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Good or bad idea: Hitch on Toyota Avalon for Bike Carrier

We would like to have a 1.25" hitch installed on our 2009 Toyota Avalon to be used only to carry 2 bikes on a Thule 917XT T2 Bike carrier. Our mechanic says we can, NAPA dealer says hitches are available for the car, husband says there is nothing under the car to attach it to.

Is this a good or bad idea and is there enough support under the Avalon to do this?

Assuming your Avalon has a tow rating, of course you can attach a hitch. If it’s going to be used for a pair of bikes with total weight of 70 lbs for example, that should not exceed any tongue weight limit. Would hubby concede if the dealer said OK ? IMO, hitch bike mounts are much more secure than trunk mounted bike racks and I prefer them.

Drawtite hitches web page shows 4 that can be put on your Avalon…enjoy.

http://www.drawtite-hitches.com/hitchsearch?year=2009&make=Toyota&model=Avalon#result-anchor

There’s no reason not to use a hitch rack, but I find myself wondering…have you considered a roof rack?

I see lots of Corollas and Camry’s with hitches used for bike racks. Twenty years ago I did not mind lifting a bike up on a roof rack; now, like many others, I prefer a less strenuous lift on to a rear mounted rack.

Agree that trunk mounted rack raise havoc with the trunk lid, and should only be used for very short distances.

With a roof rack one must remember the low clearance…many have cleaned off their bikes going into a parking garage…

True. But on the other hand, four riding buddies of mine were headed down the highway and the rack fell off the back with the bikes attached…two Kleins, one Litespeed, and one Fat Chance. $$$$$$$$$$$$$

Thanks for all the comments - I forgot to mention that the Avalon manual explicitly says “Toyota does not recommend the installation of a tow hitch or the use of a tow hitch carrier for a wheelchair, scooter, bicycle, etc. Your Toyota is not designed for trailer towing or for the use of tow hitch mounted carriers”. That is why my husband says nothing to attach it to, they didn’t design it that way.

I agree with the roof mount, I could not lift the bikes up - and I am familiar with the driving into the garage with the bikes on top!

We had an aftermarket hitch on a different car, and found ground clearance loss a problem in certain driveways and places. Not that I would take it off, but if your wife does the heebbie jeebies like mine every time we scrape be forewarned.

What do you have for bikes? If they’re dime store bikes they’re probably in the 40 pound range. But you can get some good bikes at the bike stor for under $500 each that would be closer to the 20 pound range. Perhaps they’d be easier to hoist up onto a rack? You can stop by the bike store and try one.

One other idea: if the rear seat backs go down, you should be able to drop the front wheels (they should have quick-releases), turn the handlebars 90 degrees, and load everything in. Any shop can show you how to release the calipers and loosen the QRs. I’ve put bikes in cars that way.

I forgot to mention that the Avalon manual explicitly says “Toyota does not recommend the installation of a tow hitch or the use of a tow hitch carrier for a wheelchair, scooter, bicycle, etc. Your Toyota is not designed for trailer towing or for the use of tow hitch mounted carriers”. That is why my husband says nothing to attach it to, they didn’t design it that way.
Maybe I missed the answer, but
Regardless of what the manual says…what does the Toyota dealership service department say ?

I know dime store bikes have a bad rep, but if the bearings are re-packed, and some shimano derailers are installed, and good tires what the heck. Depending on the terrain of course. is there no rear bumper on this car that you can bolt a rack too?

My feeling is; you don’t want to mess with the bumpers. They are not bumpers in the traditional sense and not made for vertical loads and are made more of energy absorbing material than structural components.

Very strange, fairmac. My Toyota Corolla, a lot smaller car has a 1500 lb TOW rating, and allows a 150 lb weight on the hitch! That would easily hold 2 bikes. I see many cars much smaller than yours with those hitch mounted bike carriers.

Th Avalon must be unique in that respect.

Well, our Toyota dealer says they put 1.25" hitches on all the time, the parts guy said he even pulls a small trailer with his Camry. So we are set to have one installed. Thanks for all the help!

As to whether or not this is a good idea, I don’t think it is. My reason is that I don’t think this is worth the expense of a trailer hitch installation. There are so many good bike racks out there that don’t require the additional expense of a trailer hitch. Find a good bicycle shop and look through their catalogs. I bet you can find the right bike rack and not face the hassle and expense of installing a trailer hitch.

If you already had a trailer hitch, I would say “go for it,” but since you will only be using the hitch for the bike rack, just get a bike rack that doesn’t require a hitch.

Dime store bikes are great for the occasional rider, especially around town or at the beach. For those purposes spending hundreds of dollars would be foolish. My only point was that bike store bikes might be light enough for the OP to load them on a roof rack, solving the transport problem.

Almost all dime store bikes have Shimano drivetrains. Shimano makes all levels of gear, from kids’ stuff to pro stuff, and has 90% of the bike market including the dime store bikes. They’re also one of the largest fishing gear manufacturers in the world and that industry provides more of their revenue than bikes do.

Good friend of mine tore the roof rack off his roof and did about $2000 in damage to his Subaru when he went into a parking garage with bikes on his roof.

I use to have a roof rack also…Now have a hitch bike carrier (which also can tow). Much easier to use…

While a Toyota hitch is fine…Check out a place that sells trailers. They usually install hitches also. Reese and Draw-tite are about the best you can get. And they do make hitches for your vehicle…and probably a lot cheaper then the dealer hitch.

The problem for me as a avid bicycler for years, is that I’ve yet to find a trunk bike rack or roof rack since the demise of gutters, that is as study as receiver hitch rack.
Mine all pass the “bar dip” test. Full body weight, one bar dip. No trunk mounted rack will do that. Granted, a car 1.25" won’t be as strong, but give me bolt mounting and not strap tighteners every time.
Now that we “finally” know the dealer we gladly install one suitable for trailers, I vote go for it. Forget the bike and cost of hitch, it’s as much the car following behind I’m concerned for. Besides, when not used, put one of those cool propellers on back…