Category Archives: FAQ’s

Yakima Hitch Bike Rack Family Vacation Rack Accessories

21st Sep 2017

Hitch 101

Hitches aren’t just for towing! They can carry rear-mounted bike racks, cargo boxes, scooter or motorcycle carriers, and more. When a roof rack won’t cut it or gets inconvenient (for example, reaching up high to grab bikes off the roof of SUVs can get a little old), hitches come in handy. In this Hitch 101 guide, we’ll cover the basics to help you confidently decide if a hitch is right for your vehicle.

The Basics

Trailer Hitch Towing Diagram Rack N Road

Vendors like Rack N Road provide aftermarket hitches. Generally speaking, aftermarket hitches are custom made for each individual vehicle. You need to know the year, make, and model of your car to get it set up with a hitch. These after-market custom hitches reduce dealership warranty conflict and match the carrying capacity of each vehicle. The type of vehicle determines what you should carry on the back of the car just as much as the hitch’s carrying capacity.

Every hitch has an informational sticker. This will display the gross trailer weight capacity (the amount of weight it can tow), and the tongue weight capacity (the amount of weight that can sit directly on the receiver). Never go over the towing or tongue weight capacity, and above all, never exceed the capacity of your vehicle. Those limits are there for a reason!

If towing is in your future, you’ll need a wiring connection installed. Typical wiring will connect running lights, brake lights, and turn signals to your trailer. If you’re not towing, you don’t need wiring unless you’re carrying a rack that requires an electrical connection or blocks the vehicle’s rear lights. The type of wiring and installation difficulty depends on the vehicle. Certain trailers require a brake control system, a more complicated installation that activates the trailer’s brakes as you brake in your own vehicle.

Rack N Road Outfitters have 25+ years of experience installing over 10,000 hitches.

Hitch installations may require fascia trimming, light drilling, or bumper removal; sometimes wiring needs to be run from the engine to the rear of the vehicle. For this reason, we recommend having a professional outfitter install hitches and wiring. At Rack N Road, we’ve never had a dealership warranty voided on our hands.

Not all hitches or hitch providers are created equal. Look for hitches that have two layers of coatings, inside and out, to prevent rusting and corrosion. Find a vendor that offers (limited) lifetime warranties, guarantee quality work, and are certified installers from hitch providers.

What do you want to carry?

Possibly the most important question at Rack N Road: What do you want to carry? Not every vehicle can handle every accessory, so it’s important to understand your carrying capacity. Use the chart below as a quick reference on what’s compatible with your vehicle.


A little explanation is warranted for how hitch tongue weight capacity affects carrying certain accessories. Imagine you’re holding a bowling ball in your hands close to your chest. Not so hard, right? Now imagine holding that bowling ball at arm’s length. The weight of the bowling ball didn’t change, but it’s a lot harder to hold. The same works for the tongue weight capacity of a hitch receiver. Class 1 and Class 2 hitches usually can’t handle the leveraged weight of platform bike racks, 4+ bike racks, cargo boxes, or motorcycle racks. Aside from the tongue weight capacity, some car frames are too weak and will bend under the weight of those accessories (which is why you can’t just add a higher capacity hitch to a Prius, for example). Sometimes the cars are simply too low to the ground, and the racks will drag and grind on the slightest of road bumps.

With all this in mind, Rack N Road employees have the experience to help you carry your gear safely and efficiently. If the hitch isn’t the best solution, we’ll set you up with a roof rack, or both! We install hitches every day, at every location, and have (probably) worked on every car under the sun.

Getting the hitch, getting on the road

Now that you know the basics and what you want, it’s time to put that knowledge to use!

  1. Call your local RNR. Tell us the year, make, and model of your vehicle, and what you want to carry. We’ll set you up with a quote, and order your products if they aren’t in stock. Ordering typically takes 3-5 business days.
  2. Schedule an installation. Most installation ranges from 1-2 hours, but certain vehicles take 3-4. We promise to get you out in one day. Fair warning, some stores are extremely busy in the summer – try to give yourself a week or two of scheduling time.
  3. Get educated! Our employees will show you what they’ve installed, how it works, and answer any questions you have. Feel free to check out our snazzy product showroom.

30th Dec 2015

Get the right chains for your vehicle

    Winter is in full flow, if you’re heading up to the mountains it’s probably time to invest in a good set of tire chains! We at Rack N Road know that tire chains can be difficult to understand and to deal with, so we decided it was time to step in. In order to help ease the pain we are going to give you a step by step guide into purchasing the right tire chains for your vehicle.
  1. To begin, in order to get the proper tire chain you need to know the measurement of your tires. This can be located on the front of the tire, typically next to the tire’s brand logo. You should be able to see a 3 digit number (Width) followed by a 2 digit number (Profile) and then another 2 digit number (Rim, sometimes displayed with the letter R before the numbers). Each measurement is necessary to determine your tire chain size, so it’s imperative that you mark down the correct numbers. If you are still unsure where to locate these numbers, don’t hesitate to come to a local Rack N Road and we will gladly check it out.
  2. Do you have a passenger vehicle or an SUV or truck? Different vehicles require different chains. IMPORTANT: Some vehicles require 0mm clearance chains. This is typically displayed in the owner’s manual if you aren’t sure whether you need 0mm clearance or not.
  3.  Once you have the proper measurements for your tire, the vehicle type, and know what clearance you have for your chains; we can now narrow down some actual chains. Now, snow chains come in all different shapes and styles so it is very important that you let your local Rack N Road employee know what your looking for in a snow chain. Do you want more traction or do you want an easy off-and-on chain? Is price a factor? Let us know and we’ll get you set up with a perfect fit.
    Rack N Road supplies Thule snow chains, with a range of styles and price points. We can’t get enough of the Easy-Fit design, it is far and away worth the investment if it saves you from the cold scrambling affair that is installing tire chains. Practicing with these chains first eventually allows you to install them in mere seconds.

    The 0mm clearance K-Summit has some of the highest traction and quality of any chain we’ve seen, offering you peace of mind in comparison to cables (it also happens to be another easy installer). The standard diamond pattern on other Thule chains ensures there will always be chain on the road, again a safer bet when compared with the typical ladder style many other brands have.
    Because chains are extremely tire specific, give yourself some time in advance before your road trip to contact your local Rack N Road and check availability. If we don’t have a chain in stock, we can always order it for you!

14th Sep 2015

Top 5 FAQ’s of the Summer

It has been a wild summer so far and we have had a great time outfitting our fellow rack and outdoor enthusiasts with racks and carrying solutions for all their summer fun!  We have heard the same questions asked a lot this summer and we wanted to share those with you in case you had these questions too.

1) Q: Will this rack work on my other car?
A: We always advise to get a system that is compatible with multiple vehicles.  We always ask about your other cars just to make sure you are not backing yourself into a corner.  It is not always possible, but when it is, we try to get you something that will work for all your needs, whether it be for bikes, kayaks, cargo, etc.

2) Q: Do you have Rentals?  Can I try it before I buy it?
A: Yes, we have most of our gear available for rent.  So if it is a weekend trip or even something longer, we can set you up with a system to try before you commit to buying.  The best part: upon your return, you can apply 100% of the rental cost towards the purchase.

3) Q: What should I do with the old rack I have?
A: Trade it in for something new!  Use those old parts and/or racks lying in your garage to get you something new.  Bring it in and we can give you trade-in credit towards the latest and greatest products.

4) Q: How do I know what rack is best for me?
A: Check out our interactive showroom.  Searching solely online or over the phone can be frustrating.  It is always best to come in and kick the tires for yourself.  Our interactive showroom and helpful staff will help you find what you need.

5) Q: Do you guys do installs?
A: Yes!  We have factory trained and certified professionals ready and waiting to install whatever it is you need.  We have been doing this for over 20 years and there isn’t a rack we aren’t familiar with.  We specialize in custom applications and are always striving to stay on the cutting edge of installation technology.

Feel free to contact your local Rack N Road store with any more questions.  We are happy to help!  Rack N Road Store Locator:
Toll Free: 800-722-5872
Tech Center: 866-532-1065.
Happy Travelin’!

29th Jul 2015

Trade-In & Trade-Up for End of Summer Savings!

Check out all the recycled and certified used racks we have!

Check out all the recycled and certified used racks we have!

We were recently asked by a long time customer, “What should I do with all of the old gear and racks lying around in my garage?”  The answer: Trade-In and Trade-Up for Savings!

He brought in all his old gear including bike mounts, ski racks, a cargo carrier, kayak mounts, and a bunch of loose parts and accessories.  To his surprise, we took it all.  We gave him a fair shake for what he offered and the best part was, it was enough to finally get the new cargo basket he’d been wanting!

We’ve been doing trade-ins for as long as we’ve been in business and we make sure to tell everyone who comes in that we deal with recycled racks and certified used gear.  But some customers are all about getting the brand new stuff all while letting their old racks collect dust in their garage.  We are here to provide you with all the latest and greatest gear, but don’t forget to bring in your old racks and accessories and trade-up to something new!!