I sometimes find the need to leave my bike on my bike rack while I'm away from my car. It's a simple strapped-on rack, so locking the bike to the rack doesn't help. (My car doesn't have a towing hitch.)

What can I do to secure the bike to the car in a way that will deter theft?

  • Simplest is to run a security cable of some sort down and into the passenger compartment or trunk. Of course, a cable thin enough to fit without bending the door or trunk lid may not be secure enough for your circumstances. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 27 '15 at 16:56
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    Many cars have a tow loop. Look around under the bumper for something to loop. – paparazzo Jul 27 '15 at 17:11
  • Product recommendations are off topic for this site, so I have removed that portion of your question. – jimchristie Jul 27 '15 at 18:00
  • A problem with using the "tow loops" is that they're on the extreme ends of the car, so any cable will have to snake along the hood or trunk, rattling and potentially obscuring vision. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 27 '15 at 21:58
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    I put money on it the answer is the same. – mattnz Jul 28 '15 at 2:03

The Simplest Option - Passive Lock Strap

By far the simplest and easiest way to do this is to use a "trunk lock strap" or "passive lock strap". Searching in Google for either of those phases should turn up suitable products.

The idea with these is that they are a flexible cable that you loop around your bike and then close a thicker stubbed end inside your vehicle either in your trunk if you use a rear rack, or inside a passenger door if you use a roof rack.

You should note that no product is completely theft-proof, and you will ideally want to use more than one locking/security mechanism. At a minimum, if leaving the bike on the rack, I would remove the front tire and put it in the car as well as using this strap. That way they can't just cut the strap and ride away with the bike.

More Complicated - Tow Loop

A more complicated and likely far more expensive option is to look into the installation of an external Tow Loop. Many modern cars that are not equipped with a towing package, still have some kind of loop or bracket either directly under the bumper, or beneath some removable cover in the bumper. You can have an externally accessible tow loop retrofitted to the car and then you could lock the bike with a cable through that loop.

Google your vehicle make and model and add the words "tow hooks" or "tow points" for ideas, or talk to a qualified auto mechanic/dealer.

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  • Why Google your car with the word tow hook? Just walk to the car and look for one. – paparazzo Jul 29 '15 at 3:41
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    Because there are aftermarket hooks and loops that can be installed if your car is missing one in a convenient location. – Gary.Ray Jul 29 '15 at 13:59

Most cars have a tow loop. It is pretty strong as it is built to tow the car. Loop a cable around the bikes and lock it to the tow loop.

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