Can’t Unlock Thule Bike Rack

Thule bike racks are some of the best out there. And you probably bought one because you’re a rational individual with a taste for fine things. But then it happens: you lock your bike in place, but when you want to get it again, it won’t unlock.

Unfortunately, you can also lose the keys to your bike lock or have another problem with the lock that forces you to call on a locksmith to come and rescue you. Whatever the situation, it is frustrating, and despite bike racks being designed reasonably well, they can be a nightmare.

However, after reading this article, you will get helpful tips on the causes and the available solutions. Let’s get right in, shall we?

What Causes A Thule Lock Fail To Unlock

When a Thule lock fails to unlock, there are several possible causes, but most are pretty simple and easy to fix. If your lock has been acting up for quite some time now, then there is probably something wrong with it or how you are opening it.

Nevertheless, it can happen on any brand of bike rack, so don’t worry if you have another brand. The fact is, bicycle rack manufacturers tend to spec out the locks with very low-end Locksmith approved key blanks.

The following are the major causes

  • The lock may be frozen

The most common cause of a Thule lock failing to unlock is if it is frozen. The lock is designed to be water-resistant, but it is not waterproof. If you are caught in the rain severally, and you stay without using the rack, the water enters and freezes in the locking mechanism.

The next time you try to unlock your bike rack, the ice inside the locking mechanism will prevent it from working properly.

Additionally, if you live in an area where temperatures drop below freezing, you may experience this problem frequently as snow or ice builds up around your bike rack.

  • You may just be trying to unlock it the wrong way

A Thule bike rack lock may fail to unlock if you are trying to open it the wrong way. This happens more often than you think and is not something you can blame on the product. The fact is that there are simply different types of Thule bike rack locks, and each one requires a different unlocking procedure.

To avoid this problem, make sure that you read the instructions carefully before using your lock.

  • Jammed locking mechanism

A jammed locking mechanism may fail to open no matter how hard you try. The most common reason is dirt and sand getting into the locking mechanism. This makes it difficult for the key to turn, preventing you from unlocking your bike rack.

  • Your key may be damaged

The keys that come with the Thule locking system are made from hardened steel, so they can withstand some damage without causing any issues. However, if you keep using them after they have become damaged, you will eventually cause the lock to fail to unlock.

Further, if your keyhole is damaged, it might not work while inserting it into the lock and will not be able to turn properly and open. Also, if you have accidentally dropped it or are using a worn-out key, corroded or bent, it will not work with your bike rack.

  • Improper installation

Another potential issue is that your Thule lock may be installed incorrectly or not properly tightened down. If this happens, it can cause your bike rack to not open after inserting your key into it.

Solutions To An Unopening Thule Bike Rack

When your bike rack can’t open, you may be tempted to buy a new one. However, there are some things you can do to try and fix the problem yourself.

The first thing to do is ensure that the problem isn’t with your car or trailer hitch. If other racks fit the same way and open easily, it’s likely not an issue with the rack itself. If you’ve had the rack for a while and it’s never worked properly, there may be something wrong with your car or trailer hitch.

If there are no other racks that fit, then you can try lubricating the hinges of your carrier. You could also try cleaning them thoroughly before re-lubricating them with WD-40 or WD-40 Multi-Use Product.

Another thing you can try is adjusting how tightly you have the rack attached to your vehicle or trailer hitch. Sometimes a rack can get loose over time and cause problems when opening and closing it. If this sounds like what might be happening, tightening up each bolt on your bike rack should solve the problem.

If none of these things work, it may be time to consider replacing the rack with a new one. The best way to get rid of an unopenable Thule bike rack is by contacting Thule directly and asking them if they have any other suggestions for fixing the issue before spending money on another product.

How Do I Unlock My Thule Bike Rack Without A Key

If you can’t find your key and want to figure out how to unlock your Thule bike rack, here are a few options.

Use a Philips Head Screwdriver or Spokes

The Philips head screwdriver is a type of screwdriver that features a cross-shaped blade. While it is possible to use a flathead screwdriver to open a bike rack, it is not recommended.

Firstly, it is to get the right screwdriver and then find the screws that hold your bike rack together. If there are no screws, you may have to drill them out or use a knife or other tool to pry off the cover and remove it from the bike rack.

Once you have removed the cover, you can see each bolt’s location. You then need to check each bolt to ensure they are not stripped or broken. If they are not, you need to take off any washers and nuts, holding them in place so they can be removed without damaging anything else on your bike rack.

Once these pieces have been removed, you can start taking apart your bike rack by removing any screws that may be holding it together.

Use Hex Wrench

  1. Remove the hex wrench from your toolbox. The wrench will most likely be in a plastic container or bag, so you’ll need to remove it from the packaging before using it.
  2. Insert the wrench into the bottom of the bike rack and turn it clockwise until you feel it loosen up. This is how you will loosen the nut that keeps the rack attached to your car’s hitch.
  3. Once it is loose, pull out your bike rack from underneath your vehicle and set it aside for now. You’re now ready to attach your bikes to your new bike rack.

Use a Paper Clip

Alternatively, try using a pin or paperclip instead of a key. This method is similar to the first option. Just stick something pointy into the lock without turning anything. You’ll need something thin enough to fit between the inner workings of your lock but thick enough not to bend when force is applied.

Other methods include

  • Use a T-bar
  • Use Power Drill and Metal Bits
  • Use a Spare Key
  • Cable Ties
  • Brute Force Method

How do you get a stuck Thule key out?

There are several ways to remove a stuck key from your bike rack without calling someone else. Here are some tips.

  • Try wiggling it

This is the most basic and most straightforward way. Try turning your key a little bit at a time in each direction until it comes out of one of those holes.

  • Use a control key

A control key is a special kind that can open many different locks. These keys can be used to open the bike rack, but they must be used correctly.

The first step is to locate the lock on the bike rack. This will be more difficult if it’s a new bike rack, but you should be able to find it eventually. Once you have found the lock, insert your key into it and turn it clockwise until it stops turning.

Now try pulling up your bike rack’s handlebars or lifting them with one hand while pulling up on them with your other hand. Some models may require more force than others, but if you pull hard enough and long enough, you should be able to get your bike rack open without much trouble at all and remove the broken key.


Your Thule Bike rack is an excellent addition to your car. But when the worse happens, it should not bar you from cycling. The above methods are ideal and will work regardless the key gets broken inside, lock jams, or extreme weather conditions make locking and unlocking challenging.

If you still find it challenging, you can seek the services of a locksmith to help you.