitch-mounted racks, it’s best not to install them on your vehicle if you have a small spare tire that will not accommodate it well. You should check the vehicle manual to find out what type of spare tire you can install on your vehicle and refer to Yakima’s weight limits for recommended spare tires.
Be aware that when a bike rack is installed, it has the potential to make your truck more vulnerable. If the bike rack is not properly installed or someone tries to break into your car with a bike rack installed, it may damage the bikes or the vehicle.