2009 Pontiac Vibe Rack?


I’m wondering if anyone has mounted a roof rack on their 2009 Pontiac Vibe. I searched the archive here and see a lot of Vibe discussion (and Toyota Matrix), but looks to be mostly the older body style.

This 2009 came with a factory installed rack that looks to be worthless. Doesn’t really have rails, mounts flush to the roof, then has flat crossbars. Looks more decorative than functional.

I called Yakima before buying the car, and they told me the car would require two Q-towers in the front, and two lowriders on the installed rack. I really can’t see how the lowriders could even attach to the factory rack. Plus, it seems the rack would not be level, causing the kayaks to point up in the air…?

To make things more confusing, Yakima says four q-towers for the Matrix, which is essentially the same car (though there may be minor differences I am not aware of).

So…has anyone put a rack on an '09 Vibe yet? Thanks!


My wife has a 2006 Vibe and these
racks fit it just fine. They seem to be a universal type clamp on mount which fit a wide varity of rails and the price with shipping beats most other prices I have found on the Internet for the same racks.

Thule Railing Rack

Sears item# 02872314000 Mfr. model# 91411


I thank you for your reply. Unfortunately, the 2006 Vibe has a much different factory rack than the 2009 version. Perhaps this picture will help:


Notice how there really are no rails…just four towers and flat crossbars. I see no way to mount the lowriders on this, as Yakima suggests.

2009 Vibe
Hate to tell you this, but according to their respective websites, neither Yakima nor Thule make roof racks to fit the 2009 Vibe.

Either the Yakima rep you spoke with was referring to the pre-2009 models, or there is indeed a rack for the 2009s, but not shown on their Fit List.

That model is fairly new, so maybe they’re working on it. Give Yakima a call and get Part Numbers.



honestly, don’t bother calling
the rack makers direct. they have less first hand experience solving rack fit issues and solutions than top rate full service rack outfits. Rackattack (rackattack.com) will know the score. in the end, you may just get a simple custom track system installed, which beats any factory rack hands down anyway. but the guys at Rackattack will know for sure what’s working or not on that vehicle.

Guiness on Pnet has a 2008/07 Vibe

Don’t have Vibe,but

– Last Updated: Nov-06-08 7:25 AM EST –

I have an 09 Matrix. When I looked at the Matrix I rejected the factory rack right away. Reasearched,and no one had anything that clipped to the factory rails at the time. Bought mine sans rack. Yakima Q towers & bars did. I have a Yakima rack set up already,so just needed to change clips. Yakima setting give 30" bar spread. I haul 2 canoes,or 1 yak & canoe without problem on 72" bars. 72" bars don't hang over as they are the width of the car body. They appear to be hanging over due to upper body taper design of the cabin. No head banging issues with my set up. Rack placement on body leaves less rear hangover then I thought. A 16' canoe overhangs the rear about 3' That's less rear over hang than my 06 Rav hauled the canoes. With bow tie downs,no issues.I use the nylon strap under hood configuration. My canoes do ride slightly bow high,but mostly due to roof design,and so did several other cars & SUV I owned lately due to sloping rear roofs.

billinpa/md & apple

Wonder if it’s the same?
It seems like the roofline of the 2009 Matrix and 2009 Vibe would be the same. I know lower body trim is not. It looks like Yakima has a fit for '09 Matrix, Q83 front, Q34 rear. I called Rack Attack and they don’t have anything other than what Yakima said. It seems obvious the Yakima guy I talked to was relaying information about the previous body style.

Can’t you just

– Last Updated: Nov-06-08 12:01 PM EST –

Attach something like the Yakima Mako saddles but instead of using the provided plastic clips (to fit either square or round bars) use a suitable size u-bolt instead? You can still use the Yakim wing nuts as they are standard (non-metric) size so you should be able to find a suitable U-bolt to fit both the holes in the Mako saddles and the trhead on the wing nuts.

Each Mako saddle base has 4 holes so by using a suitable U-bolt you should be able to fit the bolt thru two of these and attach the saddle to the existing bars this way.

Or instead of U-bolts, use regular bolts and metal planks of custom length under the bars so that you get the perfect fit for the Mako saddle bases above. I would think the saddle bases might deform if you bolt them on both sides of the bar (front and back) so you might want to attach one metal plank under the bar and connect it with another similar plank over the bar via 1 bolt in the front first then use the second bolt to attach the rear ends of the two planks and one Mako saddle. You would ideally need either wide planks with two bolts front and rear or two planks per saddle. Remember - you got 4 saddles per kayak.

Sounds hard but will only cost may be $20 in parts from Home Depot and may be a drill for the planks. Make sure you use some sort of lock-nut hardware (washers or locking nuts to avoid losening).

Or just use foam blocks for now - they come with cutouts for precisely this type of flat cross-bars...

Can't help with the leveling issue though - you may need to make a custom spacer in the rear, perhaps a 6"x6"x2" or whatever size fits piece of hardwood treated with deck rain repellent or similar suitable thickness and using longer U-bolts would help?

I've extended my rack to over 6 feet length with hardwood planks to carry one kayak at a time and mounted the Mako saddles at the ends - works great on my 28" spread rack of Yakima round bars, but if your kayak can take the stress of a 30" spread - you do not need an extension...

Kayakpro has a really nice rack rail but is expensive, plus probably they do not have hardware to mount o nyour cross bars either - may be able to custom-fit one in a similar way as above.

Be very careful …
… devising your own method to mount cradles to the factory rack. As the OP remarked, the factory rack may be very flimsy, and probably has a maximum load limit specified in the owner’s manual, while an aftermarket tower system will be much stronger, albeit with its own load limit.

If the factory rack was designed only to keep a couple of suitcases from sliding around while bungied to your roof, with a load limit of 30 lbs. or so, bad things will happen when you clamp a couple of 60-lb. kayaks up there and a passing semi sends a hearty wind gust your way; the whole works could likely jettison itself.

Yakima and Thule typically borrow every new car model introduced, while their engineers devise a way to mount a rack on it. Their first course is to utilize their standard towers (such as Yakima’s Q-towers) perhaps with a newly-designed clip, and that should be your first choice. If that’s not possible, they will next try to design something that attaches to whatever factory rack may be on the vehicle, assuming it’s solid enough to satisfy their lawyers.

This can all take some time. Being that the 2009 Vibe and Matrix are relatively new on the market (and they are NOT the same body, BTW), it could be some time before Yakima or Thule offer towers or clamps for the cars.

Another poster recommended seeing a local retailer who does a lot of rack installations, and that might be your best bet to talk to someone who really knows about late-model car outfitting.

Good Luck!



True, however
not all factory racks are flimsy. Not sure about this one, but my factory mazda MPV van rack was rated at 100 lb and did not feel flimsy. Actually I bought and installed it myself so I know how it is held in place - the 100lb is about right and with front/rear tie-downs it should be adequate for anything a Yakima on Q towers can handle. In contrast, a Yakima for my Camry was rated 120lb.

Again, not sure about this Pontiak’s rack rating - you may have a point if it is only 30 lb - would not use it for a kayak…

I suggested he check the manual only because of his own statement that the factory rack was “worthless … Looks more decorative than functional.”

I’ve seen all too many roof racks like this, while some vehicles indeed offer very beefy utilitarian racks that I would not hesitate to carry kayaks with.

Paddle (and drive) safely!

Well, it looks like the factory rack has a 75lb limit. That would probably be close with the two small kayaks we have.

My previous setup used hullraisers. The clips I had to attach it are for round bars. The bars on this new rack are more oval. I see the “hullraiser aero” has a choice of attachments for round, square, or ovalish shaped factory bars. Now, if I could get those clips, I wonder if I could make this work. Hmm…

A good shop that carries paddling, biking, or skiing stuff should have all that stuff in stock, as they have to fit a variety of vehicles.

My local shop is happy to mix and match various parts to get what I need, and it’s often easier than trying to figure it out by looking at stuff online.

As always, but especially when using a marginal rack, use bow and stern tiedowns!


If that helps any…
… most stores that sell racks sell the Yakima clips for the bars separately. A small bag with a set of 4 costs about $10 and they work for both round or square bars. I have not looked for the ones that work on oval bars - I imagine they should be similarly priced but who knows…

'09-'10 Vibe (and Matrix?) factory rack

– Last Updated: Mar-22-11 6:02 AM EST –

I know this is a very old thread, but I just bought an '09 Vibe and I was looking for information myself and came across this thread. I wanted to correct some misinformation and add a bunch of information I learned, in case anyone else is looking.

First the misinformation: I'm not sure where old_user got his information that the 2009 Vibe factory rack is rated for 75 lbs, but that information is definitely wrong. From page 3-2 of the owner's manual (at http://www.pontiac.com/fileDownload.do?filename=/content/en/PDF/2009/manuals/2009_vibe_manual.pdf ), you can see that the factory rack is rated at 132 lbs -- easily enough to carry two heavy sea kayaks!

Now, as for mounting gear to it...

Most newer rack attachment gear comes with "universal mounts" that are wide enough to fit longer ovalized crossbars such as these. If you have older gear or gear that just comes with mounts to fit round, square, and/or short ovalized bars, you have several options for mounting this gear to the factory rack:

For any gear at all that can mount to square bars:
1) Thule Ride-On adapter kit. This bolts on a pair of square crossbars directly above your factory crossbars, and you can mount all your gear that mounts to square bars directly to these "higher" crossbars. This is almost certainly the simplest and cheapest solution, but also the ugliest and noisiest. I'm not sure if this artificially limits the load in some way by putting the force of your whole rack system on four mounts, but I suspect because Thule designs this thing to hold multiple bike racks, it's designed to be strong enough. http://www.orsracksdirect.com/thule-ride-on-bike-rack-adapter-532.html Note that you can also assemble this kit out of spare parts if you already have a pair of square crossbars, four Thule universal or Fat Mouth mounts or the appropriate Thule Clamp-Ons (see items 2-4), and four more Clamp-Ons of any style that fit square bars.

If you don't want to go that route (I'm pretty sure I don't because of the ugliness and noise factor), you'll have to get the appropriate mounts to connect all your non-universal-mount gear directly to the factory rack. Unfortunately, I think Kocho must have been getting a really great deal from his shop at $10 for a set of 4, or the regular old round bar ones really are tremendously cheaper: I've never seen them for less than $25-$30 for a set of 4, unless they're used or on a crazy sale.

For most older Thule gear that uses clamp-ons with the smaller bolt style that sticks straight up:
2) Thule universal mounts which come standard with most current Thule gear -- http://www.rackattack.com/product-pages/thule-753-3998-ski-rack-mounting-hardware.asp
3) Discontinued Thule Fat Mouth universal mounts http://www.orsracksdirect.com/thule-fm1.html
4) Discontinued Thule Clamp-Ons -- http://www.rackattack.com/rack-search.asp?searchString=clamp-on I don't know which model exactly fits the '09-'10 Vibe factory racks, but it'll be the same one that fits the '03-'08 Vibe factory racks (see item 6). I've been meaning to call RackAttack to ask them. Does anybody here know?

Or for most Yakima gear or some Thule gear that uses the bigger-bolt-straight-through-style mount (such as my Thule 558P Tandem Bike Rack):
5) Yakima Universal Mighty Mounts for mounting just about any Yakima gear to just about any rack at all -- http://www.yakima.com/shop/factorycrossbars/universal-mightymounts
6) Discontinued Yakima Mighty Mounts version 23H for horizontally-bolted gear like J-cradles or 10V for vertically-bolted gear like ski racks (same as for the '03-06 model Vibe -- the crossbars on the new rack are the same dimensions)

I haven't been able to find as much info about Inno, Sportrack, Barrecrafters, etc, so YMMV. Their newer stuff all has universal mounts, anyway.

I've cross-posted this at http://forums.genvibe.com/zerothread?id=43939&uid=16771&postid=527034#527034 -- perhaps someone there will have more insight.