The 10 Best 3-Bike Car Racks to Buy in 2018

Reviews

Modern cycling enthusiasts don’t always ride to scenic locations for relaxing riding excursions. When one has to drive to the park or a cycling track, an inevitable challenge presents itself: what’s the best way to carry multiple bikes in a vehicle?

The easiest solution is a bike car rack. Most bikes are too big to fit in a trunk. Shoving the bike in the backseat would inconvenience passengers. A bike car rack would keep the riding gear well away from passengers, freeing up space inside the car.

The carrier would also ensure that the bikes are safely secured for the duration of the drive. When you have multiple bikes to drive with, a 3-bike car rack is the most sensible solution.

These racks enable drivers to pack multiple bikes of varying sizes on an excursion, vacation, or a road trip. A 3-bike car carrier is ideal for serious cyclists with multiple rides or for family cycling getaways.

A 3-bike car rack is also one of the trickiest accessories to buy. Most buyers are unsure which specifications to look for or whether brand names matter in the buying process.

This article will explain what to look for when buying a 3-bike car rack and how to choose the best product. A brief guide is provided to help you understand the features you need to look for when buying a 3-bike car rack.

Go ahead and enlighten yourself so you can make the best purchase decisions without wasting time or money.

Features to Consider in Good 3-Bike Car Racks

Buying a 3-bike car rack is not as easy as it may sound. There are many similar products available in the market, so finding what’s right for you could be challenging.

However, certain key features will help you narrow down your options to a short list. When browsing for the top 3-bike carriers, these are the main features to consider:

Attachment Type — Bike car racks attach to vehicles in two main ways: via the trunk or a hitch opening. Though the racks function the same, installation, price, features, and functionality can differ based on how the carrier is attached to the vehicle. Therefore, this will depend on which part of your vehicle you want to attach the bike rack to.

Supported Bikes — Most 3-bike carriers support all types of bikes, as long as the frame is standard. If you have bikes with unconventional frames, the typical carrier may not suit your needs. To find the best-suited product, find specifications for the types of bikes supported.

Warranty — A warranty or a guarantee from the manufacturer would ensure that you can always return a faulty product even a year after purchase. This is a handy protection to have when spending hundreds of dollars on a 3-bike carrier.

The product reviews listed in this article will touch upon the above points, and more, for your convenience so you don’t have to scroll through long descriptions looking for information. The table below has quick summaries of the 3-bike car racks reviewed underneath:

 3-Bike Car RackEditor’s RatingWeightDimensionsAttachment Point
Allen Sports Deluxe Trunk Mount 3-Bike Carrier10 lbs28.6 x 14.2 x 4.5 inchesTrunk
Hollywood Racks Express Trunk Mounted Bike Rack11.99 lbs20.3 x 5.7 x 30.1 inchesTrunk
Pro Series 63123 Eclipse Black 3-Bike Hitch Mounted Bike Carrier33.1 lbs28 x 6 x 17.5 inchesHitch
Thule Passage Trunk Mount Carrier10.8 lbs22 x 17 x 25 inchesTrunk
Tyger Auto TG-RK3B101S 3-Bike Hitch Mount Bicycle Carrier Rack8.74 lbs29 x 13.5 x 4.5 inchesHitch
Hollywood Racks F1B The Original 3-Bike Trunk Mount Rack13.01 lbs18.7 x 10.6 x 27.2 inchesTrunk
Allen Sports Premier Hitch Mounted 3-Bike Carrier25.8 lbs1 x 5 x 5 inchesHitch
Tyger Auto TG-RK3B203S Deluxe Black 3-Bike Trunk Mount Bicycle Carrier Rack9.55 lbs27.5 x 19.2 x 5 inchesTrunk
Masione 3-Bike Hitch Rack21.5 lbs


26 x 12 x 18.7 inchesHitch
Draw-Tite 59403 Rola TX 3-Bike Carrier3 lbs5 x 5 x 5 inchesHitch

Top 10 Best 3-Bike Car Racks in 2018

1. Allen Sports Deluxe Trunk Mount 3-Bike Carrier

Why we like it: This 3-bike carrier is super easy to install and comes fully assembled. It also provides excellent protection for both the car and the bikes.

Editor’s Rating:

This 3 bike carrier is designed to fit SUVs, sedans, minivans, and hatchbacks. It would fit most types of vehicles thanks to the flexible design. The bike car rack is shipped fully assembled, so set up only takes a matter of minutes.

Design
This 3-bike car rack is uniquely designed with an individual tie-down system. The lower frame of the rack is padded to protect the bikes. The carry arms are narrow, made particularly to fit bikes of a variety of sizes.

The overall design is very rugged. The manufacturer only uses high-quality items so users can expect this bike car rack to last. It comes with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer as well.

Performance
This 3-bike car rack is designed to fit easily and conveniently onto a vehicle. The rack comes with a middle frame that separates the bikes from the vehicle. There’s no risk of the vehicle movement causing scratches or other physical damage to the bike or the car.

The side straps of the rack provide truly wonderful stability when moving. The side straps are present in addition to top and bottom straps found in most bike car racks.

The carry arms of this rack are 103DN, a standard that will allow the accommodation of many different types of bike models. It can easily fit three traditional commuter adult bikes. It does support multiple BMX bikes, but the fit would be a bit tight. Children’s bikes are supported and these can be fitted easily.

Installing the rack to a vehicle is very easy. It doesn’t require much strength because the rack weighs only about 10 pounds. It will not take longer than 5 or 10 minutes to have the rack installed.

The rack is compact, so while it would fit neatly in a truck, fitting some bike models would be a challenge. The price is also a bit on the expensive side.

Overall
Though slightly overpriced, this 3-bike rack performs almost exactly as advertised. It comes assembled and with a lifetime guarantee. It fits most types of vehicles and will accommodate just about any type of bike model that is not oversized. This is a great bike rack for casual drivers and riders.

Pros
  • Comes fully assembled
  • Compact design
  • Fits most types of vehicles
  • Supportive structure that separates the bikes from the vehicle
Cons
  • Some bikes when fitted are too tight
  • Expensive

2. Hollywood Racks Express Trunk Mounted Bike Rack

Why we like it: This is a rare 3-bike car rack that is well-made and doesn’t come with an eye-popping price tag.

Editor’s Rating:

This Hollywood Racks 3-bike car rack would fit most vehicles. It’s recommended to check with the manufacturer to inquire about whether this bike rack would fit a particular vehicle model before buying. It’s relatively inexpensive and secures really well.

Design
This product is definitely one of the best 3 bike rack for car and it comes preassembled. It has six attachment straps that would secure the rack around the trunk of the vehicle. The straps have adjustment hubs that make the rack very easy to use.

There’s an additional integrated tie-down strap for even more security. The rack has soft rubber padding to protect the frames of the bikes. The rack can be folded for easy storage.

The bike cradles each have 6 inches of spacing in between. The distance between the bike’s support arms is 15 inches. The total weight of the rack is only 11 pounds.

Performance
Though highly economically priced, this 3-bike car rack comes with several impressive features. The rack can support three bikes totally, weighing around 70 pounds max.

The installation is tool-free because the rack comes assembled. Fitting the rack to the car is intuitive and doesn’t take long. The hub adjustment system is very user-friendly.

The rack is well-designed to protect the finishes of all the bikes. However, the padding doesn’t necessarily protect the car. The spacing between the rack and the vehicle is limited so the risk of scratching is high.

When not in use, it folds flat to fit easily in any sized trunk. The manufacturer offers a limited lifetime warranty.

Overall
This is an economical, foldable, and lightweight 3-bike rack that would suit most types of vehicles. While the padding could be better to protect the finish of the car, the price is well worth it. If the rack is carefully assembled with some space between the trunk and the rack, it would work perfectly.

Pros
  • Economical
  • Lightweight
  • Foldable
  • Padding to protect bikes’ finishes
  • Tool-free installation
Cons
  • May scratch the vehicle

3. Pro Series 63123 Eclipse Black 3-Bike Hitch Mounted Bike Carrier

Why we like it: This is one of the top hitch-mounted 3-bike car carriers. It folds, is relatively lightweight, and is not too difficult to install.

Editor’s Rating:

The Pro Series 63123 is designed to fit most SUVs, cars, vans, and tracks. This is one of the best 3 bike hitch racks money can buy. Unlike the two carriers mentioned above, this rack attaches only with a hitch or a tow bar. It’s foldable and comes with a reflector for extra safety.

Design
The Pro Series 63123 is designed with a unique tilt feature. This feature allows the trunk to be opened even when the rack is attached. The tilt design makes loading and unloading bikes easy as well. The car rack includes soft rubber padded cradles to protect the finish of the bike frames.

This 3-bike car rack can fit receivers in 2 inches and 1-1/4 inches. The rack has Velcro loop straps and a hook so loading and unloading are easy. The rack sports an appealing black powder coat finish.

Performance
This is a hitch mounted 3-bike rack, which means users will have to install the rack to a receiver. Installation would require some screws and a wench. It is relatively straightforward and can be attached in a matter of minutes.

Once installed, loading the bikes is very easy thanks to the Velcro straps. It can be installed even with a rear-mounted spare tire because there’s plenty of space between the bike rack and the vehicle.

It should be noted that this rack can weigh as much as 26 pounds total. While that may not be too heavy to lift, it may be too heavy for the bumper once the bikes are loaded. Therefore, mind the weight when attaching the rack to the bumper.

This 3-bike rack can support any standard sized bike. Even bikes with non-standard frames, such as those lacking a crossbar, can be attached with the use of an adaptor bar. The right adopters are necessary to match the size of the receivers to avoid the car body rubbing against the metal of the rack and bikes.

Overall
This hitch-mounted 3-bike car rack has a lot more benefits than complaints. For starters, it’s hitch mounted for towing rather than using trunks. If the hitch matches the specified receivers, then this rack would be a great accessory to haul your bikes.

Pros
  • Foldable
  • Reflector for better security
  • Easy loading and unloading
  • Fits receivers in two sizes
Cons
  • Can add too much weight to bumper
  • Installation requires tools

4. Thule Passage Trunk Mount Carrier

Why we like it: This moderately priced 3-bike car rack can support nearly any type of bike model, even the heavier ones. It also comes well padded for bumpy road trips.

Editor’s Rating:

This review is for the Thule Passage 911XT bike rack model. Do not confuse it with the 910XT model that can carry only two bikes.

Design
This 3-bike carrier boasts the ability to hold a wide range of bike types. The rack has six straps that would secure it to the trunk or the rear hatch of the vehicle. The straps have tightly locking buckles coated in vinyl to hold it safely in place while the vehicle is moving.

It weighs only about 10 pounds, so it’s relatively lightweight to handle. Installation requires no tools and is very easy to do.

Performance
The design of the Thule Passage 3-bike car rack is noted for the security features on offer to protect the metal frames and the auto body. The bike frames are protected by soft rubber cradles, which also hold them securely while travelling.

The rack also comes with anti-sway cages, which prevents the bike frames from tilting towards the vehicle which can cause scratching—a common issue with trunk attached bike racks. The leg pads of the rack are protected by SoftCushion padding too.

Each cradle can support a bike that weighs up to 35 pounds, for a total of 105 pounds of weight. This is a considerable weight. The rack has a branded feature called FitDial to make sure it stays well-fitted to the trunk.

The rack’s arms fold when not in use for easy storage. The rack can support any type of standard adult bike. However, problems may occur if the bike frame is unconventional.

For children’s, women’s, or full suspension bikes with non-standard frames, this rack requires a frame adapter. Without the adapter, the bikes won’t be able to be loaded in the handing manner. The brand recommended its own 982XT frame adapter that has to be bought separately.

Overall
While the rack may require adapter bars for some bike models, the performance of this rack is truly excellent. It can withstand bumpy roads, heavy traffic, and even long road trips thanks to the additional security padding included to protect the bikes and the vehicles.

It also travels well in rain. It can hold even the heavy bikes and bikes with baby carriers. Considering the mid-range price tag, this 3-bike carrier is well worth the money.

Pros
  • Many padding cradles to protect the vehicle exterior
  • Bikes are well-secured to withstand bumpy rides
  • Can support any type of bike model
  • Lightweight
  • Extremely easy installation
Cons
  • Adapter bars necessary for some types of bikes

5. Tyger Auto TG-RK3B101S 3-Bike Hitch Mount Bicycle Carrier Rack

Why we like it: This hitch mount 3-bike carrier is lightweight, sturdily built, highly secure, and even better, economically priced. There’s really nothing not to like about it.

Editor’s Rating:

Tyger Auto TG-RK3B101S is a great 3-bike hitch mount rack for those on a budget. It costs less than $100 and boasts many desirable features. It’s ideally sturdy, lightweight, and can carry even heavy bikes.

Design
This hitch mount bike carrier will fit a either a 1.25 or a 2-inch receiver on many types of vehicles. Do note that this rack will not fit vehicles longer than 18 feet, such as RVs, campers, or trailers.

In addition to the hitch receivers, the design includes straps for better securing. The rack is made of steel with an E-Coating to prevent corrosion and rust.

The rack comes with two locks, a cable lock, and a hitch lock. There’s a tilt feature to lower the rack to get access to the trunk without fully removing it. The carry arms are foldable.

The cradles in the rack the bikes go into are padded with a soft material to protect the metallic bike frames. The padding also acts as minor shock absorbers when the vehicle is moving.

Performance
This 3-bike rack is really easy to install in a vehicle and you won’t need to obsess about whether it’s still there on a long road trip. The rack secures exceptionally well largely thanks to the additional straps that come with the hitch receiver.

The steel construction is impressively sturdy and well-built. The hitch and cable locks prevent the bikes from moving around. The bikes will stay in place, period. The hitch lock works really well.

This bike rack is also about only 8 pounds in weight, so it’s one of the most lightweight 3-bike carriers around.

The rack can be easily shifted down to get access to the truck. This is not always easy because there is no quick release mechanism, but that’s only a minor concern.

Overall
Amazingly lightweight and economically priced, this 3-bike car rack is very easy to love. It would fit any vehicle shorter than 18 feet as long as it has a standard trailer hitch. The steel build is most impressive, especially combined with the anti-corrosion coating.

Pros
  • Sturdy construction
  • Rust-resistant coating
  • Extra security to keep bikes in place
  • Foldable for storage
  • Budget price
Cons
  • Won’t fit vehicles longer than 18 feet
  • Hatch doesn’t open speedily

6. Hollywood Racks F1B The Original 3-Bike Trunk Mount Rack

Why we like it: A classic 3-bike car rack model, the Hollywood Racks F1B remains popular thanks to its versatility and impressive durability.

Editor’s Rating:

Hollywood Racks F1B is one of the earliest designed 3-bike car racks that was initially unveiled in 1973. The classic design continues to be popular, and not only because it comes with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.

Design
Though the design goes back decades, this bike rack would fit modern cars, SUVs, vans, sedans and other vehicles without any problems. The much-celebrated classic design features multi-position hinges for hassle-free installation.

The bike rack has three straps with an integrated tie-down strap for better securing to the trunk. The cradles for a bike each are spaced 14.5 inches apart. It’s a very generous spacing that prevents damage from bike-to-bike impact on the road.

Performance
This classic 3-bike car rack is known for its amazing versatility. It should work with any type of modern vehicle. The rack is highly durable as well; some people have owned it for decades.

Interestingly enough, this 3-bike carrier can also hold a wheelchair. If the wheelchair is loaded upside down, it would fit nicely. Make sure the bar goes through the wheels for security.

It installs easily and adjusts well without damaging the vehicle. The model comes preassembled so no tools are necessary for installation. The rack is foldable for easy storage.

The three bikes can be loaded easily but will have to be packed properly if the weights are different. Keep in mind that there are only three straps, which can limit how well this secures to the vehicle.

This bike rack doesn’t rock even with just three straps. As long as the straps are secured well enough, this bike rack should work just fine.

Overall
This classic 3-bike rack never goes out of style. The classic design suits even modern vehicles and secures as intended. Known for being versatile and durable, now it’s very inexpensive as well. In fact, this is one of the most economical bike racks you could buy that would actually last more than a year.

Pros
  • Economically priced
  • Versatile
  • Very durable
  • Can hold a wheelchair
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons
  • Only three straps
  • Bikes have to be packed right

7. Allen Sports Premier Hitch Mounted 3-Bike Carrier

Why we like it: A good hitch mounted choice that would suit any type of vehicle. It’s a bit pricey, but worth it for the attachment type.

Editor’s Rating:

The Allen Sports Premier hitch-mounted 3-bike car rack is slightly pricey but is quite ideal for those looking specifically for a hitch mounted carrier. It would fit any vehicle with standard 1 1/4 or 2-inch hitch receivers.

The Cortina traffic cones stand out for their price as well. While most traffic cones are quite expensive, Cortina cones are relatively affordable in comparison. Each cone can cost as much as 20 bucks, but it’s cheap compared to other products of the same size.

Design
This 3-bike carrier is designed to carry up to 105 pounds of weight in total with all three bikes loaded. That means it can carry three standard bikes or conventional bikes in combination with heavier models. It’s ruggedly designed with high capabilities.

The rack has dual tie-down compound cradles with Spine Shield for securing bikes well. There’s a quick-lift feature to give gate access near instantly. The rack includes a quick tilt-away release to dismount when vehicle rear access is needed.

It features an integrated locking loop that would keep the hitch attachment in place. This rack can suit nearly all types of standard Class II, III and IV hitch receivers. The rack is backed by a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.

Performance
This is a great, ruggedly designed 3-bike rack to get behind. It won’t take more than 10 minutes to assemble and attach to a vehicle. The carry arms of the rack are foldable.

Assembly does require three bolts, and that’s the only requirement. One disappointment was the wobbliness. Though the bike rack attaches really well, it can wobble when moving on the road.

Another concern is placement. Be careful not to install the hitch receiver too low to obscure the license place from view, which is illegal in some states.

Overall
With high-quality features, this hitch mount is nearly a classic. Installation and use are easy. But there is a small wobbling problem that is yet to be fixed. The rack secures well to the vehicle via the hitch, but when on the move, it will move a bit.

Other than the one downside, this 3-bike carrier is great to use. It’s foldable and secures well to the hitch.

Pros
  • Easy assembly
  • Dual tie-down
  • Fits any standard receiver
  • Instant tilt release
  • Good for actual traffic safety use
  • Easily visible
Cons
  • Bike may wobble
  • A bit pricey

8. Tyger Auto TG-RK3B203S Deluxe Black 3-Bike Trunk Mount Bicycle Carrier Rack

Why we like it: Highly economically priced, this lightweight 3-bike carrier is one of the best options for trunk mounted racks.

Editor’s Rating:

Tyger Auto TG-RK3B203S Deluxe 3-bike car rack is well suited for budget users. The price is significantly low compared to brands like Thule, but the quality doesn’t suffer because of it. This model suits most types of vehicles, including sedans, SUVs, minivans, and even hatchbacks.

Design
This bike rack is thoughtfully designed to keep the bikes away from the body of the vehicle. The frame is lower and well-padded. The product comes with safety straps included.

The cradles are individually padded to protect bike frames and keep them from scratching by hitting the rack frame. The rack is very sturdily built. It is protected by a black OE standard rust-resistant E-Coating.

This model of rack is intended for regular vehicles and would not fit longer vehicles like RVs that are over 18 feet in length. It’s also not recommended for vehicles that have rear spoilers.

Performance
This well-padded carrier does its job simply by keeping bikes in place. The construction is long-lasting and durable, especially considering the low price. The rack is easy to install on a trunk as well.

The rack comes pre-assembled, so the actual installation process is tool-free and won’t take more than a matter of minutes. The manufacturer includes a lifetime warranty with each purchase as well.

The straps are quite excellent for securing the bike. However, the straps hold together with small metal clip buckles that don’t look sturdy at all. The clips have springs inside which can snap with prolonged use.

The frame itself is very lightweight so it’s easy to handle. However, due to the flimsiness of the strap holders, it’s recommended not to place heavy bikes in this.

The bike car rack can be easily removed thanks to the strap design. It takes only seconds to unhook the bikes or remove the rack entirely.

Overall
This 3-bike carrier is great for those on a budget. The trunk rack secures well with straps, but the strap buckles that hold the weight of the bikes are not trustworthy. However, if you have standard bikes, that should not be a problem.

Pros
  • Budget priced
  • Great straps
  • Suits most types of vehicles
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to dismount
  • No corrosion coat
Cons
  • Flimsy securing buckles for straps

9. Masione 3-Bike Hitch Rack

Why we like it: Low-priced, but well-made with an anti-wobble bolt, this is one of the more promising hitch-mounted 3-bike racks out there.

Editor’s Rating:

This 3-bike car rack is promoted as a universal fit for cars, sedans, SUVs, hatchbacks, minivans and so on. As long as the vehicle as a 2-inch receiver, this would fit. The rack can carry an impressive 130 pounds at once, unlike most carriers that are limited to about 105 pounds.

Design
The Masione 3-bike hitch rack is made from steel so the construction is reliably sturdy. The steel is coated in a black powder finish that minimizes the risk of common issues like rust.

This 3-bike carrier has arms that are each 24-inches long. Combined with a dual compound tie-down system, these arms are well-equipped to secure the bikes in place.

The arms can be folded to tuck away the rack easily when not in use. The rack has a tilt-away release internally modified. This allows the rack to be quickly lifted to get access to the rear of the vehicle.

The frame includes a no-wobble bolt, applied to the receiver. It can reduce how much the rack moves inside the hitch. It doesn’t completely eliminate movement, but it’s significantly reduced, thanks to this design choice.

Performance
This carrier model comes with rotating cradles, so the performance is surprisingly good for a hitch mounted rack. This doesn’t wobble as much as most other hitch mounted carriers in the market. It’s well-constructed too.

This works only with 2-inch receivers. For 1 ¼ inch receivers, an adapter would be necessary. Otherwise, this rack is quite flexible.

Set up is very easy and won’t take more than 5 minutes. This is largely thanks to the parts that just snap into place without an issue. It can be assembled quickly, right out of the box.

Overall
One of the most appealing features of this 3-bike car rack is the price. It’s surprisingly low, even though the model is new. Another appealing feature is the anti-wobble bolt, which will eliminate problems for most towing owners. It’s a great buy for the price.

Pros
  • Anti-wobble bolt
  • Powder coated rack
  • Low price
  • Foldable
  • Sturdy
Cons
    • Fits only 2-inch receivers without adapter

10. Draw-Tite 59403 Rola TX 3-Bike Carrier

Why we like it: This stylish 3-bike car rack has a powder-coated frame and sensible design choice. It suits nearly all types of bike models.

Editor’s Rating:

This is a stylish and relatively new hitch-mounted triple bike carrier that would suit any modern vehicle type. It’s made to fit any type of bike—including women’s, mountain, BMX, or race model—without needing additional support.

Design
This hitch mounted model would fit the standard trailer receivers of 1-1/4 or 2-inches in size. The racks have dual arms that provide extra support and add stability. It also has a Triple X tilt function.

The tilt carrier supports getting access to the vehicle in any way without needing to unload the bikes. Because the bike rack has large mouths, it can support nearly any type of bike model.

The design interestingly also features anti-sway rollers. These reduce the movement of bikes while the vehicle is moving.

The rack has a visually appealing black power coat finish. It reduces the risk of rust somewhat but doesn’t wholly eliminate it. The power coat can withstand some elements as well.

Each cradle comes with a lock to keep bikes safe when on the move. The bike locks are integrated and retractable. If needed, there are patented flip shanks to fit the receiver.

Performance
The bike rack model is insanely listed as weighing only 3 pounds, but the shipping weight is 33 pounds. It’s best said the rack is of moderate weight, which small vehicle owners would want to watch out for.

It’s a relatively compact rack, especially considering that the carrying arms can easily be folded. It comes with a limited warranty that solidly lasts five years.

The frame interface is a bit narrow as it fits on top of the connection instead of inside. While this is an ingenious idea, it puts the setup at risk for wobbling. Mainly because the restraining pin is not well made. It’s possible to use a better pin to reduce the wobbling.

Overall
This 3-bike rack is amazingly well-built and stable despite the shiny new brand. It offers excellent bike security and protection against movement as well. There’s great stability and a locking mechanism. The wobbling is an issue, but with better hardware, it can be fixed.

Pros
  • Dual arm support
  • Anti-sway rollers
  • Large mouth cradles
  • Retractable, integrated cable lock
Cons
  • Weight not properly listed
  • Some wobbling issues

Guide to Buying the Best 3-Bike Car Racks

The first thing most consumers look for when buying a 3-bike car rack, or anything else for that matter, is the price. You should expect to pay up to $250 for a 3-bike carrier. However, price doesn’t always reflect quality and features.

Some brands may charge more simply because of branded features. It’s strongly recommended that you do your research before settling on any product based on the brand name or the price. There are many other things to look for.

Let’s consider the basics: any driver and bike rider would want a sturdy carrier rack that can withstand long road trips and weather conditions like rain. Actually fitting the bikes would matter as well. If possible, list down any other features you might desire.

With the above in mind, here is a brief and detailed guide that will help you choose the best 3-bike car rack that suits your needs:

Vehicle Model

First of all, write down the make and model of your vehicle. The bike rack you choose must match the type of vehicle you own. While most product descriptions don’t list all the vehicles the rack fits, that doesn’t mean it would necessarily be a “universal fit.”

You can directly contact the manufacturer to understand if the bike rack you have in mind is a match for your vehicle. Look for specifications or warnings in the product descriptions. Manufacturers typically list the type of vehicles the rack may not fit.

One easy way to understand fit without calling the seller is to measure dimensions. Measure your trunk and car hitch if available. Then compare the measurements to the dimensions of the 3-bike car rack provided. The vehicle’s rear should be able to accommodate the bike car rack.

Attachment Type

It’s very important to understand how you want to fit the bike car rack to the vehicle. There are two options: fit to the trunk or fit to the rear of the vehicle using a hitch receiver. Read below for pros and cons of both methods:

Trunk Mounting

Trunk mounted 3-bike carriers are fitted to the trunk of the vehicle. The rack will come with many straps to attach the rack to the trunk, rear bumper or the trunk of the vehicle. This is typically the least expensive type of bike carrier for vehicles.

One big advantage of trunk mounted carriers is that these are not usually vehicle specific. Most products can suit nearly all types of family vehicles. One 3-bike carrier might be easily usable between multiple family vehicles.

These racks are also foldable for the most part. So they can be stored away in the trunk when not in use. These are not heavy and can be installed easily without tools.
As to disadvantages, trunk-mounted bike carriers can damage the car if there isn’t sufficient space or padding between the rack and the exterior of the vehicle. In some cases, they may hang too low and block the license plate.

The value of these products really depends on how sturdy the straps are. The straps must come with excellent securing mechanisms to keep the bikes in place.

Hitch Mounting

These types of bike carriers attach to the hitch via a receiver. The hitch receivers are classified and buyers should take note of the types of openings the carrier would fit. Typically, most hitch mounted carriers fit 1 1/4 and 2-inch openings.

If your vehicle doesn’t have a trunk, or if you want easy access to the trunk, then a hitch mounted car rack would be a good option. These are much easier to tilt up or down without completely dismounting.

Because the hitch receiver is placed away from the body of the vehicle, the risk of a hitch-mounted carrier scratching a vehicle is low.

As for downsides, these may not be easy to install. Attaching the rack to the hitch opening may require tools. Also, some popular hitch mounted brands are expensive.

One of the biggest issues of these types of bike-car racks is wobbling. Movement is more common than with trunk-mounted versions. Therefore, buyers should look for anti-wobbling protection like extra bolts when purchasing a hitch mounted 3-bike carrier.

Odd Frames

Most 3-bike carriers are designed to fit standard frames. If you have non-standard bikes, such as bikes with carriers, children’s bikes, heavy bikes, and similar rides, make sure the frame can support these. Some bike car racks support unconventional frames with additional accessories.

Coating

Bike carrier racks are rarely made of plastic. Most are made from metals like steel that is prone to corrosion. Rust would significantly reduce the shelf life of the product. Therefore, it’s best to buy a product with a rust-resistant powder coating.

Cradle Dimensions

The cradle refers to the part that a single bike is loaded on to. Pay attention to how wide or long the cradles are to make sure your bike can fit in there.

Anti-Shock Absorption

When driving, you probably don’t want the three bikes to crash into each other and damage the metal frames. Padding between the cradles and the legs of the 3-bike carrier would prevent movement by absorbing shock. Do check the product descriptions for what type of padding is provided with the rack.

Maximum Weight

You might want to consider how heavy the 3-bike car rack is. Heavier racks would be difficult to dismount and store. These may also take a toll on the fuel economy of the vehicle. Therefore, watch the weight if you want to ideally choose a lightweight product.

Storage

What happens when the 3-bike carrier rack is not in use? You probably would want to keep it in the trunk. Carriers with foldable arms can be folded into compact versions that can easily be placed inside a trunk conveniently. This is a simple feature to consider that would offer convenient benefits down the line.

Installation

You probably don’t want to spend days trying to install a 3-bike car rack. Therefore, read the installation instructions before buying to make sure no fancy tools are required for the process.