How High Is A Car With Bikes On Roof? Are Roof Racks Safe?

How high is a car with bikes on roof? If you are worried that your bike will get damaged when you place it on your roof rack, read this article to know how you can prevent it.

If you want to move cities, or you are going on a camping trip somewhere far from where you are living, you cannot ride your bike to go there. You will have to carry your bike atop a four-wheel vehicle like a car.

Unfortunately, most cars are not designed to carry bikes. There is no room inside the car to keep your two-wheel bike. So you are compelled to secure your bike either on a hitch-mounted rack or a roof rack. 

In this article, I will discuss different types of car racks with pros and cons that will help you carry a bike safely from one place to another.

Roof Mounted Rack

What Are The Types Of Racks To Mount Your Bike On?

#1 Roof Racks

The roof rack is a traditional bike rack. You can keep your bike on the top of the car head. It is an excellent choice for serious bicyclists as they are versatile and fairly inexpensive. 

You can get a car roof rack for $200, but the price may go upto $500 or even more if you want to add more cradles.

One problem that you might face is that you have to lift your bike on your shoulders to keep it on the roof of your car. 

Most roof rack designs will force you to take out the front wheel of your bike, but few brands have the extra arm to grab the complete bike.

Apart from bikes, the roof racks are great for carrying small boats, cargo boxes, inflatable boards, and other things.

How High Is A Car With Bikes On Roof?

The maximum height of the car is about 8.2 feet, while most models might not be as tall. When you load a bike on your car, then its height may reach about 11 feet. 

How High Is A Car With Bikes On Roof

Pros Of Roof Racks:

  • Versatile (you can carry almost anything in them)
  • Inexpensive
  • Usually do not have any weight restrictions
  • Durable
  • They don’t block your boot or license plate

Cons Of Roof Racks

  • You have to lift your bike above your shoulders, which might be difficult and can also cause injuries
  • You may not be able to access roads or places where there are height restrictions
  • Roof racks add a bit of drag to your car, unlike hitch racks. They may increase your fuel consumption.

You might like to read: Do Travelodge Allow Bikes

#2. Trunk-Mount Racks

They are the cheapest bike racks in comparison to others. You can place the bike on the back of the trunk of your car. The straps will secure the bikes in place, and there are even arms and cradles for additional support.


  • You can use trunk-mount racks on any car or vehicle.
  • These racks are lightweight
  • They are easy to mount on your car and take out


  • Weight capacity is limited.
  • Effectiveness depends on the strap. If your strap loosens, then your bike may displace from its place 
  • You cannot lock your bikes properly.
How High Is A Car With Bikes On Roof

#3. Hitch-Mount Racks

Hitch mount racks will cost you more than trunk mount racks. You can carry more than three bikes at a time in hitch mount racks and will find them either in hanging cradle style or platform style. 

In the hanging cradle style, your bike hangs from the rack with the help of clamps. These racks are cheap and lightweight. 

However, your bike may get displaced from its place in the hanging cradle, which may cause the bike to come in close contact with other bikes, which can damage the bike or cause chips and cracks in the paint. 

The platform style is heavy and may cost you more. But here, your bikes are secured and will not move from their place.


  • You can lock your bikes easily
  • Robust in comparison to trunk-mounted rack
  • Simple installation


  • The platform models will cost you more
  • The models where you can keep more than three bikes are heavy, and your bike can displace.

Why Should You Not Use A Trunk Or Hitch Rack?

Securing a bike on a hitch/trunk-mount rack has more disadvantages than advantages. 

  • Hitch racks typically have weight restrictions which means you cannot carry multiple bikes unless you buy one specifically designed to do so
  • Hitch racks are not versatile. For example, you will probably not be able to secure a kayak to your bike hitch rack. Roof racks are a lot more versatile.
  • Sometimes it may block your number plates, which is illegal in most states
  • You can’t access your boot throughout the ride
  • Security is a problem in hitch racks. You should lock your bike to the rack for safety purposes. Otherwise, it may attract thieves. 
How High Is A Car With Bikes On Roof

What Are The Problems Of Using a Roof Mounted Rack?

The only real disadvantage of roof racks is that it adds a certain height to your car, which makes it difficult for you to move on roads restricted to vehicles of a certain height, or under low height bridges.

Normally you would want to move your bikes in a standing position, which increases the height of your car. This may become a problem because you can’t pass on roads meant for vehicles under a certain height or under a bridge.

  • If the height is a big problem, you can remove the front wheels and set your bike, which may decrease the height to some extent. 
  • Another thing you can do is remove your bike from the roof of your car before you go into such a place. This is a bit cumbersome; however, sometimes, it’s the only option.
How High Is A Car With Bikes On Roof

How To Prevent Hitting Your Bike When You Carry It On A Roof Rack?

Your bike might hit the top of your garage when you are entering it. If you have to go under a bridge, you should be extra careful that the bike should not hit the lowest part of the bridge. You should always remove your bike before entering such a place so that it will prevent the car as well as the bike from getting damaged.

Here are some ideas to prevent this from happening.

#1. Set An Alarm

Your home garage is not the only place where your bike may hit the wall. You need to be careful while riding your car in the low-height regions or when the tree branch hangs low. 

You can set an alarm which will remind you about the bikes in the car. You can install a rack reminder application on your mobile phone to remind you.

#2. Search For The Remote Of Garage Door

If you frequently park your car in the garage, then you need to be extra careful. You can throw the remote of your garage door in a safe place like in the cargo area or inside the glove box. The idea of searching for the remote will surely remind you of removing the bike from the car.

#3. Involve The Passengers

If you have passengers along with you, then tell them to remind you about the bikes on the roof of your car. Like they say: two heads are better than one!

How High Is A Car With Bikes On Roof

Frequently Asked Questions

#1. Can you put a bike on top of a car?

Yes, you can put a bike on top of a car by securing it using a roof-mounted rack. Roof-mounted racks are inexpensive and very versatile.

#2. How do you put a bike on the roof of your car?

You have to lift your bike and place it securely on the roof rack of your car. However, the instructions of the manufacturer may differ from one rack to the other. Again, if you face a problem lifting to the top of your car, you can take the help of a wheel step or hitch step.

#3. How can I remember my bike on the roof?

You need to be creative to remember your bike on the roof. You can place an obstacle or hang something on the door of your garage which will remind you about the bike. 

While traveling in other places apart from your garage, you can hang a bandana on the rearview mirror.

#4. Can you get five bikes on a roof rack?

You can carry five bikes on the roof of your car. You need one roof bar and a bike carrier for each bike. Carrying bikes on the roof rack depends on the length of the bar and the material used on the bar.

How High Is A Car With Bikes On Roof

A Car With Bikes On Top Can Be About 11-12 Ft. Tall

The car’s height will surely increase if you place your bike on the roof of your car. So you need to use creative methods that will help you remind yourself about the bikes on the top of your car.

I hope you liked this article, and don’t forget to share your suggestions for this article. I would love to read your suggestions in the comment section.

Happy Riding