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Recommended 4-Bike Rack for Toyota Highlander

Question:

What trunk carrier can you recommend to fit a family of 4 with a childs bike. I am interested in this model. Sounds perfect except reviews state a 20inch bike wont fit. Want to take kids riding this summer so carrier would defeat the purpose, especially if Toyota Highlander full with camping gear.

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Expert Reply:

Since you have 4 bikes to transport on your Toyota Highlander your best option is to use a 4-bike hitch-mount rack. There are no trunk-mount bike carriers that have a 4-bike capacity because such a rack would put too much weight on a car's rear hatch or trunk, and could potentially dent the trunk/hatch or damage the hinge.

If your Highlander does not have a 2-inch Class III hitch installed on it you will need to put one on the car first. Since I do not know your Highlander's model year, please let me know that if you do not have a 2-inch hitch already so that I can recommend one. If you do have a hitch, then you are all set to choose a 4-bike hitch rack.

There is one simple measurement you'll want to take before you start. What you want to measure is the distance from the hitch pin hole to the rear-most part of the car. Knowing this will allow you to select a carrier with enough clearance to avoid the rack or bikes contacting the vehicle. The linked article shows you how to take this one simple measurement. Another article on racks may help you determine the best match for your particular bikes.

Now you can begin considering 4-bike hitch-mount racks using the linked page. For a basic but well-made hanging style rack (one that does not tilt) the Swagman Original 4, part # S64400, is hard to beat for value and solid construction. I own the 3-bike version of this rack and I would definitely buy it again if I had it to do all over. It does not include the fancy features of much more costly carriers but it will handle the weight of 4 bikes (up to 140-lbs total) and it can be made lockable by adding anti-rattle lock part # S64027. This rack provides 14-1/2-inches of clearance from the hitch pin hole to the upright bar.

If you want a rack that will give you better access to the rear of the vehicle when you're carrying a load of camping equipment, then a swing-away rack like the Yakima FullSwing # Y02465 is a great choice. For a lower-cost swing-away rack we also have the SportRack Ridge Swing 4 Bike Rack # SR2415.

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