All of the racks I’ve had have stated that using a bike cover voids the warranty and I think they would add a huge amount of drag and therefore force on the bike would increase. I feel your pain but a dirty bike is better than the broken bike all over the highway.
If the wheels stick out from the sides of the vehicle, with a cover on the bike, the wind couldn’t pass through the wheels. Yeah, that makes sense that it would generate much more force on the rack and bike. Dang it.
One friend suggested using a small portable air compressor at the trailhead. Not sure if he was serious or not.
Aron, I spent years fighting my bike into the trunk of my various cars except one hatchback I had. I do not like hitches since the bikes can, and do, get lifted regardless of the locking device. Out of sight out of mind… We bought the minivan new in 2003. Since 2013 its been used for the dog and biking. It is so much better than a car and fuel efficient with a single seat and the rear bench seat removed and so much room inside. Of course, this is fine so long as your macho image can handle a football mum vehicle (round ball, you know real football, rugby league with pads…).
@dpb1997 you don’t have to sell me on the practicality of a minivan! I was actually looking at them before I got my 4Runner, but my lady was the one said nah, I’m not riding in a minivan. I was like, we can pull the seats out, fit some bikes in here, camp in it… She said, yeah but it’s still a minivan.