If you’re bringing along your bicycle on an adventure and you need a vehicle for a limited period, a rental car is one way to go.
Sadly, most rental companies do not offer bike racks along with the vehicle.
Rentals are meant to be used for a limited window, and different users of rentals have different needs.
To preserve the condition of the rental vehicles, the dealership will avoid any alterations that can damage the vehicle. Bike racks are an example of such an alteration.
Bike racks can scratch paint, dent vehicle surfaces and sometimes damage the rear window when bikes happen to hit them.
No customer will want a damaged vehicle and the rental company doesn’t want to incur repair costs, so the dealership maintains vehicles so that they are able to rent them out over and over.
Does any car rental company offer or allow bike racks?
Luckily, there are a few companies that offer this selection at an additional fee.
Some of these companies include
1. Hertz Car Rental
Hertz offers this option but only in select cities in the United States.
They provide trunk and hitch racks with a capacity of two to four bikes.
With Hertz car rental, you are not allowed to install your personal rack, they will provide the rack as well as the labour for installation.
2. Turo Marketplace
Turo Car Sharing Marketplace has a few vehicles with bike racks on their website. Fortunately, you can use your own rack as well if you do not find such a vehicle.
The only disadvantage here is that Turo will not be liable for damages caused by the bike rack. You will have to pay out of pocket.
3. Sixt Rental Cars
Sixt Rental USA has a few rentals with a bike rack but they are very limited in availability and not found in some cities
This company offers racks in some states and cities. Call ahead to reserve a rack.
Avis also offers bike racks and will let you bring your own rack if you have one.
6. Budget Rent a Car
All the US branches have bike racks available and you are also at liberty to bring your own.
7. Enterprise Car Rentals
Some branches will offer racks but you have to call ahead to confirm availability. They also provide the option to use your own bike rack.
For the companies that allow you to use your own rack, make sure you take the necessary measures to protect the vehicle. Install the bike rack properly and try to avoid racks that require power-cutting tools during installation. Ensure that the rack does not scratch the vehicle.
Any damages will violate the terms of the agreement and you will face a potentially heavy fine.
Rental companies that do not allow bike racks
- ACE Rent A Car
- Dollar Rent A Car
- Payless Car Rental
- Fox Rent A Car
Some companies may not state exclusively in the contract that it is prohibited to install a rack, but make sure to read the fine print. To avoid being caught in the loopholes, look for wording such as ‘hitch’ and ‘tow’.
Options to transport your bike
- You can rent a folding bike. They are slightly more expensive but they are easier to transport than regular bikes.
- Rent a larger vehicle. A minivan or pickup truck is big enough to put your bike without much straining.
- Rent a bike where you’re headed. This is a very simple solution if you are willing to pay a small fee. It eliminates the stress of transport completely.
- Disassemble the bike and put it in a bag or case. This will take some effort but it is a good option for keeping the rental’s interior fresh.
How to prepare your bike to be transported in a rental?
A rental car is a temporary lend, so do not get carried away and escape maintenance.
Before transporting your bike using a rental, the following steps are important:
1. Clean the bike
If you are transporting via a rack, make sure you clean the rack as well as the bike properly.
If you are transporting it in the trunk as an alternative to a rack, this step is even more important. You don’t want to taint the interior of a rental.
2. Transport in a bike or a box
This is the best way to ensure the car’s interior is protected if you do not have a rack. You can dismantle the bike and pack the parts carefully in a box.
3. Extra Insurance
Check with the rental company and inspect which damages will actually be covered by the company.
Most likely, damage caused by racks is not included in the protection clause so you need to get a separate cover to avoid extra unnecessary expenses.
Frequently Asked Questions on car rentals with bike racks
Can I travel out of state with my rental?
Some rental companies are against going out of state because of security reasons, but some will allow it.
Just make sure you tell the dealership beforehand.
Can you put a hitch on a rental?
Most of them prohibit it, but some do. Be sure to check the company’s policies before adding one.
What is the best car for carrying bikes inside?
Some of the best vehicles for carrying bikes in the trunk include;
- Ford Focus ST
- Ford Escape
- Toyota Aygo
- Toyota Prius
- Honda Element
- Tesla Model S
- Hyundai Accent
The above listed vehicles have very spacious trunks to put one or two bikes in but some will require you to remove the front wheel.
There you have it.
If the companies listed above are near you, you can transport your bicycle with a rack on them.
Make sure you do not violate your agreement so that you avoid fines.