Recently I purchased hitch bike rack. This is my second bike rack. My first one was stolen when I left it installed on my car, parked on the street.

The one which got stolen was a THULE bike rack. The new one I bought is a Yakima Full Swing, but I think they use the same kind of locking mechanism. I do not trust these locks much: The previous one had a similar lock, but got stolen.

Is there a way I can make it difficult to steal? Right now only this lock is a deterrent (and the rack weight: 50 pounds). I could not find any product that addresses this problem.

I am fine with any solution (like securing the rack to the car's frame with a strong metal chain), as long as it makes a strong deterrent for a professional thief.

Please suggest a solution.

  • 3
    The easiest and cheapest option is just take the rack the off when it’s nots being used. I have a tow bar mounted rack that just sits in the boot when it’s not being used.
    – Dan K
    Commented Sep 3, 2020 at 6:43
  • @Dan K - I argue its not the easiest, but it is certainly cheapest and most secure method
    – mattnz
    Commented Sep 3, 2020 at 10:05
  • Do you have space to park the off-road? Ideally inside a garage or similar locked structure. Do you have a wall that you can back the car right close to, preventing the hitch from being removed?
    – Criggie
    Commented Nov 3, 2023 at 4:11

2 Answers 2


As suggested in the comments, removing the rack is by far the most secure option.

The hitch rack pin can be replaced with a locking pin. Alternately if the end of the hitch is accessible and sticks out past the end of the hitch socket, a padlock can be installed.

A chain from the rack to a fitting on the car that prevents it from being removed is possible. This may require having a suitible securing point mounted on the car.

All these help protect the rack, but a determined thief will defeat them all. My hitch is bolted to the car with just 6 bolts. 10 minutes with the right size socket and/or spanner will easily have the whole thing off the car and on its way to a new home.

  • After a week of research, I realized that your advise is only practical option I have. Thanks for your answer.
    – vikrant
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 4:41

You can purchase a locking pin to replace the pin that retains the rack in the hitch "receiver". Or you can padlock, via cable or chain, the hitch to one of the chain loops on both sides of the receiver.

  • Cables are easy to snip so a chain seems the better choice.
    – Armand
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 2:59
  • @Armand - Depends on the size of the cable, vs the size of the chain. Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 11:36

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