How to Keep Hitch Rack From Swaying and Wobbling

How to Keep Hitch Rack From Swaying and Wobbling?

I can’t thank my hitch racks enough for their unconditional help for the umpteenth time whenever my love for traveling kicks in. Traveling seems good, but with bikes with me – it seems better. 

In a nutshell – I need my bike with me, no matter how far I’m traveling from home.

A hitch rack does the job for me. It’s cheap, easy to install, and comes in handy despite the humongous view of the bike. The hitch rack was always there. 

If you – like me – travel with your bikes on a hitch rack, you will notice wobbling or weird noises from the back. Specifically, the noise is coming from the hitch rack. Before your heart drops to your stomachthis is something to worry about and needs to get fixed as soon as possible, but it will not take your bike’s life; relax. 

The noise is actually due to not fitting or installing your bikes properly on the hitch rack. So, when you drive, the bike moves back and forth from its actual position and, therefore, the heart-wrenching sound.

To put an end to the endless misery and fear of looking into the rear glass whenever a pit is nearby, I committed myself to finding a solution and putting an end to this. 

After all the articles and millions of opinions on the internet, I finally concluded that I needed to follow some steps with some specific tools for some specific hitch racks. 

In this article, we are going to dive into the details of these specific steps.

What Causes the Hitch Rack to Sway?

Before trying to solve your problem, you must look and dive deeper into the root cause of the problem. And when I did exactly that, I discovered, most people use easy and inexpensive ways to take the slot out of the hitch system. 

They use devices or tools called, hitch clamps and others (I’ll be mentioning two more). Whenever you attach your bike to your car, these are the two things that dominate the situation:

  • Tow
  • Hitch receiver

To keep your bike attached, you glide the rack receiver into your car’s tow bar. And somewhere in the sliding process, your bike fails to position itself as it should. And Voila, I can already imagine a little wobble room for the wobbly dance for your bike.

Well, to the point where it isn’t funny anymore. The metal-to-metal contact can tear or break or even can scratch the tools. All we need to do is to minimize the space or gap in any way. I found some of the tools to work exactly like I expected them to.

Here’s to no more annoying scribbling noises.

How to Keep Hitch Rack From Swaying and Wobbling

Ways to Stop Hitch Rack from Swaying 

Absorbing the details of the zillionth article that I have gone through, only some of them made it to the finals – in my experiments and in this article. I handpicked the ones that are worth mentioning to share with you guys. You can explore the options below.

1. Use a Hitch Clamp

Sure. But what is that?

What is a hitch clamp?

A hitch clamp is a simple structure, usually U-shaped, made of stainless steel, and has washers, nuts et cetera. It’s short and small, so its work is more effective on the hitch rack. 

Now, you may ask how it works. The working method is simple. It limits the freedom of the hitch receiver and the towbar so that it cannot move the way it wants whenever it is moving or on a road. You need to choose your hitch clamp keeping some factors in mind. When I was shopping for my own, I kept the following details in my mind —

Before you choose a hitch clamp, you need to know the perfect one for your hitch, and the reason is to be sure that this hitch clamp will fit into your hitch. Most of the hitch clamps are compatible with 2-inch or 1.25-inch tow hitch receivers irrespective of classes (1,2,3 and 4). 

The hitch clamp will not affect the amount of weight you are going to tow. It can only limit the space and freedom between the tow and the hitch receiver, keeping the bike placed tightly with the receiver. After you are done with the introduction, let’s introduce you to the installation process:

How to install a hitch clamp?

  1. Put the U-bolt over the tow bar, or you can slip it over the hitch receiver. Since they are mostly universal, you will be fine with both. 
  2. Place the hitch tightener plate into the U-bolt. Ensure the ‘lip’ part of the curved part is opposite or away from the hitch receiver.
  3. Make sure the pair is tightly attached. Now you can add the nuts, washer, and lock washer to both sides of the clamp. Tighten the nut on both sides by hand. 
  4. Repeat the tightening process on both sides until you are sure it is sitting right with the tow bar and the hitch receiver.

Extra: Check the screws and nuts from time to time to make sure they are still tightly placed.

2. Use an anti-sway strap

Well, you can guess by the name that its literal meaning would be some kind of strap that keeps the bicycle away from wobbling.

Yes, it is precisely that.

It is literally a strap that you slap on your bike to prevent it from falling or moving too much. It is somewhat of a traditional way to tackle the situation and is not recommended by most experienced people. It usually depends on the size of the trailer.

How to use an anti-sway clamp?

Piece of cake, absolutely. 

Recommended by most people, a dual-cam sway control system is a good option if you are a parent of an extended pull trailer. They are flexible as you want them to be and can be attached to the A-frame and the swing bar. 

You can hook the cams on both sides of your trailer. It tightens the situation and thus makes it incomprehensible to sway. Anti-sway bars are enough if you have a small tongue trailer.

3. Use an anti-rattle hitch pin

This is an alternative to the hitch clamp. It does the same work with less hassle, less in size, and maybe cheaper in some states. The good news is an Anti-Rattle Hitch Pin fits all your hitch racks. Let me teach you how to install these pins.

How to Install an Anti-Rattle Hitch Pin?

  • Take the bracket and squeeze just enough to feel it bend. Once the flexibility is under control, you can insert the bracket into the hitch tube. I recommend using hand gloves as this one is a sharp part, and this step is sensitive.
  • Align the holes with the hitch tube.
  • Insert the tube in the aligned hole and use a pin to tighten the knot. The pin is said to be secured with the provided pin or a lock. 
  • Remove the pin and install the hitch within with vehicle and tighten it firmly. 

This is how you should go about solving the problem.

Final thoughts

Wobbling and staying out of place for a bike might have a long-term effect if people don’t solve the problem when needed.

The three options I mentioned are the most suited and from real users. I believe these are relatively simple to follow, effective, and would take less than half an hour to go through if you have the right pieces of equipment.

The installation steps were simplified according to the audience, but I highly recommend watching YouTube videos along with the article. Best of luck!

Eddie Burton - Senior Author
Senior Author: Eddie Burton

Eddie Burton is a passionate car enthusiast and a seasoned mechanic with over 15 years of experience in the automotive industry. He has worked with a variety of vehicles, from classic muscle cars to modern luxury cars, and has extensive knowledge of all types of auto parts and accessories.

Eddie’s love for cars began at a young age when he would spend hours tinkering with his first car, a 1967 Mustang. Since then, he has pursued his passion for cars by working in various garages and workshops, honing his skills and expertise in everything related to automobiles.

As a contributor to our website, Eddie shares his in-depth knowledge and experience with our readers, providing valuable tips and advice on auto parts, repairs, and maintenance. He’s committed to helping car owners get the most out of their vehicles by providing honest and practical reviews of auto parts, accessories, and tools.

With Eddie’s vast experience and expertise, you can trust his recommendations and insights on everything related to cars. Whether you’re a seasoned car owner or a newbie in the world of automobiles, Eddie’s articles and reviews will help you make informed decisions and keep your vehicle running smoothly for years to come.

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