Chevy HHR - Rack Options

Hey ya’ll,

Lookin’ at the Chevy HHR and see that Yakima has deemed it “unyakable.” Thule says their ‘450 Crossroad’ will fit on the factory rails, but I’m not sure that’s gonna give me the spread I want. I actually have no idea how long they are actually. Just wanted to know if anyone here has one and has come up with a workable solution. The longest boat I need to transport is 17.5’.

Wierd car
Had one as a rental in Maine…HATED that car! Poor visibility…neck hurt trying to see lights. Most rentals are invisible…ya sorta drive em and don’t think about it. That car pissed me off so bad I make a point of making sure I don’t get one.

sorry to hear that. I rent a different car every week, and happen to like the HHR, which is why I asked about the rack options.

To each their own…

is a good thing. Yeah, I’ve never “hated a car” until that thing! Terrible visibility, poor interior lights (under rear view mirror), lackluster performance. Voiced those concerns to avis and they told me they hear that a lot.

If you like it, that’s cool… You’d probably hate my veg oil buring diesel truck!!

respect your opinion…

– Last Updated: Apr-25-07 1:10 AM EST –

..and I probably wouldn't hate that diesel truck. But usually replies like yours derail the original intent of the post. Had I wanted opinions on the HHR I sure as hell wouldn't have posted on a paddling forum. I really do want to know if anyone has had any success fitting a rack on an HHR.

Hertz, Avis, Dollar, National, they get complaints on damn near every car they rent.

Fair, and sorry!

Track it
The HHR has a fairly flat roof. I would skip the factory rack option and bolt Yakima or Thule tracks to the roof. It would look like a factory option and it would give you a great spread plus a stronger roof rack. After the price of a factory rack and a Thule system, tracking it from the beginning would be less expensive.

second suggestion to track it
I used Yakima tracks on a Honda Van- worked great. Only caution is that the holes that have to be drilled in roof (yes, I drilled 14 holes in the roof of my new van) MUST miss the roof cross-rails for the fasteners (plus nuts) to work properly. Yakima used to supply “fit directions” to some vehicles, giving measurements to miss the cross rails. It is my understanding that they don’t now. If you are lucky, Chevy body shop can give measurements. Otherwise, you will have to pull the roof liner to see where to drill to miss the rails. Wonderful system for long flat roof.


third the tracking suggestion
… and second everything ret603 said. Great system once completed.

Rack suggestion for you…
I have a Ford Escape and what I did was the following: I removed the factory crossbars but left the rails/tracks. I then disassembled the crossbars and used the only the factory “feet”, mounting Thule 48" wide load bars to them. I have 2 kayaks to transport–a Tsunami 145 (14.5’ long) and my wife’s Hobie pedal-drive water toy (13.5’ long). I bought 2 Thule Hull-a-vators and mounted them to the load bars (now attached to the Ford original equipment “feet”) and I just slide the front and rear bar/Hull-a-vators on and off as units when I need to transport the boats. I take the rack off day-to-day to increase fuel economy. You may be able to do something like that with an HHR. (You don’t have to go for the Hull-a-vators, but the Thule bars and mounts should work on the HHR rails.)

My Son Loves His HHR
My son really loves his HHR, but then its only his second car. His first was a new Honda that he totaled…

In general, I would say not to attach to a factory roof. I did that once with a Toyota 4 Runner and it failed with two bikes on top

we looked at an HHR
but got a Vibe instead because of the rack options; it was going to be our main canoe hauler. I never thought of doing the attachment rack.

yeah, my buddy just got a vibe, nice little car, did quite well with his canoe and my kayak last weekend.

Attaching to factory roof
I have to respectfully disagree with Barracuda’s caution about attaching Yakima tracks to factory roof.

I unwittingly tested the track attachment system when I had a plywood canoe come off at 85 mph on Rt 80 in South Dakota. The front strap came off from high crosswinds- I learned the hard way about always using front tie downs. The boat swung out perpendicular to the van, still held on by the rear strap. I jammed on the brakes, but by the time I stopped the canoe was shattered.

The tracks stayed attached, with only a slight bend in them. When I reached my destination in OR, I unscrewed the tracks, re-bent them to remove the slight damage and screwed them back on. Used them for the next three years, then sold the van.

So, as a result of my stupidity, product testing proved Yakima tracks are very strong when attached correctly.


Weird ?
Why would it be the cars fault that you got a sore neck? Try stopping a little bit farther back from the light.

HHR and Vibe
It’s a shame they didn’t really design the HHR with rack options in mind. It has a long low roofline that could make for a good boat carrier. The lack of thought there makes me wonder if the HHR isn’t like the PT Cruiser–more about image than functionality. On the Vibe, the thing that annoys me is how far back the rails are–again, seems to be all about looks, not function. To center a long boat on those rails, you’d have to have it hanging way off the back.

There have been rumors and sightings of the next-gen vibe. It looks like the rack will be different.

You are right about the canoe sticking off the back, but with Q-towers in the front and low-riders on the factory rack the spread is over 50". The car is only a bit over 14’ long so my 16.5’ canoe about 3-4 feet off the back.