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How To Remove Bike Rack From Car [Inc. Thule, Yakima, And Allen]

If it's your first time removing a bike rack that you installed on your car, you might find it challenging. It can be more difficult to remove a bike rack you did not install in the first place. We researched to provide information on how to remove a bike rack with ease and without damaging the rack or your car.

There are different methods of removing bike racks, depending on their type. While focusing on the Thule, Yakima, and Allen brands, we shall discuss how to remove the four main types of bike racks, including:

  • Hitch bike racks
  • Roof bike racks
  • Spare tire mount bike rack
  • Trunk bike racks

In this post, we are going to show you step-by-step how to remove the different types of bike racks, focusing on Thule, Yakima, and Allen brands. Included is a discussion on why you should remove the bike rack when you are not using it. 

Before you continue reading, let us say we hope you find the links here useful. If you purchase something through a link on this page, we may get a commission, so thank you!

Crossover car with two road bicycles loaded on a rack - How To Remove Bike Rack From Car [Inc. Thule, Yakima, And Allen]

How Do You Take Off A Bike Rack From Your Car?

A bike rack is a convenient way of transporting your bicycle from one place to another. You could be going on a vacation or for a race. You could even just be meeting up with friends to have some fun riding bikes.

Bike racks come with installation and removal instructions that are pretty straightforward. But, if this is your first time, it might be a little challenging. However, we will show you how to remove the rack without breaking a sweat.

Mountain biker man take of his bike from the car roof

Irrespective of the type of bike rack you choose, they are installed and removed more or less the same way. There are a few variations depending on the brand you settle for.

Below is a guide on how to remove different types of bike racks on selected Thule, Yakima, and Allen brands:

How To Remove A Hitch Bike Rack

Crossover car with two road bicycles loaded on a rack

This type of bike rack can carry up to four bikes. To install a hitch bike rack, your car should have a hitch receiver. And, if your vehicle does not have one, it can be installed at an extra charge.

There are two basic styles available, hanging and tray. The tray hitch bike racks have platforms on which a bike's front and rear wheels rest. It has straps to hold down the bikes across the rim of the wheels.

On the other hand, the hanging hitch bike racks carry hanging bikes. The top tube frame of a bicycle is supported by the rack's support bars.

Let's check out below how to remove some specific models of Thule and Allen hitch bike racks from cars:

Thule Helium Aero Hitch Bike Rack

Check out this Thule Helium Bike Platform XT on Amazon.

The steps to removing the Thule helium aero hitch bike rack from your car are as follows:

  1. Insert the key into the locking knob, after which it should spin freely. 
  2. Turn the key clockwise, and immediately the knob will have a little tension and not be easy to turn around.
  3. To loosen the hitch rack, turn the knob anti-clockwise.
  4. A safety lock attaches the hitch rack to the hitch receiver. To release this lock, firmly hold the rack, and pull out the lock to release it.
  5. Afterward, remove the rack.

Have a look at the video below explaining the above steps in detail:

Allen Sports Hitch Bike Rack

Have a look at this Allen Sports 2-bike hitch rack on Amazon.

To remove an Allen sports hitch bike rack, follow the steps below:

  1. Insert the key into the key knob.
  2. Turn the key anti-clockwise and then remove the key.
  3. To loosen the rack, turn the knob anti-clockwise.
  4. Shake it while depressing the lock button at the base of the hitch receiver. 
  5. Remove the rack.

Check out the video that visually explains the steps above:

How To Remove A Roof Bike Rack

Car with a bike carrier attached on the top and two bicycles mounted on it.

There's a lot of room on the roof of your car to fit a roof bike rack. There are two types of roof bike racks. One requires you to remove the front wheel. It grabs your bike's fork, holding it securely to the rack. Others have an extra arm to carry your complete bike.

You may also carry your bike upside down, especially if you have many bikes to transport. 

As mentioned earlier, removing bike racks is similar in most brands, with minimal variations. Below is a step-by-step guide on removing a Yakima roof bike rack from your car.

Yakima Roof Bike Rack

The steps to removing a Yakima Roof Bike Rack include:

  1. Start by unlocking the lock that's at the front of the rack. This will allow the knob to rotate freely. 
  2. Turn the knob anti-clockwise, and keep turning until you loosen and release the front part of the rack. 
  3. Move over to the back of the rack, and turn the screw anti-clockwise until the rack is released. 
  4. With both the front and back of the rack released, pull it off gently. 

Check out the video below that visually explains the steps above:

Check out this Yakima Front Loader wheel-on rooftop rack on Amazon.

How To Remove Spare Tire Bike Racks

Check out this Allen Sports deluxe spare tire rack on Amazon.

A spare tire bike rack is mounted onto the spare tire that is at the rear of your vehicle. This is a great option if you have a soft top like in a Jeep Wrangler. It's also great if your car does not have a hitch receiver and you do not wish to install one.

For example, disassembling a Yakima spare tire bike rack is done in the reverse order of how you installed it. Basically, this rack uses a tongue and mounting bracket. All you have to do is unthread the locking knob to remove it. Afterward, remove the mast, followed by the spare tire, and lastly, the mounting bracket. 

As always, there might be slight variations for removing a Thule and Allen spare tire bike. By carefully following the instructions in your manual, we bet you'll have no problem removing either of the bike racks from your car.

How To Remove A Trunk Bike Rack

You can find this Allen Sports trunk bike rack on Amazon.

A trunk bike rack is installed by attaching it to the rear of a vehicle using straps. This can be the perfect solution if your car does not have a hitch. It's suitable for a hatchback, sedan, van, or SUV.

This method mainly uses straps to hold the rack and bikes in place. Removing the bike rack involves carefully unfastening the straps. Therefore, the instructions in the manual can help you easily remove Allen, Thule, Yakima bike racks, and others from your car.

Why You Should Remove The Bike Rack When Not Using It

Crossover car with two road bicycles loaded on a rack

Are you wondering if you should remove your bike rack if you are not using it? To help you make a decision, you may want to consider the following reasons:

Higher Fuel Consumption

This may surprise you, but a bike rack can cause your car to use more fuel than usual. Your car has an aerodynamic shape that allows it to move swiftly without causing it to lag. This helps your vehicle use less fuel. 

A bike rack distorts the aerodynamic shape of your car, thereby interfering with the free flow of air around it. This causes you to slow down as you drive, transferring undue pressure on the engine and leading to higher fuel consumption. 

Roof bike racks are known to be the worst at decreasing gas mileage when not removed. The trunk and hitch bike racks also provide their fair share of trouble when not removed.  

Scratching Car Paint

Your trunk bike rack is likely to scratch the paint on your trunk. This is because it is held securely by straps and metal clips that can rub against the paint. Whereas you can minimize this occurrence, the straps can loosen with time.

Challenged Movement Or Parking

When the purpose of using a bike rack is over, it may be in your best interest to remove it. Driving around can be difficult with the racks still mounted on your car, especially when you need to park. 

In Closing

Young Couple Preparing for Riding the Mountain Bikes in the Forest. Unmounting the Bike from Bike Rack on the Car. Adventure and Family Travel Concept.

Removing a bike rack from your car need not be a tedious task. By carefully following the instructions in the manual, you will receive a guide on how to remove it. 

In this post, we have illustrated how to remove selected models from the Allen, Thule, and Yakima bike rack brands. When you are done using the bike rack, it can be a good idea to remove it for the reasons discussed herein.

Below are more of our previous posts about bike racks that may interest you:

Drive With A Bike Rack Safely

Best Pickup Truck Bike Racks