Check Your Rack Cross Bars

The other day I was coming home from a paddle on Slocum Creek when I heard a “clunk and thump”. Looking out my rearview mirror I saw something bouncing in the roadway so I pulled over and inspected the top of my Tracker. Discovered that one of the “keyed” locking clamps which holds the rear cross bar to my roof rack had vibrated loose and fallen off. Naturally I reinstalled it and continued on home.

The incident made me think about when was the last time I had inspected the clamps which hold the cross bars in place and came up with a long time. Now if I had asked myself when was the last time I checked security of the saddles attached to the cross bars I would have answered everytime I load a 'yak.

Bottomline: I now check all 4 locking clamps at the same time I check to make sure the saddles are securely attached to the cross bars.


I’ve noted that mine are a bit loose each time I check them, (I check each time I load). I have deceided to add a lock nut under the thumb wheel on each of the four bolts. This will be a pain when I remove them, but, I figure that I wont do that often and I likely will just remove the bars and all anyway.


Yakima Low-Riders
Good point…also, the towers on Yakima products can work loose and you have to tighten the hex bolts. Scared the cr** out of me when I could watch the nose of my boat start moving around. Nothing is mentioned in the literature, but I contacted Yakima and they mentioned that yes, towers need maintenance. Seems obvious, I should have known, but I’m meticulous about reading instructions and there wasn’t a mention. After I heard back from Yakima I re-read everything and it’s just not there. Goes to show you that you have to use your head and common sense even while following all of the instructions.

I’d like to note, I really like my Yakima set-up and I’m not dissing them in anyway. Just advising that you check these things.



At least every spring
if not every month. The ex-president of my favorite kayak club always reminded us.

hex bolts at least once a year
Yakima should have supplied you with a wrench with their logo. This wrench in the glove compartment is a handy reminder.

I too almost learned the hard way but only a competent paddle shop owner saved me. After I picked up a boat he noticed the towers had too much wobble even though they were secured to the car well.