KAC has been one of the sweetest spots if you’re looking for a bike rack with features and a solid price tag. It has an extensive catalog of racks suited for e-bikes to bikes with fat tires, all without costing you a limb.
Their lineup mostly features hitch-mounted racks, and if you’ve ever used any hitch rack, you know that it’s not without its troubles. The same applies to KAC’s lineup, and there are some common elements among them.
Today, we’ll be looking at several KAC bike rack problems you may encounter and their solutions. Most of them don’t require much work or cash, fortunately.
Fulfilling the Prerequisites
Before we move on to more specific issues and their solutions, let’s discuss some basic requirements that you should fulfill. This eliminates the possibility that your problem may have something other than the rack.
The very first point would be checking out your vehicle’s hitch receiver. In many cases, issues branch out from this little but crucial source.
You’d be surprised by how many users blamed their racks for not staying in place, only to find that the vehicle’s receiver was the culprit.
That’s why ensuring the hitch receiver is worn out and intact is necessary.
Secondly, make sure that your vehicle and hitch are compatible with each other. That includes basics like the vehicle’s hitch receiver size and measurements to check whether they’ll cause any interference.
You should read the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure you have all the right parts and connectors. These issues need to be rack-specific, hence the precautions.
With that out of the way, let’s discuss the complications you may face with KAC racks and how to alleviate them.
KAC Bike Rack Problems and Solutions
Let’s begin with the most typical bike rack difficulties first. These will include wobbling of the bike or the rack itself, pin problems, clamps not functioning properly, bike rack scratching your vehicle, and more. Don’t worry!
I’ll be offering you solutions to these as well.
Wobbling in a KAC Bike Rack
Unfortunately, this is more common than you might imagine. Fortunately, that makes the solution all the more accessible.
You may face it in two ways — either the bikes are the only ones wobbling, or the rack is also moving.
The former means that your issue is with how you’ve mounted the bikes to your KAC rack. On the other hand, the latter suggests that the source of the problem starts from the hitch receiver and its connection.
It can also suggest that you’ve got mounting issues with both the hitch and the bike if you’re unfortunate enough. Let’s deal with the simpler one first.
Bikes Wobbling on a Rack
Let’s say your bikes are the only things moving (try driving the vehicle with the rack in different configurations — with and without bikes — to confirm that). In that case, we’ve got to fix how you’ve mounted them on the rack.
Make sure that the bike’s design supports the rack. For instance, not all racks work well with fat wheels (although most KAC racks do). Referring to the manufacturer is the best way to ensure that.
This may seem obvious, but bikes can move around properly if you need to secure them. For a hanging rack like the KAC S4 2″ bike rack, the first step is to properly attach the straps and ensure that there’s no wiggle room.
Since hanging racks don’t have many anchor points, there’s a higher possibility of wobble on them. Try introducing additional ratchet straps to minimize that.
For platform racks like the K4-RT Sport 2″ or the K2-RT Sport Ratchet, ensure the bikes sit flush on the platform. If you’ve got a four-bike version, you could also use straps to hold all the bikes by their wheels together.
For many of these multi-bike racks, weight might be an issue. Some e-bikes are quite heavy, and if your load goes past the weight limit of the racks, there will be some wobbling. That isn’t usually the case because of KAC’s decent 60 lbs. limit for each bike — but consider the overall weight nevertheless.
A bike without a top bar can also be tougher to control — many girls’ bikes or e-bikes are of that nature. Purchase an adapter for a more stable experience with KAC platform racks.
Wobbling Rack and Bikes
If your rack is moving around as well, it’s likely due to the connection with the hitch. In most of these scenarios, the hitch isn’t at fault.
Hitch receivers need to have some wiggle room to attach and remove bike racks to them comfortably. As you keep using it, that wiggle room becomes more drastic, further increasing the possibilities of unwarranted movement.
If that’s the case, the fix has to come from there. Inexpensive options like a hitch clamp might be an option if you don’t want to replace your hitch receiver.
These anti-rattle hitch stabilizers clamp the rack to your vehicle to control the movement.
Another possibility is if your vehicle’s hitch can’t handle the weight. Even if your rack can handle four heavy bikes, your hitch receiver can still be able to handle it. Look at which class your hitch receiver belongs to (depending on the size and weight capacity).
The most apparent yet common trouble comes from loosened-up nuts and bolts. Ensure the rack’s connection points to your vehicle are all adequately tightened and in place. Even a little imperfection can introduce a lot of movement here.
Unsupported Hitch Pin on Some Vehicles
Many vehicles don’t have sufficient space to allow you to use the standard hitch pin lock. This little element plays a crucial role in minimizing and absorbing shock at the connection point of the hitch.
One of the most common complaints about this comes from Tesla users (like the Model Y). In such cases, the electric connections eat up most of the available space, rendering the usual hitch pin useless due to its length.
If that’s the case, KAC has the solution in its own lineup. All you need is a 90-degree angled lock, which works within the smaller space. The lock supports most of KAC’s bike racks, and the fix is simple enough.
Weaker Clamps and Tightening Nuts and bolts
One of the biggest issues in some of KAC’s lineup is the somewhat weaker securing clamps or bolts. The connecting points are incredibly vital in a bike rack, and these may fall short especially if you’re carrying multiple heavy bikes.
In some cases, users blamed this for the wobble they’ve faced with their racks (a few in the Sport Ratchet series, for instance). It doesn’t help that KAC’s hitch-mounted bike racks are quite heavy to begin with, putting more pressure on the hitch.
While there’s not much you can do to fix the manufacturing decisions, you can take some precautions.
First, ensure that you’re using all the ratchet straps properly. Secure the bikes with them in multiple places without much wiggle room. Secondly, check if the hitch pin is properly secured. It’s a critical connection point, and keeping it secure can minimize risks.
Bungee cords are another option for further security if you feel the need. Note that this isn’t a constant with every KAC bike rack. It’s only necessary if your rack seems lacking, especially with heavier carrying loads.
Sometimes, even the threads on your tightening knobs might start stripping. If returning isn’t an option, I recommend getting a hitch clamp to secure the rack.
Bike Rack Scratching the Car
Scratching is more common in trunk racks, but hitch racks aren’t always safe, either.
Depending on which vehicle you own, the KAC rack may scratch your car, especially near the tailgate. While the tilting feature is quite handy, the spacing may not suffice for every vehicle and result in scratches and dents.
First, check if you’ve installed the rack properly. Set the rack up on a flat surface and make sure that everything is properly in place. The manufacturer’s guideline is your friend.
But if everything fails, your vehicle just may not provide enough clearance. I would recommend installing some protective padding in that scenario. There are many options available for hitch racks — you can selectdepending on where and how you want to attach the padding.
My Last Words!
Hitch racks are some of the safest options for carrying bikes, and KAC produces some excellent options. Nevertheless, they aren’t without issues, as made evident above. Fortunately, most of these difficulties are easily alleviated with secure mounting practices and a bit of care!