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  1. #1
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    Mounting bike racks on wagon rear hatches. Dangerous?

    Hi Folks,

    I'm new to this forum; I hope I can tap your experience. We need to purchase a bike rack and are leaning towards a trunk-mounted model because it could be more easily swapped between our cars (a Jetta and a Subaru Legacy wagon). Plus, we're contemplating a minivan in the near future, so a roof rack could become more of a hassle with a taller auto. At a retail store (LL Beans) this morning, we were told that one should never mount a rack on the glass of a rear hatch (i.e., our Subaru) because it places too much stress on the glass. I'd never heard that before, I routinely see people doing precisely that, and I've never heard of any problems. But what do you think? Should I heed this warning? Have you ever heard that this is a concern?

    Many thanks for your thoughts.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Check the Thule or Saris fit guides. They have model-by-model instructions for installing strap on bike racks.

  3. #3
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    You can mount a strap rack onto a rear door of your cars. Do not allow the lower supports of the rack to rest on the glass, as that supports the load and will break the window. Make sure the lower supports are on the bodywork of the hatch. I've done this with minivans many times without ever breaking a window.
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  4. #4
    Pilot Deeper flian's Avatar
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    I mount a Saris Bones 2 on a Ford Escort wagon, top (middle) arm on the glass. No problems. The instructions say the two lower legs are to rest on the bumper, but mine rest on the licence plate indentation so I can more easily open the hatch with the rack on.

  5. #5
    Soma Lover
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    Much like passenger doors without a frame surrounding the window, there are hatches where the upper part of the rear window isn't surrounded by a metal frame. It's a bad idea to hook the upper straps around the edge of the glass in this case. I'm car shopping myself and there was a 2004-ish Hyundai Elantra I had to walk away from because I couldn't put a rack on it.

    I recommend checking the fit guides for Yakima and Thule too. There could also be notes saying it's ok if the lower bar is resting on the bumper. In you don't do that the straps could be left carrying the entire load and I'm not sure they're rated to do so. Same thing goes for a mini-van.

  6. #6
    tsl
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    +1 on the Saris Bones.

    I have a Bones 3. I bought it because of its versatility. I don't own a car, so I never know what sort of car I'll have to attach it to.

    I know from experience that it works just fine on a Subaru Outback and Subaru Tribeca. The online installation guide video shows it being mounted on a Ford Explorer. I've also used it on regular cars with trunks.
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